Atomic Show #240 – Prof Gerry Thomas radiation health effects

Gerry Thomas, Professor of Molecular Pathology of the Imperial College of London, has a subspecialty in the study of the health effects of radiation. She strongly believes that “public involvement and information is a key part of academic research,” and she is “actively involved in the public communication of research, particularly with respect to radiation protection and biobanking.”

She was deeply involved in determining the health effects of the Chernobyl accident, particularly with regard to the effects of iodine-131 ingestion on thyroid cancer. She also studied the health effects of Cs-137 released during that accident and found out that there were none due to the short biological half-life, the patchy nature of deposition and natural cleansing effects of weather.

Dr. Thomas is an excellent public speaker and has been featured in a number of educational efforts including a talk at the United Nations University during which she highlighted the misconceptions associated with radiation health impacts during reactor accidents. Ben Heard of Decarbonisesa.com classifies her as one of his Credible Hulks – people whose knowledge is deep and whose words are worthy of attention.

Dr. Thomas and I talked about her experiences in studying Chernobyl, the vast difference in initial response between the Chernobyl accident and the Fukushima accident, the expected health effects from Fukushima (virtually zero from radiation, unmeasurable from ill conceived fear), and the need to improve public responses to rare, but still possible nuclear accidents. We commiserated a bit about the difficulty associated with changing people’s minds after they have already made choices about what they believe, and about the monetary incentives that encourage some people involved in related industries to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about competitive energy sources.

I hope you enjoy our discussion. It’s been too long since the last Atomic Show, though I did share some audio extra files from the 2015 ANS meeting.


Atomic Insights is a for-profit venture pursuing a mission of gathering and spreading atomic energy understanding. We do not quantify or price the value of our product; we ask our readers and listeners to decide that for themselves. Donations are greatly appreciated, but they are not tax deductible.






Play

60 Minutes on coal ash – muted outrage, lots of smiles and nods

On December 7, 2014, 60 Minutes, the venerable investigative reporting television show that has been on the air since 1968, aired a segment about Duke Energy’s Dan River coal ash spill, which occurred on February 2, 2014. That large release of coal waste was a big topic in local newspapers and television shows in my […]

Read more »

Is Chernobyl still dangerous or was 60 Minutes pushing propaganda?

On November 23, 2014, 60 minutes, the venerable CBS News Sunday evening program that has been on the air since its launch in 1968, aired a segment titled Chernobyl: The Catastrophe That Never Ended. The show is full of fascinating contrasts between what the cameras show to the audience and what the narrator tells the […]

Read more »

From the HPS President – Health Physics News November 2014

This is a reprint of an article published in HP News, an official publication of the Health Physics Society (www.hps.org). Neither the Health Physics Society nor the author of the article have any affiliation with Atomic Insights. Barbara Hamrick, CHP, JD, HPS Fellow At 2:46 p.m. Japan Standard Time (JST) on 11 March 2011, the […]

Read more »

Nuclear energy getting attention on No Agenda podcast

No Agenda, staring Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak bills itself as “The Best Podcast in the Universe.” It is the best, most entertaining, most thought-provoking, and most professionally-produced podcast I listen to, so I cannot argue with the frequently repeated claim. On Episode 656, recorded and released on September 28, Curry and Dvorak chatted […]

Read more »

Fukushima is not contaminating Pacific

By Les Corrice It is widely reported that hundreds of tons of highly contaminated Fukushima Daiichi groundwater pours into the Pacific Ocean every day. But, an objective look at the evidence tells a completely different story. It’s long-past time for the Tokyo Electric Company (Tepco) and the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to broadcast the truth […]

Read more »

The Godzilla Movie and the Parallel with Fukushima

By Les Corrice I’ve seen every Godzilla movie ever made. I was an adolescent when the first one hit America, and I immediately fell in love with monster movies…a passion I have held to this day. Needless to say, when the latest Godzilla movie hit the big screen a few weeks ago, I was there. […]

Read more »

Some lessons were learned from TMI. Others were not.

Three Mile Island from the air

On March 28, 1979, a little more than thirty-five years ago, a nuclear reactor located on an island in the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, suffered a partial core melt. On some levels, the accident that became known as TMI (Three Mile Island) was a wake-up call and an expensive learning opportunity for both the […]

Read more »

Critical Analysis of Mousseau Fukushima Presentation

no. of birds vs. radiation field from Mousseau

Editor’s Note: On March 11, 2013, Dr. Timothy Mousseau gave a presentation at the Helen Caldicott sponsored symposium on the Medical and Ecological Consequences of Fukushima. This analysis by Dr. Patrick Walden, was posted as a TRIUMF wiki soon after that event and is republished here with his permission. Dr. Walden is a retired nuclear […]

Read more »