Dr. Wade Allison – A revolution in radiation protection
Dr. Wade Allison, author of Radiation and Reason, recently shared a short paper titled A revolution in radiation protection that would lead to safer and cheaper nuclear power. He described it as “reference light”, explaining that his intended audience for this work is not the journal-reading academic community but the kind of people who want good information that can help them make informed decisions.
Here is a sample quote to whet your appetite for downloading and reading the whole paper.
Fundamentally, nuclear radiation is a powerful agent and the forces that hold life together are feeble, so the resilience of life is a surprise — that is, until you realise that in 400 million years life has had time to evolve many ingenious defences that enable it to survive powerful attacks. Designed first to protect plants and later animals, they are subconscious. In recent biological research many have been studied including action by anti-oxidants, DNA repair, cell death, and long-term immune protection against cells detected as foreign. Indeed the whole design of cellular biology with its dispersed DNA copies, its cycle of cellular replacement, overlaid by the life-and-death cycle of individuals, is optimised to ensure survival of the species against attack by physical and chemical agents — and, less certainly, by other biological systems too. Small wonder then that humans and other life forms survive low and moderate radiation levels without a scratch. Nature has matters well in hand at the cellular level and adaptive mechanisms actually bolster radiological protection based on previous moderate exposures.
The paper is only 4 pages long; you will thank me for recommending that you invest 5 minutes to read the document. Share it, spread it, help to overcome the inherited advantages of the forces aligned against the beneficial uses of nuclear energy and radiation.
Wade Allison has done much to combat the misinformation surrounding radiation and health/safety. Like Cohen, he uses the power of informed analysis to sort fact from fiction.
Perhaps a little off topic but i have stumbled across some of Doug Brugge’s work re: nuclear energy. He seems to be using 1950s standards uranium mining and the chernobyl accident as a basis for getting rid of this technology as well as standard arguments re proliferation. What are your thoughts?
Doug Brugge seems to be singing from the same collection of sheet music as people like Lovins, Lyman, and Caldicott.
Here is a sample of a response to one of his articles along with his response that equates membership in the American Nuclear Society (a well respected technical professional organization) with being a parrot of nuclear industry talking points.
Did Brugge actually claim that nuclear power CO2 is 20-40%the of coal?
Yes. He apparently believes Storm / Smith under estimated the total emissions since the bottom of his range is the top of theirs.
That indeed appears to be the case. I find Brugge’s claims about the health impacts hard to believe.
Thanks, Rod. That is indeed an excellent paper. I loved his imagining the ancient debate about domesticating fire. The good “doctor” at Depleted Cranium had a graphic that captures the probable conversation: http://depletedcranium.com/ancient-man-used-fire/ .
I work peripherally in RP and agree that there is much effort expended on ALARA for no benefit– by definition waste. Ken Chaplin’s anecdotes, the unnecessary deaths in Chernobyl and Fukushima, the waste not put to better use, irrational fear of radiation and therefore nuclear energy, all make me question the morality of being in the RP business.
But I rationalize it because I’m nearly vested in a pension:
1. I’m just helping my employer comply with (ill) regulations. (Bleh, that sounds like “just following orders.”)
2. Anyway, it’s the Navy’s fault. They thought it wise to make me an ELT thirty years ago at the young impressionable age of 19.
3. In the future I will be a better, more proactive advocate for nuclear energy.
So steeped in truth is Mr. Allison’s essay that this from the penultimate paragraph did not annoy me:
“In all probability climate change is upon us and the chances that civilisation will survive it are falling.”
At first I thought he pulled a Suzi Hobbes and, “Well, he just lost half his readers.” Then I realized the simple genious of that– he didn’t specify CAGW due to CO2, just that “climate change is upon us.” My one quibble in the way he said it was qualifying with “in all probability.” No, climate change is definitely happening. It always has. What would be surprising is if it wasn’t. Also, he specifies “civilisation” (as we know it I presume) and not “humanity.” Humanity has survived all sorts of climate changes.
It is civilization, specifically our enormous installed base of buildings, farms, ports, roads and other forms of infrastructure, that concerns me. Why keep pursuing a huge experiment in hopes that the scientists who study this stuff have – perhaps – been guilty of a bit of overstatement?
Wade should get it published somewhere, so we can cite it 🙂
Check this out:
We finally have a pitch that will definintely resonate with the public!!
Additional radiation exposure = sex at 90!
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