UW-Madison provost joins nuclear safety study

January 19, 2011 By Chris Barncard

An effort to gauge the cancer risk to people living near nuclear power plants will include Paul M. DeLuca Jr., medical physics professor and University of Wisconsin–Madison provost.

DeLuca was appointed this week to a team of experts assembled by the National Research Council at the request of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The roster for the 19-member provisional committee — chaired by John Burris, president of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and former president of Beloit College — is in the middle of a 20-day public review period.

In February, the group will begin designing a study to measure radiation doses near nuclear-fuel power plants, to determine whether people in close proximity to the plants are more susceptible to certain types of cancer, and to narrow the list of likely causes should higher cancer rates be found.

DeLuca joined the UW–Madison faculty in 1975, and holds an appointment as professor of medical physics, radiology, human oncology, engineering physics and physics. An expert on the effects of radiation on humans, DeLuca has served as UW–Madison’s provost since July 2009.