Jacobson misuses LNT to purposefully exaggerate effects of Fukushima radiation

Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, has a well known belief that human society can be powered entirely by wind, water, and sunlight. He was a coauthor with Mark A. Delucchi for a November 2009 Scientific American cover article titled A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030. The margin callout on that article made the following bold, attention grabbing claim:

Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. HERE’S HOW.

Despite all of his academic research modeling the hazards of fossil fuel emissions, Jacobson has also illogically campaigned against the use of nuclear energy. In February 2010, he participated in a TED debate against Steward Brand on the question of whether or not the world needs nuclear energy. Jacobson took the illogical position that unreliable power sources like the wind and the sun negated any need for nuclear or fossil fuels.

He also published a paper in October 2008 titled Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security that ranked nuclear energy as worse than coal with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) from an environmental perspective.

According to Jacobson

According to Jacobson

If you read that paper to find out the reasoning for his low ranking of nuclear in a paper supposedly focused on global warming, air pollution and energy security, you will find that he includes the effects of hypothetical nuclear weapons attacks. He puts his calculations of the emissions caused by the mushroom clouds in the debit column for nuclear energy. The fact that weapons and power are as related for nuclear as they are for fossil fuel, it is surprising that he did not include the emissions caused by continuing, routine conventional weapons use in the debit column for fossil fuels.

So, in retrospect I think that my nuanced response was perhaps not the best way to respond to CNN’s inquiries.
Kathryn A. Higley, PhD, CHP

Since I have been aware of Jacobson’s antinuclear agenda for several years, I was not at all surprised to find that he had engaged his atmospheric modeling skills to attempt to estimate radiation doses around the world as a result of the accident. I was also not surprised to learn that he had issued press releases about his paper and contacted major news outlets like CNN to attract publicity for the paper’s scary conclusion that Fukushima put hundreds to thousands of people at risk of an early cancer fatality. Few diseases manage to scare people as much as cancer, with its known attributes of lingering, painful death.

Aside: I can count at least six family members or close friends who have died after long bouts with cancer, including two children. The memories of their withering away are etched deep into my memories. I understand fear and loathing of cancer. Not one of those deaths, however, had anything to do with radiation. End Aside.

It did not even surprise me to see that Jacobson had ignored cautions from radiation protection specialists like the Health Physics Society (HPS) and the International Council on Radiation Protection (ICRP) about using the Linear No Threshold (LNT) to predict effects on large populations of people following exposures to tiny quantities of radiation. Using the assumption to calculate a non trivial number of deaths by multiplying a very large number of people by a tiny per person risk is known as using the “collective dose” assumption. Here is what the Health Physics Society says about that application of the LNT assumption:

In accordance with current knowledge of radiation health risks, the Health Physics Society recommends against quantitative estimation of health risks below an individual dose of 5 rem in one year or a lifetime dose of 10 rem above that received from natural sources. Doses from natural background radiation in the United States average about 0.3 rem per year. A dose of 5 rem will be accumulated in the first 17 years of life and about 25 rem in a lifetime of 80 years. Estimation of health risk associated with radiation doses that are of similar magnitude as those received from natural sources should be strictly qualitative and encompass a range of hypothetical health outcomes, including the possibility of no adverse health effects at such low levels.

There is substantial and convincing scientific evidence for health risks following high-dose exposures. However, below 5–10 rem (which includes occupational and environmental exposures), risks of health effects are either too small to be observed or are nonexistent.

(Emphasis added.)

Jacobson’s antinuclear agenda shines through in his paper because he claimed to be “quantifying” risk and because the range of his estimates did not include the full range of possibilities down to “no adverse health effects.” In fact, his paper abstract implies that the top end of his prediction might be underestimated!

Sensitivities to emission rates, gas to particulate I-131 partitioning, and the mandatory evacuation radius around the plant are also explored, and may increase upper bound mortalities and morbidities in the ranges above to 1300 and 2500, respectively.

It also shines through in the introductory paragraph of the paper, where he included the following loaded description of the accident’s releases.

Radiation from the crippled reactors began to leak no later than
12 March 2011. The radiation release poisoned local water and food supplies and created a dead-zone of several hundred square kilometers around the site that may not be safe to inhabit for decades to centuries.

The only thing that really surprised me when I read the CNN report of Jacobson’s paper was that the author had included what appeared to be an endorsement of the paper by a qualified health physicist, Professor Kathryn Higley of Oregon State University.

I followed through on my surprise about that description by contacting Professor Higley. She answered my email at 7:30 am Pacific time, which is incredibly responsive for a college professor during the summer months. (That is the kind of professor I always liked when I was in school.) I know this might sound shocking to some people, but it turns out that the CNN reporter had spun her words and provided an inaccurate summary of what she had actually said and meant.

With her permission, I want to share that conversation with you.

Dear Professor Higley:

In a July 17, 2012 CNN article titled “Researchers estimate 130 might die from Fukushima-related cancers” (http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/17/researchers-estimate-130-might-die-from-fukushima-related-cancers/), your name was used in the following context:

“The methods of the study were solid, and the estimates were reasonable, although there is still uncertainty around them, said Kathryn Higley, head of Nuclear Engineering & Radiation Health Physics at Oregon State University. But given how much cancer already exists in the world, it would be very difficult to prove that anyone’s cancer was caused by the incident at Fukushima Daiichi. The World Health Organization estimates that 7.8 million people died worldwide in 2008, so 130 out of that number is quite small, says Higley.”

Did your endorsement of the study methods take into account the position statement issued by the International Council on Radiation Protection (ICRP) saying that using collective dose at low exposure levels to predict health effects is not appropriate?

Specifically, from the executive summary of ICRP publication 103 – The 2007 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection:

“(k) The collective effective dose quantity is an instrument for optimisation, for comparing radiological technologies and protection procedures, predominantly in the context of occupational exposure. Collective effective dose is not intended as a tool for epidemiological risk assessment, and it is inappropriate to use it in risk projections. The aggregation of very low individual doses over extended time periods is inappropriate, and in particular, the calculation of the number of cancer deaths based on collective effective doses from trivial individual doses should be avoided.”

I appreciate your prompt response.

Rod Adams
Publisher, Atomic Insights
Host and producer, The Atomic Show Podcast


Thanks for the feedback. Here is what I emailed CNN:

Here are some thoughts on the article
1. The authors used some fairly standard methods to estimate where the radioactive material went, and how people were exposed and the doses that resulted.
2. That being said – they used calculational tools, and estimated many values that had to be plugged into their computer models. Those input values have uncertainty associated with them, and the “true” values might not be known for a while (they suggest as much in the text)
3. Because of that, I take exception to their first statement in the abstract – namely that they are “quantifying” world-wide health effects. I would argue instead that they are “estimating” impacts. Yes, they are calculating numbers, but there is considerable uncertainty in them.
4. They estimate worldwide mortality 130 deaths with a range of 15–1100, and it appears that this number is from exposure occurring over a 50 year time period (although most mortality is presumed contributed from the early months of the release).
5. They conclude that the estimated 130 deaths are non trivial. I do not want to minimize the pain and suffering of any individual with cancer, but the World Health Organization estimates (http://www.who.int/cancer/en/) that in 2008 7.8 million people died of cancer world wide. In the US alone, the American cancer society estimates that this year, 28,170 men will die of prostate cancer (Cancer Facts and Figures) So I take exception to the authors stating, in their conclusions, that “Fukushima nuclear accident may cause nontrivial cancer mortality and morbidity”. There is still considerable debate in the radiobiology community if the LNT theory is valid at doses below 1 mSv, and if the response is linear, has a threshold, or is something else altogether.
6. They do go on to compare their estimated numbers and make the final recommendation that “Nevertheless, long-term cancer risk studies should be conducted in Japan to compare with the estimates developed here as well as with future modeling studies of the health effects from Fukushima”. I believe that the Japanese are already doing this, even though their expectation (and epidemiologists in the US as well) is that it will be very unlikely for them to detect excess cancers in the exposed population, simply due to the high background incidence of cancer.

So, there’s my two cents worth. Hope it helps.

So, in retrospect I think that my nuanced response was perhaps not the best way to respond to CNN’s inquiries.


Kathryn A. Higley, PhD, CHP

Professor and Head
Dept. of Nuclear Engineering & Radiation Health Physics

Professor Higley

Thank you for the prompt and informative response. The media sure can twist a nuanced response that honestly expresses uncertainty.

Rod Adams

I am slowly learning to shorten my responses. But I’m a university professor. It is very difficult to make black and white statements.



May I have permission to use your unedited, detailed comment in a blog post? I have fewer space limitations than CNN does.

Rod Adams

I want to thank Professor Higley for her informative and timely responses to my inquiry. There is a more to this story; but the key lesson that I take away is that I am even more motivated than ever to expose the fallacies and inaccuracies of the linear, no threshold dose response assumption. It is too useful as a tool of people with an antinuclear agenda. It does not even do a good job of protecting public health and safety because it has often resulted in people avoiding beneficial health treatments out of a fear of even small, doctor approved doses.

You can find several interesting articles and discussions at the following locations.

Additional Reading

UNSCEAR – planning a comprehensive assessment, with an interim report now scheduled to be released in September 2012. Preparing a scientific report to the General Assembly on ‘Exposures due to the nuclear accident following the Great East-Japan earthquake and tsunami’

BBC – Fukushima’s disease risk: A major fallout?

Nature – Fukushima’s uncertainty problem (Geoff Brumfiel’s column demonstrates how Jacobson’s low boundary on his estimate that is a number substantially greater than zero is being widely accepted by non-specialist observers. Within the range of uncertainty of the health effects of very low doses of radiation the HPS says there is a possibility of no negative health effects.)

Pronuclear bloggers have been busy responding to the way that the advertiser supported media has portrayed Jacobson’s paper.

Mark Lynas – Why Fukushima death toll projections are based on junk science

Nuclear Diner – Effects of Low Level Radiation

Next Big Future – Anti-nuclear Mark Jacobson estimated ie Made up, what he expects for future deaths resulting from Fukushima

About Rod Adams

32 Responses to “Jacobson misuses LNT to purposefully exaggerate effects of Fukushima radiation”

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  1. James Greenidge says:

    It’s vital that not only the proof and truth comes out here and the min rad dosage game gets straightened out, but that a very massive dose of perspective is issued to the public about this. There are activists groups sitting on skittish clueless politicians from Diablo Canyon to Indian Point who can’t wait for unofficial signs that a dozen random children from Fukushima will come down with any cancers as the excuse and pretext to shut down and curtail construction of reactors, even through they will blatantly overlook and even tolerate far far higher incidents of respiratory and blood aliments and diseases incurred by oil and coal emissions in addition to pollution, such is the fever of their blind anti-nuclear passions.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  2. donb says:

    For the sake of argument, let’s accept the hypothesis that 130 deaths will results from the Fukushima disaster. What is missed in the media’s gushing over these hypothetical deaths is that the Fukushima power plants have save many more lives than this. At the time of their construction, the only real alternative was to build coal-fired power plants. These would have caused many more than 130 deaths via air pollution.

    • jmdesp says:

      Actually; the alternative to the currently closed NPP today is a massive amount of fossile power, including some coal, whose pollution and dangers may well be responsible for more than 130 people killed since last year.

  3. This is my plain English translation of Professor Higley’s email.

    – The study made a lot of guesses.

    – There is no scientific consensus about those guesses.

    – The accuracy of the results is unknown.

    – The conclusion is not supported.

  4. EL says:

    Just a couple of questions Rod:

    1) Jacobson and Hoeve seem out on a limb when assessing mortality from such low doses in the US (which they give in 0 – 6 range). They clearly highlight as much. But these doses are not as low in Japan, and appear to have met benchmark criteria for collective dose measurement and LNT by Health Physics Society of 5 – 10 rem. Many workers received a dose in this range, and the general public too (citing an IRSN report that up to 5300 people received doses in excess of 5 rem, and 2,200 as high as 10-50 rem). These numbers would appear to warrant the assessment described in the paper, utilizing criteria you provide above from Health Physics Society.

    2) In addition, the authors aren’t simply using one approach to arrive at their results, but multiple. They are also drawing on the EPA’s Dose and Risk Calculation (DCAL) software for assessing health risks from inhalation, ground-level, and atmospheric external exposure pathways. None of the critics of this paper have focused on this assessment tool yet, and I’m curious if you have as many questions about the EPA’s assessment criteria as well (since it is used in tandem with other methodologies in the paper). Since this article has been peer reviewed, I think it is very unlikely that they are using this software incorrectly. I would be interested in hearing your view (or those of others in this forum).

    As Prof. Higley points out, there are several uncertainties in the data used in the paper (which the authors adequately highlight in their study). It may be worth nothing that these uncertainties regarding input values have been rising over time, and not increasing. Japan recently raised their total emissions estimate from the accident some 250% above initial estimates.


    Jacobson and Hoeve appear to be taking a rather conservative approach to addressing this issue, which they describe and fully reference in their paper.

    • ddpalmer says:

      From the IRSN report; “If the most contaminated areas (dose exceeding 20 mSv) had not been evacuated, as the Japanese
      authorities decided to do on 22nd April 2011, this dose could even have exceeded 50 mSv for
      approximately 5,300 persons.”

      So the IRSN report DOES NOT claim that 5,300 people recieved doses in excess of 5 Rem, as you claim. It very clearly claims if the area hadn’t been evacuated, which it then goes on to say that the area was evacuated. Once I found your this misrepresentation of this report I didn’t see any reason to read any further.

      • Rod Adams says:

        50 mSv = 5 Rem. That is exactly the same level that was allowed for occupational workers when I was trained in the Navy Nuclear Power Training Program. We have 50 years worth of data on hundreds of thousands of people with some of the tightest controlled dosimeter programs in the world that indicates there are no health effects from that amount of exposure.


        • EL says:

          The IRSN report is here.


          Based on deposition sampling of cs 137 and cs 134 from MEXT (which are not in dispute), they provide dose estimates for 1 year, 10 year, and 70 year. They also compare to DoE/NNSA data.

          The question is whether exposed doses merit quantitative estimation as detailed by Health Physics Society (which you detail above). And with some 5300 estimated to receive a dose in the first year in excess of 50 mSv (or 5 rem), and the same in excess of 190 mSv (or 19 rem) after 10 years, the answer would appear to be yes. And the health impact is as described in the research report (15 – 1300 cancer mortalities depending on a variety of inputs and sensitivities, new findings, or other factors in original assumptions).

    • ddpalmer says:

      EL, did you read the report that you so kindly provided a link to?

      Because either you didn’t read it or you are knowingly lying.

      As I already quote directly from the report, the 50 mSv dose to 5300 people was an estimated IF THE EVACUATION HADN’T OCCURRED. But in case you forgot, the evacuation did occur. So those 5300 people weren’t in the contaminated area to recieve that 50 mSv dose.

      And as others have pointed out the scienec behind the 15-1300 cancer mortalities is based on invalid statistical assumptions. It is similar to saying that if 1 person will die if they take 100 asprin, then if 100 people each take 1 asprin we would expect 1 of them to die.

      So you lie about the report, even though the relevant section has alreday been quoted, and you insist on misusing statistical analysis. Either of those might fly on an anti-nuclear Facebook page but not here where people actually know the science and will actually read your link rather than just swallow your BS.

      • EL says:

        I did not “lie” about the report. You need to read it again (and more carefully this time).

        “This report only considers the external doses already received as well as the doses that may be received in the future from fallout deposits, regardless of doses received previously from the radioactive plume” (p. 6).

        They also provide a description of the area were affected populations currently reside: “Heavily contaminated territories located outside the initial evacuation zone of 20 km around the Fukushima plant were 8.5% in surface of those in Chernobyl (874 km2 compared to 10,300 km2) and the order of magnitude of the affected population size would be 26% of that of Chernobyl (69,400 compared to 270,000)” (p. 20).

        They also provide an evaluation of health impacts should recommended radio-protection evaluation criteria be used to evacuate more people from the most heavily contaminated areas (I think this is where you may be misreading the study).

        Please point out where exposure levels are provided for towns such as Okuma. Population of 11,000, located 3 km from the Fukushima site boundary, where radiation levels in the early stages of the accident were recorded at some 508 mSv/year.


        It seems rather obvious to me that such populations (and avoided exposures) have not been included in the study. For one reason, because they say so. But for another, we would get much higher health impacts and exposure levels had they been included.

        • Rod Adams says:


          Re: Okuma – How long were people exposed to the dose rate of 508 mSv/yr? That is 1.4 mSv per day, so unless evacuations were delayed by more than a month, it does not follow that people were exposed to 50 mSv or more. The other question is what was the source of that exposure level? If it came from I-131, radioactive decay would have knocked it down by a factor of 16 in 32 days.

        • EL says:

          Read my comment again. The only exposures in the study were from people outside the evacuation zone (not Okuma). Decay rates, natural remediation, and shielding from building were part of the dose estimates from residents in the study (outside the evacuation zone). If hypothetical exposures for 11,000 residents residing in Okuma “were” a part of the study (which they aren’t), the numbers would be much different (as much higher than reported).

          The quote provided by ddpalmer appears no-where in the study, so it appears to be coming from some other study or comment.

          If there are any problems with this study … the best place to look are dose estimates and projections based on deposition levels, decay and natural remediation rates (over 1, 10, and 70 years), and shielding values.

          P. 18

          Deposits of 300,000 to 600,000 Bq/m2 correspond to the external dose values of 5 to 10 mSv projected for the 1st year. The conversion factor from the surface activity of caesiums to the projected external dose for the 1st year is 16.6 mSv/year per MBq/m2. The correspondence between caesium deposit levels and projected external doses for the 1st year is shown in Table 1.

          P. 8

          A shielding factor of 0.3 applied for 12 hours per day was assumed to take into account shielding by buildings.

          etc … etc … etc …

        • Brian Mays says:

          EL – I can see why Rod allows you to continue to post here. You have an almost uncanny knack of digging yourself deeper and deeper into a hole. It is sadly comical to watch.

          I’ll concede that you probably did not “lie.” My theory is that you are simply not intelligent enough to parse the reports that you cite.

          For example, earlier in the comments here you make claims based on “citing an IRSN report that up to 5300 people received doses in excess of 5 rem, and 2,200 as high as 10-50 rem.” Now, if you will please refer to page 22 of the report that you cite (page 21 of the PDF that you linked to), you will notice that, Figure 9A does indeed show such results. However, if you read the first paragraph at the top of the page, you will see that it says (emphasis mine):

          The Fukushima population living in the northwest fallout zone and likely to exceed external dose of 10 mSv for the 1st year has been distributed in subgroups according to the range of projected external doses for the 4 first years after the accident if no evacuation action is prescribed.

          Since this is now the third time this has been pointed out to you, I guess we get to see whether you are capable of exhibiting a learning curve. Care to double down on that claim?

          Some people are liars, others are just stupid.

        • Brian Mays says:

          EL – Oh, and by the way, before you prattle on again about “the only exposures in the study were from people outside the evacuation zone,” I should point out the following. The city of Minamisoma is considered in the study to be outside the “evacuation zone” (actually, the study is more specific in excluding only the “no-entry” zone, you should have noticed the difference), and it probably accounts for a large portion of the “exposed” population that was used to calculate the “projected” collective dose. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t consider this city as not evacuated after the earthquake/tsunami disaster, would you?

          Finally, the report you cite was published over a year ago, on the “66th day” after the accident? It’s a rough first guess based on dubious information. The estimates that you claim as truth come from a parametric study examining a set of hypothetical scenarios based on naive assumptions (e.g., no residents of the city of Minamisoma either died in the natural disaster or left the city afterward). Don’t you think that we have more information now than we did back then?

        • EL says:

          Ah ha … I see your point (however malicious in its presentation). The initial study by IRSN recommends evacuation of several highly contaminated areas outside the 20 km evacuation zone, and provides estimates of dose projections for 1, 10, and 70 years (in which as many as 2,200 will receive a dose in excess of 100 mSv in the first year, and 5,300 in excess of 50 mSv). These emergency planning and evacuation areas were revised subsequent to the report to include some of the areas that were identified as most heavily contaminated (particularly in the villages of Katsurao, Iitate, Namie, part of Kawamata and Minamisoma), and to minimize public exposures to a projected 20 mSv or less. Why are you surprised that I pointed out this was not discussed in the original report (since most of these evacuations occurred after the initial study)?

          You know … it is possible to add clarifying and substantive information without all of the invectives and noxious attacks that you regularly direct at others who have reasonable questions about the merits and trade-offs of nuclear power (and the troubling situation at Fukushima). You should try it some time, you may find you will get a more helpful and constructive response. By offering this critique, I take it you agree with the IRSN evacuation criteria then, as well as their methodology for assessing projected external doses based on surface deposits (and other factors)?

          It may be worth noting IRSN has produced a follow-up report: “Fukushima, one year later: Initial analyses of the accident and its consequences.”


          The relevant section that stands out for me (emphasis in original):

          “If the most contaminated areas (annual dose exceeding 20 mSv) had not been evacuated, as the Japanese authorities decided to do on April 22, 2011, this dose could even have been higher than 50 mSv for approximately 5,300 people. Inside the 20 km exclusion zone, even higher doses, in excess of 200 mSv, could have been reached, according to the maps published by MEXT. These estimates confirm that it would have been unthinkable to allow the return of the people urgently evacuated from this zone at the time of the accident (p. 156).”

          I’m curious if you agree with this conclusion (and the methodologies on which it is based) that returning to an area correctly evacuated in the early stages of the crisis (the initial 20 km evacuation area) is “unthinkable” given current circumstances. If you think that is a stupid conclusion as well, I’m all ears as to your reasoning for suggesting so?

  5. Carlgh says:

    A short version of the story was carried in the local newspaper. In our office, the response to the story was BS. It is a thinly veiled anti-nuclear hit piece that – thankfully- is being exposed for the atrocity that it is.
    I too have a ghastly family history of cancer – and none is a result of radiation, so it makes me furious to be told that I personally have a higher risk of getting cancer due to the fallout from Fukushima. I’m appauled especially now that I read that getting this cancer is a statistical impossibility at best; and worse, a calculated, deliberate attack on the future of nuclear power in its most sinister form, fear and hysteria.
    In light of the information presented here, Stanford Professor Jacobson should be censured.

  6. John Englert says:

    The irony is that Jacobson’s numbers look good from the point of view of nuclear supporters. If we consider the time horizon for these estimated cancers to develop, there will be more people who will win a Powerball jackpot than will die from Fukushima radioactive releases.

    • Rod Adams says:

      I am not willing to concede the fact that the most likely number of injuries from radiation exposure due to the accident is zero. That is what the HPS and ICRP cautions about the use of the LNT to predict casualties in a large population to trivial doses mean.

      When the most exposed person was exposed to a trivial dose, the likelihood of any single injury is trivial.

      • John Englert says:

        I think instead of focusing on the his numbers, in addition to criticizing the misuse of LNT the pro-nuclear community should also go after Jacobson’s article for the Diablo Canyon case study. There was absolutely no reason for Jacobson to add the Diablo Canyon case study other than to scare people. It didn’t contribute to the field plus he failed to offer a credible accident scenario in which a release of the magnitude of Fukushima would happen at Diablo Canyon.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @John – good point. I did not actually get that far in reading his paper; he turned me off pretty well by the abstract and the introductory paragraphs. I agree strongly with your point – a hypothetical scenario has no place in a peer reviewed paper. Its inclusion exposes Jacobson’s work for what it is – an antinuclear diatribe. It is roughly analogous to his inclusion of a mushroom cloud as a final image during his TED debate with Stewart Brand on the topic of whether we need nuclear energy or not.

  7. PissedOIffAmerican says:

    Of course, we see no mention here of workers being told to cover dosimeters with lead shields, nor do we see mention of the past three months of revelations about just how deceptive and despicable the TEPCO management, in collusion with the Japanese government, has been in trying to cover up the extent of this disaster.

    Rod, your site has become an embarrasment to you and the industry. Advocating for the industry is one thing, but abject denial and disingenuous selective criticisms of expert opinions that do not kow-tow to the industry script is quite another thing all together.

    • DV82XL says:

      The only thing that is an embarrassment on this site is that idiots like you continue to post unsubstantiated nonsense apparently in the mistaken belief that the readership here is so stupid that it will swallow these without questioning them.

      Even if what you contend was true, it has absolutely no bearing on the subject at hand which is that other data has been manipulated to produce invalid results by another entity all together.

      • Rod Adams says:


        Please do not condemn this site for the fact that it allows people to demonstrate both their knowledge and their ignorance to a wide audience.

    • James Greenidge says:

      Whether TEPCO or any nuclear company knew about or allowed unethical/illegal/unprofessional practices in its operations isn’t any indictment against nuclear power. Are you going to chuck cars because a shady mechanic slips cheap parts in or doesn’t perform am adequate check out or someone in auto corporate shelved a safety recall regulation? The actions of companies and individuals doesn’t corrupt or demonize the tried and proven safe concept of nuclear energy, yet anti-nukers will even try to find some off-the-wall convoluted logic to link old radium watch paint dumps and mishandled hospital rad waste or a spilled pail of irradiated water somewhere to nuclear plants as though they’re the same hazard and issue and inherent flaw. I always believed that to be a smart anti-nuker one must just have a philosophical beef with it (via B-movie nightmares or Hiroshima guilt, ect) because you just can’t hit nuclear energy on health and public safety record issues, especially matched to fossil fuels, without being a bald-faced public health hypocrite — one whose anti-nuke fixation has recordably — not speculation or guesses — cost ongoing millions of fossil fuel afflicted lives by retarding the progress of nuclear power. Will anti-nukers own up to that responsibility? When pigs fly. At least TEPCO is DOING something about preventing it.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

  8. Neil Craig says:

    The entire anti-nuclear case stands on the foundation of the Linear No Threshold (LNT) theory. I have sought out evidence for and against LNT ad horemsis )that low radiation is beneficial) and while there is a sighnificant amount for hormesis and much that there is no certain effect at all there is none whatsoever for LNT.

    Evidence collated here http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2010/03/low-level-radiation-evidence-that-it-is.html

    When asked you will find LNT supporters will either admit this or walk away. A theory without evidence is a “hypothesis” – one that is maintained despite a mass of evidence is a fraud. Neither is, scientifically, a theory and therefore, by definition, none of those who are so well paid by government to uphold it are true scientists. I know this calling a very large number of the highest scientific adminstrators charlatans but it follows inevitably from them promoting this fraud.

    The anti-nuclear movement has cost humanity 2 generations of cheap power and consequently 10s of millions of lives.

  9. T.K. says:


    Professor Higley wrote:

    “There is still considerable debate in the radiobiology community if the LNT theory is valid at doses below 1 mSv, and if the response is linear, has a threshold, or is something else altogether.”

    I thought the uncertainty below which LNT is questioned is around 100 mSv. Am I wrong?


    • Joffan says:

      You’re not wrong, TK, but the body count proposed by Jacobson would almost entirely disappear if the threshold were at 1mSv anyway. The other threshold effect neglected for low-level radiation is the time dimension; doses don’t accumulate over more than a month, and probably over rather less. I expect this to be more thoroughly demonstrated over the next few years, now that the door has been eased open by MIT. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/prolonged-radiation-exposure-0515.html

      There is some doubt over what a threshold would do to Jacobson’s figures, because the paper slides silently past giving any such testable value as exposures in mSv; but the actual recorded exposures in Japan have been vanishingly low, and in the rest of the world is certainly under the 1mSv mark.

  10. Joffan says:

    I saw a phrase today that made me think of the ŁNT* model applied to low-level radiation:
    “Effects that can never be reproduced on demand are the hallmark of pseudoscience.”
    The context was psychic effects, but the applicability to low-level radiation “harmfulness” seemed obvious.

    *apologies to Poles for the abuse of Ł – I want to express the brokenness of the “linearity” claimed by this model. (I hope the crossed-L character stays visible.)

  11. Brian Mays says:

    I have applied the methodology used by Ten Hoeve and Jacobson in their paper to estimate cancer fatalities to the passengers of Japan Airlines Co. Ltd. (JAL). From this analysis, I am forced to conclude that, since March 2011, the date of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami, JAL has been responsible for an additional 240 passenger cancers and 120 eventual cancer deaths.

    This is slightly less (by ten people) than Ten Hoeve and Jacobson’s projected 130 people, who will die from cancer due to the Fukushima accident over the next 50 years. However, JAL is still running flights every day (killing a “projected” 90 people each year, by Jacobson’s methodologies), while Fukushima-I plant has been shut down.

    Perhaps it would be more prudent to restart the Fukushima-I plant and shut down Japan Airlines?

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The only thing that is an embarrassment on this site is that idiots like you continue to post unsubstantiated nonsense apparently in the mistaken belief that the readership here is so stupid that it will swallow these without questioning them”:

    “Even if what you contend was true, blablahblah…….”

    I have yet to see this site condemn TEPCO, the Japanese government, or the Japanese regulatory agencies for their blatant attempts to circumvent regulations, falsify reports and analysis, conceal facts from the public, punish whistle blowers, and generally prove themselves to be absolutely and irrevocably untrustworthy. Instead, I see this site continuing to laud TEPCO despite overwhelming evidence of corruption, deception,and malfeasance. It renders yours assertions and assurances about nuclear power plant safety as less than believable. In regards to Fukushima, all I have seen here is attacks and ad hominem directed at anyone questioning your script. For a community so fond of accusing people of “ignorance”, you people sure don’t exhibit much in the way of common sense. Do you really think such lopsided and transparent partisan foolishness buttresses your credibility???

    You completely ignore the conclusions of reports examining this disaster, reports that blame the disaster on the very kind of arrogance and blind intellectual elitism that is woven throughout the fiber of this blog. With each scathing report exposing the industry’s corruption in Japan, one comes here hoping to find comment, only to find a community with thier heads thrust deeply into the sand, as if these reports are non-existent.

    “At least TEPCO is……blablahblah….”

    Trying to attach some sort of altruism to TEPCO, portraying it as a crusader against the evil oil empire is laughable, and erodes your credibility further.


    • DV82XL says:

      The topic at hand in this threads at least, is that one Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, misuses LNT to purposefully exaggerate effects of Fukushima radiation. How this relates to TEPCO which is not mentioned in the body of the leading article, and at all until you brought it up is something you fail to make clear. This leads me to believe that the only thing you are doing here is using this thread as an off-topic soapbox – a practice that is roundly condemned in most forums on the net, and which in many cases is cause for the moderator to delete the offending entry.

      This is what I was alluding to, and for which I was upbraided by Rod for. This is his site, and he sets the policy, however I will not be party to a topic high-jacking by responding to the substance of your remarks.

      • Rod Adams says:


        I misinterpreted your comment. I was not upbraiding you and did not recognize that your complaint was about an off topic comment.

        As I stated, I do not mind if someone wants to display their ignorance in public. I hope that readers can either enjoy the silliness or ignore it if they are bothered.

        If the comments are offensive, I will delete them if asked.