1. Biologist explains why LNT is just plain wrong
    Rod Adams · January 5, 2014 ·’
    I’m not sure how I missed this or why it has been watched by only one person per day in the 11 months it has been posted. It is FAR more important for people to spend the next 50 minutes watching this informative presentation instead of watching another episode of Survivor, one quarter of a college football bowl game, or an NCIS rerun.

    Rod you HAVE to invite owners of nuclear plants and nuclear labs and nuclear plant manufacturers on your show to explain why none of them has even done a short commercial about that to help themeslves! People don’t get facts by osmosis. only B.S.!

    1. When I organized and hosted the event at which this video was taken, we sent out invites to all the major news organizations around the area. Nobody showed up. So it was just a group of maybe 35-40 people like myself. Other highlights of the session (unfortunately not taped) were:

      Dr. Sylvain Costes showing video of cells adaptively responding in real time. We could actually watch the DNA repair happening.

      Cal Abel (a contributor here) speaking about his idea for a new dose standard.

      Dr. Ted Rockwell calling in only months before his passing and telling us stories about how silly this all is to him.

      I also gave a presentation, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a highlight. It illustrated the risks and non-conservatisms associated with using a “conservative” model like LNT.

      1. @Cory Stansbury

        I wish that more of the event had been taped, but I am glad I found this piece of it, sort of by accident. Thank you for organizing the event, but why didn’t you tell me about it sooner? (Perhaps you did and my aging brain forgot.)

        I was also impressed by the fact that Dr. Bowser provided the introduction. I recently heard her speak at the SMR event that I attended in Idaho. She is an excellent speaker and a rising star at your employer. I hope she is continuing to spread her thoughts in executive circles about how wrong the LNT is for predicting the risk from low radiation doses.

        1. Rod,
          If I’m honest, I actually invited you to participate in said event. The fact that I never heard back you I attributed to you then working at mPower and me being very involved in the Westinghouse SMR. That said, I don’t think I ever sent you the video after it was made (and I should have). Did you find this on the LNT discussion forum on LinkedIn by any chance?

          Dr. Bowser has a degree in Health Physics, so we thought she’d be a good person to open for us. I think she went into this with an open mind and left rather enlightened.

  2. There are two questions here:

    (1) Is the cancer risk at high doses accurately known, and

    (2) Is the risk linear at lower doses, where epidemiology is inadequate to directly measure it?

    Assume for the moment that (1) is true. If (2) is false, and the marginal increase in cancer risk varies with dose, then it must follow that at some dose the marginal increase in cancer rate is GREATER than predicted by LNT. It might be the case, for example, that at low doses there isn’t induction of enhanced repair mechanisms.

    If this were the case, it could be that LNT underestimates the number of cancers that would be caused by small additional doses delivered to large populations.

    So, don’t think that “LNT wrong” necessarily implies “radiation is less dangerous than commonly assumed”.

    1. @Paul – Did you watch the video? Have you visited Dr. Mitchel’s web site and seen the information presented? There is no need to speculate about the effects of radiation at lower dose; they are measurably less harmful than what would be predicted by extrapolating the damage at higher doses down to zero dose using the LNT assumption.

      Humans have been studying the effects of radiation for about 120 years. It is no longer something that is unknown. Rules should not be based on assumptions, but on the results of experimental knowledge.

    2. Paul, we could theoretically imagine a lot of different things for the low dose effects, concave and convex curves, or bipolar, multi-polar, with varying thresholds.

      Don’t forget however that many experiments have already tried to test LNT at low dose, and their results have proven that it’s correct that it’s very difficult to demonstrate anything at those doses. We know for sure there’s no large effect at low dose.

      This is expected if the LNT is true and the linear relation means the small added amount of radiation has really a small effect. But if the LNT were false in a way where a small added amount of radiation could have a very disproportionately large effect, then those studies should not have had as much difficulty to show an effect. So, they don’t definitively falsify LNT, but they do falsify sophisticated theories of high non-linearity at very low dose that would result in a worrying marginal increase.

      Amongst the non-linear theories there’s the threshold one, as well as hormetic curve.

      If from start, we were already very near the threshold, or already around the ideal point of the hormetic curve, a small added amount of radiation could push above the threshold, or in the quickly rising part of the hormetic curve, and have a disproportionate effect.

      But all the experiment until now have suggested the threshold or the ideal hormetic point is much higher than the exposure of most of the population, including the fact that high natural background don’t have more cancer, but apparently frequently less, and the high radon area in the US do have less lung cancer (cohen studies, which are disputed on whether this *proves* that radon is protective, on whether radon is the only possible explanation for it or not, but have never been disputed on the fact that those area do have less cancers).
      Some information I’ve found suggest it could be the same in France, the Limousin area that is probably the most exposed to radon seem to be one of those with the lowest ration of lung cancer both for men and women. And Misasa in Japan has similar suggestive results as already said below.

  3. In searching the literature for evidence of benefits from low dose radiation I found a large body of data that supports a biphasic dose response model for ionizing radiation. Low to moderate doses (less than 100 mSv) produce a stimulatory response to the immune system resulting in lower incidence of cancer and also infectous diseases. This stimulatory effect of low dose radiation is termed radiation hormesis Briefly, low dose of ionizing radiation works like an immunization shot to create a memory response causing heightened long term immunity with beneficial health effects including a lowering of cancer incidence and increased resistance to infectious diseases. Several mechanisms are involved, including radiation induced DNA repair enzymes and induction of a group of enzymes which breakdown free radicals that cause mutations in DNA structure. Other radiation hormesis mechanisms cause the elimination of cells with damaged DNA. DNA damage is associated with an increased potential for cancer. T lymphocytes seek out and cause lyses of injured cells and apoptosis, where in damaged cells program their own death. A low dose of radiation is like vitamin for the immune system.

  4. Hmmm. I have an infra-red sauna for routine detoxification via sweating, into which I’ve installed ultra-violet lights to induce Vitamin D formation in my skin. Double-tasking, as it were. Would it not make sense for people to purposefully expose themselves to low-dose radiation for health purposes? Of course, people do this in old caves, Brazil’s beaches, and so on, based on anecdotal evidence of others who have done so. But, if a unit could be installed in my sauna, based on up-to-date radiation science, I’d go for it. Maybe this is not possible in countries dominated by fossil fuel interests, but perhaps Rosatom or Areva could market something like this, in order to promote some good PR in their (fierce) world competition to sell reactors. And promoting radiation science in the course of appealing to people’s self-interest to lead a healthy life sounds like a winner to me, with the proviso that one would need a favorable national government.

    1. Interestingly enough, radium hot water spas (rajiumu onsen) are common in Japan, though there seems to be very little information in English about them. Example (Japanese):

      Note that this spa in Misasa, on the Japan Sea side of western Honshu (Japan’s main island) even boasts that according to 37 years of government health statistics, their local mortality rate due to cancer is only one-half that for all of Japan. Their PR even mentions hormesis and the need to do more investigation on low level radiation effects (in Japanese):

      English info. on Wikipedia:

      Sure, these spas are businesses that only make money from attracting visitors, but their open promotion of the health benefits of low dose radiation both before and after the events of 2011 is interesting. Note that there are several in Fukushima Prefecture itself.

  5. radiation weighting factors that covert deposited energy

    Sorry, but that typo be overt!

  6. Does anyone have connections at NEI?
    Years (many) ago I worked with Anthony R. Pietrangelo who then was a “Project Manager” (I believe) on the revisions to 10CFR 50.59, The NEI guidelines for implementation of 10CFR5.59, and before that several other projects. After reading a guest posting on this very same subject, still having his email address, I sent Tony an e-mail providing a synopsis of the article and a link to the article. Never heard back. We had corresponded before. Didn’t know he was VP Nuclear then. So it probably got filtered out by his secretary since it was not a nuclear related e-mail address.

    Somehow we must get NEI involved in this. It was through the efforts of NEI that the 50.59 rule was changed, which at least until I retired, had a tremendous positive impact on economical operations at all nuclear facilities. Perhaps nuclear plant workers can start a “grass roots” effort with those they work with at NEI, their plant Radiation Managers, Plant Managers, and even higher to get something done.

    1. Rod, Thank you for presenting a biologists point of view on the LNT model. We need to get the word out about the relative safety of low and moderate dose radiation. Our position must be based on science. This paper: It’s Time to Tell the Truth About the Health Benefits of Low-Dose Radiation by James Muckerheide gives a background to the role of the LNT in suppressing good science concerning low dose radiation. I posted then link above.

  7. Shouldn’t this research apply to radon in basements as well? I;ve thought that the radon protection industry to be a bit of a scam for some time. This is from one state’s website:

    “The only known health effect of radon is an increased risk of lung cancer, and exposure to elevated radon levels does not result in any warning symptoms like headaches, nausea, fatigue, or skin rashes. The only way to know whether you are being exposed to elevated radon levels is to test your home (and other indoor environments).”

    This is also on the state’s website.

    “There is no “safe” radon level. There is believed to be some risk to be associated with any exposure, and as a general rule, the higher the radon level and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk.”

    I don’t have the statistical figures, but I wonder if those of us in granite country have a much higher cancer rate. Our basements are not Fernald.

  8. This is a very good point to make; dose rate is what we should be limiting, not so much total dose.

    A good example I always use is to take 1 glass of wine per day for a year. This is a “dose” of 365 glasses of wine per year. If taken in one evening, this will almost certainly kill you. If taken at a rate of one glass per day, there are no effects on health (in fact there is evidence of 1 glass a day being very beneficial).

    It would be silly to say people shouldn’t be allowed to drink 365 glasses of wine a year, since drinking one glass of alcohol a day isn’t a health hazard.

    The limite of 1 milligray per minute though seems excessive to me. That’s 525600 milligray, or 525 gray, per year. That is certainly not a recommended dose rate! From my reading of various studies, I wouldn’t want to be exposed to that. It is quite dangerous.

    More like 1 milligray per hour, is a reasonable safety standard.

  9. Jerry Cuttler and Bernard Cohen are both supportive of setting the record straight. Jerry Cuttler (conservative recommended estimates say levels below 100 mSv which equals 10 rem are safe)

    But on the subject of evacuations from Fukushima Cuttler says

    For nuclear accidents, the 20 mSv/y level could be raised 50 times higher to 1000 mSv/y, which is similar to the natural radiation levels in many places (Jaworowski 2011). And when low-dose/level radiation stimulation of the biological defences against cell damage and cancer is considered (Luckey 1991, UNSCEAR 1994, Cuttler 1999, Pollycove and Feinendegen 2003, Tubiana et al 2005, Cuttler and Pollycove 2009), Figures 2 and 3, there is no reason to expect any increase in cancer risk. It is very difficult to understand why the ICRP recommendations have not changed accordingly. There would have been no need for this evacuation.

    FYI: I have a page on radiation with several links to papers and posts about Radiation and Hormesis with a handy Quick Radiation Reference Guide

    1. There is no need for evacuation in any case. The state of the art NRC analysis shows that even with no evacuation, and an instant station blackout (total loss of cooling systems), not even one person is likely to die even with the LNT assumption.

      Evacuation is dangerous business. Traffic accidents and all that. Several hundred people (at least) have died from the Fukushima evacuation, some nearly instantly like those who were in intensive care, but most from the draconian post-evacuation environment and its physchological effects (loss of job, house, etc.). Likely hundreds more will die from alcoholism, stress, and the like.

      They should have never evacuated the area around F-D NPP. There is no risk basis for it. It is a sad lesson from Chernobyl that we haven’t learned due to radiophobia: fear and stress kills. It’s similar to terrorism, you can’t give in to it. Then you lose.

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