Healthy doses of radiation

Doses of radiation that are lower than about 700 mGy/yr (see note below) are more likely to reduce cancer incidence and increase life span than to decrease it. In other words, moderate radiation doses are good for you in the same way as moderate exercise is good for you.

The basis for this economy-altering assertion is documented in Dr. Jerry Cuttler’s recent paper titled Remedy for Radiation fear — discard the Politicized science which is available as a pre=press article from Dose Response.

Dose-Response, the journal of the International Dose-Response Society, is a quarterly peer-reviewed electronic journal publishing original findings on the occurrence of dose-response relationships across a broad range of disciplines. Particular interest focuses on experimental evidence providing mechanistic understanding of nonlinear dose-response relationships.

In his paper, Dr. Cuttler explains the biological mechanisms of adaptive response by referring to a chapter titled Hormesis by low dose radiation effects: low-dose cancer risk modeling must recognize up-regulation of protection from a medical textbook Therapeutic Nuclear Medicine, Springer, 2013. Here is a quote from Dr. Cuttler’s paper:

The critical factor is the effect of radiation on an organism’s very powerful biological defences and protection systems, which involve the actions of more than 150 genes. They act on all of the damage that is occurring (and its consequences) due to both internal causes and the effects of external agents. Although a low radiation dose or low level radiation causes cell damage, it up-regulates adaptive protection systems in cells, tissues, animals and humans that produce beneficial effects far exceeding the harm caused by the radiation (Feinendegen et al. 2013). The net beneficial effects are very significant in restoring and improving health. The detailed behaviours of the defences are very complex, but the evidence is very clear. They range from prevention/cure of cancers to the very important medical applications of enhanced adaptive protections in the responses to stresses and enhanced healing of wounds, curing of infections, and reduction of inflammation, as mentioned earlier. In contrast, high level irradiation impairs these systems.

Dr. Cuttler also provides some reasons why his conclusions are so different from the well known model that assumes all doses of radiation produce harm, with a straight line being drawn from measured damage at high levels through a region where there is no reliable evidence of harm to the origin at zero dose, zero harm. As he documents, the underlying reason why radiation protection organizations began applying the linear, no-threshold (LNT) dose response assumption is that it supported their well-intentioned effort to halt the spread of nuclear weapons and stop atmospheric testing of those same weapons.

The LNT assumption provided the scientific campaigners against nuclear weapons a rallying point. The extensive testing programs underway throughout the late 1940s and the 1950s were releasing and distributing measurable concentrations of radioactive isotopes all around the world. With the exception of a few isolated incidents, the isotopes were so dispersed that nearly all of the world’s population were exposed to doses that were not causing any detectable harm.

The people conducting the tests believed that there were good reasons to keep testing, so they resisted the pressures from people who thought that the testing was leading the world into a scary situation where the use of nuclear weapons might be considered acceptable. Many scientists in a variety of fields were adamantly opposed to testing and to the notion that using nuclear weapons was acceptable. Nations that did not have nuclear weapons or that had arsenals that were vastly inferior also had valid reasons to halt the testing and halt the proliferation.

Scientists working to block testing seized on the geneticists’ suggestion that all radiation doses, even the tiny ones being caused by weapons testing-related fallout, could cause harm. They officially accepted that idea in 1958 and began a heavy promotional campaign to spread fallout fears. A search of the New York Times article archive on the word “fallout” returned 964 instances during the period from Jan 1, 1958 through Jan 1, 1964. Here is an example headline from the New York Times.

Committee reports new data on fallout

(Note: Readers who desire a copy of the article may request one via email or via the contact form found at the bottom of the page.)

The sustained effort to promote fallout fear helped to create sufficient public pressure to force government decision makers in the US, the UK and the Soviet Union to agree to a treaty that halted nuclear weapons testing in outer space, underwater, or in the atmosphere. Here are some key quotes from the Times August 30, 1959 article titled Science in Review: Committee Report Provides New Data on Fallout From Nuclear Tests illustrating how the then new LNT assumption was being heavily promoted and applied.

A new look at the problem of fallout from the testing of nuclear weapons and its potential danger to present and future generation is presented in a report released last week by the Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy. It is based on the testimony last May by some thirty scientific witnesses and statements presented by other scientists.

The report brings up to date certain key points on which new knowledge has been obtained since the committee held hearings in 1957. These include new data on (1) the origin of fallout; (2) distribution of fallout; (3) biological effects of radiation; (4) tolerance limits; and (5) effects of past and future tests.

Evidence was presented implying “that the effectiveness of a given dose of radiation is less at low-dose rates than at high-dose rates, even for genetic consequences,” the report states. However, it adds, “the biological significance of low levels of radioactivity [such as may be found in fallout] is still largely unknown. No resolution was reached on whether or not a threshold level of radiation exposure exists below which effects such as cancer and leukemia do not result.”

It was generally agreed, the report states, that “in considering acceptable exposure limits in the context of world-wide environmental contamination from fallout, the best assumption that can be made at present concerning the relationship of biological effect to radiation dose is to assume that any dose, however small, produces some biological effect and that this effect is harmful.”
(Emphasis added.)

After representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty on August 5, 1963, the antinuclear weapons movement could proudly claim a significant victory that made the world a little safer.

Celebrating Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, July 26, 1963

Headline celebrates Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, July 26, 1963

Unfortunately, many of the people in the movement were not “in on the deal.” They had no idea that their success was assisted by a false premise created by well-intentioned genetic scientists who covered up data that falsified the LNT assumption. The people who created the concept did not realize the harm that it could cause because they comforted themselves with the notion that the assumption was “conservative” and would help to ensure that people employed in radiation-related fields would remain ever vigilant and accept onerous work rules that would have otherwise been resisted.

By the time the battle to halt testing was won, the LNT assumption had spawned a growing guild of radiation protection professionals trained under the assumption and not motivated to question it. The assumption of harm to a level of zero dose also instilled a new taboo; no one could suggest actually testing the assumption on human beings because it is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath to knowingly harm a patient.

Cuttler and many of his colleagues in the dose-response field of study rarely mention one more aspect of the strong resistance to questioning the LNT-based assumption that all radiation is harmful.

The regulations and work practices that have been imposed as a result of that assumption add an unmeasurable, but enormous, cost burden to the use of nuclear technology. That handicap is beneficial to a wide array of interest groups that make their money using technologies that would be substantially less competitive against a less burdened set of nuclear technologies.

This statement is true in medicine, food preparation, and industrial measuring applications, but the world’s non-nuclear energy industry is the group with the most to lose if the world’s human population accepts radiation as harmless and even potentially beneficial at low doses. Their multi-trillion dollar per year enterprise would be substantially less lucrative if it had to compete against nuclear energy without the LNT-based fear factor.

Even those parts of the hydrocarbon industry who’s product cannot be directly replaced with any current nuclear technology, like liquid fuels for personal transportation, would find that their valuable product would have a substantially reduced market price due to the effects of an increase in overall energy supplies. Many fossil fuels currently used for electrical power production, for example, can be chemically — and profitably — converted into synthetic gasoline or diesel fuel at a cost that is substantially lower than current world distillate fuel prices.

Radiation fear is a powerful tool for the world’s established energy industry and their fellow travelers in transportation, government and media. For all of the rest of us, however, Dr. Cuttler’s paper should be the source of massive celebrations. It enables us to have a far more optimistic outlook on future prosperity because it enables us to more readily use an incredibly powerful and abundant energy source that just happens to be a lot cleaner for the environment than burning fossil fuels.

Have a great weekend.

Additional Reading

Argonne National Laboratory (1945 declassified in 1947) The Tolerance Dose


Note: Measuring radiation doses is often unnecessarily complicated by using a multitude of measuring scales, by the fact that different types of radiation — alpha, beta, gamma — have different effects, and by the fact that effects for shorter range radiation (beta and alpha particles) will be worse if the source is close and target cells are unshielded because the radioactive material is inhaled or ingested.

The chronic threshold dose of 700 mGy/yr is gamma equivalent whole body dose. The same dose can be expressed as 700 mSv/yr, 70 rad/yr, or 70 rem/yr. End note.

About Rod Adams

104 Responses to “Healthy doses of radiation”

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  1. wayne moss says:

    My great-uncle, the bootlegger, used to say, “Too much of a good thing is bad – but a little
    bit of a bad thing……can be really gooood…”

    I think he was talking about women, though, not radiation.

    And my grandfather actually believed that “blood-letting” would stimulate the body to repair itself faster than usual, promoting overall better health and increased strength. I tried his advice. I swear it seemed to work.

    Nitroglycerin mediates a heart attack. Anti-venom counteracts a snake bite. . . .

    In the world of real people (a world where kids don’t get sent home for carrying nail-clippers) this should not be a controversial or confusing concept

    • NP says:

      Understand your point, but that does not mean that “a little radiation” helps you.

      • ddpalmer says:

        But since there is no scientific evidence that “a little radiation” hurts you, his point that many things in low doses are helpful while those same things at high doses are harmful.

      • wayne moss says:

        Sunlight ? Would you recommend zero ultraviolet B ?

        Not being a dick – just asking – I’m not a scientist or a doctor, but I also don’t have any indoctrinated biases. Common sense says too much sun is obviously Bad – but your body NEEDS a little bit of that solar power, doesn’t it ?

        • Jeff Walther says:

          When I was a kid it was taken as given that one should get out and get some sun for good health and attitude. I don’t know what the modern research, if anything reliable has been done, says.

          • wayne moss says:

            @ Jeff

            Yeah, like I said, I’m a carpenter – not a doctor. But I can read, and a paper published here in JAMA :

            http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=414878

            seems to say to me, that humans need sunlight :

            Because exposure to UV-B rays is the primary determinant of vitamin D status in humans, this is more likely the primary cause of the increasing prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency. Although widespread campaigns for sunscreen use and sun avoidance, including “Healthy People 2010″, have reduced the incidence of skin cancers, sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 also decreases the synthesis of vitamin D3 by 99%. Increased sunscreen use with a higher sun protection factor likely contributed to the reported trend of lower 25(OH)D levels. In addition, decreased outdoor activity and obesity have been associated with vitamin D insufficiency. The increased inactivity and obesity in the US population has likely contributed to the observed rise in vitamin D insufficiency.

            and real people living in a real world already KNEW that.
            ————–
            On a broader scale, Jeff, I read all your stuff, and I heartily agree with you, and understand what you’re trying to say. Maybe that’s because I also read Taibbi as well as Thomas Frank. . . and I’m new here, too.
            When I first heard there was a reactor that could eat nuclear waste and warheads and spit out more carbon-free electricity than a coal fired plant – I thought it was a con game. . . . But it’s true. Clinton killed it, about the same time he was selling NAFTA, and Kerry was fighting against nukes. And those guys are on OUR side ?!?!
            Not sure what’s the best strategy to spread this news. The media is controlled by 6 corporations dedicated to status quo. . . . Rank and file Republicans only talk positive about nukes ’cause they’re automatically against anything the Dems are FOR. But If the liberals suddenly embraced nukes, then they would just switch places and nothing changes.

            Mr. Adams here has some great suggestions about getting a wealthy tech company to power a server farm with a dedicated reactor, and the Thorium guys are trying something similar. . . ..

            All in all, it’s a fascinating subject, isn’t it ?

          • Jeff Walther says:

            Thank you for the kind words, Wayne. Yes, it is interesting and frustrating as well, especially as I see the city I live in merrily, eagerly going down the road that leads to expensive, unreliable electricity but not any actual reductions in CO2 emissions. But it’s part of the Democratic tribal group-think now and Austin votes for
            Democrats. Sigh.

            I’m always impressed by and admire Rod’s ability to stay calm and engage the obstinate anti-nuclear folks calmly in message after message. Although I sometimes wonder if times when he hasn’t posted in a while, if he isn’t off somewhere calming himself down to the point where he can write constructively. :-)

            I just finished Taibbi’s “Griftopia”. It’s the only book of his I’ve read so far. I liked it, although I think that he may have spent too much time at the beginning railing against Greenspan. Not because it wasn’t good information, but it just didn’t seem like the way to attract an audience at the beginning of the book. But then, he’s professionally published, and I’m not, so maybe his way was best.

            I especially liked his section on the ACA because it exactly tracked my opinion of the act and who doesn’t like a little confirmation bias? My conservative friends think ACA is needless government interference, etc. My liberal friends think the ACA is not optimal but a darn good start. I’ve always been of the opinion that it was a giant give-away to the private insurance industry and does next to nothing to help Americans while dragging people into the system whose most rational position is to not have health insurance. I don’t care how much the popular wisdom claims that “we all need insurance”. From a risk assessment POV it just doesn’t make sense for the young and healthy to purchase it.

            But here comes the ACA, and instead of providing what little benefit that it does from general tax revenue, instead it puts the burden of paying for it on the backs of only the young and healthy and transfers the money through inefficient private insurers who are not subject to federal regulation. Sigh.

            Don’t get me wrong, I would back single payer, because the benefits would come from the general tax system. But a system that expands benefits by dragging one select group in and effectively taxes them to the exclusion of everyone else is utterly unfair. I say this as an oldish fart who is beyond the days when he can live without health insurance.

            Okay, sorry for the digression. What I’m working around to, in a round-about way is that I think much of what passes for political discussion in the USA is just distraction. When the Democrats had some political capital to spend last year (or was it 2012?), did they try to patch the economy or build infrastructure or raise the minimum wage or repeal the high bracket tax breaks, or do anything that would benefit the middle class and stem the tide of wealth concentraion? No, they squandered the whole opporturnity on Gun Control. No matter how you feel about gun control, it’s just not an important topic in the big picture. The potential benefits of gun control affect at most a few thousand people per year. The decline of the middle class is killing tens of thousands and affecting the health of millions.

            So the republicans wave abortion all over the place instead of doing anything substantive about anything. The Democrats fly the flag of gun control when they realize they’re expected to actually do something, so they can avoid actually doing anything. Both sides are just distracting us rather than doing anything substantive for the good of the country.

          • Rod Adams says:

            @Jeff Walther

            Thank you for the kind words. Yes, sometimes I do escape to calming places or get so tired that I need a break.

            I was also looking for a “like” button for your comment, but then realized that this site doesn’t have one. I need to talk to the site owner.

            Wait a minute — that’s me. :-)

          • wayne moss says:

            @ Jeff

            “Both sides are just distracting us rather than doing anything substantive for the good of the country.”

            There are no nuclear billionaires to push their own agenda. I don’t know if there ever could be uranium cartels or reactor-building monopolies.

            If you honestly care about society, then politics will drive you to despair. The “system”
            of our government, was specifically designed, to STOP things – not to embrace progress, creativity, or even a necessary adaptation for our own survival.

            The good things that HAVE been accomplished, were really anomalies, often arrived at through the philanthropy of some random rich guy. But as you’ve pointed out – an ordinary rich guy is not going to invest a ton of money in anything that doesn’t double his investment in 6 years or less. The only way that you and I can help the process, (short of revolution) is to spread the truth as wide as possible, about nuclear energy.

            There’s a lot more I’d like to discuss, but it’s all off topic. Mr. Adams is indeed patient – but I don’t want to test that notion. Here’s my e-mail :

            libertystreet@mail.com

  2. Daniel says:

    Radiation knowledge ? One would assume that chairmanship of the NRC would require a minimum understanding.

    This from a recent blog published on the NRC site this week and in Allison’s own word:

    ”The images of Fukushima are indelibly impressed on my mind. Even now I’m still struck by the experience of seeing the empty nearby villages, each holding memories of the 160,000 people displaced by the accident.”

    Japan has evacuated 160,000 people based on fear and bad science.

    • William McCullough says:

      @Daniel, I read the same blog entry. The director (Eric Leeds) mentioned a reading of 1microSievert per hour (about 9mSv per year). This was his reason that the town is uninhabitable! I posted a reply several days ago that has been in moderation. I also just posted a link to Dr. Cuttler’s paper. Hopefully these will make it through.

      Rod, many thanks for writing about this paper. It’s a critical one that everyone needs to know and understand.

      • Daniel says:

        NRC Chairmanship is a political appointment. Sad but true.

        Eric Leeds is a director. He must be competent. Here is his role at the NRC:

        http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/conference-symposia/ric/past/2013/docs/bios/bio-misc-2.html

        So the only way he got his job must have been thru nepotism. And this is unacceptable.

        He has no business holding that position.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @Daniel

          A sad, but frequently true, fact is that people in the Senior Executive Service (SES) and military officers who achieve flag rank (Admirals and Generals) often have to be as political as those who are officially “political appointees.” The step from GS or from senior military rank to SES or flag rank often requires sponsorship not dissimilar from the kind of sponsorship that Jaczko and Macfarlane have received.

      • garyn says:

        “The director (Eric Leeds) mentioned a reading of 1microSievert per hour (about 9mSv per year). This was his reason that the town is uninhabitable!”

        We have a chap locally who sells Hormesis beads, 2% natural source uranium.

        2 micro-Sv/hour $25 / set of 3 beads on string with magnetic catch. (18 milli-Sv/year).
        4 micro-Sv/hour $35 / set of 5 beads on string with magnetic catch. (35 milli-Sv/year).

        He wears 10 beads by the looks of it. So this is very confusing, even to me who has been trying to figure out all the different units/doses/energy levels, so no wonder most people just go with the “no safe levels” belief. The confusion is intentional I’m sure. But evacuate all those people for 9 mSv/yr?

        • Cory Stansbury says:

          Who wants to chip in to buy some for Bob?

          • Joel Riddle says:

            I will help purchase radiation beads for Bob Applebaum.

            I actually wouldn’t be entirely surprised if he would wear them. Even though he so adamently supports LNT, he recognizes that low enough doses are far below any concern (although he refuses to use wording to that effect that could help calm people in Japan, etc.).

      • NP says:

        9 mSv per year, IF it becomes internal, and that seems obvious that it will, would equate to roughly 20 times, or 180 mSv per year. You want your kids growing their cells in that environment?

        • Joel Riddle says:

          Please explain your logic behind “that seems obvious that it will”.

          From my understanding, for all of that 9 mSv to become internal would require people living in that area to attempt to detect every bit of contaminated material and attempt to ingest or inhale it, which doesn’t seem the least bit logical to me.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @NP

          Can you explain your reasoning? Do your children breathe lots of dirt? Do you think that radioactive materials have some kind of special attraction that makes them migrate to preferentially seek human lungs over all other surfaces available and then magically figure out a way to stay inside those lungs, resisting all natural mechanisms for clearing dust particles?

          Do you have any idea how the isotopes that may be causing the 9 mSv/year behave if they are inhaled or ingested and what their biological half life is?

          • NP says:

            If you are living normally within a radioactive zone, 9mSv as discussed, it does seem obvious that there is no option but that it will become internal. yes, children do inhale a lot of dirt, especially as they play on the dirt. Also, people in Japan grow a lot of their own food.

            Rads in question Cesium, Strontium, Uranium, Plutonium

            All have very long biological halflives, except Cesium. Cesium has a biological half life around 90 days, BUT here is the point that is always missed….if you continue to inhale/ingest cesium, then the biological half life does not matter, you reach a steady state level of contamination.

            To answer your question….yes I do have “any idea”

          • Rod Adams says:

            @NP

            Cesium has a biological half life around 90 days, BUT here is the point that is always missed….if you continue to inhale/ingest cesium, then the biological half life does not matter, you reach a steady state level of contamination.

            That statement tells me that you do not know much about solving a differential equation. If you did, you would realize that the effective half-life (a combination of biological and radiological half-lives) is a key determinant of the numerical value of the steady state level achieved. Also important, of course, is the rate of continued ingestion.

          • John T Tucker says:

            Its clear you pretty much make it up as you go along NP. Perhaps that is your idea of “science.” Fear as a basis for a fabricated belief system.

            We have not seen the conditions necessary for even a reasonably predicted minuscule increase in cancer rates.

            To estimate a lifetime cancer mortality risk,
            if it is assumed that 100,000 people were continuously
            exposed to a thick layer of soil with an initial concentration
            of 1 pCi/g of plutonium-244, then 7 of these 100,000 people
            would be predicted to incur a fatal cancer.
            (This is in comparison to the 20,000 people from this group predicted to die of cancer from all other causes per the U.S. average.) This risk is largely associated with the gamma rays emitted by its short-lived decay product neptunium-240m. The external risk for the other plutonium isotopes is less than 1% of that for plutonium-244. As a note, for inhalation (the exposure of highest risk), breathing in 5,000 respirable plutonium particles of about 3 microns each is estimated to increase an individual’s risk of incurring a fatal cancer about 1% above the U.S. average.
            ( http://www.doeal.gov/sweis/otherdocuments/498%20plutonium.pdf )

          • ddpalmer says:

            “if you continue to inhale/ingest cesium, then the biological half life does not matter, you reach a steady state level of contamination.”

            But it is obvious that if all this radioactive material is ingested/inhaled by the inhabitants there won’t be any left for them to continue to inhale and ingest. As their bodies eliminate the material obviously most of it will go down the sanitary disposal system and be unavailable for reabsorbtion.

            So to correct your answer….no you don’t have “an idea”.

          • NP says:

            @Rod, Rod, now that just looks like a pot shot, since the decay half life is 30 years using the same Cesium example, we can pretty much ignore that in relation to a much shorter biological half life.

            I bet you 10 to 1 that I have many more differential equations and higher levels of complexity than 99% of the people on this blog.

            We don’t need to overcomplicate this matter.

            The point is simple, regardless of a quick biological half life, if you continue to ingest, then you reach a NEARLY steady state level of contamination

          • Rod Adams says:

            @NP

            Yes, you will reach a steady state. The value of the steady state, however, is determined partially by the half-life. The shorter the half life, the lower the value of the steady state concentration and the lower the dose.

            Considering the population of people who comment on this blog, I would be happy to take you up on your “bet,” but it is a hard thing to verify since people who do diffy q’s for a living rarely keep track of the number they have completed.

          • John T Tucker says:

            “I bet you 10 to 1 that I have many more differential equations and higher levels of complexity than 99% of the people on this blog. ”

            Id bet you’d probably be surprised at the stuff people visiting here have accumulated over the years. Feel free to demonstrate your mathematical prowess in posts. It keeps things interesting when people do.

          • jmdesp says:

            @NP : if you read actual documents about cesium contamination, you will see that the steady state is reached after around one year for a 90 days bio half life.

            But more generically, the amount you lose every day is the 90th root square of 0,5 (0,9923279… ), and in the steady state your daily intake compensates it exactly. This means the full dose in steady state is (1/ (1 – 0,9923279… ) times the daily intake, this gives 130 (rounded to the unit).

            Also, internal radiation is *not* 20 times more dangerous than external. This kind of claim comes from people who are utterly confused about radiation, and randomly mixing every aspect of it. Alpha radiation is 20 times more dangerous than beta and gamma, but the only way to be exposed to alpha contamination is through ingestion. Being internally exposed to a given dose of beta and gamma is not more dangerous than being externally exposed to the same dose, 9 mSv here is still 9 mSv.

          • KitemanSA says:

            FYI folks, the IAEA guidelines show that an local environment of 25µSv/h is safe and that includes all pathways of inadvertent ingestion including breathing dust, having dirt on hands get transferred to foods, etc. It does assume that food and beverage consumed meets other specified levels.

    • EL says:

      Tomioka has several restricted zones. Areas were advisories were recently lifted (under 20 mSv), resident restricted zone (20 – 50 mSv), and a difficult to return zone.

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/03/26/national/nuclear-evacuation-zone-revised-in-fukushimas-tomioka/#.UyUdyihrZ38

      http://www.mediapart.fr/content/sole-resident-post-fukushima-ghost-town

      Yes … the Director seems to have received some faulty information during his tour. It appears he was told dose rates were 1 μSv/h in area, when it was much higher (and met government guidelines for evacuation). Should he have known better and asked more questions, yes. Should he have received better information from local representatives, yes. Did a staff member write down the wrong info, perhaps.

      The issue doesn’t seem to be bad science, but why didn’t the director know better. Your guess is a good as mine.

      • John T Tucker says:

        The photo essay on Naoto Matsumura was interesting.

      • KitemanSA says:

        The IAEA says it is safe to occupy areas with <25µSv/h or in other numbers <220mSv/a if the food and beverages are also less than the prescribed levels. Japan is going WWAAAYYYY overboard with their green, yellow, orange, and red zones. Almost the entire area outside the boundaries of the plant itself is safe (green) according to their guidance.

  3. Leslie Corrice says:

    The critical argument for LNT is that the negative health effects of low level radiation exposure are largely unknown. This is, has been, and always will be an appeal to ignorance, which asserts truth because the conclusion has not been proven false.

    To the contrary, a virtual mountain of conclusive human and laboratory animal evidence has been uncovered since Luckey’s seminal paper on hormesis with ionizing radiation in 1980. Since then, objections to a negative-effect threshold have all been based on corroborative argument – in this case, agreement with a consensus opinion that was initially derived by abject extrapolation.

    Regardless, LNT has been proven false for both acute and somatic exposure to low level radiation, thus the converse must be true – no evidence exists below 100 mSv acute exposure that shows effects such as cancer are caused by low level exposure. Further, the evidence purported to support LNT between 100 mSv and one Sievert exposure is, at best, inconsistent and can only be used if data points are cherry-picked to conform with pre-existing opinion.

    • mjd says:

      Les, if I use the “science of LNT”, which as I understand it is take 3 known data points, connect with a straight line, put on a plot and extend down towards zero dose, it always still shows measurable risk on that axis. It seems to me if that methodology is correct, I should be able to extend it in the other direction too and the concept still holds up. At least I know that works with radiation dose, the more I get the more risk. But if that concept is valid, I’ll use it for other things too. The recent published dose prediction for 3 towns in Japan (forget the formal name, but you have discussed it) clearly shows predicted doses at Kawauchi, Haramachi, and Tamano increase with distance from the Daiichi plant. OK, 3 data points, straight line, plot dose vs distance, extend out. How far from Daiichi do I have to go to find lethal doses? Or maybe I’m just mixed up (wink, wink)? Maybe the LNT guys can help me?

      • KitemanSA says:

        If you take two or more point you can determine a least squares fit to a straight line. That line will almost NEVER pass thru (0,0) on a graph. However, you can also FORCE it thru zero. That is what the LNT model has done. It has stated that (0,0) MUST be on that “STRAIGHT” line… which is ridiculous. And thus the LNT is ridiculous.

        • jmdesp says:

          The line must indeed start at (0,0). If there’s no added exposure to radiation, the added exposure can’t have an effect with regard to the norm.

          The problem is :
          - Forbidding the line not to go into the negative
          - Ignoring the fact of having many of your data point very near zero strongly positive. This is a suggestion that your control group is badly selected and had a lower cancer risk than your exposed group, or that the near zero exposure of your exposed group is badly measured. The LSS might have such a problem, but it’s error bar is so large near zero that it’s impossible to tell for sure.

  4. mjd says:

    All the comments on this thread so far are pointing out inherent subtle problems behind recent public comments by two senior NRC executives, both of whom have stated they will regulate according to their understanding.

    I’ll spell it right out. Daniel’s quote of MacFarlane’s statement he posted at March 15, 2014 at 9:26 AM is true; she said it. This does not represent just a bad choice of words, especially from someone at her level. Everyone understands the word “accident” means what is going on at the Daiichi plant.

    She can’t discern the large majority of the 160K evacuees are mainly the result of the total infrastructure destruction by the quake and tsunami, not the “accident”, but she will regulate accordingly.

    Eric Leed’s comment on the NRC blog displays the same ignorance about the town of Tomioka, which he states was totally destroyed by the quake and tsunami. He further states the town still has no electricity or running water. Yet in his mind the town is uninhabitable because the yearly radiation dose from the “accident” is 876 mrem, not the lack of electricity or running water. He will also regulate accordingly.

    Forty six years ago I took a well planned does of about 1.5 Rem doing a 10 minute job during a nuke plant refueling. The only affect it’s had on me that I can see is maybe it made me crabby. But not as crabby as I’d be living without electricity or running water. I don’t think it has affected my memory. I remember “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.”

    • Daniel says:

      Eric Leeds should be fired for just cause. Nothing can be done for MacFarlane as she is a political nomination.

      • mjd says:

        Daniel, I have to agree Leed’s statements indicate a significant problem of dis-functionality at the whole NRC. Equivalent to the old AEC problems or the NRC problems noted post-TMI. When I consider the primary purpose of that NRC blog is as a major communication tool between them and the public, and the level of internal editing and PR oversight that must occur before a post even gets public, it seems jaw-dropping that post hit the light of day. Just how many NRC employees do you suppose saw no problem with it pre-posting?
        His comment highlights posted in picture form are bumper stickers! I just can’t believe that post got out of the NRC…., or maybe I can.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @mjd

      Forty six years ago I took a well planned does of about 1.5 Rem doing a 10 minute job during a nuke plant refueling.

      A few years ago, I interviewed Ray Haroldsen, an Atomic Age pioneer. When he was working on EBR-1, BORAX I, II, and III and other early reactor experiments, the radiation dose limit in effect was 300 mrem per week. He was one of the people who picked up the pieces of irradiated core that were strewn about the Idaho desert after the destructive test of BORAX II in 1954. On that day, he received 15 R, ten times your exposure level.

      You can all hear Ray’s stories on the Atomic Show, episodes 68 and 69, as he told them to me in 2007, 53 years after that acute dose and several years worth of more routine doses that would be WAY above current limits.

      http://atomicinsights.com/atomic-show-68-ray-haroldsen-atomic-tinkerer/

      http://atomicinsights.com/the-atomic-show-069-ray-haroldsen-experimental-breeder-reactor-1-stories/

      When Fukushima first occurred, I emailed Ray to ask him to appear on another Atomic Show to comment about his experience with boiling water reactors. He deferred, saying that he did not have much to add. My last email from Ray was in December 2011, but I think he is still living the good life in his beloved Idaho high desert. If he’s still alive, he would be 86 years old.

  5. James Greenidge says:

    This panic over radiation dosages beings to mind the unsurpassed “Andromeda Strain” novel by Micheal Crichton, where in the secret lab they consider curing a scientist accidentally exposed to Andromeda by giving him a drug that was proven to kill off all diseases even cancers but was long kept a deep secret by the government and drug company. They instead have him tough it out with Andromeda alone. Why? Because in animal and volunteer prisoner tests they found that this super-drug indeed killed off every known bacteria and virus — but when they took the totally cured subjects off the drug they shortly died, some terribly, of different diseases that no one had ever seen before. It turns out the drug also completely purged you of immunity to every disease life encountered since it left the oceans — often innocuous things we naturally overlooked because they cause no harm at all. It’s like polio; the virus is still around us but almost everyone’s been immunized or carries the immunity against it today. In the story if you took the drug you either had to live in a hyper-super-sterile bubble with irradiated soup for the rest of your life or died because the drug was too toxic to continuously take. Like diseases, radiation has been part of our environment for eons and even drives evolution, and to imagine you’re healthier by totally scrubbing yourself of it is an exercise in fatal fanaticism.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  6. Eric_G says:

    This is a somewhat timely post. A few weeks ago I watched the documentary “Uranium Drive-in” about the efforts of a community to build a uranium processing plant in their town and the opposition to it, led largely by the group “Sheep Mountain Alliance.” After the film was shown the director and a few of the people featured in the film came up on stage for a Q&A session. The woman from Sheep Mtn, a former reporter who has somehow disappeared from Google (or I’m just not getting the search terms correct), dragged the film crew up to old mines with a Geiger counter and, while waving it over tailings (and the display reading about 7-20mSev, but clicking like crazy), told us how upset she was that the area was a “vast wasteland.” Of course she completely ignored the many trees and other plant life all around the area, and didn’t take/show readings even a few feet from the tailing piles.

    An audience member asked why she put her life at risk by going to these tailings. She then shared the story of the time she spent a day “crawling around tailings” gathering readings, and when she got home found the cuffs of her pants were “filled” with radioactive dirt(!). Several members of the audience actually gasped when she mentioned this. She then off-handly reminded us that “of course there is no safe exposure, right?” I really wanted to call her on this, but knowing just how outnumbered I was (this was in Aspen, CO), and not armed with real information (next time I’ll have the iPad with sources bookmarked), I didn’t feel like I could counter the statement effectively.

    She then went on to point out that the mining rules for uranium haven’t been updated since “the 1970s!” Again, more gasps and a few chuckles from the audience. I don’t think that’s the case, and even if it is, so what? The UMW was quite effective at getting laws put in place to protect mine workers, most of those laws came into being in the 1960s and 70s, at least in the coal fields of Pennsylvania where I grew up.

    All the evidence in the film that uranium is bad was an old timer (late 80s) who had lung cancer from working in the mines, and a man who was the victim of an unfortunate accident at a processing plant where a pipe carrying semi-enriched uranium broke and sprayed uranium all over him. Yes, it’s a shame and probably could have been prevented, but there are likely more people killed and injured in skiing accidents.

    At any rate, for sure this page is going to be in my arsenal of counter arguments going forward.

  7. John Tjostem says:

    Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, MD PhD Dsc, former Chairman of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) stated:

    “What is really surprising, however, is that data collected by UNSCEAR and the Forum show 15% to 30% fewer cancer deaths among the Chernobyl emergency workers and about 5% lower solid cancer incidence among the people in the Bryansk district (the most contaminated in Russia) in comparison with the general population. In most irradiated group of these people (mean dose of 40 mSv) the deficit of cancer incidence was 17%. Nor did the incidence of hereditary disorders increase.”

    From the data reported by Dr. Jaworowski, it would appear that the hormetic effect of Chernobyl radiation exposure has prevented many more cancer deaths among those exposed to radiation then death caused by radiation from the Chernobyl accident. Why don’t we use data collected by this United Nations committee to counter fraudulent claims by Greenpeace. In its report of April 2006 Greeeenpeace calculated six million cancer deaths due to Chernobyl event.

    • garyn says:

      I just saw this on the Smithsonian site:

      “Forests Around Chernobyl Aren’t Decaying Properly

      It wasn’t just people, animals and trees that were affected by radiation exposure at Chernobyl, but also the decomposers: insects, microbes, and fungi”

      And yet from what I have also read, some of those very same organisms are capable of withstanding some incredible radiation levels.

      • Eino says:

        Please provide the link. Stand alone statements should be examined to determine the context of the situation. In the immediate area around the sarcophygous, anomalies would be expected as the dose is high.

        • garyn says:

          Please provide the link.

          Sorry, I’ve gotten a little lazy with links, figure anyone interested can now just highlight and search and get the article.
          Here is the link though to my above article on the hormesis beads:
          http://radiant-beads.com/
          Lower down the page are his and some of his clients testimonials. He also says that he met Dr Cuttler in 2011, after which he started experimenting on himself. If it’s a placebo effect, what the heck, at least he doesn’t look to be suffering too much from radiation exposure..

      • Joel Riddle says:

        And it should be noted that Timothy Mousseau is good friends with Helen Caldicott, for what that’s worth.

        • Rod Adams says:

          Mousseau is the person who reported smaller bird brains based on sample sizes on the order of 5 birds.

          • Eino says:

            Thanks for the link. This is from the link.

            “The results were telling. In the areas with no radiation, 70 to 90 percent of the leaves were gone after a year. But in places where more radiation was present, the leaves retained around 60 percent of their original weight.”

            I wonder how well this would work to preserve lettuce.

          • Joel Riddle says:

            I wonder if he deep down realizes the beneficial effects that he is receiving from all the time he has spent in the region around Chernobyl. I would say it is pretty obvious that he would never admit to such a realization if he did indeed have it, considering how deeply ingrained he seems to be and the level of rigor he is willing to use to determine acceptable sample sizes.

      • Engineer-Poet says:

        For the sake of carbon sequestration, lack of decay is a GOOD thing.

      • KitemanSA says:

        Please note that this area is the “Red Forest” area around Chernobyl. You should be told that the “Red Forest” was bulldozed and buried, along with a good portion of it’s top soil, in deep trenches. The area was then re-planted in poor soil after the burial. Since most of the decomposers live in the top soil when not at work, it does not really surprise me that the mechanism is a bit dysfunctional.

        But whether the dysfunction is due to Chernobyl Rad-Con emissions or due to the mechanical assault that resulted from the Chernobyl FUD-Con emissions is still TBD in my mind.

  8. NP says:

    Rod, and all. I wonder if there is any physician in the world, who faced with a somewhat unhealthy adult, decides to administer cesium and strontium, in small doses of course, in order to stimulate health.

    Please comment on this.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @NP

      There are numerous historical examples of treatments using various isotopes, particularly radium. With the exception of the well-publicized case of Evan Byers, a man who apparently believed that if a little radium was good for you, a huge amount was much better, the results were pretty good.

      http://www.osti.gov/accomplishments/documents/fullText/ACC0029.pdf

      People have been imbibing radioactive waters at health spas for hundreds of years.

      http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=81664

      Strontium is regularly used in treatment regimes for certain types of cancer.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16258090

      There are physicians who use whole or half body radiation dose treatments for various afflictions.

      https://www.aapm.org/pubs/reports/rpt_17.pdf (this is an old document, but I am just trying to provide examples here that you can explore yourself)

      Though Dr. Cuttler doesn’t talk much about it, he has recommended low dose radiation treatment provided by physicians specializing in the field to some people that he loves very much. At least one of them followed through and is very pleased with the results.

      Perhaps some of the medical professionals who occasionally comment here can provide additional examples.

      I presume that most doctors are trained to adhere to conventional wisdom when it comes to radioactive isotopes, though there are always some research physicians who are willing to go outside of the bounds of what they have been told to believe.

      • Cory Stansbury says:

        Dr. Ron Mitchel told me that the use of low-level radiation was the default treatment for gangrene before penicillin. It was very effective, but the ease of penicillin supplanted it.

        • NP says:

          I found a good link here, the “miracle” stories at the beginning can stem from a “reporting bias”, and far from being the “default treatment” it was usually a last ditch effort. But its a good read overall, please read the whole thing.

          the x-ray treatment was generally reserved for a stage when the disease progression was far advanced and most patients were moribound. In such a situation, the x-ray treatment was a type of final hope after other procedures had failed.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3526332/

      • NP says:

        Rod, in AA (first admit there is a problem LOL) Argumentative Analysis, we call your first link “cherry picking”. I couldn’t find which page of the 246 pages your “results were pretty good”, but the rest of document is damn damning on Radium, for example

        A total of 29 individuals who had received
        radium from John have been located; 21 of them were measured for radium,
        and most had high intake levels. Five ultimately developed bone sarcomas
        and another a mastoid air cell carcinoma, two malignancies known to be
        induced by internal radium.

        This also contains the classic “Radium Girls” and studies on them, also damning.

        The second link….spas with radon in the water…and therefore of course in the air….well, to anyone who thinks that breathing in radon is “healthy” do some basic research.

        http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/env/radon/en/index2.html

        Third link
        RESULTS:

        No patients developed bone marrow failure within 6 months of receiving strontium-89. Five (15%) of 34 patients developed bone marrow failure at a median 23 months (range, 6 to 53 months) after the strontium-89 treatment. Bone marrow biopsy performed in two of these five patients showed complete replacement of the marrow by tumor. Thirty-one patients (91%) received subsequent cytotoxic treatments at a median 11 months (range, 1 to 33 months) after the strontium-89 treatment.

        I am sorry, but this example is a pretty damning admission that Strontium is a piss poor way to treat disease.
        The last example link appears to be more treatments for specific diseases, using photon and high energy Xrays (rather than radiation sources as we usually think about them). They also recognize that dosing within +-5% is crucial in order to not create acute problems.
        One example of a “treatment” is to destroy the bone marrow prior to a transplant.
        total body irradiation
        (TBI) with megavoltage photon beams is frequently used to destroy the
        bone marrow and leukemic cells, to immunosuppress the patient prior to
        receiving a bone marrow transplant92
        Low dose come with this disclaimer “The lower doses reduce the risk of serious complications.
        However, precise dose response data are not available; hence, a
        detailed understanding of the associated dosimetry is a prerequisite.”

        None of the links that were presented showed anything related to my question. Is there even a few examples of doctors using radiation, in particular, cesium and strontium, to improve health in a somewhat unhealthy adult. If not, then I propose that those who promote hormesis (benefit from radiation) are just talking a talk, but never walking the walk.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @NP

          I apologize for not citing page numbers.

          This also contains the classic “Radium Girls” and studies on them, also damning.

          Contrary to popular belief and your above statement, I don’t agree that the Radium Girls information is so damning. Once reasonable rules were implemented and the girls stopped licking their paint brushes, virtually all health problems abated. From http://www.osti.gov/accomplishments/documents/fullText/ACC0029.pdf

          When the hazards of dial painting became known after 1925, the number of new employees dropped markedly. At the same time the practice of tipping the brush with the lips was stopped. This simple change in work
          habits greatly reduced the quantity of radium that entered the bodies of the workers. World War II increased the demand for aircraft dials and other items that could be seen in the dark and significantly increased the number of new employees needed in the industry. However, the knowledge previously acquired about the hazards of radium was sufficient to protect the workers from excess intakes, so the employees hired during the war years showed no increase in the amount of radium acquired. Indeed, no radium-induced malignancy has yet been observed in anyone who entered the dial painting industry after 1925.
          (p. 22)

          Many years worth of follow-up studies showed essentially no radiation related cancers for anyone who’s body burden gave them less than 1000 rem (1000 cGy whole body gamma equivalent) p. 112

          At the same international seminar in Heidelberg, Thomas (in press) presented work in which he used lognormal data analysis and the newly calculated skeletal dose values (presented in the appendix of this document) to reach the conclusion that a threshold exists for radium-induced malignancies. Thomas calculated threshold values of 390-620 cGy and suggested the adoption of a value of 1,000 cGy as the threshold for radium-induced malignancies in humans, the same value Evans (1974) had derived 20 years earlier.

          Like several other studies that were showing that exposure to radioactive materials was not as dangerous as some like to claim (“no safe dose”) the radium in humans study was halted with a large cohort of people that were still living healthy lives. (p. 113-115)

          • NP says:

            @Rod

            I found it interesting that after the brush licking was stopped, they were injecting mental patients with radium to “see what happens”

            And Looney from Argonne did the follow up studies, and well as being the chief scientist in the matter.

            Kind of sick don’t you think? At least the Beagles got a break this time.

            P111 The mechanistic meaning of the exponent
            value of 3.15 is not obvious, suggesting that, at least for radium-induced bone
            sarcomas in humans, a threshold hypothesis is as good as any other.

            aka we are sure what is really happening, and we make our living off radiation, therefore lets assume there is a threshold….

          • Rod Adams says:

            @NP

            I found it interesting that after the brush licking was stopped, they were injecting mental patients with radium to “see what happens”

            Who is “they?” Are you blaming nuclear fission power or nuclear power plant operators for a medical researcher’s behavior in a 1931 study that predates the very discovery of nuclear fission by 8 years?

            Looney did not do the study. He simply tried to do the legwork to find out what happened to the people after finding out that the study had been conducted. He was a newly arrived post-doc in 1950, almost twenty years AFTER the injections were administered.

            A key event in the radium program was the arrival at Argonne of W.B. Looney, who came in July of 1950 as a postdoctoral AEC fellow in medical science. Looney was assigned, under the direction of Hasterlik, to a project that originated from a suggestion by Marinelli, to study the group of 32 mental patients given radium chloride intravenously at the Elgin State Hospital in 1931.

            In his two years at Argonne, Looney was apparently the only staff member who devoted all of his time to the study of the radium cases. He spent several weeks at the Elgin State Hospital, locating the subjects given radium in the 1930s by examining hundreds of patient files.
            (http://www.osti.gov/accomplishments/documents/fullText/ACC0029.pdf – p. 41)

          • NP says:

            P41 for the mental patient radium testing

          • NP says:

            @Rod

            I am talking about the early knowledge of radiation and how that turned into the mess that we now face.

            After they stopped licking their radium paint brushes, they did indeed have less loss of life, acute problems.

            The stop of licking did not create “healthy lives” just not lives acutely affected by radiation. Sorry Rod, denying radiation effects will not help the argument for more nuke for CO2 help.

          • NP says:

            @rod

            I am blaming the radiation industry for injecting mental patients with radium to “see what happens”

            Damn them!

          • Rod Adams says:

            @NP

            What “radiation industry” existed in 1931?

            Compare that to the petroleum, natural gas and coal industry that already existed in the 1930s and was already worried about the possibility that scientists were going to find a way to unlock the energy they were just beginning to find stored inside atomic nuclei.

            (Scroll down on this history page (http://www.worldenergy.org/about-wec/history/) to see the entry about Einstein and Eddington’s talk in 1930.)

            At the Berlin Congress in 1930, the third “World Power Conference”, both Einstein and Eddington gave speeches. In his address, Eddington said that, in the future, “subatomic energy would provide the plain diet for engines previously pampered with delicacies like coal and oil”.

            How do you think that speech and prediction made the assembled purveyors of petroleum feel about the possibility of competition from “subatomic energy?”

            Perhaps you might begin to wonder if you’ve been told the truth about radiation and atomic energy from the “powers that be.”

            Here is a story to get you started on a quest for more information about radiation and radioactive materials.

            http://www.orau.org/ptp/articlesstories/evans.htm

  9. NP says:

    I am trying to get USA to adopt mSv as the standard way to talk about human important dose?

    Alhtough Gray is an SI unit, how can you compared an external received dose, to one that has become internal? This seems important and I appreciate any guidance on the matter.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @NP

      Did you read the note and the referenced paper?

      Yes, there are many complexities associated with radiation dose measurements, especially with ingested or inhaled isotopes. There are whole books full of the processes required to convert measured energy levels into Sieverts and tables full of dose limits for various organs. For nearly all internal isotopes, there is a biological half life that is substantially lower than the isotope half life because biological processes result in materials passing through, not simply staying around forever.

  10. Mark Ramsay says:

    A good read. Probably a lot of truth in this – problem is, like LNT its all difficult to prove one way or the other. Getting a whole system to change will be an up hill struggle.

    @NP (and others). Think of the Gy as energy imparted. It is something you can measure.

    Think of the Sv as a risk term – for that is what it is. Whole Body Effective Dose in Sv (or rem to use the US units) is a derived value – it has not real basis. It is just a simple way (read “simple” not “the right way”) to take a risk value and turn it into a dose limit that can be used in legislation.

    My problem with all of this, notwithstanding the arguments about healthy effects / LNT etc, is that even under the current system (that I have to deal with using my professional hat), for most cases (e.g. “risk” from living the other side of a fence of a nuclear power plant), the risk values are trivial. As someone I think has said on some forum I belong to .. Its not about dose (risk) its about trust.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Mark Ramsay

      Getting a whole system to change will be an up hill struggle.

      Uphill struggles cannot be accomplished without people like Cuttler who is building on work done by Luckey, Muckerheid, Cohen, Pollycove and many others.

      As I described in the post, there are plenty of obstacles and people at the top of the hill who are throwing rocks at the advancing truth-purveyors. However, the rewards for humanity if we take the hill make the struggle worthwhile.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Mark Ramsay

      I hope you do not mind if I point people to your “About” page on Ionactive so they can know a little more about your “professional hat.”

      http://www.ionactive.co.uk/about.html

  11. simple touriste says:

    BTW, why Gray = J/kg?
    Why the kg?
    After all, if the process is LINEAR, energy should be measured, no?
    Why would mass count?

    If the process is linear, it seems to me that heavier people have a (linearly) largest cancer risk, no?

  12. Rich Lentz says:

    It utterly amazes me how the arguments pro and con about LNT and Hormesis parallel those for and against CO2 being the primary cause/contributor to global warming, climate change, whatever the PC term is this year. To wit, with hormesis we have scientifically proven, verifiable studies supporting hormesis and only “consensus” supporting LNT. With AGW, all we have is a trend in temperature of less than 2 degrees over the last 150 years that (in general) correlates with CO2 increase and NO scientifically proven study establishing that CO2 is the primary cause for that 2 degree rise (point in fact every effort is used to hide any other cause for that 2 degree rise.) Even the prominent AGW hucksters admit this. The models that established the “consensus” have been disproven by the last 10 – 15 years of “pause” and a “Consensus” that they are correct. Yet the debate continues. Even the most conservative model does not reflect the last 15 years. Yet they continue. And, the one fact that tells my it is a scam is that, even with all of the doom and gloom the project, they refuse to embrace the only energy producing source that produces ZERO CO2. Those within the ranks of AGW believers that do express an opinion in favor of Nuclear Power to curtail CO2 are demeaned, ostracized and shunned as if they had broken a religious commandant, e.g., Patrick Moore of Greenpeace or James Hansen of NASA.

    • Eino says:

      Who is behind the scam? I can’t see the oil companies behind this one. It started before windmill manufacturing so you can’t blame them. Can’t be the cigarette companies this time. Who gains? Do the scientists use this as an excuse for more study money?

      • Rich Lentz says:

        Simple answer, Do the Math. That and Oil hates Nuclear Power as much as the envirowhacos do.
        Here is a link for the electricity that the USA uses.
        http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_1_1 At the bottom of the first table you will see that the USA has used 4,058,209 Thousand Megawatt hours per year of electricity. That is PER YEAR not per hour. Divide that by 8,760 and that tells you that you need 463,266 Megawatts per hour on average. Peaks can be as much as 25 percent higher than that, and therefore you will need more than 500,000 megawatts or 500 gigawatts of INSTALLED ready to deliver power generators. How are we going to get that from ZERO CO2 producing generation?
        If from wind and Solar that means NO, NONE, can have a gas, oil or coal backup. Numerous studies show that when Gas is the back for Wind/Solar there is a net loss for CO2 reduction and INCREASES the production of CO2.
        Or you can use the Envirowhacos meme of 1/3 each Wind, Solar and Hydro. Presently we have about 1% of our power coming from Pumped storage BUT that also takes 1% of our power. That would need to be greatly increased to support this plan. I did a calculation showing that if the entire Grand Canyon was dammed up and the rest of the Colorado River had dams placed along it path that we would only double the amount of Hydro power. You are welcome to do your guesstimate. Now one must also take into consideration that Wind and Solar have a less than 33% capacity factor (only produce power less than 33% of the time.) Therefore, since they are only capable of delivering 1/3 of the power that you need and the Environmentalists want them to supply 1/3 of the total the installed capacity must equal the total. That means you will need to build and install 500 Gigawatts of Wind turbines, 500 Gegawatts of Solar panels, AND increase our hydro electricity capacity fivefold (more that the entire Colorado River valley. When done with that you WILL have blackouts and brown outs, guaranteed.
        Oh, you say Nuclear, I seriously doubt that Nuclear Power generation will double its total capacity in the next 50 years unless and until the Envirowhacos get off of the “renewable energy” kick and get serious about reducing CO2 the only way it can be reduced. PERIOD.

    • Engineer-Poet says:

      Those within the ranks of AGW believers that do express an opinion in favor of Nuclear Power to curtail CO2 are demeaned, ostracized and shunned

      On the one hand, you have the romantic “naturalist” movement pushing “soft technologies”.  This is more or less a religious cult.  You also have socialists trying to grab power, demanding that solving climate change be delegated to them with the money flowing through their hands; this is the usual bunch of fifth-columnists.  On the other hand, you have the climate scientists saying that we need to act NOW… and they are increasingly pro-nuclear, like Hansen and the 3 other letter co-signers.

      There is no “climate change fraud”, except on the denialist side.  All the claims that it’s fraudulent are hidden behind un-named hackers mis-quoting stolen e-mails and the same PR firms which commissioned fraudulent science to exonerate tobacco in the smoking wars using exactly the same tactics and even some of the same people to deny that human emissions are altering the climate.

      • Jeff Walther says:

        “There is no “climate change fraud”, except on the denialist side. All the claims that it’s fraudulent are hidden behind un-named hackers mis-quoting stolen e-mails”

        I quite sincerely suspected it was fraudulent for quite a while. Several items stoked my suspicion. Number 1 is that whenever I heard climate change presented, it came along with a presentation of “solutions” which obviously could not work. If they’re trying to sell me something that won’t work, that’s a scam, no matter how you twist it. If they’re trying to sell me something that won’t work, and they want me to pay premium prices for it that’s, well I’m not sure what word to use, but it’s an even bigger scam.

        Number 2 is that I clearly remember hearing a report in the 90s from some climate “scientist” who stated that his atmospheric model didn’t predict global warming, but he was sure it should, so clearly his model was wrong and he was going to redesign it. In other words, he already knew what result he wanted out of his predictive model and would keep tweaking it until he got that result. I wish I could remember the source for this one.

        Anyway, it is easily demonstrable that CO2 levels in the atmosphere and in the oceans are increasing rapidly. I doubt that our climate models are reliable enough to make a good prediction of the effects, but we have a clean, affordable solution to the CO2 increase, and implementing it will have additional benefits of reducing other forms of pollution, reducing fossil fuel accidents, and generally creating increased value in our economy.

        What I find interesting is that many of the “greens” seem to have completely lost sight of CO2 and now just advocate for the implementation of “renewable” energy sources as if they were a good in their own rite.

        • Engineer-Poet says:

          I quite sincerely suspected it was fraudulent for quite a while. Several items stoked my suspicion. Number 1 is that whenever I heard climate change presented, it came along with a presentation of “solutions” which obviously could not work.

          Presented by whom, though?  You’ll note the actual climate scientists are moving to direct advocacy of nuclear power.  So are some Democratic pols.

          The big-picture view explains that particular dichotomy and a lot more, but for the thumbnail sketch it’s sufficient to note that nuclear energy has been designated “of the right” and “not green”, so even if the right tries to advance nuclear energy they will not sell it as a fix for climate change (ironically, it’s the best one we’ve got).  On the left, nuclear power is “anti-green” and thus anathema, and all things must be hitched to socialist causes.  Since the left is defining the response to climate change (the right denies any such thing is necessary), it is of course laden with nonsense socialist tripe.

          If the Republican party admitted that climate change is a problem and said “nuclear is the answer!”, the socialists would actually have to come up with reasons for all of the “international social justice” and other hooey they’re trying to sell.  So long as the Republican party is firmly in the pocket of coal and gas interests, that won’t happen.

          If they’re trying to sell me something that won’t work, that’s a scam, no matter how you twist it.

          Socialism, national or international, has always been a scam.  But the causes to which they hitch their wagons are not responsible for their scamminess.

          Number 2 is that I clearly remember hearing a report in the 90s from some climate “scientist” who stated that his atmospheric model didn’t predict global warming, but he was sure it should, so clearly his model was wrong and he was going to redesign it.

          Hearsay about a computer model (possibly buggy) from the 1990′s, compared to a firmly error-checked pencil-and-paper model from the 1890′s (Svante Arrhenius) which did predict such change?  You should be just a bit more skeptical of factoids.

          What I find interesting is that many of the “greens” seem to have completely lost sight of CO2 and now just advocate for the implementation of “renewable” energy sources as if they were a good in their own rite.

          Yes, I’ve noted the religious character as well.  Vacuums will be filled somehow.

          • Jeff Walther says:

            “Presented by whom, though? You’ll note the actual climate scientists are moving to direct advocacy of nuclear power. ”

            **Now** they are. For the first many years there was no noticeable voice for nuclear. I only found this site because of a chance link at Robert Bryce’s site and his was less that satisfactory and I was doing google searches for nuclear information. I knew the City of Austin was insane for rejecting the STNP expansion, but I couldn’t find anyone discussing it except the antis.

            And for the casual observer, which I was at first, the media rarely presents just the views of a climate scientist. There’s always some windbagger or sunbeamster along for the ride.

            Without practice, and a lot of critical thinking, it is difficult to separate the climate change message from the “renewable” energy message, given the information available in the typical media.

            “Socialism, national or international, has always been a scam. But the causes to which they hitch their wagons are not responsible for their scamminess.”

            I don’t think this really has to do with any socialist conspiracy. I think that the powers that be, i.e., the wealthy, have decided not to build any more infrastructure improvements in this country and barely to maintain what we have, thus keeping their taxes low, while they steal everything they can before the implosion. Whether this is a conscious decision or not, it is certainly the emergent behaviour that I observe.

            So, no electricity infrastructure will get built unless there’s a method included for the wealthy to loot the consumer in the process, either through subsidies or through so destroying the reliability of the grid that the consumer is forced to pay higher prices for electricity and “capacity” payments to base load generators on top of their generation prices.

            The problem is broad, but “Griftopia” which I’m currently reading, is as good an introduction as any.

            Labeling any collective action to protect or benefit the consumer and middle class citizen is not helping. It is, in fact, playing right into the hands of the people who wish to continue to act without any rational regulation, and who have profited unbelievably from a society with adequate infrastructure but refuse to contribute to maintain and expand that infrastructure.

            Maybe I have “every problem looks like a nail” disease, but I am coming to believe that society’s basic health and economic well-being can be largely measured not by all the bewildering array of economic indicators, but by looking at how it is managing its infrastructure.

            Right now, except for a few exceptional areas in the southeast, government is no longer focused on, nor appears to have any interest in maintaining and improving the infrastructure which is the scaffolding for modern civilization. All new roads are toll roads. All new power projects are subsidized wind and solar BS farms. Or actual BS farms and burners, again, with massive subsidies.

            There appears to be little work being done to actually support the framework of civilization in a way that starts from, “Where’s the benefit to the largest portion of society?”

          • Rod Adams says:

            @Jeff Walther (for some reason, your comment was initially classified by the filter as spam)

            I also think you misunderstood one of E-P’s points.

            EP – “Socialism, national or international, has always been a scam. But the causes to which they hitch their wagons are not responsible for their scamminess.”

            You – I don’t think this really has to do with any socialist conspiracy.

            I could be wrong, but I read his comment as an example of why you should not automatically reject the uncertain hazard of CO2 merely because some greedy opportunists have hitched their wagon to that issue. There are many legitimate reasons to be concerned.

            Here’s another example, just because members of the KKK breathe on a regular basis, that does not mean that breathing is a bad idea.

          • Jeff Walther says:

            “I could be wrong, but I read his comment as an example of why you should not automatically reject the uncertain hazard of CO2 merely because some greedy opportunists have hitched their wagon to that issue. There are many legitimate reasons to be concerned.”

            I was not clear in making my point.

            The point I was trying to make is that for a very long time, if one wasn’t actively digging for information, one couldn’t hear or see the climate change message without also being given the unreliables message.

            So, while it may be true that breathing is not a bad idea just because KKK members do it, if KKK members were the only people in the world that I ever saw breathing, I would have my doubts about the activity.

            Or to put it another way, the climate change message was (is?) utterly linked to the unreliables message in the mainstream media and it is not as obvious as it seems to separate the two messages. It isn’t even obvious to many people that it is two separate messages.

          • Engineer-Poet says:

            **Now** they are. For the first many years there was no noticeable voice for nuclear.

            The climate scientists didn’t get into policy issues for a long time.  Their normal reaction is to stay out of policy and just do science.  Now that it’s obvious that nobody else will, they’re coming out for nuclear energy.  Why?  Because they make decisions on the basis of evidence.

            for the casual observer, which I was at first, the media rarely presents just the views of a climate scientist. There’s always some windbagger or sunbeamster along for the ride.

            You can’t blame climate scientists for the agenda of the media.  It took years for climate scientists to get enough media power to get their message out.

            Without practice, and a lot of critical thinking, it is difficult to separate the climate change message from the “renewable” energy message, given the information available in the typical media.

            I rest my case.

          • Jeff Walther says:

            E.P. I wasn’t trying to argue that the actual climate scientists were frauds. I was trying to point out what a casual or even semi-serious observer saw and how those observations suggest that fraud is happening.

            I also will assert that this is still the case. Not that climate scientists are fraudulent, but that what people see in the media, regarding climate change looks fraudulent.

            How many people have actually heard that Hansen is advocating nuclear now? How many people even know that there is a climate scientist named Hansen?

            As far as I can tell the wind and solar message is still going strong in the media and isn’t even all that tightly linked to the climate change message any more, because the public has already internalized the fraudulent message that wind and solar (and conservation and poverty and self-flagellation) are the solution to climate change. Some folks embrace this, others see what a disaster it would be and then oppose the entire concept of Climate Change, because the two are inextricably linked (so far) in their minds.

            In short, if you want more people to accept the theory of Climate Change, find a way to de-link it from unreliables and the energy austerity message it’s been presented with so far.

    • Engineer-Poet says:

      I wrote a reply to this (http://atomicinsights.com/healthy-doses-radiation/#comment-76317) and it disappeared without a trace.

      • Jeff Walther says:

        Rod, another message seems to have gone into the SPAM filter for some reason. If you see this, and have time, would you please rescue it? I’ve got to start highlighting and copying my text before clicking Submit.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Rich Lentz

      Those within the ranks of AGW believers that do express an opinion in favor of Nuclear Power to curtail CO2 are demeaned, ostracized and shunned as if they had broken a religious commandant, e.g., Patrick Moore of Greenpeace or James Hansen of NASA.

      Actually, Moore is an avowed skeptic and has not been with Greenpeace since 1986.

      Better examples of pronuclear climate scientists in additon to James Hansen include Pushker Kharecha, Tom Wigley, Barry Brook, Ken Caldeira, and Kerry Emanuel.

      There are enough people who are positioning themselves to take advantage of the science for me to understand why some people see “scam.” However, there is also enough evidence of harm from increasing CO2 concentration – not JUST warming – to make me believe it is worthwhile to slow production rates while we wonder exactly what is going on.

      There are also plenty of well-resourced people with a strong motive to support promotion of skepticism.

  13. Rich Lentz says:

    On a lighter note.
    I have been watching the media hysteria on the missing Malaysian plane. Having been at TMI from the first day of the accident, and watching the news stories about the plane and the lack of information/cause, etc., gave me a case of deja vu. If you want to know what it was like at TMI just watch some of the cable news shows on this topic. Just like at TMI, the technical experts are talking over the heads of the reporters/newscasters. The reporters/newscasters (from their vast experience riding airplanes, using cellphones, etc. like those that knew all about NPP because they watched China Syndrome) misinterpret that information or “correct” the technical experts. They consistently berate the experts for not having the information and base suppositions upon misinformation, misinterpreted information, lack of information, gossip, and the utter lack of technical competence. The hysteria and hype increase each day that the plane is missing (the reactor is not shutdown) and the feeding frenzy increases.

    The management of the investigation in Malaysia, like the NRC at TMI, only aggravate the problem and give more fuel to the firestorm. The H2 Bubble at TMI was a NON problem exacerbated by the NRC. The NRC would not let the plant declare it was shut down until the temperature was well bellow the “Normal” temperature for declaring the plant was in “cold shut down.” The NRC, with NO TMI experts or operations experience, required that all plant operations, changes to plant conditions, etc. be coordinated through the NRC.

    For MJD. I personally know two people that received their once-in-a-lifetime 25r dose at TMI in 1979. They are still alive, neither have or have had cancer, and are happily collecting the GPU/MetEd (now, First Energy) retirement check. It sure did not bother me sloshing through that “highly radioactive” water in the aux building either. Because of the date of the accident we (meaning MANY) were able to max out two quarters dose limit in under a week. I am now well into my 70s and only problem I have is a knee I busted falling off of a ladder 25 years ago. It also seems strange that all of the e-mails I receive about shipmates deaths, that when the say cancer they always say lung cancer caused by asbestos, and add “If you were in the refit with “Jim Doe” get your lungs checked, they removed a lot of asbestos on the USS Gefiltefish that refit.”

    • NP says:

      LOL happily collecting the check on the back of working rate payers and tax payers….good on you, LOL

      And blaming on a possible other cause… wow

  14. James Greenidge says:

    The technical I.Q. of reporters is something to behold and for proper public perceptions of science and things techie to cry over. I so rue the death of the media “science editor” in the late ’70′s (basically because NASA was winding down). Someone please drop a dime in my cup for every and any reporter who mentions the “streaming radio information or streaming data-something” was coming off the Malaysian plane instead of using the old reliable term “telemetry”. I don’t joke when I say that most of the clueless public sees something ‘mystically malevolent’ in anything nuclear and injuries or deaths caused by the most minor radiation incidents. Nuclear power has a BIG PR problem when many people believe (via ratings) in TV shows about “NASA UFOs” and mysterious creatures and lost civilizations living amongst us, but they won’t eat the facts and truth about Fukushima or the long safety and nil mortality/environmental impact record of nuclear power! I mean that really says something about an enlightened citizenry! We have people willing to hold a whole unrelated nuclear industry hostage and responsible because of a few “Radium Girls” generations ago, but a few years ago twelve guys alone were wiped out to a crisp on a Gulf rig on the job and no one’s bemoaning how they died or barely remembers them or blocking the whole oil or gas industry because of them — or maybe they all should’ve been girls. Someone tell me, how’s being dead by radiation more horrible and terrible than being burnt alive in a oil facility fire or having your lungs burnt out in a massive chlorine leak, please!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    • Eino says:

      Does the citizenry of all nations have the same ill perception of nuclear power that is exhibited in the US? Britain is going to be building nukes. France has cheap electric rates and a lot of nukes. Do these countries share the perception that the US citizenry exhibits? Just North of the border Ontario supplies the majority of its electricity by nuclear power. They receive much of the same television and radio. Do they see things this way?

      • NP says:

        there are those in the USA that think that we can survive without a dying empire to power us.

        “is going to be building” Sorry the price is too high. Nuke can be safe or cheap, not both.

        I look forward to your response.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @NP

          Nuke can be safe or cheap, not both.

          The evidence from the Great North East Japan earthquake and tsunami shows me that nuclear energy CAN be both safe and affordable. There were at least 14 individual nuclear reactors that were exposed to the same earthquake and tsunami forces as those that hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. Four at Fukushima Daini, six at Fukushima Daiichi, and four at Onagawa.

          (The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (not known for being terribly supportive of current nuclear technology) published an article about Onagawa. http://thebulletin.org/onagawa-japanese-nuclear-power-plant-didn%E2%80%99t-melt-down-311)

          Ten of those reactors did not experience any significant damage because they did not suffer from the common mode, “man-made,” multiple error mistakes that led to the three core melting events and the one additional reactor destroyed from a hydrogen explosion from hydrogen leaked into a shared system with a significantly damaged reactor.

          That means that the same mankind that goofed up and allowed mistakes to lead to Fukushima Daiichi produced some people who did not goof up. The rest of us can learn from what happened and eliminate most of the errors that lead to the core damage events. The design and operational choices made at Onagawa and Fukushima Daini did not make any substantial difference in the cost compared to Daiichi. In fact, they might have provided an overall cost reduction. I just don’t have access to the figures that would support a statement either way.

          Does learning from Daiichi and eliminating its contributing design choices/mistakes that mean that we will then be perfect and never have another nuclear plant melt? No, but it means we will be a little bit better and reduce the chances a little bit more. Those chances are already pretty darned low.

          One cannot be anti-energy if you actually like your fellow man. We must have powerful and abundant energy sources to live the kind of lives that a major portion of the world’s population currently enjoys. We need to have even more sources in order to expand that abundant living to the rest of the world’s population. 85% of our current energy comes from fossil fuel; nuclear is an alternative that has few of the main drawbacks of continuing that kind of dependence.

          Though I have no expectation of changing your mind, I engage in public discussions so that lurkers can read differing points of view, gain information and make up their own mind.

  15. Paul W Primavera says:

    1.7 billion years ago in Okla, Gabon, Africa a natural reactor operated on and off for perhaps millions of years. The radiation from this reactor may have been responsible for the vast profusion and multiplicity of life that developed in Africa. Earth’s history would have been much different otherwise. So this unreasoning fear over nuclear radiation is simply insane.

    PS, on a side note, as a Bible-believing Catholic Christian I have no difficulty in seeing how God uses natural processes in life’s development and would refer the reader to Google Pope Pius XII’s Encyclical Humani Generis. And yes, it is not beyond credibility that He would use nuclear radiation in this process.

    • NP says:

      LOL the OKLO thing being used as justification for “our advances” just as hilarious as the banana analogy, thank you for the humor!

      • Engineer-Poet says:

        Did you have anything to say, or is mindless derision the most intellectually coherent thing you have to contribute?

    • cyril r says:

      It is unlikely that the radiation from Oklo natural nuclear reactors had a profound impact on the evolution of life.

      There are at least three reasons; one, the reaction occurred deep in the ground where virtually all radiation was shielded and very little radionuclide inventory got out (some gasses got out but they have negligible dose rate due to them floating away into the atmosphere quickly). Two, the reactors operated at a low power output so only produced very little fission product at any one time. Three, the reactors actually ended up depleting the natural radionuclides (uranium and its daughters). The Oklo reactors actually ended up reducing the dose from these nuclides.

  16. Dr. John Miller says:

    The claim that people consistently getting 70 rem per year of radiation will suffer less cancer than those getting lower doses is absurd. It is disproved by hundreds of radiation epidemiology studies. Almost all radiation biologists agree. Almost all believe in the LNT hypothesis.

    The only reason LNT is under such attack is that rabidly pro-nuclear people like Rod wish radiation were not harmful, so that it could be removed as a reason to shut down nuclear power.

    There is a hermetic effect in many fields, where ingesting a small bit of a poison seems to set off the body’s defenses so that the person receiving the poison resists disease better than a person not so challenged. If a radiation hormesis effect exists, however, it is at cumulative doses two or more orders of magnitude smaller than 70 rem.

    Remember, the average dose of people exposed to the A-bomb in Japan was less than 5 rems. That caused thousands of them to die from cancer. An average dose of 70 rems per year would cause multiple times as many fatal cancers.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Dr. John Miller

      The claim that people consistently getting 70 rem per year of radiation will suffer less cancer than those getting lower doses is absurd.

      You have misinterpreted the post and the underlying paper. The claim is that 70 rem per year is a dose with an acceptable risk that is not markedly greater than many other risks of normal living that are accepted without excessive concern.

      Your statement about the average doses of people exposed to the atomic bomb makes little sense without more details about the distribution of doses and the distribution of the effects.

  17. Dr. John Miller says:

    I haven’t misunderstood. The first sentence of your post says, “Doses of radiation that are lower than about 700 mGy/yr (see note below) are more likely to reduce cancer incidence and increase life span than to decrease it.”

    That statement IS absurd, and is unsupported by evidence.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Miller

      Please see Hormesis by Low dose Radiation Effects paying particular attention to the the section on chronic doses.

      What I consider your misunderstanding is the translation of “more likely to reduce cancer incidence and increase life span than to decrease it” into “will suffer less cancer.” It might be nit-picking on my part, but “more likely” is a statement about probability with acknowledgement of uncertainty; “will” is a word that removes the understanding that life is uncertain.

    • cyril r says:

      Actually there is loads of evidence that 2 mSv/day is not bad for you. Talking about yearly doses is as silly as talking about yearly uptake of beer. 700 glasses of beer… sounds like a lot, but its only 2 glasses a day which has negligible health risk (and a growing body of evidence of positive effects).

  18. cyril r says:

    We need to stop talking about dose rates per year. This is silly, like saying you should not take more than 200 pills of aspirin a year. If I take 1 pill a day, this is 365 pills, but theres negligible health effect. If I take half that dose in 1 day, I’m dead.

    It makes sense to consider a dose timeframe that corresponds with the timeframe of human recovery and immune system response. A typical and convenient figure is 1 day. If I drink too much I will take about a day to recover, for example.

    So we can set a dose per day limit. Maybe 1 mSv/day for adults.