1. It’s vital that not only the proof and truth comes out here and the min rad dosage game gets straightened out, but that a very massive dose of perspective is issued to the public about this. There are activists groups sitting on skittish clueless politicians from Diablo Canyon to Indian Point who can’t wait for unofficial signs that a dozen random children from Fukushima will come down with any cancers as the excuse and pretext to shut down and curtail construction of reactors, even through they will blatantly overlook and even tolerate far far higher incidents of respiratory and blood aliments and diseases incurred by oil and coal emissions in addition to pollution, such is the fever of their blind anti-nuclear passions.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  2. For the sake of argument, let’s accept the hypothesis that 130 deaths will results from the Fukushima disaster. What is missed in the media’s gushing over these hypothetical deaths is that the Fukushima power plants have save many more lives than this. At the time of their construction, the only real alternative was to build coal-fired power plants. These would have caused many more than 130 deaths via air pollution.

    1. Actually; the alternative to the currently closed NPP today is a massive amount of fossile power, including some coal, whose pollution and dangers may well be responsible for more than 130 people killed since last year.

  3. This is my plain English translation of Professor Higley’s email.

    – The study made a lot of guesses.

    – There is no scientific consensus about those guesses.

    – The accuracy of the results is unknown.

    – The conclusion is not supported.

  4. Just a couple of questions Rod:

    1) Jacobson and Hoeve seem out on a limb when assessing mortality from such low doses in the US (which they give in 0 – 6 range). They clearly highlight as much. But these doses are not as low in Japan, and appear to have met benchmark criteria for collective dose measurement and LNT by Health Physics Society of 5 – 10 rem. Many workers received a dose in this range, and the general public too (citing an IRSN report that up to 5300 people received doses in excess of 5 rem, and 2,200 as high as 10-50 rem). These numbers would appear to warrant the assessment described in the paper, utilizing criteria you provide above from Health Physics Society.

    2) In addition, the authors aren’t simply using one approach to arrive at their results, but multiple. They are also drawing on the EPA’s Dose and Risk Calculation (DCAL) software for assessing health risks from inhalation, ground-level, and atmospheric external exposure pathways. None of the critics of this paper have focused on this assessment tool yet, and I’m curious if you have as many questions about the EPA’s assessment criteria as well (since it is used in tandem with other methodologies in the paper). Since this article has been peer reviewed, I think it is very unlikely that they are using this software incorrectly. I would be interested in hearing your view (or those of others in this forum).

    As Prof. Higley points out, there are several uncertainties in the data used in the paper (which the authors adequately highlight in their study). It may be worth nothing that these uncertainties regarding input values have been rising over time, and not increasing. Japan recently raised their total emissions estimate from the accident some 250% above initial estimates.


    Jacobson and Hoeve appear to be taking a rather conservative approach to addressing this issue, which they describe and fully reference in their paper.

    1. From the IRSN report; “If the most contaminated areas (dose exceeding 20 mSv) had not been evacuated, as the Japanese
      authorities decided to do on 22nd April 2011, this dose could even have exceeded 50 mSv for
      approximately 5,300 persons.”

      So the IRSN report DOES NOT claim that 5,300 people recieved doses in excess of 5 Rem, as you claim. It very clearly claims if the area hadn’t been evacuated, which it then goes on to say that the area was evacuated. Once I found your this misrepresentation of this report I didn’t see any reason to read any further.

        1. The IRSN report is here.


          Based on deposition sampling of cs 137 and cs 134 from MEXT (which are not in dispute), they provide dose estimates for 1 year, 10 year, and 70 year. They also compare to DoE/NNSA data.

          The question is whether exposed doses merit quantitative estimation as detailed by Health Physics Society (which you detail above). And with some 5300 estimated to receive a dose in the first year in excess of 50 mSv (or 5 rem), and the same in excess of 190 mSv (or 19 rem) after 10 years, the answer would appear to be yes. And the health impact is as described in the research report (15 – 1300 cancer mortalities depending on a variety of inputs and sensitivities, new findings, or other factors in original assumptions).

    2. EL, did you read the report that you so kindly provided a link to?

      Because either you didn’t read it or you are knowingly lying.

      As I already quote directly from the report, the 50 mSv dose to 5300 people was an estimated IF THE EVACUATION HADN’T OCCURRED. But in case you forgot, the evacuation did occur. So those 5300 people weren’t in the contaminated area to recieve that 50 mSv dose.

      And as others have pointed out the scienec behind the 15-1300 cancer mortalities is based on invalid statistical assumptions. It is similar to saying that if 1 person will die if they take 100 asprin, then if 100 people each take 1 asprin we would expect 1 of them to die.

      So you lie about the report, even though the relevant section has alreday been quoted, and you insist on misusing statistical analysis. Either of those might fly on an anti-nuclear Facebook page but not here where people actually know the science and will actually read your link rather than just swallow your BS.

      1. I did not “lie” about the report. You need to read it again (and more carefully this time).

        “This report only considers the external doses already received as well as the doses that may be received in the future from fallout deposits, regardless of doses received previously from the radioactive plume” (p. 6).

        They also provide a description of the area were affected populations currently reside: “Heavily contaminated territories located outside the initial evacuation zone of 20 km around the Fukushima plant were 8.5% in surface of those in Chernobyl (874 km2 compared to 10,300 km2) and the order of magnitude of the affected population size would be 26% of that of Chernobyl (69,400 compared to 270,000)” (p. 20).

        They also provide an evaluation of health impacts should recommended radio-protection evaluation criteria be used to evacuate more people from the most heavily contaminated areas (I think this is where you may be misreading the study).

        Please point out where exposure levels are provided for towns such as Okuma. Population of 11,000, located 3 km from the Fukushima site boundary, where radiation levels in the early stages of the accident were recorded at some 508 mSv/year.


        It seems rather obvious to me that such populations (and avoided exposures) have not been included in the study. For one reason, because they say so. But for another, we would get much higher health impacts and exposure levels had they been included.

        1. @El

          Re: Okuma – How long were people exposed to the dose rate of 508 mSv/yr? That is 1.4 mSv per day, so unless evacuations were delayed by more than a month, it does not follow that people were exposed to 50 mSv or more. The other question is what was the source of that exposure level? If it came from I-131, radioactive decay would have knocked it down by a factor of 16 in 32 days.

        2. Read my comment again. The only exposures in the study were from people outside the evacuation zone (not Okuma). Decay rates, natural remediation, and shielding from building were part of the dose estimates from residents in the study (outside the evacuation zone). If hypothetical exposures for 11,000 residents residing in Okuma “were” a part of the study (which they aren’t), the numbers would be much different (as much higher than reported).

          The quote provided by ddpalmer appears no-where in the study, so it appears to be coming from some other study or comment.

          If there are any problems with this study … the best place to look are dose estimates and projections based on deposition levels, decay and natural remediation rates (over 1, 10, and 70 years), and shielding values.

          P. 18

          Deposits of 300,000 to 600,000 Bq/m2 correspond to the external dose values of 5 to 10 mSv projected for the 1st year. The conversion factor from the surface activity of caesiums to the projected external dose for the 1st year is 16.6 mSv/year per MBq/m2. The correspondence between caesium deposit levels and projected external doses for the 1st year is shown in Table 1.

          P. 8

          A shielding factor of 0.3 applied for 12 hours per day was assumed to take into account shielding by buildings.

          etc … etc … etc …

        3. EL – I can see why Rod allows you to continue to post here. You have an almost uncanny knack of digging yourself deeper and deeper into a hole. It is sadly comical to watch.

          I’ll concede that you probably did not “lie.” My theory is that you are simply not intelligent enough to parse the reports that you cite.

          For example, earlier in the comments here you make claims based on “citing an IRSN report that up to 5300 people received doses in excess of 5 rem, and 2,200 as high as 10-50 rem.” Now, if you will please refer to page 22 of the report that you cite (page 21 of the PDF that you linked to), you will notice that, Figure 9A does indeed show such results. However, if you read the first paragraph at the top of the page, you will see that it says (emphasis mine):

          The Fukushima population living in the northwest fallout zone and likely to exceed external dose of 10 mSv for the 1st year has been distributed in subgroups according to the range of projected external doses for the 4 first years after the accident if no evacuation action is prescribed.

          Since this is now the third time this has been pointed out to you, I guess we get to see whether you are capable of exhibiting a learning curve. Care to double down on that claim?

          Some people are liars, others are just stupid.

        4. EL – Oh, and by the way, before you prattle on again about “the only exposures in the study were from people outside the evacuation zone,” I should point out the following. The city of Minamisoma is considered in the study to be outside the “evacuation zone” (actually, the study is more specific in excluding only the “no-entry” zone, you should have noticed the difference), and it probably accounts for a large portion of the “exposed” population that was used to calculate the “projected” collective dose. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t consider this city as not evacuated after the earthquake/tsunami disaster, would you?

          Finally, the report you cite was published over a year ago, on the “66th day” after the accident? It’s a rough first guess based on dubious information. The estimates that you claim as truth come from a parametric study examining a set of hypothetical scenarios based on naive assumptions (e.g., no residents of the city of Minamisoma either died in the natural disaster or left the city afterward). Don’t you think that we have more information now than we did back then?

        5. Ah ha … I see your point (however malicious in its presentation). The initial study by IRSN recommends evacuation of several highly contaminated areas outside the 20 km evacuation zone, and provides estimates of dose projections for 1, 10, and 70 years (in which as many as 2,200 will receive a dose in excess of 100 mSv in the first year, and 5,300 in excess of 50 mSv). These emergency planning and evacuation areas were revised subsequent to the report to include some of the areas that were identified as most heavily contaminated (particularly in the villages of Katsurao, Iitate, Namie, part of Kawamata and Minamisoma), and to minimize public exposures to a projected 20 mSv or less. Why are you surprised that I pointed out this was not discussed in the original report (since most of these evacuations occurred after the initial study)?

          You know … it is possible to add clarifying and substantive information without all of the invectives and noxious attacks that you regularly direct at others who have reasonable questions about the merits and trade-offs of nuclear power (and the troubling situation at Fukushima). You should try it some time, you may find you will get a more helpful and constructive response. By offering this critique, I take it you agree with the IRSN evacuation criteria then, as well as their methodology for assessing projected external doses based on surface deposits (and other factors)?

          It may be worth noting IRSN has produced a follow-up report: “Fukushima, one year later: Initial analyses of the accident and its consequences.”


          The relevant section that stands out for me (emphasis in original):

          “If the most contaminated areas (annual dose exceeding 20 mSv) had not been evacuated, as the Japanese authorities decided to do on April 22, 2011, this dose could even have been higher than 50 mSv for approximately 5,300 people. Inside the 20 km exclusion zone, even higher doses, in excess of 200 mSv, could have been reached, according to the maps published by MEXT. These estimates confirm that it would have been unthinkable to allow the return of the people urgently evacuated from this zone at the time of the accident (p. 156).”

          I’m curious if you agree with this conclusion (and the methodologies on which it is based) that returning to an area correctly evacuated in the early stages of the crisis (the initial 20 km evacuation area) is “unthinkable” given current circumstances. If you think that is a stupid conclusion as well, I’m all ears as to your reasoning for suggesting so?

  5. A short version of the story was carried in the local newspaper. In our office, the response to the story was BS. It is a thinly veiled anti-nuclear hit piece that – thankfully- is being exposed for the atrocity that it is.
    I too have a ghastly family history of cancer – and none is a result of radiation, so it makes me furious to be told that I personally have a higher risk of getting cancer due to the fallout from Fukushima. I’m appauled especially now that I read that getting this cancer is a statistical impossibility at best; and worse, a calculated, deliberate attack on the future of nuclear power in its most sinister form, fear and hysteria.
    In light of the information presented here, Stanford Professor Jacobson should be censured.

  6. The irony is that Jacobson’s numbers look good from the point of view of nuclear supporters. If we consider the time horizon for these estimated cancers to develop, there will be more people who will win a Powerball jackpot than will die from Fukushima radioactive releases.

    1. I am not willing to concede the fact that the most likely number of injuries from radiation exposure due to the accident is zero. That is what the HPS and ICRP cautions about the use of the LNT to predict casualties in a large population to trivial doses mean.

      When the most exposed person was exposed to a trivial dose, the likelihood of any single injury is trivial.

      1. I think instead of focusing on the his numbers, in addition to criticizing the misuse of LNT the pro-nuclear community should also go after Jacobson’s article for the Diablo Canyon case study. There was absolutely no reason for Jacobson to add the Diablo Canyon case study other than to scare people. It didn’t contribute to the field plus he failed to offer a credible accident scenario in which a release of the magnitude of Fukushima would happen at Diablo Canyon.

        1. @John – good point. I did not actually get that far in reading his paper; he turned me off pretty well by the abstract and the introductory paragraphs. I agree strongly with your point – a hypothetical scenario has no place in a peer reviewed paper. Its inclusion exposes Jacobson’s work for what it is – an antinuclear diatribe. It is roughly analogous to his inclusion of a mushroom cloud as a final image during his TED debate with Stewart Brand on the topic of whether we need nuclear energy or not.

  7. Of course, we see no mention here of workers being told to cover dosimeters with lead shields, nor do we see mention of the past three months of revelations about just how deceptive and despicable the TEPCO management, in collusion with the Japanese government, has been in trying to cover up the extent of this disaster.

    Rod, your site has become an embarrasment to you and the industry. Advocating for the industry is one thing, but abject denial and disingenuous selective criticisms of expert opinions that do not kow-tow to the industry script is quite another thing all together.

    1. The only thing that is an embarrassment on this site is that idiots like you continue to post unsubstantiated nonsense apparently in the mistaken belief that the readership here is so stupid that it will swallow these without questioning them.

      Even if what you contend was true, it has absolutely no bearing on the subject at hand which is that other data has been manipulated to produce invalid results by another entity all together.

      1. @DV82XL

        Please do not condemn this site for the fact that it allows people to demonstrate both their knowledge and their ignorance to a wide audience.

    2. Pissed:
      Whether TEPCO or any nuclear company knew about or allowed unethical/illegal/unprofessional practices in its operations isn’t any indictment against nuclear power. Are you going to chuck cars because a shady mechanic slips cheap parts in or doesn’t perform am adequate check out or someone in auto corporate shelved a safety recall regulation? The actions of companies and individuals doesn’t corrupt or demonize the tried and proven safe concept of nuclear energy, yet anti-nukers will even try to find some off-the-wall convoluted logic to link old radium watch paint dumps and mishandled hospital rad waste or a spilled pail of irradiated water somewhere to nuclear plants as though they’re the same hazard and issue and inherent flaw. I always believed that to be a smart anti-nuker one must just have a philosophical beef with it (via B-movie nightmares or Hiroshima guilt, ect) because you just can’t hit nuclear energy on health and public safety record issues, especially matched to fossil fuels, without being a bald-faced public health hypocrite — one whose anti-nuke fixation has recordably — not speculation or guesses — cost ongoing millions of fossil fuel afflicted lives by retarding the progress of nuclear power. Will anti-nukers own up to that responsibility? When pigs fly. At least TEPCO is DOING something about preventing it.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

  8. The entire anti-nuclear case stands on the foundation of the Linear No Threshold (LNT) theory. I have sought out evidence for and against LNT ad horemsis )that low radiation is beneficial) and while there is a sighnificant amount for hormesis and much that there is no certain effect at all there is none whatsoever for LNT.

    Evidence collated here http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2010/03/low-level-radiation-evidence-that-it-is.html

    When asked you will find LNT supporters will either admit this or walk away. A theory without evidence is a “hypothesis” – one that is maintained despite a mass of evidence is a fraud. Neither is, scientifically, a theory and therefore, by definition, none of those who are so well paid by government to uphold it are true scientists. I know this calling a very large number of the highest scientific adminstrators charlatans but it follows inevitably from them promoting this fraud.

    The anti-nuclear movement has cost humanity 2 generations of cheap power and consequently 10s of millions of lives.

  9. Hi,

    Professor Higley wrote:

    “There is still considerable debate in the radiobiology community if the LNT theory is valid at doses below 1 mSv, and if the response is linear, has a threshold, or is something else altogether.”

    I thought the uncertainty below which LNT is questioned is around 100 mSv. Am I wrong?


    1. You’re not wrong, TK, but the body count proposed by Jacobson would almost entirely disappear if the threshold were at 1mSv anyway. The other threshold effect neglected for low-level radiation is the time dimension; doses don’t accumulate over more than a month, and probably over rather less. I expect this to be more thoroughly demonstrated over the next few years, now that the door has been eased open by MIT. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/prolonged-radiation-exposure-0515.html

      There is some doubt over what a threshold would do to Jacobson’s figures, because the paper slides silently past giving any such testable value as exposures in mSv; but the actual recorded exposures in Japan have been vanishingly low, and in the rest of the world is certainly under the 1mSv mark.

  10. I saw a phrase today that made me think of the ŁNT* model applied to low-level radiation:
    “Effects that can never be reproduced on demand are the hallmark of pseudoscience.”
    The context was psychic effects, but the applicability to low-level radiation “harmfulness” seemed obvious.

    *apologies to Poles for the abuse of Ł – I want to express the brokenness of the “linearity” claimed by this model. (I hope the crossed-L character stays visible.)

  11. I have applied the methodology used by Ten Hoeve and Jacobson in their paper to estimate cancer fatalities to the passengers of Japan Airlines Co. Ltd. (JAL). From this analysis, I am forced to conclude that, since March 2011, the date of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami, JAL has been responsible for an additional 240 passenger cancers and 120 eventual cancer deaths.

    This is slightly less (by ten people) than Ten Hoeve and Jacobson’s projected 130 people, who will die from cancer due to the Fukushima accident over the next 50 years. However, JAL is still running flights every day (killing a “projected” 90 people each year, by Jacobson’s methodologies), while Fukushima-I plant has been shut down.

    Perhaps it would be more prudent to restart the Fukushima-I plant and shut down Japan Airlines?

  12. “The only thing that is an embarrassment on this site is that idiots like you continue to post unsubstantiated nonsense apparently in the mistaken belief that the readership here is so stupid that it will swallow these without questioning them”:

    “Even if what you contend was true, blablahblah…….”

    I have yet to see this site condemn TEPCO, the Japanese government, or the Japanese regulatory agencies for their blatant attempts to circumvent regulations, falsify reports and analysis, conceal facts from the public, punish whistle blowers, and generally prove themselves to be absolutely and irrevocably untrustworthy. Instead, I see this site continuing to laud TEPCO despite overwhelming evidence of corruption, deception,and malfeasance. It renders yours assertions and assurances about nuclear power plant safety as less than believable. In regards to Fukushima, all I have seen here is attacks and ad hominem directed at anyone questioning your script. For a community so fond of accusing people of “ignorance”, you people sure don’t exhibit much in the way of common sense. Do you really think such lopsided and transparent partisan foolishness buttresses your credibility???

    You completely ignore the conclusions of reports examining this disaster, reports that blame the disaster on the very kind of arrogance and blind intellectual elitism that is woven throughout the fiber of this blog. With each scathing report exposing the industry’s corruption in Japan, one comes here hoping to find comment, only to find a community with thier heads thrust deeply into the sand, as if these reports are non-existent.

    “At least TEPCO is……blablahblah….”

    Trying to attach some sort of altruism to TEPCO, portraying it as a crusader against the evil oil empire is laughable, and erodes your credibility further.


    1. The topic at hand in this threads at least, is that one Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, misuses LNT to purposefully exaggerate effects of Fukushima radiation. How this relates to TEPCO which is not mentioned in the body of the leading article, and at all until you brought it up is something you fail to make clear. This leads me to believe that the only thing you are doing here is using this thread as an off-topic soapbox – a practice that is roundly condemned in most forums on the net, and which in many cases is cause for the moderator to delete the offending entry.

      This is what I was alluding to, and for which I was upbraided by Rod for. This is his site, and he sets the policy, however I will not be party to a topic high-jacking by responding to the substance of your remarks.

      1. @DV82XL

        I misinterpreted your comment. I was not upbraiding you and did not recognize that your complaint was about an off topic comment.

        As I stated, I do not mind if someone wants to display their ignorance in public. I hope that readers can either enjoy the silliness or ignore it if they are bothered.

        If the comments are offensive, I will delete them if asked.

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