15 nation radiation cancer study used questionable data
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has reevaluated data that it contributed to a 15 nation pooled study of low dose radiation cancer risks published in 2005. The determination was that the data was incorrect, needed further evaluation and should be removed from the cohort used for the 15 nation study. When that action is taken, the reported excess cancer risk disappears into a statistical insignificance.
A little more than a week ago, a reader who used to be a Reactor Operator (RO) at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) contacted me for information to support his on-going “battle” with antinuclear activists. In one exchange an activist mentioned a study titled Risk of cancer after low doses of ionising radiation: retrospective cohort study in 15 countries conducted in 2005.
That study reached the following conclusion as documented in the abstract:
Conclusions These estimates, from the largest study of nuclear workers ever conducted, are higher than, but statistically compatible with, the risk estimates used for current radiation protection standards. The results suggest that there is a small excess risk of cancer, even at the low doses and dose rates typically received by nuclear workers in this study.
I initially could not offer any response. However, I just came across a note in a paper titled Low Dose Radiation Adaptive Protection to Neurodegenerative Diseases by Mohan Doss which is available as a prepress article from the Dose-Response Journal. That paper included the following quote:
The 15-country study of radiation workers (Cardis et al., 2005), which was quoted as supportive evidence for the carcinogenic effect of LDR in Appendix V of BEIR VII Report (NRC, 2006), no longer shows increased risk of cancer from LDR. The Canadian data, which was part of the 15-country study, has been withdrawn from use because of newly identified problems with the data (CNSC, 2011).
Here is the footnote information: CNSC. 2011. Verifying Canadian Nuclear Energy Worker Radiation Risk: A Reanalysis of Cancer Mortality in Canadian Nuclear Energy Workers (1957-1994) Summary Report. INFO-0811. Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Published June 2011.
Here is the executive summary of that paper:
In 2005, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a 15-country study on the mortality of nuclear energy workers (NEWs). This study showed a statistically significant increase in the risk of mortality from all cancers excluding leukaemia in relation to radiation exposure, with Canadian data the chief driving force behind the worldwide results. The CNSC commissioned a reanalysis of the Canadian portion of the data to understand the unexpected findings. The study is now complete and summarized in this document.
When the researchers looked closely at the data by categories of workers, they identified that the statistically significant increase was driven by a single group of workers. They found that a group of 3,088 former Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) workers who had been hired prior to 1965 was the only group with “a consistent radiation-associated increase in risk of solid cancer mortality”.
This group of AECl NEWs had a profound impact on the Canadian and 15-country study findings.
It is very likely that these early AECl NEWs have incomplete dose information (i.e., their doses are under-reported).
As a result of the detailed analysis, the CNSC concluded
The CNSC does not have confidence in the historical AECl dose data (1956-1964). The apparent increase in the risk of solid cancer mortality for these early AECl NEWs deserves further investigation.
The CNSC, Health Canada and AECl are further assessing the dose data of early AECl NEWs to resolve the existing outstanding issues. Health Canada has agreed not to share the Canadian cohort for any further epidemiological research until the quality of the data file has been confirmed.
(Note: NEW – nuclear energy worker)
After finding those documents, I wondered if there was any kind of process that would result in changes to the original 2005 study. As you can see if you follow the link, that document is still readily available with no apparent corrections or cautions attached. That’s not surprising; after all, paper copies of published work are also permanently available without any notes or cautions attached.
The process of correcting the historical record is still in progress with some recently published updates. At least some of the additional work recommended in the 2011 paper has apparently been completed.
On November 22, 2013, the CNSC issued a press release titled CNSC Nuclear Energy Worker Study Published in British Journal of Cancer.
That press release pointed to an editorial published on November 13, 2013 in the British Journal of Cancer titled Nuclear worker studies: promise and pitfalls. Here is an important quote:
So, it would appear that the most reliable results from the 15-country study are for the combined 14 countries excluding Canada, which are not exceptional (see above).
The latest Canadian worker study by Zablotska et al (2013) illustrates the care that must be exercised in collating worker data, and the problems that can arise, especially when using data that may have been collected for purposes other than epidemiology.
This post is not one of my most readable or entertaining contributions, but I thought it would be worthwhile to document the path I took — along with all relevant links — to come to the conclusion summarized in the lede. It is not always easy to try to describe the complex process of knowledge acquisition; perhaps someday this documented set of links will help someone answer a challenge from someone who did not get the memo that the original 15 nation study included flawed data.
How can we best use modern communications tools to set the record straight when data errors that affect previously published work get discovered?
Perhaps not entertaining for some, but as it happens I was just looking at Cardis et. al. a couple of weeks ago and noticed the same high Canadian values driving the results. My attention was drawn to Cardis by this paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2889502/
… which used the Cardis data to argue against the possibility of hormesis. A subsequent search on Google Scholar shows that Cardis has been cited 378 times, a very large number, especially for this academic discipline. A quick sampling suggest that Cardis 2005 is among the top 5% most-cited studies on low-dose radiation in the past 8 years.
So thanks for drawing our attention to this, because it is very important.
One other important thing to note is that many low-dose studies (including Cardis, but certainly not limited to it) make no distinction regarding how low the dose is. Typically, they simply take a bunch of low-dose exposed people, find an average dose for everyone, find a mortality for everyone, and treat everyone the same regardless of dose. A study done in this way will never find a threshold even if present, never find hormesis, even if present. As the possibility never enters the mind of the scientists involved, the results are essentially preordained.
Rod, great research. Professor Lydia B. Zablotska was the lead author of the original 2004 Canadian study. I think it’s important that Professor Zablotska is also the lead author of the 2013 reanalysis. She declares no conflict of interest for the reanalysis.
Zablotska confidently states that,
The original Canadian statistics have a major outlier in the early data: the dose received by workers between 1956 and 1964. Zablotska says the problem is probably faulty record keeping.
Almost as an aside, Zablotska points out a possible large error in the 15-country study. Some of the reported lung cancers were probably caused by smoking.
It’s interesting that Professor Zablotska was a high school student in Ukraine when Chernobyl happened, and as a medical student in Belarus she saw the first patients coming into the wards with thyroid cancer. (link)
Zablotska has not proved that the early dose records are incomplete. She has just decided to presume it. Before she decides the whole study gives a false result, she should go back and investigate those early dose measurements.
Had the early dose measurements caused the study to support hormesis or a threshold effect for radiation damage, none of you pro-nuclear people would be claiming that those records were likely inaccurate.
Bottom Line: Provide evidence those dose records are underestimates, or stop concluding that the study’s result is wrong.
“Dr.” Miller, “PhD,”
I realize that the specialization of your training is in Social Psychology (or some other such field that is rife with frauds … I forget the details) — not Epidemiology — so I’ll try to make this very simple for you.
The authors of the original 15-country study admit in their published papers that the Canadian data were the salient (possibly spurious) inputs that were responsible for their conclusion that the study’s results are “consistent” with current radiation protection standards. They also admitted that they couldn’t explain why.
Zablotska et al. have merely done the investigative work to explain the “why.”
That is a lie, and it only serves to demonstrate your ignorance. You do realize that everybody agrees that there was a healthy worker effect in the data, don’t you? That is, nuclear workers are less likely to develop cancer than the general population.
You misunderstand the study. They have not explained why, they have excluded results that cannot be verified from currently available records at this point in time.
“… dose files created for the Gribbin et al (1993) study have been lost” (p. 3).
“A total of 2871 workers could not be linked to the NDR, although some had worked up to 15 years at AECL. The reasons why they do not have records in the NDR remain uncertain” (p. 3).
“Although a genuine difference in response between the two groups cannot be ruled out, inconsistencies in dose information for AECL in that early period appear to be causing a systematic error that cannot be explained at this time” (p. 9).
The observation you made, that outdated and discredited data continue to be used by scientists, is a systemic deficiency in the scientific infrastructure that has evolved for the application of science in our society. You can read about a few other deficiencies in the recent Pre-press publication in Dose Response entitled “Correcting Systemic Deficiencies in Our Scientific Infrastructure” available at http://dose-response.metapress.com/link.asp?id=11h3l8t067886g08
Rod, excellent works bringing this all together.
Three people each buy a large bottle of multivitamins. Jill takes one pill each day with breakfast. Jack takes 7 vitamin pills every Saturday. John takes 365 pills on the last day of the year.
Will the health effects be the same for all?
Nuclear workers do not receive their dose at a continuous low rate 24/7. They tend do receive their dose in short bursts at high rate.
Even if the original results were valid they would not apply to the continuous low dose rates around Fukushima or Chernobyl, but it is comforting to know that people can tolerate irregular dose rates without measurable increase in risk, something that cannot be said about many more common risk factors.
I have no idea of the health effects of mega-doses of multivitamins so I will use a different comparison. The restriction on the allowable dose for Rad-Workers, even those that arrange the timing of their job so that they can receive two quarters dose in a few days span is closer to that of the average person taking a weeks worth of children’s aspirin, prescribed for a heart condition, in one day.
There was a battalion of soldiers within a short distance of one of the NV test explosions of the atomic bomb. This much I know as one of those there was my High School science teacher. He claims he was knocked down by the blast wave. To this date I can find nothing as to the consequences that this event had on that large number of people.
There was a movie made about those soldiers. The DoD processes claims by Atomic Vets, which includes doing dose reconstruction. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency manages some of that work.
The made-for-TV movie was “Nightbreaker,” starring Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, and Lea Thompson
Even better, consider the effects of UV radiation on the skin. Clearly, it would be ridiculous to apply the effects of one kind of radiation on one organ to other kinds of radiation on other organs (…), but the effects of cumulative dose, dose rate and hormesis are at least pretty well understood with this one. Living and working outside in a sunny country, getting just enough exposure to get a tan but never burn, and getting a high enough dose (and dose rate) to burn all have different effects. At least with this kind of radiation exposure, it seems that very high lifetime doses are slightly correlated with the risk of developing some cancers (working outside in sunny countries), occasional moderate doses at high rates or moderate lifetime doses at low rates lead to adaptation and little additional risk (being a bit more tanned), and very high doses over short periods of time are strongly correlated with lifetime cancer risk (getting sunburn). The doses most nuclear workers receive would fall in the ‘occasional moderate dose rate’ category, and are generally far lower than the level required to cause acute effects (eg. burns). Attempting to apply conclusions from weapons victims to nuclear workers or people exposed to low dose rates is like trying to predict melanoma rates in Spanish natives from all the crispy red British tourists on the beach…
In that context, it’s interesting that UV (which is ionizing radiation!) has a hormesis effect that is generally recognized in the medical community: too little UV is bad for you.
They’d have us believe the optimum amount of ionizing radiation is zero. Most of us are easy suckers.
Great work, Rod. The Cardis paper is one of the most influential studies of low-dose radiation effects, and it’s important to know that it may be skewed by faulty data. Thanks for bringing this to light, and for the references.
You want to hear the most damaging news possible for fission? Here it is:
13 December 2013
The first concrete has been poured for the basemat of the Tokamak complex of the Iter fusion reactor project at Cadarache in southern France.
The facility is expected to reach full operation in 2027
Here is my prediction: It will never reach full operation. It will never do anything. It is the ultimate embarrassment of Big Government.
Then again it could be the first to demonstrate usable fusion or be a clear step leading to it, marking a great human discovery (perhaps a trend of them) to occur outside the US. Fortunately we are somewhat in on the project.
Laurent Schmieder, head of buildings, construction and power supplies at Iter’s European domestic agency, Fusion for Energy (F4E), commented, “The coming years will be challenging because of our tight schedule and high technical requirements. Safety and nuclear security remain our two main commitments and priorities.”
France is safe and secure. The currency of fools. Fission never had to deliver because it always has the fusion backstop. And so it goes…nowhere.
Or fusion, once and if its achieved, will simply require a whole other level of funding, technical ability and complexity. More likely that will be the case.
Fission will be fine.
On the contrary, I predict that ITER will indeed reach full operation. But it won’t make any net energy.
Here is the link to the latest oversight meeting of NRC management by Congress:
It is long, but a few things worth pointing out:
1) Mac Farlane is not interested at all in asking for the proper budgets to finish Yucca despite being pressed on the issue by the oversight Chairman
2) At around 2:19:00, talk begin on security issues and the cost of implementing these measures at the plant level. All 4 commissioners say that they are conscious of the costs and do recommend only what makes sense. Except of course the NRC chairman who says that cost is never to be considered.
3) Many talks on evacuation plans and safety of nuclear plants. None of the 5 NRC ‘bozos’ deemed it necessary to reassure the Congress members that nuclear accidents develop very s l o w y and that there is always plenty of time to react in a orderly fashion.
4) All Congress representatives from Texas are pro nuclear and wondering how long it will take again for the next reactor to be approved. They are impressed at how slow the NRC gets anything done.
5) MacFarlane’s opening address is a nice shopping list. Talks about everything BUT licensing new plants. This is not on her radar.
6) No one from the NRC impressed me. They are all boring.
Naturally they are all boring. Commercial and investment banking cannot coexist with nuclear systems. Deregulated finance and regulated industry eventually terminates all nuclear based industrial development.
Starvinglion, you have a great tendency to make blanket statements about finances that are not backed up by any argument, demonstration or even a link or two. I am a conservative, and frankly I don’t understand any of what you are saying.
“Deregulated finance and regulated industry eventually terminates all nuclear based industrial development.”
Well, if you leave out the word “nuclear based” and leave the rest I could agree. Regulations that aim mostly at stopping competition have proven to be highly effective. The greatest risk that Nuclear faces is government regulation. If we can prove that no one will die at 1mSv levels of radiation, why just change the regs, make it .01 mSv and call it “safety.”
The confusion I have with your comments, which I honestly don’t expect an answer from you, is that you make these statements about nuclear power as though we should just toss out a technology and physics that can produce – even with all the regulation – electric at 2.4 cents / kwh. Hum, how does it do that?
Also, I am not too impressed with investment banking – though I have a fair number of mutual funds. Partly because it is easy to be a loan shark. Just ask my son who lost 3000 dollars one year in fees to Chase bank. It is not hard to make money off of marginal people who have few choices and who you can manipulate with policy.
You are correct that selling power at a very low rate is not attractive to some investors. The software as a service people have been making a pile lately. Power as a service – pay me 400 dollars a month to go to work – is highly lucrative. As a consumer I am very interested in increasing the number of players in the power market.
Will link you to research by the Navy on turning CO2 in water into jet fuel. The cost is high because the carbon source is fairly weak and the temps are low. But with a high temp reactor and using a high carbon source like coal the cost of producing liquid fuels is very competitive with Alberta oil sands.
So, do you think that Nuclear is over regulated or not?
One last point on low dose studies. I think there is enough meat out there to make the case.
When Rod was wondering a while back as to why the DOE stopped funding that kind of researches, I think that it was deemed not to be necessary anymore.
The Cardis paper already highlights the raised statistics for Canadian data, and offers findings both with and without the Canadian source data.
Adjustments to Canadian data seem to be primarily for tritium exposure (which distributes quickly through body and “results in a (nominal) whole-body dose,” according to Zablotska). Zablotska concludes: “Overall, the results of analyses of the revised Canadian data are compatible with the current radiation risk estimates from low-dose radiation exposures that form the basis of radiation protection standards” (p. 9) … namely, risk assessments from A Bomb survivors (male, older than 35 years). Zablotska also suggests a more recent independent study of UK radiation workers (Muirhead et al, 2009), which does show “significantly increased risks of morality from leukemia and from all cancers excluding leukemia” (p. 2), needs to be added to 15 country study results.
Indeed. The findings without the Canadian source data are: “Only when Canada was included … was the ERR [(excess relative risk)] significantly different from zero.”
In other words, there was no statistically significant risk observed from low dose exposure to radiation in the study, unless the data from Canada is included in the entire pool.
No, you should read more carefully. The adjustments were made to exclude data that was compromised due to likely missing dose information.
The internal doses were primarily from tritium for all of the Canadian workers, whether or not their dose information was complete. Therefore, the BJC article includes an additional, separate analysis to assess tritium-specific cancer risks for Canadian nuclear workers. They found that the increased risk that is observed is due to gamma exposure, not tritium exposure.
Anyone who is familiar with the scientific literature in this area knows that this is standard boilerplate material that is customary to attach to the end of such a study. It’s about as common as, “our results suggest that further research is needed in this area” (in other words, please fund our next grant application). “Compatible with” is code for “doesn’t challenge the commonly held notion that the LNT model is a conservative estimate of risk due to exposure.” I wouldn’t read too much into it if I were you.
No, it’s not a boilerplate statement. It’s actually merited by the study:
“Analyses excluding Canada, as well as analyses excluding one country at a time, all yielded ERRs consistently higher than, but compatible with, the risk estimate from A-bomb analyses and the BEIR VII estimate; the study therefore provides important evidence for cancer risks due to low-dose protracted exposures” (p. 411).
If the updated data would significantly challenge this finding, you don’t think the authors would have said so?
So what do you propose we do with the updated figures for the UK (exclude them because they are more precise, include longer follow-up, and don’t support the argument that Cardis is somehow fundamentally flawed)?
EL – A positive trend that is not significantly different from zero (even at the rather weak 1 in 20 standard that is typically used) provides no scientifically useful information. I call their claim boilerplate because all it says is that it doesn’t challenge the status quo. It’s customary to add such a statement to studies that don’t find anything useful. If anything, pointing out that prevailing wisdom is not being challenged probably helps to get the paper through peer review. Rocking the boat is what gets negative attention from reviewers.
While you might think that the statement has some merit (calls for further research also carry some merit, but they are so ubiquitous as to be boilerplate too), any such merit is at the very lowest level possible. As I point out above, carefully chosen words such as “is consistent with” or “is compatible with” simply mean that they do not challenge current risk models. Even a study that finds nothing significant — such as this one, once the problems with the Canadian data are taken into account — does not challenge conventional thought.
If they had found something solid, they would have used words such as “supports” or “confirms” or “validates” if the results went one way, “contradicts” or “challenges” or “invalidates” if the results went the other way. I have yet to encounter an author of a study — particularly a large, expensive, international study such as this one — who would not say that his or her study “provides important evidence” for something. Nobody wants to admit that their study doesn’t show anything solid, and that choice of words is so vague as to be almost meaningless, while still providing the thin veneer of relevance.
EL – I don’t know what discipline you are studying in graduate school, but I pray that it is not anything in the sciences. Real science is done by proposing a hypothesis and then testing it by examining empirical evidence that should be collected with the least amount of bias possible. It does not involve hunting for evidence that supports one’s preconceived notions. That’s how pseudoscience is done.
What does any of that have to do the the UK study, and whether it confirms, expands, or challenges the Cardis results? Scientists don’t test the findings of previous research anymore with new and expanded data?
There are plenty of statistically significant results (for patterns of risk, country studies, different time periods, cohort groupings, etc.) described in the paper. You don’t think this is scientifically useful? The paper does a huge service by comparing these studies on a consistent methodological basis, and fully describing these results (and evaluating them on objective criteria). It also sets the stage for additional research to be done … a baseline so to speak (where new data from Canada and UK can be added). This is also very useful. That some of the statistical comparisons lack measure and don’t show a significant result hardly means the result is zero. This is not what the study says. Low doses are hard to study, numbers of cancers are low, and existing radio protection standards appear to be doing well at minimizing excess relative risk (deriving from BEIR VII and other estimates). At least there are few surprising, statistically significant, anomalies. Is it better to know nothing, and to not compile these results and compare them on this basis?
EL – Absolutely nothing. I was commenting on how you don’t understand how the scientific method works. I don’t know whether you are finished with your coursework yet, but I recommend taking a solid statistics class if you can arrange it. If you’re going to insist on commenting on statistical topics here then you could use the help.
Since you want to continue to babble on about the UK study, I’ll add that just one quick glance at its results is enough for me to realize that it has nothing to provide when it comes to low dose and low dose rate (e.g., < 100 mSv) exposure to radiation. When even the 90% CI’s fail to exclude no elevated risk whatsoever, the study isn’t capable of demonstrating anything, no matter how hard you wish it would.
Well, if you use the slice-and-dice method of subdividing a set of data into small enough groups, the 1-in-20 chance of finding something statistically significant increases with every subgroup, even when there is nothing genuine to find. That type of analysis is called a data dredge; it’s not useful (except for propaganda purposes) and it’s certainly not science.
The authors of this study acknowledged that their “significant” results depend entirely on the Canadian data; however, they were unable to explain why. The Canadian authority that provided these data investigated further and discovered why these data were special — it was a case of incomplete dose records. At that point, any conclusions drawn from an analysis that uses these data was worthless.
Anyhow, you’ve once again demonstrated that you are more than willing to dodge and weave and prattle on ad nauseam, so as before, I’ll let you have the last word, since it is obviously what you crave more than anything else. I’ve had my say, and I’m done.
If you think I have made any errors summarizing the data, pointing these out would be a good place to start?
How do you figure that?
68% of cohort received cumulative lifetime doses less than 10 mSv, 20.3% less than 50 mSv, 5.7% less than 100 mSv, and 6% greater than 100 mSv.
And if you don’t want to take my word for it:
El – I didn’t realize that your last word would be the words of Richard Wakeford, but it explains a lot.
If that’s the koolaid that you’ve been drinking then it’s no wonder you don’t understand how science is done. I suppose your next rebuttal will come from the Supreme Crackpot Chris Bubsy himself.
What’s your problem with Richard Wakeford (then editor-in-chief of the Journal of Radiological Protection and former industry rep on CERRIE and numerous other scientific committees and advisory panels dealing with epidemiology or low dose radiation). He’s often described as a stool and “closely attached to the nuclear industry” (especially by Busby). I’m confused why you consider the two as somehow aligned?
Do you have anything to add besides ad hominem?
If your point is to raise substantive points about the UK study … it doesn’t seem to me like you are doing a very good job.
@Brian : Whilst Wakeford applies excessive caution when defending the LNT, and refusing to admit how weak the evidence for it is, he is certainly not by any stretch comparable to Busby.
If we review what he said about Fukushima, we see him :
– saying on the 16 march 2011 that the highest risk for worker is further hydrogen explosions, certainly not not radiations :
– giving context that the releases from Sellafield are thousands of time higher than what Tepco had been accused of having released at sea, which are comparatively negligible ;
So very reasonable information that makes sense and appeases the ugly scare mongering people like Busby have delivered from day one.
@EL : Your tone is quite revealing that despite paying lip service to trusting the scientific info delivered by someone like Wakeford, you actually intend to deform it and use it as a proof of dangers that don’t exist. As the above two links show, based on using LNT, the events at Fukushima have never been a significant risks.
@EL : One last point, having been a member of CERRIE is certainly not what I would use as a reference for the credibility of Wakeford.
CERRIE was an ad-hoc committee which member have certainly not been chosen based on their scientific credibility, but as an attempt to get all side together to try to get them to agree on something, a good part of them having no competence *at all* on the subject, or even no scientific formation at all. It ended up with a completely non assertive declaration claiming given the unknowns much further study would be needed to really assert radiation risks that enraged Busby who wanted a declaration of utter danger of radiations, leading him to write a dissenting minority report together with professional musician, Richard Bramhall, also a member of the committee, and also future doctor in philosophy Paul Dorfman. The fact that the title of Dorfman’s philosophy thesis includes the terms low level radiation risk apparently has cheated many people.
Sure they have. All the studies we are discussing here are for cumulative doses on order of 10 to 50 mSv (more or less). Even Brian Mays suggests the UK study has “something to provide” with respect to statistically significant excess risk above 100 mSv (although he choses not to clarify what he means by this or to discuss in any detail the study). Most of the radiation at Fukushima was blown out to sea. IRSN suggests within exclusion zone at Fukushima low dose exposures could have reached “in excess of 200 mSv” in first year (p. 156).
As we know, Japanese officials (consistent with “established radio protection guidelines” that are informed by the studies we are discussing here) created exclusion zones in contaminated areas in order to minimize any radiation related health risks suggested by low doses this large. Populations were thus not subjected to these doses. This is not the same thing as to say there was no risk, or never a risk, posed by the Fukushima meltdowns (or low dose exposures on the order of 50 or even 200 mSv in the first year).
I did chose the quote from Wakeford for a reason. As you suggest, he’s typically described as a proponent of nuclear and being favorable to the industry. Hence, I thought he was a good messenger for the site, which Rod makes clear is an advocacy site for nuclear power, and I thought may have helped to keep the discussion focused directly on substantive issues related to these papers (rather than a bunch of extraneous factors, ad hominem, or otherwise). For some reason, Brian has decided to spout off about Wakeford (and claim some type of collusion between him and Busby). I’m now at a loss for how to bring the topic back to these papers (and their relevance to Cardis … including or not including the Canadian data). I doubt talking endlessly about Fukushima and MEXT radiation survey results is going to help much. Maybe you have a suggestion?
@El : My response arrived here : https://atomicinsights.com/15-nation-radiation-cancer-study-used-questionable-data/#comment-69957
We’re getting to the point where the length of discussions clearly exceeds what the comment system here can decently handle.
EL wrote: “If the updated data would significantly challenge this finding, you don’t think the authors would have said so?”
They do say so. They found a negative risk of excess cancers. The 15-nation study found an elevated risk of cancers.
Note that the 15-nation study used Zablotska’s 2004 data, but with different selection and filtering protocols. So they got different results both with and without the Canadian data.
Zablotska ‘s 2013 study was not designed to challenge LNT. She used LNT to make an estimate of excess relative risk per sievert. However, her conclusion highlights the difference between evidence and estimates:
The 15 nation study found an elevated risk of cancers that was statistically significant with the older Canadian data. Removing this data still shows a positive trend line, but is no longer statistically significant. The Canadian data still has unresolved questions. They are not revising the earlier 1956-1964 AECL data and recommending inclusion. The errors in the data “cannot be explained at this time” (9), and the authors further state “we believe it is not appropriate to use the early AECL data until they can be verified” (p. 8). The newer UK data, as has been widely reported, “is the most powerful statically of nuclear worker studies carried out to date” (p. 2). Zablotska reviewed at both (her own updated research and UK), and concluded: “Both were compatible with the risk estimated for male A-bomb survivors exposed at age 35 years (ERR/Sv 1⁄4 0.32, 90% CI: 0.07, 0.47)” (p. 9).
The Canadian research isn’t the only to be updated. This is part of regular work in this area (particularly in a field of epidemiology with aging cohorts and long periods of follow-up). UK (2009) France (2013), Japan (2012) have updates. I’m sure there are others.
@EL: You have successfully parroted much of what I wrote. At the same time, you have managed to ignore the essential points of this blog post and its discussion thread. These are the essential points.
1) Zablotska re-analyzed the Canadian data and found no evidence of increased risk of cancer for nuclear workers after 1964.
2) The 15-nation study has not been updated to account for the new Canadian data.
3) If the 15 nation study were to be updated with the new Canadian data, it would likely substantially reduce the estimate of risk and its statistical significance. That’s according to Zablotska.
Why does Zablotska say the re-analyzed Canadian data is compatible with risk estimates from A-bomb studies and Canadian radiation protection standards? It is because she used Linear No-Threshold to estimate risks from low doses. Her study was not a proof of LNT; it was an application of LNT.
Laurence – And it’s unlikely that it will ever be updated. The primary author, Elisabeth Cardis, left IARC for Barcelona half a decade ago. Any proposals for changes to the study would have to be submitted to her replacement, and considering the changes in IARC’s organization since 2005, I doubt that updating this study is a high priority today.
@EL : What you say here about Wakeford mixes 2 completely separate things, on one side giving a reasonable and not delirious assessment about radiation risks in Fukushima, on the other being proponent of nuclear and favorable to the industry.
But the first implies nothing about the second, Wakeford in the quoted statement gives an evaluation of the situation which is the result of applying LNT for risk evaluation in a sensible way and properly taking into account other risks, but is *not* the result of being favorable to the industry. I see no good reason why Dave Lochbaum who works in an organization favorable to closing all nuclear and replacing it with wind turbines would not have given a very similar assessment of the situation.
You on your side, seems maniacally convinced that it’s possible to isolate a nefarious effect of a few dozen of cumulated radiation in those studies, act just as if you were certain this is the threshold where consequences starts to be obvious, and much more so for nuclear workers than airline crews, completely blind to the fact that the average exposure of Americans to radiation is 6.2 mSv per year, which means that at age 40 each of them will have accumulated an average dose of 250 mSv, much larger than the numbers you’re quoting.
I’m not going to be your companion wasting time overinterprating studies that don’t have a chance of isolating a real effect. This doesn’t mean I’m going to just let pass by your tortuous and dishonest arguments to reject and dismiss the airline results that don’t suit you because they just don’t suggest the kind of results you want to see.
Wakeford similarly tends to only look at studies that suggest the kind of results he wants to see. On the other hand, some of the threshold proponent tends to focus only on the results that supports their thesis. All of those studies are looking for an effect that is small enough that a minor error, or unexpected confounding factor, can very likely completely void their conclusion, and it’d take a tremendous effort to reach any reliable conclusion out of them, being certain not to fall victim to the tendency of authors to conclude the study proves what they want to see.
At the end, while I strongly suspect the LNT to be wrong, especially the variation that consists of the empty exercise of accumulating radiation dose over many years, I don’t really care since I don’t need it to be wrong to conclude that nuclear is safe, as the exposure from it is much smaller than the exposure from other sources when you properly calculate them. Including for Fukushima people.
I’m unclear what you think I appear to be saying about Wakeford (as you have summarized it). I made two statements about him. He’s regarded by many people to be pro-nuclear (Busby in particular). And he made a comment about the UK study, and why it needs to be given serious attention. Beyond that … you seem to have several points you wish to make about him. That sounds fine to me.
You seem to be unaware that these studies are measuring excess relative risk (which is in excess of baseline risk). Why do you think the number 6.2 mSv is relevant in this instance?
On what basis? The whole premise of these studies is to attempt to isolate a real effect. Are you challenging the result or the premise?
Nobody is being dishonest about anything. Airline study said nothing about dose response relationships. If you claim it does … it doesn’t. I’m not sure how much more clear I can be than that. This has nothing to do with results that “I don’t want to see” (as you suggest).
@EL: Just in case you really didn’t notice, the 6.2 mSv is an average that covers very different situations. Some people live and work in a elevated building and have about 0 exposure to radon, others have an exposure above 20 mSv a year that would require evacuation if it wasn’t radon. Some never see a doctor, and haven’t had an X-Ray in years, others have a planned CT scan more frequently than once a year. Some are at sea level, others much higher.
It’s this randomness that makes it very difficult statistically to isolate the effect of the added occupational exposure on the existing background. It would be reasonably possible only if the added exposure was larger, or if the background had no noise, that is if everybody was exposed to exactly the same background.
The studies are still useful to make sure we don’t see anything abnormal in the population of workers, it’s a safety belt that ensures that the security margin that has been taken about the allowed radiation exposure is adequate, that the population of workers is still statistically indistinguishable from the general population, and that they are not occupationally endangered by their work. Statistically indistinguishable means that we will see differences, they are always differences, but that the differences will be small enough to not be able to tell decisively if it’s anything more than the result of randomness. There’s nothing abnormal if the result aren’t significants, it’s expected, and it’s not a failure of the premises of the study if it gets non significant results.
BTW : In another paragraph, you justify the fact of not taking into account “outliers” in the airlines result. The very premise of LNT is that if a single outlier had twice the exposure, then he individually has twice the risk, and if the number of outliers is enough to modify the average of exposure, then **yes**, **definitively**, the expected risk is increased by the average of the “outliers”, and there’s **no reason** to remove them.
You hit the nail on the head. Though I kind of like EL and his discussion style, I get quite frustrated by his insistence on seeing a pattern that cannot reliably be seen because it is below the noise of natural variations.
Suppose I have several hungry horses and a stack of hay. Someone warns me not to feed the horses because there might be a needle in the haystack. I don’t happen to believe that there is a needle in the haystack, but even if there is a needle, should I throw away the whole stack when I have a bunch of hungry horses to feed and no alternative source of food?
If one of the horses happens to find the needle, it MIGHT damage the horse. It much more likely to be caught by the natural systems that the horse has for filtering out inedible materials from its feed.
That is true even if there are several needles in the haystack. Of course, I would not attempt to feed horses from a stack where there were known to be tens of thousands of needles mixed in with the hay.
The point is that essentially all of the studies support the assertion that a dose that is close to background level is simply not worth worrying about. A number might be “statistically significant” by that does not mean it is a significant reason to worry.
(Sorry for the allegorical diversion, but I live in “horsey” country in Virginia. It’s winter and there are a horses eating from a lot of haystacks nearby.)
It has been years (35-40) since I had extensive work with radiation detectors, however as I recall, Tritium releases a very low energy (about 5 to 15 kev) Beta that does not even penetrate dead skin. Tritium only passes through a few mm of air, and is essentially immeasurable by the old mica “pancake” scintillation detectors used back then. These old instruments were only sensitive to beta particles with an energy level greater than 60 – 100 kev, thus to get the dose they had to use liquid scintillation counting. The newer, more sensitive scintillation detectors use a film that is about the thickness of a hair, much thinner than what was possible back then.
In my mind, I can see that it would be very difficult to determine the actual dose that these workers were receiving other than by calculation of the potential dose. That means for non internal dose rate taking the quantity of the material the distance, expected disintegrations per second, the time exposed, etc. and even that would not in my mind provide an accurate dose or dose rate. Then for ingested dose rate determining the amount ingested, inhaled, adsorbed, etc. How do you come up with meaningful ingestion numbers for workers? It is not like an accident and they are drank it and you know how much they drank. Even the assumptions for the airtightness of breathing apparatus and thus the dose rate to apply from the expected leaks in that apparatus has changed since then! The doses for individuals logged and taken 40 or 50 (even 30) years ago is just not as accurate as assumed, regardless of the verification or quality control in taking these measurements.
Then you have the Calibration methods used back then. That is my areas of expertise, let me just say that they were NOT properly calibrated back then. The instruments were calibrated as if the “test” source was NBS traceable – NOT! The randomness of the disintegration rate of the test source was NOT considered. They were treated like a frequency generator.
Risking being deemed a contributor here, though I only signed up as a reader (value for value– worth every penny).
I’ve often wondered what the H3-caused dose or chronic dose rate to a Navy ELT was, working the primary coolant sampling cabinet on, say, a D2G (or S8G) Rx plant for a night or a cruise or a career. If a study hasn’t been done, I have control of some resources to help in doing so. (Search engine “Reese liquid scintillation urine” rather than me risk a link.) I don’t know how to convert activity to dose nor to dose rate, but I know people who can.
Keep shoveling faster EL.
A statistical study of another set of workers that on average probably receive more radiation than those in the atomic industry came out earlier in the year.
Embarrassingly they were found to have generally LESS cancer than the general population when risk factors were correctly factored in.
Cancer incidence in professional flight crew and air traffic control officers: disentangling the effect of occupational versus lifestyle exposures.
… previous investigations have been hampered by lack of information on lifestyle exposures…. ….All-cancer incidence was 20-29% lower in each occupation than in the general population…. ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22532267 )
@John T Tucker.
I see. So they smoke less than the general population, and have higher rates of skin cancer. Unexplained in study, but possibly due to “stopovers in sunny places” (p.383). I’ll make sure to smoke less and wear sunscreen on the beach. The study also has a number of specific limits: “namely, the lack of cosmic radiation dose estimates for flight crew, the limited power to detect small effects [particularly in leukaemias or lymphomas], the small number of female participants … and the possibility that some statistically significant results may have arisen by chance given the large number of comparisons performed” (p. 384). Without any dose estimates … on what basis do you presume they received “more radiation” than atomic industry workers? Prostate cancer is also high in group (confirmed in other studies). Low quality diet at food courts in airports, or bad airline meals on long flights?
Funny I thought it said :
“However, internal analyses revealed no differences in skin melanoma rates between flight crew and ATCOs (hazard ratio: 0.78, 95% CI = 0.37-1.66) and identified skin that burns easily when exposed to sunlight (p = 0.001) and sunbathing to get a tan (p = 0.07) as the strongest risk predictors of skin melanoma in both occupations. “
I must have been mistaken.
@John T. Tucker
Yes, you are mistaken.
Rates of skin cancers are similar among ATCOs and Flight crews, but elevated against general population.
“The fact that the trend in risk with flight hours appeared to be stronger for cancers in areas of the body that are usually covered (i.e., the trunk and lower limbs) suggests that number of flight hours is possibly a correlate of intermittent and intense sunbathing during stopovers in sunny places. The high skin melanoma rates in ATCOs are also likely to be related to their easy access to holidays in sunny places, as ATCOs in the United Kingdom have historically had access for discounted air travel” (p. 383-4).
Study is speculative on this basis.
and – more have lighter skin and tan. So its Cosmic rays?
Keep grasping those straws of ambiguity and im sure you’ll get one. At what point does a theory shown to be wrong over and over finally die?
@John T. Tucker
I haven’t said anything about cosmic rays. If you have a study that shows no impact from them (at full body radiation dose levels above “those in the atomic industry”) please provide it to us. Otherwise, the straws are all on your side of the table.
EL since you made the claim that low dose radiation is causing cancer, and now it appears you had no idea whatsoever if the people you claimed were at risk were even exposed or what the rate was, even a gross average estimate, I think its up to you to start referenceing things.
Do you make such wild and far reaching suppositions in your own life? Or just in the lives others?
Why am I doing this.
Some starting points:
While it may not be commonly known, airline flight crews are currently classified as “radiation workers,” a federal designation that means they are consistently exposed to radiation. Flight crews on high-latitude routes, in fact, are exposed to more radiation on an annual basis than nuclear plant workers. ( http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/AGU-NAIRAS.html )
“People who work in the nuclear power industry on an average basis are getting 1.6. There are people who fly in airplanes who are getting 2 or 3 or 4 milliSieverts per year. So they are truly radiation workers.” ( http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2005/0907-flying_and_radiation_risk.htm )
@John T. Tucker
Now we’re getting somewhere. Perhaps as high as 20.8 mSv on cumulative basis. And where are these exposure doses documented in your study?
@EL: no it’s not “perhaps as high as 20.8 mSv on cumulative basis”, but 20.8 mSv as a *median* value.
Why are they giving us the median value when we can easily see the spread between min and max value means the average is higher, and the very hypothesis of LNT means the average is the value that counts ?
Because in this instance, median is a better indication of central tendency than mean, and is less affected by outliers. There are 1289 Finnair cabin crew members sampled in study (with employment histories longer than a year).
Study suggests: “Besides the Finnish company Finnair, the lack of systematically recorded flight history information for cabin crew is a problem for other airlines” (p. 540).
What are you suggesting EL follow up?. A working real world tested mechanism for low dose radiation induced cancer ??
Not that after over 40 years, enough time to go from day care to PhD in medicine and epidemiology the low dose cancer advocates are still relying on i gish gallop of vague “studies” and even more vague arguments to make their points.
Cancers in airline industry workers via low dose radiation STARTED with the low dosers in the early 90s and again a flurry of studies in the early 2000s.
Now you notice EL and become all critical when the whole thing finally falls apart.
“Pilots and flight attendants on many airline routes are exposed to more radiation than most workers in nuclear power plants, new Government studies show.” (1990 NYT – Radiation Exposure Seen as Posing Risk For Airplane Crews – Google it). Incidentally that article kinda shows that we have come a good ways in medical professionals not making those kind of poorly referenced/unsupported predictions anymore.
Anyway it was very warm and humid in Fla this early afternoon. Im sure that air is headed up the east coast so tonight some of you could see some heavy ice.
The “cool” anomaly (its given us some record lows but climatologically, over time its not been that impressive) thats been parked over much of the US is driving up NG gas prices. They are the highest they have been in 2 years. ( http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304202204579254653460013492 )
Supplies are down 7.2 percent over last year.
@John T. Tucker
Depends on elevation and route (distance from poles):
“Annual individual doses of all monitored flight personnel are well below the limit of 20 mSv y-1 recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).”
Excluding the Concorde … seems to fall in a range of 2 – 5 mSv/year (depending on route).
EL – “all monitored flight personnel” does NOT EQUAL “Pilots and flight attendants”
I was at the TMI accident. I walked through the “contaminated” water to the building spray pumps in in effort to “gerryrig” a means of determine the level in containment. I spent more than a month investigating areas just outside containment, devising alternative methods of measuring needed parameters and supervising the installation of the needed equipment. I did not even come close to exceeding my allowed dose limit (which MetEd had “administratively” kept 1 mr below the NRC allowed quarterly limit at that time.)
You would be supprised how low the dose is for the majority of nuclear utility “Rad Workers” the ones that actually work in a radiation environment. Your “all monitored flight personnel” is more like “all monitored nuclear utility workers” which includes the secretaries, support staff and many engineers that NEVER step foot inside an area where the radiation level is greater than normal background. Seems that various regulations require that if you are going inside the fence you will be monitored. I assume there logic is you never know when it will instantaneously explode and contaminate all of the support staff before they have a chance to exit.
With the ratcheting imposed by INPO on ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Possible) the dose numbers are now about 1/10th what they were 25 years ago. RP/HP managers have ended their career when the ALARA numbers for the plant slipped down into the next lower quartile. A plant manager’s career depends upon having ALARA numbers in the TOP quartile. In the 70’s (before INPO) you could take your film badge home with you. In the 80’s HP discovered that many people were getting a higher dose from the time at home than at work – so now most (all?) plants prohibit taking them home.
That’s fine. HPS provides several sources related to “flight crews” (not just one related to “monitored flight personnel”). The Feng study appears to be a random sampling of “flight crews” from Xingaing Airlines (although the source is too obscure for me to obtain). Regardless, to make these comparisons, we should have some dose estimates to look at … and for the study cited by Tucker we don’t. We certainly don’t have any evidence that the crews received doses in excess of radiation workers in power plants (since we have no doses at all). His study appears to be rather indiscriminate with respect to exposure, employment history, etc.: “Flight crew and ATCOs who held a valid professional licence at any time during the period from January 1, 1989 (when the MRS was computerised) to December 31, 1999 were eligible for entry into the study” (p. 375). What do we know about the relationship between holding a license and spending any time in the air? Study says nothing about this.
I’m not seeing a lot of scientific rigor here. Others (apparently Tucker) would seem to disagree.
YOU MADE THE CLAIM EL.
So EL you have no idea what the average exposure is for any nuclear industry workers. No dose estimate whatsoever yet you claim they are at increased risk for cancer.
I didnt claim it. After 30 or 40 years there is no corresponding follow up? Fraud. Total fraud.
You shoudl be ashamed.
@John T. Tucker
I have no idea what you are talking about?
The Cardis papers have plenty of information on exposure data for radiation and nuclear industry workers. Mean lifetime dose is 40.2 mSv in three country study. In more restrictive 15 country study, it is 19.4 mSv (due to large number of exclusions for duration of employment, sex, age, calendar period, SES, facility, etc.). In France, the mean cumulative dose over a lifetime is 22.5 mSv (here). In the UK, it is 24.9 mSv (here)
If you think this exposure data is unavilable, I’m at a complete mystery what you think we are talking about in this thread.
Stop being disingenuous EL. You have quite clearly shown you had no idea that 2 – 5 mSv/year is higher than the average dose nuclear employees are exposed to.
You know if you were intellectually honest, you would say something like : “OK, today nuclear employees are exposed to lower average doses than flight personnels, but the path for the two has been opposed, increasing for flight intendant and decreasing for nuclear employees, so that over the length of the historical studies, there’s not necessarily more radiation for flight personnels”.
But you’re not, so instead you switch your claims while pretending there has never been any problem with what you were saying earlier. This is what makes you quite infuriating.
I am not being disingenuous. Show me a study that correlates dose in flight crews to health outcomes, incidence, or risk at levels comparable to or above nuclear rad workers and we’ll have a look. No such study has been produced. I don’t understand why you consider it disingenuous to say so.
Many of the numbers used in this thread have come from me. I’m not sure why you think I don’t know these figures. And 2 – 5 mSv/year does not necessarily equate to a higher cumulative dose than power plant rad workers (on average). Flight crews have very high turnover (on order of 2% per month for some airlines). They may only spend a number of years in jobs in the air (staying closer to home after a period for family, school, etc.). Not everyone flies long northern routes either (where cosmic radiation levels are very high). I’ve produced a study that reports cumulative dose numbers for the industry. These are lower than combined lifetime doses of nuclear workers in many countries. Do you think I’m making this stuff up? If you have better numbers and statistics, by all means, you are free to provide them (there is no reason this needs to be infuriating).
I would love to look at a study that looks at these higher exposure doses and tracks health outcomes, risks, incidence or mortality, over a long period of time with these workers. Do you know of any?
“Many of the numbers used in this thread have come from me.”
The incorrect ones perhaps.
@John T. Tucker
The only numbers you have provided exactly match my own. So I don’t see what numbers you are talking about?
I forget what classic theater play it is (temporary amnesia) but it’s about a detective who hounds a man around the world for years just for stealing a loaf of bread. This reminds me a lot of “nuclear nit-pickers” who cringe and abhor any part of themselves or society to be exposed even to just one particle of radiation while totally ignoring and shrugging off whole hospital wards of patients and victims of fossil-fuel derived aliments around the world — not to even go into their horrific accidents — accidents that pale worst nuclear incidents by light-years. This is why to me all anti-nuclear activists are the opus in health/environmental safety concern Hypocrites — and that’s with a Big “H” — having the pious sass to have their Hiroshima beefs and Doomsday nightmares and insane risk-aversion stand in the way of the rest of us getting clean reliable power — and even royally warping fact and posing FUD as “news” to scare clueless people their way like the psychotic editor of “Nuclear News”. Sorry, I can’t be gentle about this selfish bunch of eco egotists. Their nuke hang-ups are holding us all back, especially those who need nuclear electricity more than even developed nations do.
It’s “Les Miserables”, a novel by Victor Hugo. It’s been filmed several times, and lately made into a Broadway musical, which also was made into a film.
The anti’s want to litter the surface of the earth with windmills and solar panels. The pro’s want to litter the surface of the earth with storage casks of waste from the horribly inefficient LWR’s
Whats the difference?
Answer: If the pro’s got their way and the world went full.-bore nuclear with several thousand new builds of huge LWR reactors, you would run out of fuel very quickly. And don’t kid yourself, the nuclear industry has absolutely no expertise outside of LWR’s. And it has absolutely no expertise in any thermochemical cycles either. 7% of all vehicles expected to be electric by 2020. Whoopdee doo.
Now look in a mirror when you talk about a selfish bunch of egotists. Better get to work on new conceptual reactor design because nobody has your back. LWR’s can’t do the heavy lifting and never will.
Littered? All the spent fuel from all the nuclear reactors run to this date would fit in a single sports stadium.
The nuclear industry went from the first controlled atomic chain reaction to the first commercial NPP in 15 years. Since then the world has run reactors cooled by light water, heavy water, sodium, lead-bismuth, carbon dioxide, helium and molten salts. The USA has about 40 years of experience with sodium-cooled reactors. We can accumulate experience with anything we like, just as soon as we get the political will to do it.
December 15, 2013 at 4:12 PM
Littered? All the spent fuel from all the nuclear reactors run to this date would fit in a single sports stadium.
Yea, you can tell starvinglion’s never seen the MOUNTAINS of garbage New York has in Brooklyn and Staten Island and you sure can’t stuff all that into one stadium! And That’s just one city! How much smoke pollution does gas and oil make in back of that?
But thats just it. The 10,000 year nasty radiotoxic garbage will never be confined to “proper” storage. It will end up all over the place like regular garbage. Out of site out of mind. Not so easy I’m afraid.
What? Thats just dumb. Seriously.
Even if you spread it all around now with weathering, and normal physical process and its high mass to volume ratio, in a couple hundred years it would be difficult to find any of it laying around. Of course a lot if it is also recyclable and decreases in toxicity over time and waste from NPPs is carefully regulated.
Meanwhile as the average nuclear plant produces some 20 metric tons of used nuclear fuel a year.
The average coal plant produces 125,000 tons of ash and 193,000 tons of sludge from the smokestack scrubber in addition to their release of heavy metals and arsenic are in the pounds. PLUS 3.5 million tons of CO2 per year and other assorted green house gases. (A gas power plant still emits about half that ignoring leakage).
Two important articles over the last few weeks:
Climatologist: Nuclear Power Only Way To Curb Climate Disruption
Addressing the American Geophysical Union, James Hansen urges fellow scientists to study, share facts on nuclear energy ( http://www.popsci.com/article/science/climatologist-nuclear-power-only-way-curb-climate-disruption )
California emissions rise on San Onofre shut down
Greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in California increased by 35% in 2012, partly due to the early closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. ( http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/EE-California-emissions-rise-on-San-Onofre-shut-down-0511135.html )
When are you going to wake up to the fact that LWR’s inefficiency and excessive waste is THE showstopper to growth and clubbing the international banking vermin and their oil racket into dust.
Optimizing LWR is just plain common sense. You don’t need a phd to recognize the obvious. Instead of whining about the NRC, they are actually doing you a favor.
I am going to design a new LWR. I have no faith in you leftist big gov dreamers and your MSR’s, fusion delusions, and other taxpayer looting scams. None of you are ever going to come up with a conceptual design of a reactor that actually meets market requirements.
I am looking forward to seeing it. Honestly. Even if it is a sticky mess of toilet paper rolls, pop sickle sticks, glitter and crayon its probably a worthwhile learning experience.
Personally I am liking the simpler NASA small space reactors although just as things were getting interesting no one seems to be posting all that much about them lately. I imagine the competition is heating up as they have come in to very serious consideration and planing again.
And the Germans had 22 years of experience running a high temperature pebble reactor. What did they learn? Nothing. The facility is so irradiated that it costs billions to decommission it.
The MSR is the same farce. A damn fine tritium producer.
“I forget what classic theater play it is (temporary amnesia) but it’s about a detective who hounds a man around the world for years just for stealing a loaf of bread.”
You are probably thinking about Victor Hugo’s epic Les Misérables, with Jean Valjean as the long-pursued ex-convict, and Javert as the vindictive police inspector who ultimately flings himself into the Seine over his monumental conflict of conscience.
But we digress…
“who ultimately flings himself into the Seine”
Dang. I should have prefaced that with Spoiler Alert.
After 150 years, I think it’s OK to reveal what the end is. And there’s much more to the book than this part.
Amongst the famous French novelist of the XIXth century, it seems that Hugo has achieved much more international fame than Zola, who is however almost as famous in France.
Zola wrote “Germinal” a very interesting account of the early period of coal mining in France, aside from the gruesome story which might be even more miserable than Les misérables, there’s a lot of interesting data appearing on the development of coal mining. By then, coal mining already wasn’t that much a new things anymore, there had already been generations of exploited miners, and of enriched owners who extracted an almost never ending fortune of their initial investment in the mines.
Also I can imagine Zola’s “J’accuse” and his deliberate attempt at getting sued for libel to be able to expose the proofs he had collected about the Dreyfus affair could inspire Rod. However be warned, despite his case being rock solid, which ultimately led Dreyfus to being fully cleared of all charges, Zola was indeed convicted of libel, and had to flee to England.
HA! Rod Adams is a “true” nuclear professional? Is that a TM? No, he isn’t as I’ve tried to “debate” him on his blog and he censors any facts that don’t fit his agenda.
Also, Conca & Adams have promoted the anti-health physics propaganda of Ed Calabrese who is with the Cato Institute and he joins Patrick Michaels a global warming denier.
P.S. A more appropriate balance to the PSR is the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness rather than the Heartland Institute. Though they all suck.
Are you just quoting a comment posted elsewhere, or do you agree with it? A little more context would be helpful.
It was a heads-up to alert you from a maligner. Maybe I should’ve put it in quotes like same said. The comment by the Columbia report author Robert McCullough to Conca was a great retort to your basher though!
Thanks for the interesting link. Even though I regularly check Forbes, I might have missed this one.
Something else, Mitch:
“I’ve tried to “debate” him on his blog and he censors any facts that don’t fit his agenda”
I’m following this blog for a couple of years now, and I find a remarkable and refreshing lack of censorship here. Rod even gives obvious trolls like Starvinglion space to spew, and people with completely opposite opinions and ideas are welcome for debate here.
You said more often that you’re censored here, can you give some examples of that? With references to the pages you commented on and your posts that have been censored (you kept them I hope?). Without them your claim doesn’t have a lot of weight compared to what I see here whenever I come.
Otherwise stop whining, and if you’ve something to contribute, start debating.
Thanks for the link. I like the articles by James Conca. I had not seen this one.
Your point that Rod edits your comments is interesting. I have seen Rod tolerate people who disagree with him for years. The only person edited I have seen was Blas whose comment that millions died at Chernobyl was edited with a comment that this was not supported with the evidence. Bob Applebaum was banned after insulting Ted Rockwell just after he died. Very bad form. Bob is back now. Blas has never been banned. What did you say that was so horrible that he is censoring you?
No, no, you got it wrong! I was quoting the Rod basher in the Forbes article!! Not too many have de-FUDDED him yet!
My Apologies. I recognized that after reading the article. Sorry that I did not recognize your name before I shot out a response. I have gone to the article and seen his note.
Apologies from me too. I thought you were using another handle on Forbes, and didn’t recognise you were quoting that comment.
Did you quote him or her here before and do I remember that as you whining about censorship? If so, I take those words back.
hey, I just went back to that Forbes entry and found a very interesting comment from “Leonard Suschena” about the reasons for cost increase in the 70’s that I find useful to copy here :
“Originally planned in the 70′s as 2 unit for $500 million, unit 2 was cancelled at 60% complete and when Unit 1 went on line the cost was about $4.7 billion”
“Guess what the real factor was? 47%, about $2 billion, went to attorneys!!!! Law suits and legal battles were relentless. The utility had nearly 100 attorneys on retainer at $100K/year, just in case they needed them.”
One more interesting thing is that without the Canadian data, there is (non-significant) evidence of hormesis in the remaining nations. It might (or might not) become significant if we had any more data than the very sparse summaries reported in Cardis.
“Again, analyses excluding one country at a time from the overall analysis population demonstrated that risk estimates were not greatly influenced by any one country: The ERRs ranged between 0.44 per Sv (90% CI-0.30, 1.36) when Canada was excluded to 0.67 per Sv (90% CI-0.25, 1.87) when the U.S. cohorts were excluded” (p. 405, 2007).
Environmentalists Split Over Need For Nuclear Power
Armond Cohen, executive director of the cites the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station as he explains why he has reluctantly shifted from being an anti-nuclear activist to someone who now argues that we can’t afford to dismiss nuclear power.
” San Onofre produced as much carbon-free energy as all the wind power installed in California to date,” Cohen says. “So it’s going to be a pretty heavy lift to replace all that nuclear with low-carbon energy.” ( http://www.npr.org/2013/12/17/251781788/environmentalists-split-over-need-for-nuclear-power )
The above is a NPR piece. I dont think there is a “split ” at all. Environmentalists and scientists overwhelmingly support nuclear power. Political greens largely do not.
All the U.N. has to do is put out a statement that says nuclear power is a vital and major asset in the fight against global warming and/or providing low-footprint (no razing of mountains or jungles or deserts) power and clean water generation and the Greens will be forced to make a stand either way or look the bad guy (like how nuclear is regarded here). The way the U.N. politically tilts these days that statement should be in the bag.
Wouldn’t that be contrary to Agenda 21? I do not get the impression Agenda 21 supports that, but am not that knowledgeable on all of the aspects of Agenda 21.
There is nothing outrageous or even unscientific in that statement james. Unbelievably they do push biofuels:
Assessing biofuels: towards sustainable production and use of resources ( http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/Publications/AssessingBiofuels/tabid/56055/Default.aspx )
Just confirmed buy NOAA:
The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for November 2013 was record highest for the 134-year period of record, at 0.78°C (1.40°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (55.2°F).
This surpasses the previous record set in 2004 by 0.03°C (0.05°F) and is also the sixth highest monthly departure from average among all months on record and the highest since March 2010, one of the last months in which El Niño conditions were present in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean. During November, warmer-than-average temperatures across most of the world’s ocean surfaces contributed to the anomalous warmth. Even with ENSO-neutral conditions holding for the 19th straight month, the November global ocean temperature tied with 2009 as the third highest for November, at 0.54°C (0.97°F) above the 20th century average. ( http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2013/11 )
Wait till we have a strong El Nino.
So California has likely set itself back at least a decade if not more in carbon reductions. On the large scale they have permanently and severely damaged their environmental legacy. Just like Germany. Probably, if possible, the San Onofre shutdown needs to be reversed or at least modified to take better advantage of what remains of that environmental asset.
Not likely – they just shipped the Unit 2 reactor vessel head off to Utah for disposal:
Ft Calhoun got the green light from NRC, so that will help some.
I dont understand why some of that pre-approved infrastructure cannot be repurposed. Seems like such a waste. Not that it shouldn’t have been fixed in the first place.
I agree with John Tucker. I wonder why SCE didn’t try to sell the plant. When the price of natural gas goes back up it could be quite valuable.
Exelon did not attempt to sell Zion. Duke did not attempt to sell Crystal River. Dominion marketed Kewaunee so quietly that I never knew it was for sale. Entergy made very little effort to sell Vermont Yankee.
Notice any pattern there?
I see a pattern and I don’t like it. The question is what’s behind the pattern? Is it because nuclear power is not politically correct ?
On the subject of radiation I am far more concerned about non ionizing radiation then ionizing radiation. In terms of joules per kilogram per year aren’t people exposed to millions of times more non ionizing radiation than ionizing than ionizing radiation? Is LNT applied to non ionizing radiation?
Is it possible that the decommissioning funds are actually far in excess of what the real work will cost?
If so, then the owners could shut down, contract the work to companies owned by themselves, inflate all the costs, and basically pull a movie industry to make it look like all the money was needed and spent, while actually pocketing hefty profits in a different division.
Probably flaws in that idea, as I don’t understand the ins and outs of how the decommissioning fund is handled.
I am sure that such considerations never entered the minds of the companies that own nuclear power plants and the associated decommissioning funds. (/irony)
See, for example:
I no longer believe anything that the nuclear industry or anyone employed by it says.
There are now three cores that have melted down (100 tons each) and no-one can track them.
It is obvious that the design of the plants are flawed and that it is incredibly dangerous to keep tons of used fuel rods in pools on site.
A nuclear power station is a dirty bomb that will go off if the electricity is cut off from its cooling systems.
Tokyo Electric Power Co must give a more thorough account of the Fukushima disaster and address “institutionalized lying” in the company, before it will be permitted to restart the Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant, according to a local governor.
“If they don’t do what needs to be done, if they keep skimping on costs and manipulating information, they can never be trusted,” Niigata Prefecture Governor Hirohiko Izumida told Reuters on Monday, adding that these limitations need to be overcome before the plant is restarted.
EPCO first admitted that the Fukushima plant was leaking radioactive substances in July after months of denial.
In September, a senior utility expert at Fukushima, Kazuhiko Yamashita, said that the plant was “not under control.” TEPCO downplayed his comments, saying that he had only been talking about the plant’s waste water problem – not the facility as a whole.
“There are three things required of a company that runs nuclear power plants: don’t lie, keep your promises and fulfil your social responsibility,” Izumida concluded.
As another non-nuclear engineer, I must take issue with your statements.
In other words, you will not believe anyone with the expertise required to be believable. Hell of a way to disconnect from reality.
Sure we can. We can do things like cosmic-ray muon tomography, gamma cameras, etc. Just because TEPCO and the Japanese government haven’t un-stuck from their collective defensive posture and hysteria to do it, does not mean it can’t be done.
Wrong. For one thing, it’s obvious that the spent fuel pools caused no problems at all. The only real design flaws of the plants (which were very old and nearing end of life anyway) were the specific placement of the backup diesels, their fuel tanks and switchgear. Those flaws had been corrected in plants built just a few years later.
Great anti-nuke sound bite. TERRIBLE logical reasoning!
The people from evacuated areas of Japan should be offered courses in radiation monitoring and be provided with the appropriate instruments and then be allowed to return home.
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