R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant | Asbestos Exposure & Cancer Risks (2022)

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R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant | Asbestos Exposure & Cancer Risks (1)

The Robert Emma Ginna Nuclear Power Plant — commonly called Ginna — sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Ontario, New York, about 20 miles northeast of Rochester. Ginna’s single reactor generates enough energy to power about 500,000 homes.

One of the oldest operating nuclear plants in the United States, Ginna was built at a time when the utilities industry used asbestos in plant equipment and building materials.

Documents from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) confirm that asbestos materials were once used at Ginna.

Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a rare and incurable form of cancer. Exposure to asbestos can also also cause other health problems, including lung cancer and asbestosis.

Former Ginna Nuclear Power Plant workers who developed asbestos-related diseases have successfully brought lawsuits against the companies responsible for their exposure.

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Victims have also been able to obtain compensation from trust funds established by companies that are no longer in business.

The top-rated attorneys at Belluck & Fox stand up for the rights of victims who have been diagnosed with asbestos diseases. We make sure that asbestos manufacturers are held accountable for their failure to warn consumers about the dangers of their products.

Over the past 25 years, we have obtained more than $1 billion in compensation on behalf of our deserving clients. If you worked at Ginna and have been diagnosed with an asbestos disease, contact our trusted New York asbestos attorneys at Belluck & Fox for a free case review.

Asbestos Exposure at Ginna Nuclear Power Plant

Table of Contents

  • 1 Asbestos Exposure at Ginna Nuclear Power Plant
  • 2 Maintenance Activities and Plant Shutdowns
  • 3 Screenhouse at Ginna
  • 4 Ginna Plant Workers Win an Asbestos Settlement
  • 5 Ginna Workers At Most Risk of Asbestos Exposure
  • 6 Asbestos Trust Funds for Ginna Nuclear Power Plant Victims
  • 7 Protecting the Rights of Asbestos Victims

Ginna uses steam turbines, powered by a pressurized water reactor, to generate electricity. The temperature inside of a nuclear reactor can reach 300 degrees Celsius (or 572 degrees Fahrenheit). Such high temperatures require the use of insulation on equipment to maintain thermal efficiency and protect workers.

In the past, and especially prior to the 1980s, asbestos insulation was used for this purpose. Nuclear power plant equipment that requires insulation includes:

  • Reactor vessel
  • Reactor coolant pump
  • Steam generator
  • Valves
  • Turbines
  • Pressurizer
  • Heat exchanger
  • Feedwater system
  • Heat and steam pipes

In 1982, the NRC partnered with Burns and Roe, Inc. to produce a survey of insulation used in nuclear power plants, including Ginna.

The survey reported that thousands of square feet of asbestos insulation was used at Ginna. Aside from asbestos insulation, equipment such as valves, pumps and flanges used asbestos gaskets and packing material.

Maintenance Activities and Plant Shutdowns

Maintenance activities performed at Ginna included:

  • Equipment inspection
  • Testing
  • Repairs
  • Surveillance

Certain activities could only be performed when the reactor was temporarily taken offline and the plant was shut down. Long-term shutdowns at Ginna occur around every 18 months.

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During shutdowns, hundreds of additional temporary workers are brought in for a period lasting roughly 30 days. The workers perform necessary maintenance, repairs, equipment replacements, internal equipment inspections and upgrades.

R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant | Asbestos Exposure & Cancer Risks (2)In order to access equipment, insulation is removed and later replaced when the work is done.

During the time when asbestos insulation was used at Ginna, removing and replacing insulation created large amounts of asbestos dust that workers inhaled and ingested.

Asbestos dust was also generated when workers scraped off and replaced asbestos gaskets and packing.

The NRC noted in its 1982 report that Ginna’s asbestos-containing materials were in the process of being replaced by non-asbestos materials. But since diseases such as mesothelioma can take 15 to 60 years to develop, plant workers from the 1980s and earlier are still at risk of developing an asbestos-related condition.

Screenhouse at Ginna

Nuclear power plants have intake structures known as screenhouses that use water from nearby lakes, rivers and streams for cooling the turbine condenser.

The Ginna Nuclear Power Plant withdraws its cooling water from Lake Ontario. The plant’s screenhouse contains circulating water pumps, service water pumps and associated pipes and valves. It also has a boiler for heating the building.

Like equipment in the main plant, screenhouse equipment was insulated with asbestos materials and contained asbestos gaskets and packing.

Plant workers who disturbed asbestos during inspection, maintenance and repair activities may have inhaled or ingested the dangerous mineral fibers.

Ginna Plant Workers Win an Asbestos SettlementR.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant | Asbestos Exposure & Cancer Risks (3)

Seventeen Rochester-area power plant workers received a multi-million-dollar settlement from asbestos companies in 2000.

The plaintiffs, all men aged 56 to 75 years old, worked at Ginna and other plants owned by the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation. They were diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

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Ginna Workers At Most Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Workers who handled and disturbed asbestos materials at Ginna Power Plant are the most likely to have been exposed to asbestos. However, because asbestos fibers can remain airborne for hours and drift for long distances, other workers could have been exposed as well.

Ginna power plant workers who have the greatest risk of asbestos exposure include:

  • Boiler workers
  • Carpenters
  • Cement finishers
  • Pump room operators
  • Laborers
  • Electricians
  • Furnace workers
  • Inspectors
  • Insulation workers
  • Maintenance workers
  • Masons
  • Millwrights
  • Engineers
  • Welders
  • Plumbers
  • Reactor workers
  • Foremen and superintendents

Family members of Ginna employees are also at an increased risk of developing an asbestos disease from fibers brought home on a worker’s clothes, shoes, skin or hair.

If you lived with someone who worked at Ginna and have recently been diagnosed with an asbestos illness, our knowledgeable attorneys can discuss your rights to compensation from this “take-away” exposure.

Asbestos Trust Funds for Ginna Nuclear Power Plant Victims

R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant | Asbestos Exposure & Cancer Risks (4)Asbestos companies that filed for bankruptcy were required to set aside trust funds to pay past, current and future victims of asbestos diseases.

A number of trusts name the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant as a jobsite where asbestos materials were used. Ginna workers diagnosed with a qualifying asbestos disease may be entitled to trust fund compensation.

Although an attorney is not required to make a trust fund claim, it’s advisable to seek a lawyer’s help. You may be eligible for compensation from more than one asbestos trust.

Our experienced attorneys are familiar with all available trust funds and can identify which one(s) you may be able to receive compensation from. Belluck & Fox can also help with an appeal if your asbestos trust fund claim is denied.

Two trust funds that could provide compensation for former Ginna workers include:

  • Babcock & Wilcox: Used asbestos-containing materials in its boiler systems. B&W boilers were in place at Ginna since at least 1970, according to trust documents. Anyone who installed, maintained or repaired B&W boilers at Ginna may be able to make a claim with the $1.85 billion trust.
  • Owens Corning: Kaylo insulation products contained asbestos until the 1970s. Owens Corning also purchased Fibreboard Corporation, which used asbestos in its building products through 1972. Trust documents indicate that Owens Corning asbestos products were installed at Ginna Power Plant. Funded with more than $7 billion, it is one of the largest asbestos trusts.

Protecting the Rights of Asbestos Victims

Your asbestos exposure at Ginna Nuclear Power Plant may have occurred decades ago, but it is not too late to take legal action.

If you worked at Ginna and have an asbestos-related disease, the dedicated mesothelioma attorneys at Belluck & Fox will fight to recover maximum compensation for you and your family.

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To learn more, contact us for a free consultation.

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R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant | Asbestos Exposure & Cancer Risks (5)

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What kind of cancer does asbestos cause? ›

Which cancers are associated with exposure to asbestos? Exposure to asbestos causes most mesotheliomas (a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen); it can also cause cancers of the lung, larynx, and ovary.

Is asbestos the only cause of mesothelioma? ›

Although asbestos is the major risk factor for developing mesothelioma, asbestos exposure alone does not account for every affected individual. Causes of non-asbestos related mesothelioma have been suggested. A volcanic mineral, known as erionite, can also cause mesothelioma.

When was asbestos discovered to be harmful? ›

Commercial production of asbestos insulation began in 1879, and the first case of asbestos-related disease, described as "curious bodies" in the lungs was detected in 1899. The first cases of asbestosis and lung cancer attributable to asbestos exposure were diagnosed in the United States in 1935.

What does asbestos do to you? ›

If you breathe asbestos fibers, you may increase the risk of several serious diseases, including asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Asbestos exposure may increase your risk for cancers of the digestive system, including colon cancer.

How long does it take to get cancer from asbestos? ›

It can take from 10 to 40 years or more for symptoms of an asbestos-related condition to appear (2). There is some evidence that family members of workers heavily exposed to asbestos face an increased risk of developing mesothelioma (12).

Does everyone exposed to asbestos get cancer? ›

No, not everyone who is exposed to asbestos gets diagnosed with mesothelioma. Even for people who were exposed to large amounts of asbestos, it is rare to develop mesothelioma. While asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma, a number of risk factors make certain people more likely to develop this cancer.

What are the early warning signs of mesothelioma? ›

Pleural mesothelioma (mesothelioma of the chest) symptoms
  • Pain in the side of the chest or lower back.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Cough.
  • Trouble swallowing (feeling like food gets stuck)
  • Hoarseness.
  • Swelling of the face and arms.
16 Nov 2018

How long do you have to be exposed to asbestos to get mesothelioma? ›

It can take 20 to 60 years or more for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure. Most people with asbestos exposure never develop mesothelioma.

Is mesothelioma a painful death? ›

Palliative Care and Mesothelioma

Palliative treatment can alleviate pain, reduce symptoms and, if started early enough, extend a patient's life expectancy. Mesothelioma patients often suffer from significant pain, muscle weakness and difficulty breathing in the end stages of the disease.

How can you tell if you have lung cancer caused by asbestos? ›

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Whether lung cancer is associated with asbestos exposure, smoking or another cause, it presents the same general symptoms: Persistent coughing. Shortness of breath. Chest discomfort or pain.

What are the 4 major asbestos-related diseases? ›

Exposure to asbestos can increase the risk of developing:
  • Lung cancer.
  • Asbestosis, which causes permanent lung damage.
  • Mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the chest and stomach lining.
  • Cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, kidney and throat (larynx or oropharynx).
  • Scarring of the lung lining.
28 Sept 2020

How long can you live with asbestos cancer? ›

Some of these people will live much longer than 1 year. Around 60 out of 100 people (around 60%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed.

What is the survival rate of mesothelioma? ›

Mesothelioma Survival Rate – The mesothelioma survival rates is typically 4–18 months after diagnosis, but there have been patients diagnosed with mesothelioma who have lived longer than 10 years. The current five-year survival rate for the disease is just 10 percent.


1. Omega webinar: Are we on the eve of a nuclear disaster? With Dr. Tatsujiro Suzuki
(Stanley Wu)
2. YSPH, Environmental Health: Past, Present, and Future by Linda S. Birnbaum, PhD
(Yale School of Public Health)
3. Public Perception of Health Risks from Radiation | Geraldine Thomas (OBE)
(Policy-Relevant Science & Technology)
4. Radiation Risk Communication for Public Health
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC))
5. Dr. C. Norman Coleman - Black Swan Incidences Happen - RRS Webinar Mar. 18, 2021
6. Nuclear Neighbors? RNN Exclusive
(Richard French Live)

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