Complete Question Explanation
Weaken. The correct answer choice is (C)
The conclusion in the stimulus is that nuclear weapons plants pose no health hazards to people who live near them. The support for this conclusion is a study that compared the death rates of people living near nuclear weapons plants and those living elsewhere. Always make sure to isolate the premise and conclusion in a weaken question.
Answer choice (A): This answer choice is talking about nuclear power plants, not nuclear weapons plants. Since our stimulus limits its discussion to weapons plants, the fact that the study did not include power plants is irrelevant.
Answer choice (B): This answer choice would support the stimulus, not weaken it, by showing that death rates have remained stable before and after the construction of nuclear weapons plants. If this were true, it lends support to the notion that nuclear weapons plants aren’t increasing death rates.
Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. The conclusion in the stimulus claims that exposure to nuclear weapons plants poses no health hazards, but it bases this claim only on death rates. Had the researchers examined other diseases and health issues, instead of just death, they would have concluded that while proximity to a nuclear weapons plant does not increase chance of death, it might create other health hazards.
Answer choice (D): The number of nuclear weapons plants in existence is irrelevant to the author’s conclusion. Even if we were to imagine there were only two nuclear weapons plants in the entire world, as long as the researchers studied people in these two areas their study would be valid.
Answer choice (E): The category of people we are concerned about are those living near the nuclear weapons plants. The employees in the nuclear weapons plants that don’t live nearby are an entirely different subgroup of people. Although a good researcher trying to study the impact of radiation would normally study this group of people as well, the stimulus is only concerned with those receiving exposure because of their proximity to the plants.