By Timothy Maloney, PhD
Editor’s note: Timothy Maloney has written a number of text books about electrical circuits, electricity, and industrial electronics. The below is a copy of a letter that he wrote to Ralph Nader in response to an opinion piece published by CounterPunch under the headline Why Atomic Energy Stinks Worse Than You Thought. I obtained Dr. Maloney’s permission to republish his letter here, in hopes that it helps his effort receive the attention that it deserves.
PO Box 19312
Washington, DC 20036
Dear Mr. Nader,
I wish to respond to your essay Atomic Energy – Unnecessary, Uneconomic, Uninsurable, Unevacuable and Unsafe appearing on Reader Supported News on October 12, 2013, and at Counterpunch.org. Allow me to address each of the five issues that you raise: Safety; Evacuation; Necessity; Economy; and Insurance.
Safety: This is the heart of the matter. Is it really true that exposure to low-levels of ionizing radiation is dangerous to human health in the short term (cancer /disease), or in the long term (adverse genetic mutations)?
This question ought to be answered by a lavishly funded scientifically rigorous long-term study of primates exposed to radiation at various intensities and cumulative doses, compared to a control group. Such a scientific investigation has never been done.
As a poor alternative, scientific study has been confined to observing the extended effects of accidental radiation exposures to humans – unregulated, of course. There have been no conclusive results from such observations, as pointed out many times by informed observers.
For example, the 2003 summary published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
suggests that protracted exposure of 50-100 milliSieverts may possibly cause increased cancer risk to humans. But more recent studies of residents of the Kerala region of India report no increased cancer incidence in an environment of annual background levels higher than 50 mSv, reported by the National Institute of Health at
That is, residents of the Kerala region receive more than 50 mSv during every year of their lives with no demonstrated cancer risk.
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