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  1. The international members of the taskforce the (internationally accepted authority on Radiation Protection) ICRP set up for the Fukushima accident have published a memorandum “Radiological protection issues arising during and after the Fukushima nuclear reactor accident”
    which I highly recommend. It discusses the use and misuse of the LNT model (which the ICRP has adopted for regulatory purposes):
    “The inability of epidemiological health research to determine whether there are any health consequences of exposures below about 100 mSv has led to the adoption of the LNT model for the purposes of radiological protection. While prudent for radiological protection, the LNT model is not universally accepted as biological truth, and its influence and inappropriate use to attribute health effects to low dose exposure situations is often ignored. A clear explanation of the limitations of epidemiology is essential for understanding the reasons why collective effective doses aggregated from small notional individual doses should not be used to attribute health effects to radiation exposure situations, neither retrospectively nor prospectively. The ICRP, UNSCEAR, and others strongly urge that this misuse of collective dose should be avoided. It is recognised, however, that collective dose is a very useful concept which decision-making bodies may use to impose radiological protection measures even at low doses, in part for reasons of social duty, responsibility, utility, prudence and precaution. But the distinction between prudent practices for radiological protection and the misuse of protection concepts to attribute adverse health effects is not always clearly enunciated and a much better approach is needed.”

    1. The initial statement by the task force “The inability of epidemiological health research to determine whether there are any health consequences of exposures below about 100 mSv has led to the adoption of the LNT model for the purposes of radiological protection” is wrong because there are indeed beneficial health consequences of exposures below 100 mSv. To see a compilation of the evidence, please visit the XLNT Foundation website at: http://www.x-lnt.org/evidence . Ignoring such evidence, advisory bodies make the claim that the effects of radiation below 100 mSv are not measureable, but they are wrong in making the claim. Therefore, there is no need to adopt or use the LNT model.

  2. Dr. Siegel’s last paragraph is spot on. Attempts to appease the public’s undue fears of radiation, by setting stricter and stricter dose standards, having bigger and bigger responses to small events, and more and more precautions against minor risks, will have the exact opposite effect.

    If we act as though nuclear materials and operations are extremely hazardous (e.g., excessive safety precautions at nuclear plants), or if we tell them even more directly that low-level radiation is more dangerous, by setting even stricter dose limits, the public will, “surprisingly”, take us at our word. Why do they think that everything nuclear is extremely dangerous? Because that’s what we’ve been telling them, through both our words and actions.

    One odd thing, to me, is that this is all in the context of medical exposures, which actually are relatively large. Orders of magnitude larger than anything the public gets from the nuclear industry, and comparable to people living in “contaminated” zones around Fukushima, etc.. Also, much larger (than even meltdowns) in terms of collective exposure, since not only are the doses relatively high, but the number of people exposed is vastly higher. Medical exposures have actually doubled the overall public’s annual exposure, from ~300 mrem to ~600 mrem (all the extra dose being borne by the fraction of the population getting these procedures).

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the risks from these procedures are significant. It’s just funny (and frustrating?) that there is so much more concern about nuclear power related doses that are far smaller. It is absolutely clear that a (say, 1 Rem) dose to a member of the public from a nuclear accident will be viewed completely differently than a similar dose from a medical procedure. The double standard is a bit hard to take.

    On a positive note, who knows, maybe the (much more popular and accepted) medical industry will (finally) be the source of rules changes that can also be used by the nuclear industry. We would need to press the case that if such exposures are OK for them (i.e., if significant efforts to avoid such medical exposures are not called for), then the same should go for nuclear power (e.g., post -meltdown scenarios).

    1. Jim Hopf: Agree and again, this isn’t rocket science. One reaps the public perception you sow, in nuclear’s case, nil. It doesn’t matter who or how much fossils or solar is funded. Nuclear has to get the word OUT THERE about its sterling merits, and take the bull by the horns and defang the green bogeyman with fact! Here on NYC streets, even those reminded that there was a Fukushima assume thousands were killed. They believe it cubed when you tell them it was a freak triple meltdown. If you say less people were killed at Chernobyl than most bad mining accidents they snicker, and rightly so. They are clueless of the facts and there’s no one dishing it out to them wholesale to make nuclear platable as back the 50s. The $$ Ad excuse is one big crock. Here in NYC, Indian Point is fighting off daily media media assault with ZERO nuclear education Ads, yet you see wedding salons and cab company commercials here DAILY hawking their wares. Is someone telling me the collective nuclear community can’t cough up more Ad dough than a wedding parlor or taxi outfit in the nation’s priciest market?? Nuclear is in the PR plight it’s in by the lack of wits and will and spine to FIGHT. Even if it’s against fossil’s odds, splurge SOMETHING big just to say you tried, and I don’t mean Tupperware party Girl Scout teach-ins!

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Rod. As Jeffry says,”This is too important NOT to fix!”

    Doses below 10 rem/year do not cause any other effects that should concern people, a simple fact that would be easy to sell if the public had not been bombarded with 70 years of “all radiation is dangerous” messages and the implied assent to this error that well-meant ALARA practices perpetuate.


  4. See “Radiation and Reason” by Wade Allison. He did quite a bit of health physics and knows his stuff.

  5. I took my 3 year old to her pediatrician last week because of, what we believed was a sinus infection. Her Doctor informed us that she also believed it was a sinus infection, but the only true method to verify this is with a CT Scan.

    She then told us she doesn’t want to expose my daughter to unnecessary radiation, so she wrote an antibiotic Rx (even though she couldn’t be certain it was an infection) and recommended using steam treatment routinely to avoid future infections.

    She wrote down the information for the steam treatments, what equipment and oils to buy and said she should start getting better within a couple days and then said goodbye.

    I decided at this point to have a polite little chat with the Doc. I told her in the future to please not automatically dismiss what could be crucial information when diagnosing my daughter’s aliments blindly on the belief that the radiation associated with the imaging is dangerous or unnecessary.

    I informed her I am a Senior Radiation Protection Technician at the local Nuclear Power Plant with 20 years of experience and training in the field of radiation protection. She was a bit taken back with my comment, but I wanted to get my point across that I want what is best for my Daughter, and in the future, if this means getting imaging done that exposes her to radiation then please perform the imaging without hesitation.

    Was the CT scan necessary in this scenario……no, but god forbid something happens in the future that warrants one, I don’t want the radiation excuse to prevent her from getting it. Believe it or not, the steam method worked and my Daughter started recovering so quickly that we didn’t even get around to using the antibiotics.

    1. Isn’t it amazing how carefully small radiation doses are avoided and how casually powerful antibiotics are prescribed just in case?
      Culling bacteria is not without risks. I recommend the book “missing microbes”

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