Atomic Show #239 – Sarah Laskow and the LNT model

In March 2015, Foreign Policy magazine published an article by Sarah Laskow titled The Mushroom Cloud and The X-Ray Machine. The article described the controversy over the radiation protection model known as the linear, no-threshold dose response.

Ms. Laskow conducted some admirable literature research and talked with a number of well-known people.

The ones that made it into her article as quoted sources included Dr. Tony Brooks, Chief Scientist of the Department of Energy’s Low Dose Radiation Research program, Dr. Helen Caldicott, a long time antinuclear activist, John Boice of the National Council on Radiation Protection, Dr. Ed Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Dr. Greg Jaczko, who was Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission until asked to resign because due to a loss of confidence in his managerial performance, and Dr. David Brenner from Columbia University and Image Gently.

From my point of view, her choices for quotable sources were not especially balanced; Tony Brooks is the only person in the above list whose scientific research has led him to the conclusion that the LNT overestimates radiation health risks at low doses. John Boice isn’t sure and wants another 7 years and $25 million to conduct additional epidemiological research while the rest firmly believe that there is no safe dose of radiation.

Sarah agreed to fit me into her busy schedule to about her article.

We talked about our respective research into the history of the LNT model, the biological logic guiding those who question the no safe dose assumption, the choices made during the process of editing her piece to fit the space available, and the difference between interviewing a variety of people with opposing points of view and seeking scientific truth.

We also delved a bit into the financial and political motives that underly certain policies that are supposedly based on sound scientific research and truth.

I hope you enjoy the conversation and learn something about how opinions are formed and shared.


Go Nuclear site is now live

Go Nuclear, Inc. has released a massively enhanced version of its website that is filled with informative videos, presentations, and articles about nuclear energy and radiation science.

It is a place where one can easily lose track of time while exploring. Here is just one sample to whet your appetite.

I hope Alan Waltar’s passionate words encourages you to visit on your own, provide some feedback and, perhaps most importantly, provide additional financial support that will enable Go Nuclear, Inc. to continue its effort to produce and distribute high quality materials.

Participation opportunity – Turkey Point EIS public meeting

One of the most prolific anti-nuclear activist groups, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), is distributing posts encouraging their followers to oppose FP&L’s plan to build two new reactors at the Turkey Point Power station. SACE is encouraging people to submit negative comments via the public comment process for the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) […]

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The Three Gorges Dam, Why China is Run by Engineers

Perhaps the largest single engineering project of the 20th century was the Three Gorges Dam in China. Standing nearly 600 feet tall, and 2.3 kilometers in length, the Three Gorges Dam is the single largest dam ever constructed, holding a reservoir that stretches for 660 kilometers. Standing at the base of the dam, it feels […]

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Atom and the Fault

I came across a fascinating little book by Richard Meehan titled The Atom and the Fault: Experts, Earthquakes and Nuclear Power. It was published in 1984 by MIT University Press. Meehan is a geotechnical engineer who participated in several controversial nuclear plant projects in California, including Bodega Head, Malibu, and Diablo Canyon. Though the book […]

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Consumer Reports Editor Clings to LNT to Spread Uncertainty About Radiology

Consumer Reports, a widely read magazine in the U. S., has published more than half a dozen articles in the past couple of years warning people that every CT scan carries with it the risk of causing cancer. Here are the headlines of those articles. Consumer Reports: January 03, 2013. Many patients unaware of radiation […]

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Atomic Show #238 – StarCore Nuclear co-founders

StarCore Nuclear is a Canadian company whose co-founders, David Dabney and David Poole, are experienced engineers and businessmen. They have spent most of the past six years developing a technology and a business model aimed at providing reliable, emission-free electrical power and heat to remote locations. The basis of their technology is a high-temperature helium […]

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Professor Gerry Thomas explains radiation health risks

A friend whose Twitter handle is @ActinideAge just posted a link to Gerry Thomas Highlights Misconceptions over Health Impacts of Nuclear Accidents. (Embedded below.) Even though it was published in November 2014 on the UN University YouTube channel, it had received a grand total of 189 views at the time I visited on April 6, […]

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EPA’s Proposed ISR Rule

By Andrea Jennetta During a March 16, 2015, meeting of the National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP), FCW columnist (and Atomic Insights owner/blogger) Rod Adams listened to, challenged and followed up with Jonathan Edwards, Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Radiation Protection Division. Edwards gave a talk entitled “Federal Directions in Radiation Regulations: […]

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Atomic Show #237 – Dave Lochbaum, UCS

On March 26, 2015, published a story titled Perry refuels its nuclear reactor, critics concerned about storage (photos). The story described how a group of activists had tried to generate concerns and actions in response to First Energy’s decision to improve the Perry plant by adopting fuel designed to provide more energy per fuel […]

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SMR advocates and interested parties gathering in Charlotte – April 14-15

In about 10 days, I’ll be arriving in Charlotte, NC for the 5th Annual Nuclear Energy Insider SMR Summit. the planned agenda indicates that there are people who are moving beyond talk and presentations. Participants are clearly preparing to discuss and create initial action plans addressing difficult challenges associated with establishing a new industry that […]

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