Butterflies are not human analogs. Radiation not only mutagen released in Fukushima by tsunami

At first I was ready to yawn and say, “So what?” The headlines seemed almost tailor made for tabloids or TV news – “Radiation from Fukushima power plant meltdown ‘triggers genetic mutations in butterflies’. Since I rarely watch television news and never read more than the blaring headlines of tabloids that are inescapable in the supermarket checkout line, I thought this story would fade away.

Suddenly, discussions about the story was filling my inbox with messages coming from several of the email lists to which I subscribe. Tweets started appearing, with one from @SteveFost calling me to action:

@Atomicrod Have you seen this making the rounds – now mutant butterflies due to Fukushima! Any debunking resources? http://news.discovery.com/earth/mutant-butterflies-spawned-by-fukushima-disaster-120814.html

I am not an entomologist and have never studied the radiation health effects on insects, but I am aware of some important facts about the topic. The first is that insect biology is VASTLY different from human biology. The second is that the amount of radioactive material released by the damaged Fukushima reactors (roughly 100 kilograms of long lived material) is minuscule compared to the amount of other toxic material released by the industrial destruction caused by the Great North East Japan tsunami. The final fact is that I am well aware of the existence of people with science degrees who focus on finding and publishing every possible negative available about nuclear energy.

When it comes to insect biology, I know that I am no expert and not much of a fan. I like looking at butterflies and a few other insects when they are outside, but they are not creatures that belong in my house. We have a service that comes every few months to spray chemicals that have no effect on humans at the concentrations used. In contrast, those same chemicals and same concentrations kill bugs rather quickly with a brief exposure at any time during the months between visits. Contrast those effects again – no harm to humans – nearly instant death to bugs. My observational conclusion is that bugs and people are different.

The radiation released by Fukushima was low enough that credible estimates indicate that the most exposed people outside of the Fukushima fence line received about 10 mSv (1 rem). Measurements of a sample of 10,000 people from Minamisoma for internal contamination showed that they received a maximum dose of about 1 mSv (100 mrem) from exposure to Cs-137. Since those doses are barely discernable from variations in normal background radiation, I was pretty skeptical about their ability to mutate anything, even butterflies.

Though I knew nothing about the authors of the butterfly paper, the subject and tone reminded me of the way that Professor Tim Mousseau and friends have publicized a questionable study about the size of bird brains in the area around Chernobyl.

Some of the contributors to the email threads I was following, however, provided cautionary statements about dismissing the butterfly paper out of hand. Some are cautious scientists who wanted to read the paper before commenting. Using the tools we all have at our fingertips, they found a link to the original paper titled The biological impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident on the pale grass blue butterfly, shared that link and started reading.

Others want the nuclear industry to put on a hair shirt and respond to all criticism related to Fukushima with a promise that we have learned lessons and are taking (expensive) corrective action. The hair shirt crowd told us all that there is no sense in trying to share accurate facts that will show how small the impact of the damaged reactors really is. According to that faction, the public has already decided it was terrible and “perception is reality.”

As many of you may realize by now, that kind of advice grates on me. Melting down three reactors was a huge financial catastrophe; the defense in depth layers that have been used when building nuclear plants for the past 50 years provided adequate protection to the public. There were no injuries from radiation; a statement that cannot be made about even an almost completely ignored refinery fire that resulted in hospital visits for about 1000 people.

Some of my email friends, especially one of the frequent contributors at Nuclear Diner responded more usefully by quickly reading the paper and digging out some interesting details about the shaky science and statistics used by the authors of the study.

I encourage you to go and read the Nuclear Diner post. I hope it makes you wonder about the peer review process that proceeded publication, especially when you realize that she wrote her fine criticism within about 24 hours of gaining access to the paper. The errors that the author points out are rather striking and should have been grounds for rejection at most credible science journals. They include tiny sample sizes (a single butterfly with deformed wings is described as a 20% rate of mutations – the total sample size in that case was 5 butterflies), finding correlation from data points that seem randomly scattered, and ignoring the importance of data points that directly contradict the hypothesis.

In my opinion, the authors of the mutated butterfly paper knew what they wanted to find before they started their “study” and ignored any other possible explanation for the observations. At least some of the people promoting this study also have an agenda that is in direct opposition to my agenda to provide abundant, virtually emission free power to the people, so I do not mind calling them out as dishonest charlatans.

The Nuclear Diner commentary points out that the paper’s publisher is trading on a fine name – “Nature” – without actually being the same organization that has been publishing that well-respected, peer-reviewed science journal for more than 100 years. Don’t let the nature.com in the paper URL fool you, the publisher is actually Scientific Reports a commercial venture that is seeking to take advantage of modern technology to provide more rapid access to scientific work.

Scientific Reports is committed to providing an efficient service for both authors and readers, and exists to facilitate the rapid peer review and publication of research. With the support of an external Editorial Board and a streamlined peer-review system, all papers are rapidly and fairly peer reviewed to ensure they are technically sound. An internal publishing team works with the board, and accepted authors, to ensure manuscripts are processed for publication as quickly as possible.

Rapid dissemination of accepted papers to the widest possible audience is achieved through a programme of continuous online publication. Scientific Reports leverages the tools, technology and experience of Nature Publishing Group to ensure that published manuscripts are enhanced by innovative web technologies. In addition, all papers are archived in PubMed Central.

There are tremendous benefits to that model, including providing rapid access to the full work for talented, skeptical reviewers who were not part of the initial review cycle. The model of more open publishing, however, carries with it the responsibility to look more deeply than the summaries. Journalists that want to report rapidly cannot simply depend on the original publisher to have properly vetted the work. It may be reasonable to trust that an article published by Nature has some scientific validity, but it is not so reasonable to blindly trust “nature.com”.

About Rod Adams

56 Responses to “Butterflies are not human analogs. Radiation not only mutagen released in Fukushima by tsunami”

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  1. Daniel says:

    The natural disaster that impacted wildlife and insects in Japan is nothing compared to the flooding that Brazil is intentionally pursuing to secure hydro electricity for its growth.

    I reckon that 42 dams are either in the planning phases or in execution in Brazil.

    We have been told repeatedly that the Amazon was the lung of this planet. Well not for long. How will this impact us ?

    Yesterday, the Monte Bello dam was stopped by a judge. It is a big one and is near the amazon. I hope Brazil can wake up and embrace nuclear.

    • Matte says:

      “We have been told repeatedly that the Amazon was the lung of this planet. Well not for long. How will this impact us?”

      By whom I wonder, as you have been missinformed. The great rainforrests of the world produce as much oxygen as they consume (botanic life consumes oxygen at night), the small amount of surplus oxygen that may be produced is irrelevant.

      The lungs of the world has always been the sea.

      • Daniel says:

        @ Matte:

        I have been told this forever as I can remember:

        The Amazon Rainforest has been described as the “Lungs of our Planet” because it provides the essential environmental world service of continuously recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest.

        Here is the link. Who is misinformed now ?

        http://www.rain-tree.com/facts.htm

        • jmdesp says:

          It can be the truth and be misinformed. Seen the opposite way, the amount of CO2 the man release is much lower than the one coming from nature. However the CO2 released naturally is reintegrated almost immediately. The one of man is a net addition, which upsets the equilibrium for centuries.
          Here O2 is at net equilibrium, and the one released by plant is consumed by animal and bacterial life. But 20% of O2 flowing through the rainforest does not mean that if we lose the rainforest, we lose 20% of our oxygen. If we don’t replace it with something that is a net consumer, this just doesn’t happen.

          Whatever, I notice that the environment protection organizations are spending a whole lot more time fighting those dam projects than they ever have fighting coal power, even when the amount of water coal extraction and burning consumes threatens the supply of the population.

  2. DV82XL says:

    There is no question that this so-called study is deeply flawed, unfortunately that will not stop it from being used in the propaganda war against nuclear energy. It reminds me not only of the papers that made unsubstantiated claims about the biological/health impacts of the Chernobyl inside3nt, but almost all of what has been published purporting to find issues with non-ionizing radiation that are floating around out there.

    However this touches on a broader problem: the on-going failure of the scientific reporting system. An article by Sharon Begley circulated by Reuters that appeared in several newspapers over the last few days outlines the depth of this problem.

    According to Begley a new company called Science Exchange has launched a service called the “Reproducibility Initiative” aimed at testing the trustworthiness of published scientific papers. Those that wish to validate their findings will be able to apply to the service which will choose an independent lab to redo the study and determine if the results match.

    This project has sprung from the realization that the scientific literature is awash with false findings and erroneous conclusions. It appears ‘published’ and ‘true’ are no longer synonymous.

    Last year, she reports, Bayer Healthcare found its labs could not reproduce 75% of the published findings it tested in a search to find new leads in cancer, cardiovascular and reproductive health. In March of this year a cancer research firm, Amgen reported that when they tried to replicate 53ominent studies with the intention of building new treatment protocols, they could confirm the results of six only.

    Beyond the obvious breathtaking failure of the peer-review system that these show, it should also be noted that the overwhelming bulk of the funding for these incorrect studies has come from the public purse of whatever nation these researchers work in..

    Moreover it beggars the imagination that the perpetrators of these frauds are simply incompetent. In my opinion these findings speak to a deep rooted culture utterly lacking in basic ethics, and moral compass. What we are witnessing is the failure of science itself.

    Against this backdrop it is not surprising that someone would think that the study of butterflies at question here need not be done with the sort of rigor that the conclusions it draws warrants.

  3. Bob Applebaum says:

    HA! HA! Rod don’t like dem butterflies!

    There isn’t anything wrong with that study, but you’re right, some species are more radiosensitive than humans and some less. The study provides evidence that the mutagen was likely radioactivity. It’s up to someone else to do a study to show that another mutagen is more likely the primary cause..

    • DV82XL says:

      The study only provides evidence that there are some abnormalities in the sample of insets they examined. Since no sample was exposed to radiation in vitro to compare with the sample the conclusion has only been drawn by simple correlation. Correlation does not imply cassation in this case as no effort was made to exclude potential confounding variables.

      In fact no conclusions of any sort can be drawn from these observations whatsoever under the stated experimental design.

      Furthermore, your statement that these results must hold until proven wrong is just not the way science is done. The onus is always on those extending a novel hypothesis to prove their results, not demand that it be accepted as valid unless disproven.

      The authors of this study have not met the larger burden of proof in this case.

      • Bob Applebaum says:

        Samples were exposed in vitro (“in vitro” doesn’t even make sense here, but I’ll play along). They exposed groups to external and internal radiation and got the same type of results.

        Obviously conclusions have been drawn, the peer review process agrees with it, most people agree with it, just not fanatical pro-nukes.

        Nothing in science is “proven”, everything is conditional based on evidence. This paper provides evidence of Fukushima’s radiation inducing genetic problems. Just denying that, doesn’t make the evidence go away. If you have evidence to refute the study provide it. Otherwise, it’s just denial.

        • John Tucker says:

          Good lord. This study has serious problems – I am very ashamed I did not check the numbers earlier on. It shifts between proximity and received dose even after showing they are not the same. It neglects comparisons that disprove the thesis.

          It is another “west coast baby deaths” type endeavor albeit a bit more complex. Shame, shame, shame.

    • James Greenidge says:

      It’s up to the researcher to do his homework and investigate all possibilities before popping up a conclusion, and omitting prominent factors like noxious tsunamis flooding habitats — which isn’t even considered in this butterfly study, simply means they’re looking for a fast and easy blame toward nuclear plants via radiation effects. If they weren’t sure they should’ve called a peer review instead going public with an assumption designed to further scare the frightened. I would let the chips fall where they may if a separate institution with no axes to grind confirmed this study. This is another example why the nuclear profession/industry desperately needs to create a media/web FUD-busting 911 agency to immediately pounce and question wildfire assertions like this.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

      • Bob Applebaum says:

        Tsunami flooding habitats haven’t been shown to be genotoxic. The paper was peer reviewed.

        • James Greenidge says:

          Sorry, this was no “normal” tsunami event. After viewing videos of that tsunami scouring villages and coastal towns, carrying far inland a soup of garbage, sludge, gasoline, farm and industrial chemicals and pesticides and raw sewage, it would take a whooper for me believe that toxic brew at the least mutagenic. That the study breezed the possibility off so blithely alone makes it a suspect nuke hatchet job. They’re not going to resettle chemical imbued superfund sites like Love Canal here for a while and they are non-atomic — and curiously unpublicized, unlike mildly irradiated nuke sites, so it’ll be interesting how Japan deals with land once saturated by a toxic wave. Will nuclear prejudice be in tow?

          James Greenidge
          Queens NY

        • Bruce Behrhorst says:

          quote-
          “Tsunami flooding habitats haven’t been shown to be genotoxic”

          Mr. Applebaum would have an independent comparative in-depth peered study (official link) supporting UR conclusion as per UR statement?

        • DV82XL says:

          Applebaum read what I wrote upthread at 10:01 AM on the issue of peer review, and how it would seem that the system has broken down as most results published, cannot be reproduced.

        • Rod Adams says:

          It is important to be specific what “peer reviewed” means in the case of Scientific Reports. I am not being critical, simply stating the facts as Scientific Reports states them on its “About” page.

          Rapid dissemination of accepted papers to the widest possible audience is achieved through a programme of continuous online publication. Scientific Reports leverages the tools, technology and experience of Nature Publishing Group to ensure that published manuscripts are enhanced by innovative web technologies. In addition, all papers are archived in PubMed Central.

          All accepted papers will be published on payment of an article-processing charge.

          Scientific Reports is:

          Fast — rapid review and publication
          Rigorous — peer review by at least one member of the academic community
          Open — articles are freely available to all and authors retain copyright
          Visible — enhanced browsing and searching to ensure your article is noticed
          Interlinked — to and from relevant articles across nature.com
          Global — housed on nature.com with worldwide media coverage

          Impact factor
          Scientific Reports is not eligible for an impact factor until 2013.

          Abbreviation
          The correct abbreviation for abstracting and indexing purposes is Sci. Rep.

          (Emphasis added.)

          Note: The abbreviation for citing this publisher is NOT “Nature”

          Caveat emptor – in this case the “buyer” is the reader, who must be aware of the limitations of the process through which the published work has been vetted.

          Please forgive me if I am wrong, Bob, but haven’t you frequently dismissed papers published in Dose-Response as not being peer reviewed? It seem to me that you have a rather irritating standard of accepting the work of people who agree with you and dismissing the work of those who do not agree.

  4. Daniel says:

    Well I have good news for the insects of Naraha near Fujushima.

    The evacuation order has been lifted today but only for daylight hours.

  5. Michael R. Himes says:

    I do not live in a world of mutant butterflies. My perception is that most butterflies are “Normal” and unfortunate human perceptions drive irrational thought and actions concerning energy and climate change. I am concerned that climate change will cause the extinction of many species including, perhaps, ourselves. After all, it is the “Great Wizards” of industry and government that know best and tell us little more than we need to know in the “Controlled” society we live in. Just enjoy the ride to eternity via the environmental mess the “Wizards” have brought about. Become a “Nay Sayer” and the butterfly nets and strait Jackets may become part of your daily life.

  6. Bruce Behrhorst says:

    omg! This report is a silly one I first saw it on RT-USA site : http://rt.com/news/fukushima-radiation-butterflies-mutate-672/

    To repeat comment:

    ‘Scientific Reports’ is not really a peer-review publication this is online editorial board.

    article quote-
    “Though the insects were mated in a lab well outside the fallout zone, about 18 per cent of their offspring displayed similar problems, said Joji Otaki, an associate professor at Ryukyu University in Okinawa, in southwestern Japan.”

    So, how would we know the butterfly mates from outside fallout area had abnomalilty in chromosome damage isn’t due to TOXIC SLUDGE from chemicals & oils spillls during Tsumami?

    article quote-
    “To make sure the mutations were caused by radiation and not some other factor, researchers collected butterflies from unaffected regions of the country, and observed similar results after giving them low-dose exposures of radiation.”

    Direct Gamma & Beta radiation bombardment of any butterfly will produce a ‘fried nuked butterfly’ – what does that prove?

    What is real is russian media like; izvestia.ru, RT-usa etc. are funded by GAZPROM and russian Gov’t hydrocarbon industries.

    The best study so far is a serious peered review by Texas Tech/Ukraine research
    Ron Chesser/ Robert Baker even PBS TV crews documented wildlife at Chernobyl.
    http://today.ttu.edu/2011/04/25-years-later-amazing-adaptation-in-chernobyl/

  7. John Tucker says:

    That study really was spread far and wide fast. It seems straight forward at first but has all kinds of problems one you get down into it. The Nuclear Diner link is one of the best criticisms Ive seen so far. It should stop there until dose and proximity is cleared up.

    Also many of these particular anomalies are also related to heat stress and there is a warm anomaly centered near that area (of course) that develops more that summer.

    March (note slightly discolored area offshore) :
    ( http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/NMAPS/tmp_GHCN_GISS_HR2SST_250km_Anom03_2011_2011_1951_1980/GHCN_GISS_HR2SST_250km_Anom03_2011_2011_1951_1980.gif )

    July ( http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/NMAPS/tmp_GHCN_GISS_HR2SST_250km_Anom07_2011_2011_1951_1980/GHCN_GISS_HR2SST_250km_Anom07_2011_2011_1951_1980.gif )

    Then of course there are other factors mentioned, assuming the data is correct – chemical contaminates, spraying or lack there of, and disease. (there are sex linked diseases in insects that do incredible things – the Wolbachia bacterial symbiont for example) or even a combination of these things.

  8. John Tucker says:

    Then there was also this kind of thing too occurring in March :

    Test to contain radioactive dust ( http://youtu.be/LcbjpM2jphQ )

    “The Tokyo Electric Power Company will begin sprinkling synthetic resin in certain places from Thursday. The resin is water-soluble and it is hoped that it will contain the contaminated dust. TEPCO will use 9000 liters of synthetic resin to produce a 60000 liter solution. It will be sprinkled around the Number four and six reactors using water trucks.”

  9. Sam B says:

    Interesting, the destruction of the Amazonian forests increases CO2 by virtue of removing the plants that scrub it from the air. So, in a sense, even hydro can be a dirty, CO2-increasing energy source.

    It’s also interesting how biased this butterfly research is. One would think that the proper way to do it would be to collect different kinds of plants, insects and small rodents, expose them to radiation and see which ones do better and why. Some plants collect Cesium and can be used for cleanup purposes. Some animals may have natural protection mechanisms and they can help us learn how to protect people better. But the Japanese team didn’t do that. As it is, their research is totally useless. Even if we consider only these butterflies, the details of the experiment are necessary in order to repeat it somewhere else, outside Japan – to exclude hidden factors.

    The same applies to designing safer nuclear plants. Some public funded research should be done there too. I was surprised to learn that the Russians have added a “core catcher” to their VVER 1200 design. It’s a relatively simple enhancement to help handle meltdown accidents. I’m sure there is a way to neutralize hydrogen too and to prevent explosions.

    The absence of nuclear energy is the only “safety measure” readily accepted by the media and government. It’s is quite telling and reveals a hidden agenda, there is no other rational explanation. With that said, I would expect the noise and and barriers thrown at nuclear energy to keep increasing.

    • Daniel says:

      @ Sam B

      Let there be no misunderstanding. Dams do contribute to global warming. Hydro is not green.

      Once an area is flooded a couple of ‘not so green’ things happen:

      1) inorganic and relatively safe mercury present in the soil comes under attack by bacteria once the soil is flooded. Methymercury then appears. Pretty toxic stuff that then gets into the food chain

      2) The organic matter that is flooded then starts to decompose releasing methane and carbon dioxide

      It is estimated that 12% of gas emissions in Canada come from reservoirs.

      And then there is the vast land requirements …. Enough said.

      • jmdesp says:

        Let’s not fall into the same kind of fallacy as Greenpeace, only reversed, which is that if the technology you don’t like has some problems, they are automatically enough to prove it’s utterly evil.

        All energy source have negative points, but they need to be properly quantified and not overstated to then take an informed decision about the one you prefer to use. Opposite to wind power and solar, dams are able to provide huge amount of energy, and what’s more within minutes, exactly when you need it, a point where it beats everything else. It provides worldwide a bit more energy than nuclear at, in the long term, the cheapest price of all energy sources. Possible bad points need to be considered in the light of those huge advantages, whereas solar and wind show about no redeeming properties for their own failings.

        I certainly don’t really wish for more Mercury in the food chain, but here it will end up in the seawater, where there is already a significant amount, that has already to be monitored in tuna and the like. And what you describe also sounds more like a transitory phenomena when the area is initially flooded.

        About the methane, I’ve read some studies about that in Switzerland, the amount released appears to depend strongly on the environment where the dam is implanted. That’s a problem that stayed underestimated for a long time, but if the scale of it is really that large, there a number of countervailing measures that can be implemented, including removing organic matter before the initial flooding, and finding ways to reduce the amount of organic matters that enter the lake if it’s really too large.

        Your number of 12% of Canada emissions does sound surprising, I’d like to see sources.

  10. Jason C says:

    Does anyone happen to know if the submitter of a science paper must pay to have their paper reviewed by Scientific Reports?

    There must be some business model they are using to provide this service if they aren’t funded by a grant.

    • DV82XL says:

      Every submitter of any paper to a major journal has to pay up front the costs of the peer review and the publishing costs.

  11. DamchoDronma says:

    Wake up and smell the genetic mutations – and important thing to know and remember about nuclear contaminants is that it has been indisputably proven that the effects to insects, all fauna, flora and humans is profroundly repeated. ALL life with DNA. Choose to ignore it; it won’t change the reality. Whether it’s nuclear plants, nuclear waste, bombs or nuclear weapons (enriched uranium). The risk to all populations – for now and all future generations – is fact. Propaganda doesn’t change the truth.

    ECRR = European Committee on Radiation Risk
    Dr. Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary wrote Introduction.
    book, 2006, was co-edited with Dr. Alexey Yablokov
    “ECRR Chernobyl: 20 Years On”
    http://www.euradcom.org/publications/chernobylbook2009.htm
    the book!! http://life-upgrade.com/DATA/chernobylebook.pdf
    Spanish http://ciaramc.org/ciar/boletines/cr_bol226.htm

    “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment”
    Alexey Yablokov, Vasily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko
    Contributing Editor, Janette Sherman
    NY Academy of Sciences, Volume 1181, 2009.
    5,000 Slavic language studies reviews, over 1,400 cited.
    http://www.strahlentelex.de/Yablokov%20Chernobyl%20book.pdf

    • Rod Adams says:

      @DamchoDronma

      I hope you are willing to attempt to engage in a rational discussion of your beliefs.

      First of all, atomic radiation is nothing new. It has been a part of our earthly environment since it was formed.

      Secondly, if your statement was true, it begs the question – where is the evidence of harm? The world went through a rather significant period of inadvertent experimentation through large scale atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in which the radioactive contaminants were dispersed far and wide. The population on the planet has not seemed to have suffered from the experience – not that I am an advocate of repeating it.

      Chris Busby is an opportunist who has been known to peddle useless concoctions to the same places where he has been spreading his message of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) about incredibly low levels of radiation. His message is just plain wrong and not based on science.

      The Yablokov book that you cited has been widely discussed here and shown to be a work of creative fiction that consciously avoids using established science techniques, credible sources, or thorough peer review. It is traceable to a commissioned work paid for by Greenpeace to be a specific weapon in that organization’s mission of halting all nuclear energy development. It was printed by the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences under very suspicious circumstances by a editor who is no longer in the post. The NYAS finally had the work reviewed – more than a year after it was printed – here is a link to an Atomic Insights post discussing the highly critical, several page review.

      • DamchoDronma says:

        Pr. Chris Busby, ECRR, versus Dr. Jack Valentin , ICRP, 1(2) on Vimeo

        vimeo.com/15382750Sep 28, 2010 – 82 min
        The scientific discussion that may stop the apocalyptic process of polluting the earth with radioactive particles …

        Pr. Chris Busby, ECRR, versus Dr. Jack Valentin , ICRP, 2(2) on Vimeo
        vimeo.com/15398081Sep 29, 2010 – 43 min
        The scientific discussion that may stop the apocalyptic process of polluting the earth with radioactive particles …

        Neither book was sponsored by Greenpeace.

        AFTER the Chernobyl book was published by NYAS, the whole nuclear-military-congressional complex has done their best to suppress the real data coming out of the Chernobyl experience went into full swing. (Eisenhower, Farewell Address) Their budget for propaganda is estimated by Yablokov to run about $24million/year.

        IAEA suppresses WHO over 1959 agreement that puts military nuclear over the wellbeing of public health. IAEA dictates, rewrites, WHO releases when it comes to all things nuclear. BEIR VII clearly stated “THE ISSUE: $millions v health”. Just lower the ‘acceptable levels’. That’s what it boils down to.

        You want to talk about the studies, you would need to read them. But basic logic says the same as Intro in ECRR: “All biological systems collapse, at the cell level, in the individual and the population level.” plants, animals, insects, adults and children. It has been studied for over 25 years, and is written about extensively in European and Russian regions (it was the main area affected). The Americans refusing to publicly accept reality says a lot about the war machine and disregard for public health than anything else.

        Note the Dr. Mueller in 1926 did a study identifying genetic damage and won a Nobel Prize in 1927. Check out this summary: http://​tekknorg.files.wordpress.co​m/2012/08/​2011-mutation-1927.jpg

        Science knew then, and Dr. Mueller was rewarded. This demonstrates that the disregard for the public, year after year, decade after decade, has been profound. No government apparently cares about veterans’ health, their families health, civilians health. They want their machines of war.

        In Sept 2011 United Nations held a conference to discuss the worldwide increase in chronic diseases. Happens to coincide with global nuclear contamination. Contaminants do not stay within boundaries, it drifts globally. Fukushima covered the northern hemisphere in 14 days, and globally in 40 days. CBTBO report to the United Nations. It’s bad – bioaccumulates, biomagnifies, multiple radionuclides, and many with a long life that can only be said to be aeons long. This is dire for the entire world, it’s about increase in earlier deaths by disability and disease, for our children, grandchildren; multiple generations it has been shown to be worse over generations.

        • James Greenidge says:

          DamchoDronma, sorry but you’re paranoid with FUD.

          Do you think for one second that if the Washington Post or New York Times — no lovers of nuclear energy at all — got a whiff that indeed there was some “apocalyptic process” going on at Chernobyl and Fukushima that they wouldn’t be plastering it all over to save the world and put a nail in the coffin of nuclear power? They don’t because reputations mean something to them and because there’s no there there in non-vaporware fact and proof to hang nuclear with in all those “nuclear exposes” of your ilk. No mutant Russian forests, no babies dying in droves in Japan or Peru except in the creative literature of most anti-nuke activists.

          James Greenidge
          Queens NY

        • Joel Riddle says:

          Damcho, for my curiosity, why are life expectancies higher for the last 30-50 years than at any other point in history?

        • Daniel says:

          @ DamchoDronma

          Your statement:

          ‘It’s bad – bioaccumulates, biomagnifies, multiple radionuclides, and many with a long life that can only be said to be aeons long’

          With knowledge comes great responsibilities.

          You must surely know by now that Bismuth (BI 209) has a half life of 2*10^19 years. By far, the most of any element and far extending the life of the Universe itself.

          You have taught us here that the longer the radio active life, the greater the damage.

          I beg you to sue the criminals that put this poison in my Bepto Bismol. I hope you get rich. Thanks.

        • Brian Mays says:

          Neither book was sponsored by Greenpeace.

          Nonsense. The Yablokov et al. book that was shamefully published by the NYAS was just an English translation of an earlier book published in Russian under the auspices of Greenpeace International and the Bellona Foundation (a Norwegian environmental group). The earlier book can be found on Bellona’s website (PDF, in Russian). Notice that the logos of Greenpeace and Bellona appear prominently on page 2 of the PDF.

          IAEA suppresses WHO over 1959 agreement that puts military nuclear over the wellbeing of public health.

          This is another lie, but it is a common myth among greenie-types without two brain cells to rub together. I can only assume that none of these nit-wits, including the person commenting above, has ever actually bothered to read the agreement.

          The actual text of this agreement reads as follows:

          … it is recognized by the World Health Organization that the International Atomic Energy Agency has the primary responsibility for encouraging, assisting and co-ordinating research and development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses throughout the world without prejudice to the right of the World Health Organization to concern itself with promoting, developing, assisting and co-ordinating international health work, including research, in all its aspects.

          The agreement reserves the “primary responsibility” for developing practical applications of atomic energy to the IAEA, but it also explicitly prohibits the IAEA from interfering with all “health work, including research” done by the World Health Organization.

          In other words, the agreement says the opposite of what the Green activists claim.

        • Bruce Behrhorst says:

          GREENPEACE = ANTI-HUMAN IDEAS

          The ideas promoted have at it’s base mechanisms to limit human populations. This includes obstruction of any commercial nuclear industry activity to promote an independent energy source to service any nation & it’s people.

          It is against GMO foods that reduce starvation and famine.

          It is against sprays that reduce the spread of disease by insects.

          The Greenpeace philosophy: human beings and their activity are a blight on the earth and its numbers must be controlled.

  12. Albastru says:

    I have a question for anybody who believes in “People are very different from insects, so what can harm an insect cannot harm a person”.
    Would any of you have the courage to give their own child to drink an entire bottle of Insect Repeller? It cannot harm them, right? (Don’t sue me if your child dies because I am telling you WHAT HARMS ANY LIVING CREATURE ON THIS EARTH WILL EVENTUALLY HARM A PERSON, it is just a question of time and quantity)
    Can we all please stop acting as if we are above nature and nothing can touch us?
    And just to be clear: I am not against nuclear power. I am against Overpopulation. It is the root of all evil. The only reason why we are going through an energy crisis is because Overpopulation. Here is a video that describes it very well without using any words on YouTube “The stork is the bird of war” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-0vnRmej0Q

    • Rod Adams says:

      I have a great deal of respect for people who feel strongly enough about a topic to lead by example.

      Will you meet that standard and do what you can to reduce human overpopulation without imposing your views on the unwilling? In other words, are you volunteering to go first?

      • Albastru says:

        I am not sure if your question it is about breeding or suicide. If it is about breeding then I can tell you I have no children and I do not intent to have any.
        If it is about suicide I think you might have misunderstood what the message was about. Here is a website that might explain it better: http://www.vhemt.org/
        I do realize that promoting a phase-out of the human race seems suicidal at first glance. But, actually, I see it as just the opposite. The path we are presently taking seems suicidal to me: we pull strands out of the web of life and expect it to support us forever.
        We’ll all be dead soon enough, far too soon in many cases. We are not asking anyone to kill themselves, just to voluntarily refrain from further breeding.
        It may be hard to believe, but I’m pro-human also. I hope we can avoid the massive die off which all animal populations eventually experience after their numbers go into over shoot of their ecosystem’s carrying capacity. As long as 40,000 children die on an average day, I don’t see how the intentional creation of one more of us can be justified. Sentencing someone to life in a world with deteriorating conditions is not pro-human, in my opinion.
        The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is not promoting death, we are encouraging people to stop reproducing. Our motto, “May we live long and die out” says it all.

        • Rod Adams says:

          You understood my message. If you dislike humans so much, the one whose actions you have the most control over is yourself.

          I disrespectfully disagree wholeheartedly with you, your message, and your society. Humans are gifts and inherently valuable. Raising children to be responsible adults is a difficult, but admirable task that is worth a great deal of respect. People who are good at raising children should be encouraged to do more of it; without future generations, society is doomed to a rapid fade out.

          Human beings are not only a part of the web of life, we are the primary example of its value. Name me one other creature that even thinks about the importance of life and works to protect its environment.

        • Albastru says:

          This is in reply to Mr. Rod Adams answer below:
          I have to agree with you about one thing: there is probably no other creature that “thinks” about the environment, it just happens that all the other creatures are living in harmony with the environment, while most of the people are trying to destroy it with or without intent. Thinking about something but doing the opposite doesn’t count like a good thing in my world.
          Also being disrespectful about other human beings and other creatures it is the reason why our Planet is not doing so good nowadays, so that doesn’t surprise me either. It is too bad because you are obviously educated and intelligent.
          I wish you, your children and your children’s children good luck in solving the fuel problem, the economic problem and the environmental problem while the population will reach 20 billion people.

          • Rod Adams says:

            @Albastru

            Fortunately, I believe some good people named Fermi, Meitner, Frisch, and Szilard (and their colleagues) discovered the real solution to the fuel problem in the late 1930s when they determined that neutrons could cause heavy metals like uranium, thorium and plutonium to break apart, releasing about 200 MEV of emission free energy per split atom, plus enough additional neutrons to sustain the concentrated, heat producing reaction.

            Due to the special political situation that existed at the time of their discovery, their work was hijacked into weapons development, but that was not inevitable.

            My colleagues and I are not attempting to destroy the world; we are putting the gift of stored atomic energy into the service of mankind to make the world a better place for all of us.

    • Bruce Behrhorst says:

      Totally agree with Mr. Rod Adams I could not have expressed it better.

      @ Albastru
      Your argument is very weak as most eugenicist arguments go. I will now describe human population on earth.

      Most self-limiting thought schemes falsely presume human beings are the ultimately blight on our pristine blue planet. A planet whose carrying capacity in support of humans is finite and the specter of tarnishing its ecological balance ‘nobility of nature’ to be a sin committed before the pious alter of Malthusian reasoning or the perfection of Darwinian Natural Selection. I argue this because the world needs more children.

      Reasoned Data:

      Under a mathematical construct imagine you place the world’s population of humans beings all 6.8 billion people each stacked in a single 2 x 2 ft. area patch of ground all the world’s population would fit in roughly 800-900 square miles. The Washington State Puget Sound area is 1,020 sq. miles.

      The entire world population of human beings could fit in the area mentioned stacked side-to-side.

      For human, population density is the number of people per unit of area usually per square kilometer or mile (which may include or exclude cultivated or potentially productive area). This may be calculated for a county, city etc. or the entire world.

      The world’s population is 7 billion, and Earth’s total area (including land and water) is 510 million square kilometers (197 million square miles). Therefore the worldwide human population density is 6.8 billion ÷ 510 million = 13.3 per km^2 (34.5 per sq. mile). If only the Earth’s land area of 150 million km^2 (58 million sq. miles) is taken into account, then human population density increases to 45.3 per km^2 (117.2 per sq. mile). This calculation includes all continental and island land area, including Antarctica. If Antarctica is also excluded, then population density rises to 50 people per km^2 (129.28 per sq. mile). Consider over half of the Earth’s land mass consists of areas inhospitable to human inhabitation, such as deserts and high mountains, and population tends to cluster around seaports and fresh water sources. (wikipedia)
      We can see currently there is roughly 129 people/sq.mile on arable or potential arable land that is low density and made lower by advances in: medicine, habitat construction, water purification, waste management, GMO food crop technology, energy including NUCLEAR ENERGY etc. Humans are really ‘herded’ into economic and political boundaries (zones) by self-serving, self-limiting interests.

      The more humans beings there are increases chances our species is apt to survive a species ending event. By promoting human diaspora on our planet, solar system and beyond nuclear science engineering and technology is the keystone to human survivability for the foreseeable future.

  13. Aaron Rizzio says:

    I skimmed the Nature report. It should be pointed out that the study was entirely based upon a sample of 144 insects, which seems rather small to me. The data collected from normal background dose areas already seemingly indicated a ~10% baseline anatomical anomaly rate. I don’t know how the researchers involved would avoid various bias factors creeping into their study samples; e.g. mutated butterflies are easier to catch and the researchers themselves were no doubt more interested (subconsciously or no) in catching anomalous samples in the affected regions to make for a more interesting research paper.

    TA Mousseau, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina was cited in this paper and in BBC media reports on this Nature study along with AP Møller, UP-Sud, Orsay. They have both made noteworthy careers for themselves finding anomalies in similar small sample sizes of birds and voles in the Chernobyl region that no one else can seem to find and their research has been similarly criticized.

  14. Aaron Rizzio says:

    Read through the Nature study more thoroughly; an obvious flaw with observed phenotypical mutations in F2 generation is the highly artificial breeding conditions involving abnormal specimens which may never actually have reproduced naturally in the real world.

    The one part of their study which would be easily reproducible is the lab exposure of the insect species with C137 (55 mSv & 125 mSv @ 0.20 mSv/h & 0.32 mSv/h). They make specific observational claims of abnormal traits at both exposure levels compared with non-irradiated controls. Note here this is a rate of exposure ~1000 times natural background levels FAR beyond any contaminated region resulting from the Fukushima triple-melt, and significantly beyond the observed low-dose bio-positive effect at ~0.01mS/h or ~100mS/yr.

    • David says:

      @ Aaron,

      Thanks for the numbers. I read the report and did not have time to look up the background levels vs their lab exposure levels but I suspected they were using 1000 times more radiation than was present in the area.

  15. Robert Steinhaus says:

    Rod,
    You are a fair guy. You should give Dr. Richard Muller’s latest WSJ article a read and decide if this very persuasive pro-nuclear piece in an influential newspaper does not answer your earlier charge that Muller is soft on nuclear (and a duped promoter of natural gas).

    http://goo.gl/vlVJQ

    “The great tragedy of the Fukushima accident is that Japan shut down all its nuclear reactors. Even though officials have now turned two back on, the hardships and economic disruptions induced by this policy will be enormous and will dwarf any danger from the reactors themselves.”

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Robert

      I read the piece. It warmly embraced the LNT and accepted Richard Garwin’s absurd application of that assumption to calculate an eventual death toll from Fukushima of 1500 people. It is not that I demand that everyone should be as much of a fan of nuclear energy as I am, but I will not grant them the status of being pro nuclear if they continue to tell scary untruths about the technology.

      No one received a harmful dose of radiation from Fukushima. The only people with any possibility of additional cancer risk are the couple of dozen workers who received in excess of 10 rem.

      Blaming nuclear energy for 1400 deaths is NOT a ringing endorsement; it is damning with faint praise that happens to be untrue.

      If nukes embrace Muller’s piece, they are putting on a hair shirt and admitting something the technology did not commit, which was to endanger the public.

      • Robert Steinhaus says:

        Rod – I agree with you that the widely used LNT theory greatly overestimates the actual risk of cancer from low level radiation.
        Huge sums are being spent by government on cleaning up cold war nuclear infrastructure sites that are believed to harbor low level radiation hazards all predicated LNT theory of radiation carcinogenic-toxicity. US$85 billion is in the process of being spent in cleaning up the Hanford site to avoid LLR, and comparable sums are in the process of being spent on other government operating sites including ORNL, Savannah River, Rocky Flats, Fernald and several others.

        If the LNT is wrong and LLR is harmless, all of this money, which greatly exceeds the sums currently being spent by DOE on nuclear R&D to produced improved forms of nuclear energy, is completely wasted.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @Robert Steinhaus

          Those vast sums of money to clean up inconsequential amounts of radioactive material that cause doses that are within the normal variations in background are being wasted. As Ted Rockwell says, however, the dollars do not disappear down a rat’s hole, they fall into some rats’ pockets. The “nuclear industry” is full of people who build entire businesses and careers based on selling the myth that radiation is a special hazard that requires outrageous expenditures in order to protect the public.

          When I was a nuclear trained submarine officer, I often asked my colleagues why we worked so hard to make things as difficult as possible when operating and maintaining a nuclear heated steam plant was actually so much easier than operating an oil heated steam plant or even diesel fueled gas turbines. We do not need underway replenishment, we do not need to clean as much, physics provides most of the power level responsiveness, our display systems are simpler, we do not have exhaust to worry about, and our fuel is not likely to start a fire – which is one the scariest things that can happen on a ship.

          After some serious discussion, my colleagues often asked me not to tell anyone how easy nuclear energy really was. They were worried that someone in power would figure it all out and that would make our rather generous bonus plan disappear. I do not know the exact numbers these days, but my additional pay as a nuclear trained submarine officer was enough to allow my wife to be a stay at home mom. The total extra pay was more than she would have grossed as a school teacher.

  16. James Greenidge says:

    Someone please back me up on this, but I seem to recall from college a report of how local coal plants affected the balance of a moth population in a forest by all the soot turning the bark of trees dark and so made light-colored moths an easier target for birds and other insects until only dark-colored moths remain in the forest. Seems to me that’s a upset of nature too.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  17. Aaron Barmer says:

    “I have a great deal of respect for people who feel strongly enough about a topic to lead by example.

    Will you meet that standard and do what you can to reduce human overpopulation without imposing your views on the unwilling? In other words, are you volunteering to go first?”

    It’d be helpful to get a headcount of commenters whom actually reside in Japan, or have plans to move there in order to better conduct research and liveblog their observations in furtherance of sound science, as opposed to simply serving collectively as the industrial retort of Chernobyl/Fukushima harm denial.

    I will not be relocating to Japan, science or no science.

    As someone lately taken to copiously reading sources relating to industrial nuclear power, for or against, it appears that pundits (whether professional, academic or armchair) are united in their unwillingness to risk losing funding or donations controversially getting out word of their views beyond their established audiences. A bit of compassion and humility would seem to be in order.

    Bottom line, wasting time refuting a study reporting butterfly mutations, or at all haggling how well-reviewed are the findings of studies advising concern about the best intentions of the nuclear industry intentionally avoids discussion of developing solutions for surviving current major flaws in nuclear waste disposal and storage, and fails to provide information necessary for voters (in the democratic societies) and residents most affected by the plans and commerce of the industry itself.

    On one side of the Chernobyl/Fukushima Daiichi aftermath scales, there’s the short-term observations touted by the industry-funded sciences, and on the other there are unprecedented events which demand immediate mitigation just to prevent greater, or possibly uncontrollable catastrophes which may persist for generations to come.

    I’d hope that the nuclear industry has this one in the bag, and gets to say “I told you so,” but, I am doubtful. One bad shake at Daiichi anytime before science invents a safe solution for this problem, and I suspect history will condemn nuclear reactors as lunatic technology.

    5.1 just yesterday.

    • Rayne Nichols says:

      >5.1 just yesterday.

      That was a 3 on the Japanese scale. do you have any idea how many of those the Japanese islands encounter in a given year?

      Holding up a trifling tremor like a 3 as a way of casting FUD is akin to saying New Orleans can’t take another hurricane because it rained 4mm yesterday.

      • Aaron Barmer says:

        Ultimately this sort of response precisely illustrates the purpose of my original comment.

        Nichols, you may as well say that skeptical disdain alone will forestall cumulative effects.

        With regard to the Daiichi reactors, who is silly enough to be certain that industrial, academic and bureaucratic expertise will anticipate any or all negative events which could tip over precariously balanced control of recovery efforts? It appears now that this kind of presumption – eager to scoff at the risks of avoidable hazards, reliant upon conveniently classified minutiae to subdue the layperson – is the only tool remaining to promote a failing and poorly planned technology.

        Just trusting the experts and their predictions without requiring transparency in their activities, without their complex systems being made plain from conception to consequence, is resulting in danger and disruption for all of us.

        I do indeed have an idea of how many earthquakes occur at the Japanese islands.

        I keep closely informed. Every extra shake is no help at all to this calamity. Every day passing which does not see a safe and permanent resolution to just this one fragile situation exposes everyone to a greater accumulation of harm.

        • Andrea Jennetta says:

          I don’t see how the nuclear industry could be MORE TRANSPARENT. There isn’t any aspect of nuclear energy operations that isn’t regulated, scrutinized and open to the public–at least in the U.S. We don’t have anything to hide. I resent your suggestion that there is a big conspiracy to “dupe” the average citizen about what we do.

    • Andrea Jennetta says:

      “…current major flaws in nuclear waste disposal and storage”

      Are you kidding? We have the technology–and we love discussing the various technological solutions. It’s FUD, radiophobia and politics that prevent the nuclear industry from implementing them.

      I’d go to Fukushima in a second if I could afford to. I’m not afraid because I understand what radiation is–and what is ISN’T.

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