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E-M:/ [Fwd: Sign letter re radiation effects study (fwd)]

While the study below is a federal one, it's openness has
immense relevance to the believability of eventual data on
health effects of low level radiation exposures in Michigan. As
we turn to decomissioning power plants here in the near future,
this will be a pivotal issue. So I urge any group with a remote
interest to consider signing on.

Phil Shepard
(517) 332-0761

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 16:32:21 -0800
From: susangordon@igc.org (Susan Gordon)
Subject: Sign on letter - public input on health effects -BEIR VII

Dear Friends - please consider signing on to this letter to the National
Research Council.  NRC is planning to conduct an assessment of the health
effects of low dose radiation and it is important that this process be
transparent and open to the public.

We are asking that groups sign on to the letter with an organizational name and
individual contact name.  Please email me at <susangordon@earthlink.net  if you wish
to sign on to the letter.  We will collect organizational names until March 5th.
Please forward this message on to other lists.  Thanks, Susan Gordon

Sign on letter -

Dr. Rick Jostes
Study Director
National Research Council
Suite 342
2101 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20418

Dear Dr. Jostes,

We write as representatives of organizations concerned about the health consequences
of exposure to low dose ionizing radiation. We are aware that the National Research
Council is planning to conduct an assessment of the health effects of low dose
radiation (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation, BEIR VII). We are encouraged
that the Environmental Protection Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and
Department of Energy deem this issue worthy of study at this time. We believe that
the study will be enhanced by meaningful opportunities for public involvement.

The results of BEIR VII are likely to affect public and worker radiation protection
standards, residual contamination standards, and standards governing radioactive
waste storage and disposal for years to come. Thus, BEIR VII may impact the health
of millions of people. The U.S. public has a right to know that all relevant
concerns are being addressed, and that public funds are being wisely expended.

Good science benefits from transparency, openness, and public participation. This
theme is stated repeatedly in the National Research Council's own study,
"Understanding Risk: Informing Decisions in a Democratic Society." In fact, there
are precedents for the National Research Council holding open meetings and seeking
public comment. In 1995, the public was invited to provide input to a study entitled
"Where should the US focus long-term efforts to improve the nation's environment?"
The National Research Council panel of distinguished scientists listened to input
from other scientists, engineers, and academics, as well as spokespersons for
environmental organizations and Native American communities. There is no reason why
the NRC could not adopt a similar model and process for BEIR VII.

Therefore, we recommend that the NRC adopt procedures that will help ensure the kind
of public involvement that can improve the BEIR VII process. Specifically, we
recommend the following:

1. A clear plan for public involvement should be developed and adhered to. While
there are different models for doing this, we recommend that a body with public
confidence be designated to work with the BEIR VII committee to ensure a good public
process and that public concerns are addressed in the study (one such group is the
Federal Advisory Committee on Energy Related Epidemiologic Research and its
Subcommittee for Community Affairs). This body would not direct the review, but
would work closely with the BEIR VII Committee to ensure that an agreed-to public
process is followed. The body responsible for public participation should receive
periodic reports from the BEIR VII committee.

2. All information, data, etc. should be made available for the BEIR VII Committee's
discussion and consideration, and also be made available to interested members of
the public for review and comment. We are aware that the NRC may create web access
to such documents. However, web access is inadequate by itself. Many public
participants are not equipped to access such material via the web. Therefore,
documents, data, etc. should also be made available in DOE, EPA, and Nuclear
Regulatory Commission Reading Rooms. Another option is that electronic files on disk
could also be made available to individuals.

3. All meetings of the BEIR VII Committee should be open to the public. As a first
step, the Committee should conduct a thorough scoping process to identify all
relevant information that is to be reviewed in the BEIR VII process.

We would like to discuss these recommendations in a meeting, or conference call, as
soon as possible. We will telephone you within the next two weeks regarding this
request. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact Sharon Cowdrey of
Miamisburg Environmental Safety and Health (513-748-4757, fax: 513-748-0349).



             I can be reached via susangordon@earthlink.net

Susan Gordon, Director
Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
1914 N 34th, Suite #407, Seattle, WA 98103
ph 206-547-3175  fax 206-547-7158
ANA is a national alliance of organizations working to address
 issues of nuclear weapons production and waste clean-up.

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