Here are some of the human faces behind the statistics:

Childhood cancer rates rose 104% following the radioactive spill.


Sarah, exposed to a radioactive by-product of nuclear energy in the water, has a brain tumor.

Sarah Sauer at age seven fell ill with a brain tumor. The Sauers at that time lived near the Dresden 2 nuclear power plant in Grundy County, Illinois run by Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear energy producer. The Dresden plant and another Exelon-owned plant nearby had leaked millions of gallons of water contaminated with tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, into the surrounding environment. Some of it seeped into water supplies used by the Sauers and other local residents for drinking, bathing and cooking. Since the leaks, childhood leukemia has increased 49% and childhood brain cancer has increased 104%.

Exelon hadn’t informed the community of the leak. After it became public, Exelon repaired the leak with duct tape.

Cindy, Sarah’s mother, describes herself as a devout Christian. She thinks that the pollution that affects her child and other children is a right to life issue of great importance. "I don't want my government allowing corporations and industries to put toxins in my environment that could be dangerous to my family. It's always economics vs health, and economics always wins."

Exelon repaired the leak with duct tape.

Exelon repaired the leak with duct tape.