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79 Comments

    1. @Bob Applebaum

      You might have just set a record in your shortest ever time to respond to an article that questions your beloved LNT. Your comment appeared less than 20 minutes after I hit the “Publish” button.

      Is Google really skimming Atomic Insights that quickly or do you subscribe directly to the RSS feed for the site?

    2. Bob,
      “Science denial”? So where is this science that is being denied? The LNT model is based on zero evidence that the model is valid. In fact even agencies that continue to support the model agree it’s a conservative model, extrapolating what might be the case. That’s in spite of real-world evidence to the contrary. Indeed, if you read some of the recent articles that Rod posted here, scientists have identified a threshold effect based on controlled experimental results. Would they too be guilty of science denial propaganda?

  1. It’s not my “beloved LNT”, any more than my beloved “anthropogenic global warming” or any more than my “beloved speciation by evolution”. Those are all the scientific consensus theories.

    I have Google set for “science deniers who manufacture propaganda”.

    1. @Bob Applebaum

      Please tell the truth. Your stated search term wouldn’t have worked on this post. Google doesn’t search for words that don’t show up in the document.

      1. Rod, Please don’t ask the impossible. Folk like BobA are incapable of telling the truth.

  2. @Bob …. for me at least there is a pretty clear difference between questioning and denying? I don’t see Rod inventing facts to support his belief. By the way I am pretty happy that we figured out the earth wasn’t the center of the universe, the world wasn’t flat, and that there are more than five primary elements.

  3. Rod, I’m not a Health Physicist, just an engineer who has been in nuclear since I enlisted in the Navy in 1969, over 40 years. In my job I have to communicate with control room staff in a clear and concise manner. Admittedly I get to do this in writing most of the time so I don’t have to express complex concepts in an off the cuff manner.

    I clearly thought that Mr. Lochard’s response to your question was marvelously evasive, unprofessional and dismissive. Basically he is saying that it is simpler to assume that LNT is correct rather than to change course based on rational, scientific information.
    It would be helpful for him to explain why radiation is treated differently than any other pollutant that is in the environment where threshold amounts have been determined and LNT does not apply. Why are chemical pollutants so much less a threat than small doses of radiation?
    I would have liked him to explain why it is acceptable to forever increase the cost of maintenance and operation of a nuclear plant in the unending goal to always reduce dose below that previously received when there is little to no evidence that this neverending quest has any effect on the health of the people involved.

  4. You can also make a general comment. You can reduce risk from new products to zero, by never introducing them … but is that prudent? If old products approved before regulatory mania reached its current level are much more risky … then the answer is no.

    New nuclear reactors versus coal plants … I’m sorry but the answer is obvious. The safest new nuclear reactor is one that is not built. Does that make society safer?

    These days I’m working in Medical Devices and this is headed towards a condition where nothing new will ever be introduced. We will have infinitesimal variations on old products and nothing that might really be called progress.

  5. So: “What level of nuclear radiation shows to harm DNA, etc.?”

    Sperm carries the sex specific part of DNA. Male DNA is somewhat smaller than female DNA. So if sperm (or males as those carry the sperm) are exposed to enhanced level of radiation, more female sperm is killed. Hence the sex-ratio of new born changes; more males are born.

    Radiation workers at Sellafield who worked in high radiation environment in the period of conception got 30% more male new born! As radiation particles that hit DNA often only damage DNA, one can assume that their offspring has DNA with more lesions (which implies more risks on disease, less intelligence, etc).

    Nuclear Power Plants and nuclear waste facilities produce fast neutrons which can pass through rather thick steel & concrete. Remember the neutron bomb; intended to kill Russian tank crews who are behind thick steel, without damaging the infra-structure.
    Those fast neutrons collide with Argon (Ar; inert gas) in the air which results a.o. in radio-active Argon (Ar41) which has a half-life of ~2hours.
    Being part of the air, the Ar41 moves around with the wind and is easily transported up to 50km before it has lost most of its radio-activity.

    So the question is whether the sex-ratio of new born is different for people living near nuclear facilities (or changed after the start of a nuclear facility).
    That is rather easy to research. Just check the population registers.

    The official German environmental institute did that and found highly significant increased (m/f) sex-ratios for new born in the vicinity (up to ~40km!) of nuclear facilities!

    As the concerned radiation level (from Ar41) is very substantial lower than background, this implies that radiation damages already at levels far below 1mSv/a.

    This result is in line with studies involving differences in background radiation. E.g. in Europe (Switzerland, etc) and Chernobyl low level radiation.

    1. “Sperm carries the sex specific part of DNA. Male DNA is somewhat smaller than female DNA. So if sperm (or males as those carry the sperm) are exposed to enhanced level of radiation, more female sperm is killed. Hence the sex-ratio of new born changes; more males are born.”

      Interesting theory. Any lab proof? Not statistical stuff that you’re fluffing about. That’s too spurious, too much environmental factor.

      “Radiation workers at Sellafield who worked in high radiation environment in the period of conception got 30% more male new born! ”

      Too many unknowns in the study. The study makes it clear that dose estimates were not accurate. There was no correlation between lifetime dose and sex odds for example.

      “Nuclear Power Plants and nuclear waste facilities produce fast neutrons which can pass through rather thick steel & concrete. Remember the neutron bomb; intended to kill Russian tank crews who are behind thick steel, without damaging the infra-structure.”

      Darius this may shock you but NUCLEAR PLANTS ARE NOT NEUTRON BOMBS. The fast neutrons are shielded by very thick water and concrete. Nuclear powerplants are closed loop facilities.

      “So the question is whether the sex-ratio of new born is different for people living near nuclear facilities (or changed after the start of a nuclear facility).
      That is rather easy to research. Just check the population registers.

      The official German environmental institute did that and found highly significant increased (m/f) sex-ratios for new born in the vicinity (up to ~40km!) of nuclear facilities!”

      ABSOLUTELY NOT SIGNIFICANT. The larger variations were in the smallest groups; N of only hundreds. Your reference simply borks up some red lines which are imaginitive, in a data set that has much natural variation (not bothered to explain by your “study”).

      This is exactly what I mean by statistical fluff. When you actually look at the countries, the sex odds of France (80% nuclear powered) is similar to the other countries. This does not indicate a meaningful effect even when you power nearly all of your country with nuclear plants plus bother with reprocessing and its gaseous emissions.

      If anything your refs prove that this is just statistical dreaming by anti nuclear groups. There’s a very good reason why WHO etc. don’t consider these “studies”. They’re just statistical data dredges.

      Here’s a good reference for you and anyone else who looks solely at statistics to jump to conclusions:

      http://www.tylervigen.com/

      1. P = gives the chance that the result is coincidence.
        Look e.g. at slide 19 of the linked presentation: F-test delivers P<0.0001 (for German+Swiss NPPs), which implies chance smaller than one in ten thousand that it is coincidence.
        All statisticians will call that highly significant.

        Of course the French population as a whole doesn't show raised sex-odds, as only a very small share of the population lives within 40km of such nuclear facility.

        It is the more significant as same was found for French NPP's (P<0.01) and for people living around the nuclear storage sites Remlingen/Asse (slide 9; ~16% more male newborn than normal).
        Same around Gorleben. The present German above ground nuclear waste storage.
        Results published in peer reviewed scientific journals.

        1. You’re not getting the main points Darius.

          1. the red line doesn’t exist. It is imaginary
          2. accepting the red line to do exist, we still end up with nil variance (all close to the normal 1.05 sex ratio). The natural variation in sex ratio is far, far larger than the supposed “jump” (which again i must stress is an imaginary line). There is no mention of this, no bother to exlain why there is such strong natural variation in sex ratios…

          It is in fact very easy to explain Darius. Just that your reference doesn’t try since it would totally sabotage the argument.

          Here we have negligible dose from NPPs to sperm cells (nanosieverts to microsieverts range) which causes less than a millionth the background mutation rate (such as from background radiation). So a signal to noise ratio of under a thousandth certainly and possibly under a millionth. At such signal to noise ratios, you can forget, prima facia, about doing any sort of statistical analysis. Its pointless to begin with, as any freshmen statistics student will be able to explain to you.

          If you were right, then we would see places with high background radiation having a seriously skewed sex ratio. This simply isn’t the case, even when doses are much much higher than the microsieverts produced by nuclear plants. Like, thousands to a hundreds of thousands of times higher… we would see places like Kerala and Ramsar having a vast majority of boys. This just isn’t the case.

          As I told you before your own reference shows that France (80% nuclear + reprocessing emissions) has perfectly normal sex ratio. This totally undermines your cherry picking locality argument.

          I do not doubt that the peer reviewed world is corrupt. I know it for a fact, since people like Marc Jacobson produce peer reviewed “studies” analysing the CO2 emissions of nuclear weapons war to the balance of nuclear power lifecycle emissions. These perversions show that there is in fact little inherent value in peer review; its all in “who is doing the review”. If ludicrous claims and freshmen statistical errors make it to peer review, then peer review itself must be questioned.

          1. “no bother to explain why there is such strong natural variation in sex ratios…”

            In slide 12 of the presentation you can see that this natural variation is rather small (between 1.049 and 1.059 for the involved EU countries).

            “red line doesn’t exist”
            Those red lines are statistical best fit lines. The red line with a jump is the statistical best fit assuming the trend is a single jump function. Normally the jump should be zero.
            The red line with a curve is the statistical best fit curve according to the famous Raleigh function; you find explanation at slide 14 of the presentation. If the nuclear facility does not emit anything that harms DNA, the curve is a flat horizontal line.

            The chance that the aberration of those lines from the horizontal line is coincidence is indicated at the top of the slides. So for Beznau (slide 17) that is <1%, etc.

            So far the measurements.

            Now your your trial to fit those in your philosophy regarding radiation.
            For now I can only give my thoughts about that:

            "places with high background radiation"
            As the study which Joris links below also shows, the sensitivity to radiation changes over time. As with poisons, peoples organisms adapt to higher levels. The cell with its DNA is an adapting mechanisms. More adaptation requires more efforts, etc. Hence the cell is faster exhausted. As with adaptation to higher levels of poisons, such adaptation implies shorter healthy live.

            "Sex ratio newborn in high background radiation places"
            I'm not aware about any study regarding that. I only know that polyandry (one woman is married to more men) was quite common in Tibet. You may assume that polyandry is stimulated in places with more men than women…
            And Tibet has a relative high level of radiation (through its high altitude already).

        2. Another problem with Darius’ reasoning: industry patterns.

          The best example I can give you is the Borssele plant we have here in the Netherlands. Its built right next to a coal plant, as a twin fossil-nuclear unit!! So doing any sort of statistical study is impossible. The coal plant produces so much genetotoxic and carcinogenic material, it totally swamps (even by LNT) the effect of the nuclear plant emissions!

          This is often the case with nuclear facilities. They are built in industrial areas with large emissions of geneto- or repro-toxic materials. Nuclear plants make cheap and reliable electricity, it just so happens many dirty industries like that. Solar panels of course make expensive unreliable electricity, so you can easily find a negative correlation between genetic and cancer effects with solar panels. That doesn’t mean solar panels are “good for your health”.

          1. @Cyril R

            And the most toxic effect downwind of Three Mile Island was the fact that the event forced the closure of the entire station for the better part of half a decade. That meant that nasty old coal fired plants in the vicinity had to make up for the power deficit, raining their “stuff” on the people downwind.

          2. @Cyril,
            I’m not aware of any similar study for the newborn in the population living in the vicinity of e.g. the lignite mines with power plants. Only of a study that showed that the famous coal waste mountains deliver no enhanced radiation levels.

            But as you also noticed, that doesn’t imply that it has no influence on DNA, hence the male/female ratio of newborn in the vicinity.
            Though I don’t see that a coal mountain emits fast neutrons, creating radio-active Argon gas, etc.
            So if it has influence, I expect only for people living very nearby.

            Note that many NPP’s are not in industrial area’s. E.g. Beznau, which shows the increased sex ratio of newborn in its vicinity with a significance of 0.01.

    2. @ Darius

      Nice theory. I don’t know about European Containment domes, but in America, virtually NOTHING comes through the containment…that’s why areas immediately adjacent to containment are not even a radiation area and do NOT require dosimetry.

      1. Agree that virtually nothing can come through the containment. Same with the 30cm thick steel that protects the Russian tank crew. However fast neutrons can, so the neutron bomb was developed.

        The probabilities that fast neutrons are captured by nuclei are comparatively very small. A >1 meter thick wall of lead may do.

        But as far as I know, neither the European nor the US containment domes, nor the reactor vessels have such mass.

        In USA nuclear waste from power plants can be stored above ground in containers. From the pictures I saw, those containers don’t have thick dense (lead) walls (>1meter).
        So you may assume that fast neutrons will also escape these containers, similar as at Gorleben, the present German storage site. And people living around Gorleben have ~15% more male newborn than normal (sex odds of newborn 1.22).

        1. @Darius

          Fast neutrons are quite penetrating. That’s why we surround reactors with multiple layers of shielding, including thick layers of hydrogen or carbon bearing materials like water, plastic or graphite. As fast neutrons attempt to pass through such shielding, they bounce (scatter) against light nuclei and lose energy with each collision. That process is called “thermalization” and results in slow moving neutrons that can be captured in reactions with materials like boron.

          It would be quite dangerous to be near a nuclear reactor if such shielding was not in place. Speaking as someone who used to live within 200 feet of an operating reactor and often passed within ten feet of the top of that reactor, I can testify that nuclear power plant engineers have long been paying attention to the principles that Ted Rockwell first described in open literature with his “Reactor Shielding Design Manual.”

          1. @Rod,
            Agree that almost all fast neutrons are blocked.
            The problem is; not all.

            Those who escape don’t harm directly. But they collide with Argon nuclei in the air, which they partly change into Argon41 which is radio-active with half live of ~2hours. The inert gas Argon41 emits Bèta particles.
            Check slide 28 of this overview presentation (German, sorry. Google translate helps).

            Still it are so few that no significant increase of cancer in adults occurs.
            There is some discussion about studies that found increased cancer levels for children who live nearby NPP’s.

            The increase in male newborn is without discussion as it is very significant (also measured after Chernobyl in W-Europe) and measured everywhere where enough people live in the vicinity of nuclear power plants in Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Netherlands.
            So newborn of people living in the vicinity of NPP’s have increased DNA damage.

            Not sure whether similar effects can be shown in USA. Because in USA much fewer people in the vicinity (<40km) of nuclear facilities than in dense populated Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands.
            France is somewhat less populated and there the significance of the findings is already much lower (P<0.01 while in Germany/Switzerland P<0.0001).

          2. “Agree that almost all fast neutrons are blocked.
            The problem is; not all.”

            The core neutron flux outside the containment building is so low its not even detectable!!!

            “Those who escape don’t harm directly. But they collide with Argon nuclei in the air, which they partly change into Argon41 which is radio-active with half live of ~2hours. The inert gas Argon41 emits Bèta particles.”

            So you do you postulate that beta to find sperm cells???

            “Not sure whether similar effects can be shown in USA. Because in USA much fewer people in the vicinity (<40km) of nuclear facilities than in dense populated Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands.
            France is somewhat less populated and there the significance of the findings is already much lower (P<0.01 while in Germany/Switzerland P<0.0001)."

            No. You're pretty clueless about statistics. What P says is is this a population factor or a sampling error factor. This doesn't tell you anything. It doesn't disentangle any "noise" factors, especially spurious correlations.

            It looks like you're as clueless about statistics as you are about biological shielding and fundamental understanding of the different types of radiation. You really need to read up on these subject fields, it is just tedious to talk to you otherwise.

          3. @Cyril,
            “What P says is this is a population factor or a sampling error factor. ”
            Not quite:
            P is the chance that the found difference is coincidence, not a real difference.
            So in this situation; the chance that the measured increase in sex-ratio (m/f) is coincidence (by chance) and not an increase with a real cause.
            P<0.01 implies that the chance that it is a coincidence is smaller than 1%.

            In social science; if a measured difference is found with a P<0.05, it is accepted that there is a real cause (so the measured difference is no coincidence). In physics P<0.01 is often the standard.

            If you want to find differences with good statistical significance (P<0.01) than you need a lot of cases.

            E.g: in slide 9 of this presentation you can read that around Asse, the old (underground) nuclear waste storage site, 434 boys and only 336 girls were born. So 29% more boys than girls while that is normally ~5%.
            Still there is 5% chance that this high number of boys is coincidence (P<0.05).

          4. “If you want to find differences with good statistical significance (P<0.01) than you need a lot of cases."

            The issue here is not statistical significance. That is simple mathmatics. I have shown you examples that are nonsense like the correlation between suicides and NASA funding. These results can have very high statistical significance. An extremely significant result exists for the number of murders in a city compared to the number of restaurants in a city. This doesn't mean there is causation. P factor is just a methodical tool, it is a check to see whether there are measurement errors. This doesn't mean you can jump to conclusions, it means you continue and research spurious factors and generally noise/signal ratios to see whether statistics is a useful tool. So it is a condition to continue with the content, not a jumping to conclusions. This is a common rookie mistake.

            The issue is spurious correlations, exemplified by something called signal to noise ratio. In this case its more like noise to signal ratio. There is only noise, since dose to sperm is nil and environmental factors are overwhelming. The damage to DNA caused by the nanosieverts to microsieverts we are talking about here pales compared to the other causes of DNA damage. We see this is the case from enormous "natural" variations, caused by lifestyle differences, age (strong determinant for sex ratio), etc etc.

            Unless you have exact information on all these factors, all of which more important than microsieverts dose to sperm cells, you cannot do a proper statistical study. Even with it, it would be nigh on impossible to get meaningful results. It'd be like, going to a hospital to see how dangerous it is by counting the number of people that die there. This doesn't tell you how dangerous the hospital is; people just die in hospitals because the people who go to hospitals aren't well to begin with. Of course the so called environmental institute you quoted doesn't bother telling us about these factors. It would destroy its little statistics bubble.

            There's lies, there's damned lies, and there's statistics.

          5. “P factor is just a methodical tool,…”
            Sorry.
            The T-test, chi-squared test, Raleigh test, etc. are methodological tools. P only indicates how reliable the result is. So a test result with P<0.0001 (as with the nuclear facilities in Germany) implies that it is for 99.99% sure that the measured result does really exist. The result being: People living within ~40km of a nuclear facility (NPP of waste deposit) do get more boy newborn than normally.

            Agree that the explanation (escaping fast neutrons collide with Argon nuclei, creating radio-active Argon with half-live of ~2hrs, which gas moves with the wind hence create damage to sperm up to ~40km around) is just an explanation.
            May by you can find a better one for the measured increased sex-ratio in the area up to ~40km around all such nuclear facilities?
            Increases that started after the nuclear facility started. Increases that also occur around nuclear facilities that have no other industry around.

            "The issue is spurious correlations,…"

            This correlation is found everywhere where enough people live within 40km of NPP's or (surface) nuclear waste deposits, or similar facilities.

            Stronger; increases in sex-ratio's started after a nuclear facility was started in the neighborhood! E.g. at Gorleben, slide 17 of this presentation, a significant increase with p=0.001 (now; action is going on at Gorleben to change the storage facility in such a way that less fast neutrons can escape).

            “Unless you have exact information … you cannot do a proper statistical study.”

            These statistical measurements are intended to find out what is going on. Similar measurements in London found the cause of the Cholera outbreak.

            Btw.
            UNSCEAR stated already in its 1958 report (an appendix) to the UN general assembly that increased sex-ratio of newborn could be used to measure increased low level radiation and damage.

            1. @Darius

              You are in danger of receiving the same treatment as a former commenter who persisted in making false statements almost identical in form and content to the ones you are clinging to. You may be able find “sources” for your comments, but they are not factual. Radiation doses that are so low they cannot be measured cannot harm anyone. Spurious correlation does not prove causation. Far too many contributing factors are not only unknown here, but they are not accounted for.

          6. @Rod,
            At least you apply far less censorship than the TheEnergyCollective.com who simply deletes well funded comments regarding radiation (if they don’t support nuclear).

            Assume your former commenter is Bas. He was even completely banned from TheEnergyCollective.com.

            1. @Darius

              That might have been a Freudian slip, but it made me chuckle to note that you used the phrase “well funded,” when I think you intended to type “well founded.” There is only a one letter difference, but an enormous difference in meaning.

              There is a growing assumption among many people that understand and support the use of nuclear energy on various sites, including Atomic Insights and The Energy Collective, that “Darius” is simply a nom de plume for Bas Gresnigt. That may or may not be literally true, but perhaps you are a protege of the infamous and irritatingly incorrect BAS.

              It’s difficult to conceal writing styles and arguments if one reads closely enough.

        2. Darius the fact that you don’t understand the amount of biological shielding between the reactor core and the outside of the containment dome, shows that you are totally clueless about this subject.

          Stop embarassing yourself. Study!

          1. @Cyril,
            I think that it is water, thick steel, air and thick (steel) armed concrete.
            What is biological in the shielding?

        3. @ Darius

          If one was to take a Rem Ball for measuring neutrons and get a reading adjacent to Containment when the plant is shut down and take another one when the plant was at 100% power, you would be indicating the same dose, essentially zero. A one inch steel liner with 4 feet of concrete filled with rebar…nothing gets through Containment. Remember that the neutrons must first make it out of the primary piping, reactor vessel and the water in those components, and the bioshield (about 3 feet of concrete). I know nothing of the energy levels in neutron bombs but do know that the measure neutron levels outside containment is zero.

          1. @ Darius

            “Do normal radiation meters also measure fast neutrons?”

            That is what a Rem Ball is for…measuring neutrons. See here:

            http://www.ludlums.com/products/survey-meters/neutron-meters

            If fast neutrons were a problem, then the areas adjacent to the containment would be posted as radiation areas requiring dosimetry. Forgive me if I’m stating the obvious, but the unit of measure known as Rem or millirem, already takes into account biological damage. So, to suggest that there can be enough fast neutrons to pose a biological hazard while simultaneously NOT having dose rates high enough to even be posted as a radiation area is, to put it charitably, thin.

        4. Contact dose rates on our “spent” fuel casks are <1 mrem/hr neutron and <1-2 mrem/hr gamma . General area dose rates around our entire ISFSI pad is 12-400 mircoRem.

          At power there are only a couple areas inside Lock High Rad Areas that have neutron dose rates coming from penetrations……and they are only 2-4 mrem/hr.

          Even at 18% reactor power, neutron dose rates INSIDE our drywell are 20-40 mrem/hr.

      1. Is that the Bas moron who posted here before?

        Darrius is a type of wind turbine. A uselessly inefficient and archaic one.

        Makes sense.

      2. Does EL have the week off? I suppose that it’s probably spring break, so I guess a substitute is necessary.

        1. @Brian Mays

          So how is life behind that impenetrable and overcompensating suit of armor and only talking to people who think just like you. Are you lonely … is this why you are reaching out to me?

          1. @EL

            Though Brian can be quite irritating, it would be a perfectly rational conclusion — on his part or on the part of anyone who has been reading your 386 comments on this site — to determine that it is not worth any effort or concession to try to reach out to you in hopes that you might change your view of nuclear energy.

            I’ve tried. No matter what the topic is, you refuse to acknowledge that nuclear energy is superior in many measures of effectiveness to all other available alternatives.

            I acknowledge that our execution of the technology development has, so far, left much to be desired and that we need to make dramatic improvements in the future. However, one makes improvements by moving forward not engaging in too much self flagellation to allow progressive projects to be developed by far-sighted individuals.

        2. I acknowledge that our execution of the technology development has, so far, left much to be desired and that we need to make dramatic improvements in the future.

          @Rod Adams

          We agree … nuclear has a lot of obstacles to overcome, and I would like to see it overcome them. Obscuring safety issues (with respect to radiation protection), advocating for lower regulatory standards (particularly in a challenging investment and public policy context), slow response to intractable waste management challenges, assigning blame to others (environmentalists and fossil fuel stakeholders), and demonizing clean energy alternatives aren’t very likely (I believe) to change current conditions much or advance the best interests of the industry (except among those who are its most active and fervent cheerleaders). This doesn’t make everyone else anti-nuclear … the world just isn’t carved up that way (although over several years it has become more and more clear to me how and why you see it that way).

          I’m actually pretty troubled by recent negotiations with Iran, events in Russia, etc. It seems they have shown, at a minimum, just how difficult a global nuclear future is going to be. Nuclear isn’t going to succeed by being given a free pass. If it doesn’t want to deal with significant future and current competitive challenges, it will continue to be stuck in my view (and yes, is unlikely to find a better reception among strategic and broader beneficial friends and allies). You may not want to engage in too much self-flagellation, but bending over backwards to apply balm and liniment to an aching wound (and shrinking status quo) ins’t doing much to boost morale and self-confidence either (except, it goes without saying, among the ranks of the true believer).

          1. @EL

            Obscuring safety issues (with respect to radiation protection), advocating for lower regulatory standards (particularly in a challenging investment and public policy context), slow response to intractable waste management challenges, assigning blame to others (environmentalists and fossil fuel stakeholders)

            You have yet to make a compelling case that our current regulatory system is working well or that it is based on providing adequate protection instead of ever ratcheting standards.

            You also have not made a good case for why we should continue to base radiation protection standards on 1927 experiments on fruit flies that were performed with high doses of radiation with many assumptions extracted about effects at low doses and about the reasonableness of using short lived insects as models for how radiation will affect human beings. Heck, Muller did not even understand the structure of DNA at the time he conducted his experiments.

            Effective, reasonable safety regulations are warranted. Excessive, strangling regulations based on documented evidence of political pressure are not. Costs have been excessive, and if you cannot acknowledge that regulatory delays have been a significant component of that performance, you are simply not being honest.

          2. @EL

            The trajectory of the international nuclear technology business is now set on a course where the ‘free world’ will have no part of it sooner or later, and only authoritarian and despotic regimes will control the nuclear power technology going forward.

            Pretending that the hurdles to maintaining appropriate levels of nuclear technology know-how in ‘free world’ countries are nothing but the fault of the nuclear power sector itself (as you are implying) is simplistic and naive.

            Until we face up to the fact that most – if not all – of these hurdles have been meticulously and deliberately fabricated and maintained by well-funded special interest opposed to nuclear power, we will keep watching control over nuclear power technology slipping away from us, toward regions and regimes which seem unlikely to do much better than ‘us’ at keeping nuclear power technology safe and secure.

            Accepting the existence of arbitrarily chosen and effectively unsurmountable hurdles to the enabling of nuclear power in the free world as being justified for some reason is short-sighted if the result is that ‘we’ lose control over the technology to ‘them’. It should be the other way round. ‘We’ have to make sure that we keep the technology in our backyards, by making sure that we use the technology rationally, taking *reasonable* steps to ensure that it is *safer* than every alternative.

            The good news is that we are already there. Nuclear in the free world is already safer than everything else, which Fukushima has most recently proved. Fukushima – in the worst case scenario – will not kill more people than are killed every three months in Germany due to German coal burning air pollution. More people where killed die to the chaotic evacuation than will ever die due to radiation contamintation. When confronted with these facts, we must conclude that most hurdles to nuclear power are unreasonable. They should not be left in place, forming unsurmountable obstacles to nuclear power. They need to be removed or cut down to size in a process of *rational* discussion and decision-making.

          3. Once again EL produces a long laundry list of vague and fabricated objections.

            Disappointing. After all the discussions EL has had here, where all these matters were discussed and were clearly either totally fabricated (not real issues but fabricated barriers) or lacking perspective, and usually both.

            EL just falls into his repeat machine of mantra. It doesn’t matter how often you repeat your fabrications EL. It will not make them more real.

            It doesn’t matter how many times or in how many versions this is explained to EL. He has dug his hole, and is staying in it.

            We need to get the message out the public that most of what they think they know about nuclear is wrong; there isn’t an intractable waste problem, nuclear is already safer than any other energy source, there isn’t a large or unacceptable proliferation risk from nuclear power plants, wind and solar really don’t work as they’re totally unreliable, the blame can clearly be placed on most mainstream environmental organisations for being so anti fact and anti science on our biggest reliable carbon free energy source available, etc etc.

            If the concerns are fabricated then they aren’t real and we should remove the artificial barriers that have been set up against nuclear power on account of these fabricated arguments.

            We can take strength though in knowning that there are only a few shouty EL characters in this world. Most people aren’t so totally religiously opposed and dogmatically unconstructive toward the subject of nuclear energy.

          4. @ El

            “We agree … nuclear has a lot of obstacles to overcome, and I would like to see it overcome them. ”

            Is this a genuine feeling or a flippant response? Do you coach the renewable/environmentalist folks with similar cautions or are your admonishments only reserved for the pro nuclear camp?

            Seriously, are your energies ever directed at restraining the madness of those who post or publish bogus studies and information about nuclear power? People like Mangano, Gundersen, or Darius above whose neutrons are so fast, they leave no dose to be measured but seek out female DNA in a Chinese-esk sex selection process.

            I’ve read perhaps a score of your contributions and the sum total in my estimation seems to be more about being a clever burr under the saddle of nuclear power than of help in any meaningful way; I suspect you can do better.

            “…assigning blame to others (environmentalists…” You’re not seriously suggesting these folks haven’t been a large impediment to the success of the nuclear industry?

            A house divided against itself cannot stand and if the anti-nukes attack nuclear and the nuclear folks attack renewables, the charade is going to cost everyone a pile of money AND inhibit our ability to provide the country/world with affordable electricity. I’m for what works, for what is best for the country. If you’re serious about overcoming obstacles to successful nuclear power, why not support a simpler licensing process, raising dose limits, and exposing those who publish bogus studies and/or lie about nuclear power. If the goal is safe, cheap, clean, electricity for all, then help be part of this solution.

        3. You have yet to make a compelling case that our current regulatory system is working well or that it is based on providing adequate protection instead of ever ratcheting standards.

          @Rod Adams.

          Here.

          You also have not made a good case for why we should continue to base radiation protection standards on 1927 experiments on fruit flies that were performed with high doses of radiation with many assumptions extracted about effects at low doses and about the reasonableness of using short lived insects as models for how radiation will affect human beings.

          Probably because nobody is doing this. There is a very extensive and systematic (over many decades) body of research on radiation and health impacts, and radiation protection bodies (acting independently and on scientific merits) do not base their recommendations on fruit fly experiments from 1927. Uncertainties are well described and documented, current research is ongoing and advances knowledge in a routine and scientifically rigorous manner (on a sufficient and independent basis to advance policy), and principles of public safety and risk assessment are well described and defended. I understand you would rather have these questions assessed in a different way (and under different criteria), but creating more uncertainty is not going to get you there (and neither is mischaracterizing the science and the public health standards on which they are based). Your agenda for reform is missing a crucial element (a credible, independently verifiable, and workable alternative). Workable perhaps in authoritarian States, as Joris van Dorp points out, but not so much in democratic States (where stronger standards and more independent and accountable public institutions play a significant role).

          We can take strength though in knowning that there are only a few shouty EL characters in this world.

          @Cyril R.

          I understand my views are not mainstream on the site (but I consider them pretty conventional everywhere else). Maybe you’ve been spending too much time on the site (and other exclusively pro-nuclear social media sites) to notice?

          1. @EL

            High fleet capacity factors are only one measure of effectiveness. Let’s take a look at the total amount of electricity produced each year by nuclear – which hit a slowly falling plateau about 20 years ago.

          2. @ El

            Are you assuming capacity factors rose directly as a result of increasing regulations? At the nuke plant where I work, we had a program specifically initiated to reduce plant trips and raise capacity factor, it had nothing to do with the NRC as far as I’m aware. Is it not in the best interest for a plant to increase capacity factor AND would management need burdensome regulations to do what was in their best interest?

            On a different note, Rod first, and then you quoted him regarding a compelling case; if this is applied to LNT as well, why is it necessary to have a compelling case when the promoters of LNT have never presented one in its defense? If there has never been an ADEQUATE study of the effects of low level radiation, wouldn’t it be best to proceed on the best and most reasonable info instead of setting ridiculously low dose standards? We learn from emergency plans that being too conservative can be just as bad as not being conservative enough. It is important to make the right decision, not the most conservative because if you order an evacuation when one is not needed, people may die. There are folks in Japan who might still be with us today IF the dose limits were not set so low.

            In studies of cigarette smoking, there is always a direct correlation between smoking and lung cancer and yet, there is NO limit to the amount of cigarettes an individual is allowed to smoke. There is NO correlation between low doses of radiation and cancer…it is only inferred, and in light of the mounting evidence against this conclusion, much of which has been presented here on Atomic Insights, this inference is wearing thin.

            What do you base your conclusion on when you suggest the NRC regulations need to be ever more burdensome (forgive me if this doesn’t reflect your true sentiments)? The health and safety of the public HAS been maintained and marvelously so yet the industry still experiences ever increasing safety standards and these standards make it difficult for nuclear to compete. In addition to the NRC, there are further policies developed to satisfy INPO that again, encumber the industry with additional costs, costs that in my estimation are not commensurate with the benefits. If these standards, and the lies and bogus studies by environmentalists and the politicians who carry their water, are not to blame for the nuclear industry’s woes, please tell me where the blame rests and how we may again, jump start this industry in America?

            You have demonstrated you have exceptional research skills, why not employ them to help overcome the obstacles to nuclear’s success? I am taking you at your word on this and that you really are interested in seeing nuclear be successful. Is not safe, clean, cheap, and reliable power a worthy goal?

          3. Are you assuming capacity factors rose directly as a result of increasing regulations?

            @david davidson

            They certainly seem to be a factor to me: “All of these changes have contributed to higher efficiency and an improved safety record, as measured by several statistical indicators [rising plant capacity factors and decreasing number of unplanned reactor shutdowns] (here).

            … wouldn’t it be best to proceed on the best and most reasonable info instead of setting ridiculously low dose standards

            I agree, and your comment is not supported by rigorous or independent assessment of the issue. Radiation protection standards are not “ridiculously low” at power plants: “Above doses of 50-100 mSv (protracted exposures) or 10-50 mSv (acute exposure), direct epidemiological evidence from human populations demonstrates that exposure to ionizing radiation increases the risk of some cancers” (here). The general public really isn’t at a significant health risk from a normally operating power plant, but primarily from accident doses. Generic public safety criteria are not too low here either, generally around 100 mSv on a prolonged basis (and adequately conservative on a long term basis to cover a broader basis of the population beyond adult power plant workers, high risk groups such as children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems, general provisions for food and water safety, and more). The harm from evacuations has just as much to do with poor communication and inconsistent execution as from the plans (that can be improved) and dose limits that are the targets of a fully adequate and justified response. The clear and inescapable conclusion is that nuclear engineers and operators need to keep fission products behind containments and prevent unplanned releases to the general environment. If they can’t do this, nuclear doesn’t have a future (no matter what standards are achievable or used as reasonable occupational or public safety limits).

            What’s more, current standards aren’t going to change much (and certainly not in the direction you would like), so I don’t agree that it serves the interest of the industry to be so unproductively extreme and unserious about established science and fully independent efforts along these lines (and even go so far as to claim science itself is corrupt and anti-nuclear views are widespread among people doing this work). It is not uncommon for industry incumbents to believe their industry is over-regulated. I’m not surprised by this. What is surprising to me is that you (speaking generally about many on the site) can be so uncritical or un-self-reflective about it (and sometimes a little unwise and not very strategic in your approach to the issue).

            You have demonstrated you have exceptional research skills, why not employ them to help overcome the obstacles to nuclear’s success?

            If you read my posts (comments above included), they are full of useful and constructive suggestions along these lines. You spoke earlier of not being a house divided. That’s fine, then why not start here, and make some really substantive progress on intractable long standing issues that are going nowhere (and have a much more reasonable chance of success and are more in conformity with industry best practices and globally successful approaches to the issue). This one is a no brainer to me. I have stated before I am a fan of NuScale and the leadership team behind it. They have a great product, have been successful with early financing and securing contracts, and their design will benefit from a rigorous design certification and licensing review. They have a good understanding of where their product fits into the marketplace, and other companies will benefit from their example and expertise. In my own State, Bill 1585 (a 70% low carbon portfolio standard that specifically includes nuclear) is showing good prospects, and has bi-partisan support among legislators, business groups, labor and community leaders. The NEI has good things to say about it (here). My comments regularly highlight such common goals and strategic partnerships … on the basis of technology innovation, jobs, investment prospects, competitiveness, public acceptance, environmental values, lower consumer costs, etc. There are huge opportunities here (if people weren’t so tribal in their approach to these issues).

            All industries face pressure of one sort or another. It may feel good to complain about it from time to time, but if that is all you are doing (and have no real alternative to propose … at least none that adequately address the substantive issues at hand), I have to scratch my head and wonder about the logic, self-interest, and productivity of continuing to do so. Lower safety standards and less regulations, I get it, we all have our laundry list of hopes and dreams. Now what?

          4. @ El

            I am encouraged that you support NuScale as I do (I attended a SDANS presentation by their CEO? on the topic).

            “All industries face pressure of one sort or another. It may feel good to complain about it from time to time, but if that is all you are doing (and have no real alternative to propose … Lower safety standards and less regulations, I get it, we all have our laundry list of hopes and dreams. Now what?”
            AND
            “It is not uncommon for industry incumbents to believe their industry is over-regulated.”

            I would say that the fact that some industries believe their industry is over-regulated is NOT to be deduced that it isn’t true for the nuclear industry nor that it isn’t true for any industry that makes such claims. Making a claim similar to what has been made in other industries does not invalidate the claim. I don’t want to misrepresent your views but it seems you are surrendering to fatalism and that regulations, once imposed, are forever carved in stone. We all know of numerous examples where regulations are levied by the government in support of particular industrie (to increase their bottom line) to the detriment of society (auto & construction businesses are great examples).
            As far as not doing anything about it or having an alternative, isn’t raising the dose limits an alternative and isn’t citing the number of studies detailed on this site (Atomic Insights) in support of this alternative, a proposition? What of those living in Ramsar Iran where some residents receive as much as 260 mS/yr and do so year after year? Or the Taiwanese apartment dwellers who for some 15 years lived in apartments constructed with rebar that had been mixed with Co60. Or any of the other places detailed here:

            http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2013/01/22/hot-spots-earths-5-most-naturally-radioactive-places/

            When there are studies that indicate, like the article you listed, that low doses raise the chances of contracting cancer, and studies that indicate these low doses do not, coupled with perhaps anecdotal evidence like the above as well as personal experience, forgive me if my conclusions appear self-serving (understanding that those most in danger from low levels of radiation would be people like myself) when I accept that there IS a threshold for biological damage. Even in the article you cited, the upper range is twice the legal limit; would you at least support a limit increase to 10 R?

            I’ll comment further as family duties require my attention. I’ll end here by saying I do appreciate your comments.

          5. As far as not doing anything about it or having an alternative, isn’t raising the dose limits an alternative and isn’t citing the number of studies detailed on this site (Atomic Insights) in support of this alternative, a proposition? What of those living in Ramsar Iran where some residents receive as much as 260 mS/yr and do so year after year? Or the Taiwanese apartment dwellers who for some 15 years lived in apartments constructed with rebar that had been mixed with Co60.

            @david davidson

            Mean doses in high radiation areas of Ramsar (6 mSv/year) and in Cobalt study (which also has other problems) are below occupational safety limits for power plant workers in US (and in most countries). So on this basis, current occupational exposure limits are already rather high.

            Even in the article you cited, the upper range is twice the legal limit …

            No it’s not. 20 mSv over five years is 100 mSv. That is the upper bound of the 50-100 mSv range for protracted doses above which we have direct evidence of an increase in risk for some cancers. And studies that lack statistical significance in the low dose range are not the same as no effect.

            If you’re going to expect these standards to change (and have health experts, industry stakeholders, and the general public have confidence in them) a lot more work is needed. There is considerable uncertainty in low dose range, and this is fully discussed and documented by most radiation protection standards bodies (such as ICRP or NCRP). I don’t see where anybody is not fully aware of these issues, or subsequent research is not being done to expand and refine our extensive knowledge in this area.

          6. At the moment of cell division, and some time thereafter, DNA is single stranded so no DNA repair possible. So human organisms with the highest cell division rates are most sensitive for radiation harm.

            The two highest are:
            1- Sperm at the moment it is constructed in the male (some time before conception);
            2- Fetuses. Much higher frequency of cell division than babies.

            So we should look at those when we want to conclude anything about harm for our offspring.

            In line with this, the 1958 UNSCEAR report (in its appendix) to the UN General Assembly indicates that a.o. increased male/female ratio of newborn is a good indicator for harm (male DNA is smaller, so less chance to be hit and killed by radiation particles).

            The cancer risk of adults is a rather insensitive indicator, as:
            – the cell division rate of adults is small; and
            – cancer has a long latency (20yrs or more as shown with smoking, asbestos, etc).

          7. @ El, continuing on from where I left off:

            The purpose of the NRC is to insure nuclear plants operate in a manner to protect the health & safely of the public, not to increase their capacity factors. If in the maintenance of this mission plant operators are more focused and observant of the details such that CPs are also positively effected (a reasonable supposition) great, but it is the steps the plant takes to directly address this issue that is most germane. SONGs had a team whose sole goal was to limit our exposure to plant trips; it was NOT, as far as I am aware, mandated by the NRC. In the early days of operation (1980s), we tripped a lot on low steam generator level as we came up in power (4-8% roughly) through the recirculation ratio. We got better at controlling level through trial and error, not increased regulation, and all this came to an end when we installed digital feed controls (not mandated by the NRC). When control air to a gland steam dump valve broke off causing the valve to fail open (losing gland steam and then vacuum, Unit 3 tripped), we changed the valve to fail closed on loss of air and we never tripped again (this was not NRC mandated). We got better at Heat Treats through trial and error and using sharper pencils such that we virtually never tripped, but most importantly, were NOT at reduced power as long to complete the evolution (included procedural changes). I am not suggesting the NRC played no role in this success, just that it was minor in comparison to actions taken by the plant itself. I suspect a similar situation would be found at other plants but I can’t say for sure.

            Regarding efficiency, I suppose that depends on how you define it. Adding more regulations usually does NOT enhance efficiency, in fact, quite the contrary is true. Once upon a time in the “good old days” of nuclear power, the RO controlled reactivity and only consulted the CRS if he had a question. He would look at his temperature, ASI, and power charts and determine if it was time to add water or shim rods and at what time and amount. He would operate the controls entirely from memory. By about 2002, that simple exercise would involve a discussion with the CRS, a pre-job brief, a peer checker, and most odious, the use of a procedure that was about 18 steps long for a 3 step process. This was mandated by the NRC but did these changes enhance the health and safety of the public? It certainly reinforced the “appearance” of added safety. For any operators who may be reading this, my distaste for this INefficiency will be seen as blasphemy. However, this example and the bazillions of others I could list, illustrate that measures and/or regulations taken to provide greater safety margin often involve perception more than reality.

            Lost in these increased regulations is the effect it has on those forced to abide by them. Some are truly life-sucking exercises that degrade the morale of plant personnel. When plant signage reminds workers that every tenth of a millirem counts recognizing that no one who receives this dose cares about a tenth of a millirem (it is only important to the bean counters), AND being continually “coached” because in the exercise of your job, you got an extra mR; you have a recipe that places undo stress on the workforce. Indeed, workers will die from the increased stress these regulations and shift work produce long before they ever die of cancer. A number of plant personnel have died just since SONGs shut down, most were in their late 50’s and none died from cancer (see Robert Sapolsky’s studies on the effects of stress on the body which includes longevity).

            Through all this did productivity rise? You bet, but the amount of effort involved was NOT commensurate with the benefits achieved and as stated above, had a deleterious effect on the health of the workforce.

            None of this even addresses the NRC regulations on reactor citing or licensing, particularly new designs that perhaps don’t fit the criteria they’re used to, or even the process of granting a tech spec change (it should NOT take a year to grant a tech spec change and ultimately, was the final nail in the San Onofre coffin).

            As this is quite long, I’ll address your other comments in a future post…perhaps later today.

          8. @ El, continued:

            “You spoke earlier of not being a house divided. That’s fine, then why not start here, and make some really substantive progress…”

            Great! I’m on board. I prefer reprocessing as it reduces the need for more canisters (a cost savings), reduces the need for monitoring SNF (cost savings), produces jobs in the building and operating of a reprocessing facility (costs money), and extends the life of the fuel already mined while producing electricity with this fuel…it’s a three-for! I must confess I don’t know if it is cheaper to mine new fuel while storing used fuel, or to reprocess as I prefer.
            However, I can support Yucca Mt. or continued storage on site. I am NOT for the continual hand wringing indecision that opens the door for anti-nukes to claim the industry has no solution.
            What are your thoughts on the subject and are there any petitions to sign?

            “No it’s not. 20 mSv over five years is 100 mSv. That is the upper bound of the 50-100 mSv range…”

            Where did 20 mSv and the 5 years come in? Your article didn’t stipulate a time frame and since dose limits are annual (or less), I took the 100 mSv to be an annual dose. Where am I wrong?

            As for Ramsar, the mean doesn’t appear to be the appropriate dose to use. We’re not as concerned with those living at lower doses, it is those who receive the 131mSv per year or the 140 mSv per year your article documents (.7 mSv x 200). The article I mentioned stated 260 mSv per year and a Youtube presentation showed a detector on an individual’s bed reading 11 mR/hr, close to your article’s listed 100uGY/hr.

            As to the Taiwanese apartment dwellers, your article conflicts with one reproduced in a plant RP training manual. I hate conflicting info. However, assuming your articles are correct, apart from the small increase in breast cancer, there seems to be little effect from low dose radiation in the adult population over 30 years of age. This would exclude a huge percentage of the radiation workers at a nuclear plant and pregnant workers who declare their pregnancy are already granted lower dose limits.

            If dose limits were raised to 10 or even 25 R/yr, it wouldn’t mean that folks would be receiving that much. In over 30 years at SONGs, I’ve got a life time dose of 874 mR and I’ve been in containment many, many times. I also know of an individual who has 82+ Rem and a number of RPs that claim it’s probably higher as he did a lot of work outside the country in the early 1970s where dose records weren’t as meticulous.

            “If you’re going to expect these standards to change…”

            I agree, it will be a tough sell in an industry not given to bold measures (cowardly would be a better description) as each individual has learned through painful experience not to challenge the status quo but to exercise some serious CYA! However, we don’t live in a risk free world and if we choose to proceed on the fantasy of achieving one, progress will halt. Thankfully, our ancestors took a more realistic approach or we’d still be wiping our bums with pine cones.

          9. @david davison

            If this thread is still open, David, we’ll have to continue this discussion another time. I have family visiting for a week (and I’d prefer to focus on the visit). I hope you understand. It seems only one person noticed, but I haven’t been a regular contributor to site for a least two months. I’ve spent a lot less time reading it as well. I only contributed to this thread because my user ID was specifically mentioned. I value your experience at SONGs, and perhaps something useful can come from talking bout these issues further. We seem to have a shared understanding of how difficult some of these issues are to change, and some of the practical considerations for doing so. I could get into some of the details of your comments briefly (but I think I would just end up glossing over some of your comments and not giving a very fair reply). It sounds like you might have family demands as well, and for me the next week is a very busy one (and a very happy one as well). So I hope we can continue this later, and sorry to cut it short so abruptly.

            1. @EL and david davison:

              The thread will remain open. I hope both of you enjoy the holiday/break time with your families, but I am looking forward to continuing to lurk while you converse on this topic.

          10. @ El
            “I have family visiting for a week …”

            Fair enough, and enjoy the family; nuclear power takes a back seat to the nuclear family.

  6. All this long limbo indecision is killing nuclear power’s public perception and confidence as surely as the Greens are!

    1. @Ed Leaver

      What is the status of that bill? Was it passed into law by both houses of Congress and signed by the President? Was there any funding associated with the bill? If not, how do the bill’s sponsors intend to ensure compliance by the DOE?

      Experience with Yucca Mountain dithering by DOE and NRC should help nukes understand that words mean little compared to action supported by appropriations.

      1. H.R. 35 was introduced by Randy Holtgren [R-IL 16] Jan 6, and passed the House by voice vote the following day. GovTrack lists six co-sponsors, including Dan Lipinski [D-IL3], and Lamar Smith. It was then assigned to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, chaired by Lisa Murkowski [R-AK] so will probably get a fair hearing God knows when but you can sign up on Govtrack to be notified when He does.

      2. H.R. 35 in its entirety reads:
        —————————————————————————————————————–
        AN ACT

        To increase the understanding of the health effects of low doses of ionizing radiation.

        1.Short title
        This Act may be cited as the Low-Dose Radiation Research Act of 2015.

        2.Low dose radiation research program

        (a)In general
        The Director of the Department of Energy Office of Science shall carry out a research program on low dose radiation. The purpose of the program is to enhance the scientific understanding of and reduce uncertainties associated with the effects of exposure to low dose radiation in order to inform improved risk management methods.

        (b)Study
        Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director shall enter into an agreement with the National Academies to conduct a study assessing the current status and development of a long-term strategy for low dose radiation research. Such study shall be completed not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act. The study shall be conducted in coordination with Federal agencies that perform ionizing radiation effects research and shall leverage the most current studies in this field. Such study shall—

        (1)identify current scientific challenges for understanding the long-term effects of ionizing radiation;
        (2)assess the status of current low dose radiation research in the United States and internationally;
        (3)formulate overall scientific goals for the future of low-dose radiation research in the United States;
        (4)recommend a long-term strategic and prioritized research agenda to address scientific research goals for overcoming the identified scientific challenges in coordination with other research efforts;
        (5)define the essential components of a research program that would address this research agenda within the universities and the National Laboratories; and
        (6)assess the cost-benefit effectiveness of such a program.

        (c)Research plan
        Not later than 90 days after the completion of the study performed under subsection (b) the Secretary of Energy shall deliver to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate a 5-year research plan that responds to the study’s findings and recommendations and identifies and prioritizes research needs.

        (d)Definition
        In this section, the term low dose radiation means a radiation dose of less than 100 millisieverts.

        (e)Rule of Construction
        Nothing in this Act shall be construed to subject any research carried out by the Director under the research program under this Act to any limitations described in section 977(e) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16317(e)).

        (f)Funding
        No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated under this section. This Act shall be carried out using funds otherwise appropriated by law.

        Passed the House of Representatives January 7, 2015.
        ——————————————————————————————————————–
        Presumably, the Five Year Research Plan to be submitted by the Secretary of Energy in Section C will also include a budget at least sufficient to archive the findings collected in the Study mandated in Section C, and preserve them for posterity.

        1. @Ed Leaver

          That’s wonderful language, but it would be quite simple for a bureaucrat to ignore. All agencies of the federal government have dozens to hundreds of tasks that they are “required” to perform, but if there is no associated funding, courts do not hold them accountable for completing the task. The real power that Congress has over the Executive Branch is the “power of the purse.” Courts assume that if Congress does not fund a requirement to the Executive Branch, they really didn’t mean it. In the bureaucracy, Unfunded laws have the priority list status of a campaign promise.

          If a Congressman really wants this research to take place, they will mark up a budget document and ensure that it is a line item, probably under the DOE Office of Science. They don’t actually need to pass a specific law.

          1. Rod,

            Thanks for the civics lesson. So we need to ask the Senate to include funding and to make it a part of the budget, both.

  7. The institutions and authorities that keep pushing LNT aren’t interested in secondary damages resulting from fear resulting from overconservative regs, even when its plain to see this h

    There is absolutely zero experimental evidence for stochastic effects below about 2 mSv/day. This appears to be another thing made up by the authorities. It doesn’t exist. Its a figment of imagination. There is in fact zero evidence for increased cancer incidence below 2 mSv/day exposure (even at a lifetime level of this much radiation). It is also made up.

    It’s shocking. These health physics professionals are interested in using statistical methods only (bomb survivors, prompt radiation) and then they extrapolate these verbatim to an irrelevant data set (chronic radiation). One sievert over 1 second is bad, therefore one Sievert over 1 billion seconds must be bad too. A rookie mistake that might be made by a first year statistics student, and having nothing to do with health or science in the first place!

    You’d think that a health physics professional would be interested in scientific, laboratory experiments with various animals where environmental and other spurious factors can be controlled. But no. Science after all has no “statistical power” so science must be bad.

    1. I just want you to know that this is similar to the thinking about the WIPP routes. Turning it sideways a little, the regulations assume that since a thousand REM (I think in REM) are acutely fatal, then a million people lining a parade route each get a thousandth of a REM implies one of them will perish. Silly, eh? (This is the “man-rem” concept of collective dose used in “ALARA.” Blech.)

  8. To accept LNT is to accept that background radiation is harmful to humans.

    But that would be a lie:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19169701

    Therefore, LNT is a lie.

    People who suffer from LNT-induced mental illness should consider filing a law-suit against the radiation protection community.

    Medical Doctors need to actively denounce LNT-based radiation protection ideology as being contrary to their hypocratic oath.

    1. Your linked study shows that the body builds some resistance to radiation if exposed to radiation. Just as it builds resistance to other toxics, such as arsenic, etc.

      It explains the bigger effects of sudden small increases in radiation, while people living in those increased levels don’t suffer those effects.
      Such as the effects among e.g. German people after Chernobyl, while the people in Denver who get more radiation don’t suffer those effects.

      1. Again you are wildly positing anti nuclear propaganda (disguised as a real study) that uses statistics with signal to noise ratios in the thousandths to millionths, to try and prove a point.

        This is just statistical nonsense. You cannot investigate the effects of some event that causes a millionth the natural variation (“noise”) with epidemiology. This is only possible if the radiation level is so high as to swamp all other natural causes of damage. Basically nil studies that means.

        They are all deluded. They should take a freshmen statistics lesson rather than engaging in their dogma (you can clearly read between the lines that the study you quoted set out to “prove” that there were radiation health effects, rather than going in open minded).

      2. As well, Darius now admits that radiation can cause immune response.

        Now that means Darius must come up with a mechanism that causes female sperm cells to regenerate by immune response.

        Come on Darius. Humor us with your innate understanding of biology.

      3. “Your linked study shows that the body builds some resistance to radiation if exposed to radiation.”

        Glad you noticed that. Now take the next step and concede that LNT-theory is horsemanure.

      4. “It explains the bigger effects of sudden small increases in radiation, while people living in those increased levels don’t suffer those effects.”

        Bullcrap. I lived for 5 years in Cornwall, UK, between my 5th and 11th birthday. The background radiation I got there was several times what I got while living in The Netherlands. According to your theory, I should be a quivering mass of mutant flesh by now. I’m not. Q.E.D.

        1. Cornwall UK: >7 MSv/a
          The Netherlands: <2 MSv/a

          Now Darius, tell us honestly, do you believe my parents made a grave error by transporting my young body from an area with <2 MSv to an area with more than three times as much background radiation?

          If you concede that my parents did not make an error, then don't come here with your LNT claptrap ever again.

          If you believe that my parents made a grave error, then, in my opinion, you need to get your head examined. I honestly think you may be suffering from extraordinary radiophobia which is crippling your judgement.

  9. Thank you for further exploring this topic.
    Many of your listeners may not be aware that the NRC is considering lower radiological guidelines “to achieve greater alignment between the NRC’s radiation protection regulations and the 2007 recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)”. Apparently greater alignment is a type of ethical concern.

    As he is vice-chair of ICRP, I see Mr. Lochard’s talk as a tacit support of NRC’s docket #2009-0279, 10-CFR-20. This proposal could lower limits from 50 mSv to 20 mSv annually. I won’t go into further details of the proposal here, especially as Conca did that a few days ago on his Forbes blog.

    I will mention that the comment period has been extended into June, likely courtesy of a FOIA request by NY attorney S. Shapiro on behalf of NIRS, Beyond Nuclear, and several other groups. That was public comment #25.

    I skimmed through some of the comments there. Many of them echo Mr. Lochard:
    Comment #2 -HW Dickson of HPS encourages changes to create consistency with ICRP.
    Comment #5 -K Pryor of HPS sees no need to change from current ALARA principles, but should any changes be made she asks NRC to switch to SI radiological quantities.
    Comment #20 -P. Hahn of IAEA asks for consistency between NRC & other agencies.
    Comment #30 by anonymous, “If I were to comment would it even matter.”
    My own comment touched on changing from ALARA to AHARS.

    If any of your readers wish to comment on the issue of radiological protection, the NRC is listening until June 22. www(dot)regulations(dot)gov/#!docketDetail;D=NRC-2009-0279

  10. Having served as Safety Officer at a high radiation facility with 30 employees and as a member of a university Radiation Safety Committee for a decade I am used to toeing the LNT (Linear No Threshold) line.

    Now that I am retired I don’t have to worry about embarrassing Duke University so I can say that human beings have evolved mechanisms to cope with ionizing radiation. For example UV radiation can cause deadly skin cancer but when the exposure is low the body responds by producing vitamin D and melanin that have health benefits.

    Such responses to ionizing UV radiation are part of the survival attributes of our species. Similar responses may explain why low levels of gamma rays have beneficial consequences while high levels are deadly.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2477708/

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