Cancer cases in the Hamm-Uentrop nuclear reactor region

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More cases of thyroid cancer in the Hamm-Uentrop region

Cases of thyroid cancer in women are increasing in the vicinity of the nuclear reactor in Hamm-Uentrop, which was shut down 25 years ago. This is the result of a calculation by the Cancer Register NRW. Accordingly, there is a 64 percent increased risk for the residents of this district compared to a reference region.

Reactor shut down since 1988 Already in 1988 - after a total of five years of operation - the nuclear reactor in Hamm-Uentrop was shut down and the fuel elements of the thorium high temperature reactor (THTR) were transported to Ahaus years ago in castor casks. However, evaluations by the Cancer Registry of North Rhine-Westphalia have shown an abnormality in thyroid cancer:

“A statistically significant increase in the rate of thyroid cancer in women between 2008 and 2010 was found here. According to the results, the standardized incidence rate for thyroid cancer among women in the study region was 1.64 in 2008 and 2010. According to the report of the cancer registry, this can be interpreted as a 64 percent increased risk of developing thyroid cancer, ”according to the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia. However, this only applies "in comparison to the selected reference region".

Environment Minister Remmel sees no connection According to Environment Minister Johannes Remmel (Greens), however, a direct connection to the reactor cannot be established here, because the number of cases of radiation cancer and thyroid cancer in men is not higher than in other regions, the politician told the dpa. For the survey, the employees of the Cancer Registry NRW analyzed the cancer rates in Hamm, Beckum, Ahlen, Lippetal and Welver.

More cases due to increased use of cancer screening tests? Instead, it is conceivable that the compared increased rate of thyroid cancer cases is due to an increased use of cancer screening examinations, as the head of the NRW cancer registry, Oliver Heidinger, told dpa. As many residents of the region are concerned about possible consequential damage, prevention could therefore play a generally greater role than in other areas of the country. According to Heidinger, this theory is supported by the aspect that above average the cases of thyroid cancer were recognized at an early stage. The increased concern among the residents of the Hamm-Uentrop region is not without reason - in 1986 there was an accident in the nuclear power plant in which radioactivity had spread to the surroundings.

Germany and Europe overall more thyroid cancer cases How long and at what time the affected women had lived in the vicinity of the reactor, however, because of data protection, no statement can be made, Heidinger further told dpa. However, this would not only increase thyroid cancer cases not only in the Hamm-Uentrop region, but also in regions of North Rhine-Westphalia, where there are no reactors, as well as in Germany and Europe as a whole. (No)

Image: Angela Parszyk /

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