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24 Comments

    1. @Bob Applebaum

      Please do something other than to attack the people with whom you disagree. None of your recent comments have said anything about the topic under discussion.

  1. I am not attacking the people with whom I disagree….re-read your post. It is the 3 Stooges (and you, Joe) who are attacking the people with whom they disagree.

    So why don’t you guys do that? Do something other than to attack the people with whom you disagree.

    1. Who is attacking someone withwhom they disagree except you? Everything I have read indicates an attempt to overturn a fraudulent paper. Is that somehow unacceptable to you Bob?

  2. If LNT was true down to zero dose, how could we possibly know that?

    Very low doses would produce harms so small they would get lost in the random variations of everything else that can affect the health of an organism. So the most anyone could honestly say is “The data we have is consistent with LNT and if there is a threshold it is at a dose less than X, though we so far have no evidence for such a threshold.”

    1. Jim, we should see significant trends in epidemiology studies over large populations comparing say Colorado residents to Long Island, NY, or other large samples with similar socioeconomic status but different lifetime exposures. There are of course extreme examples with thorium sand beaches in India and Brazil. This would be relatively easy study – all data are in medical records already.

      1. @tt23

        This is a interesting post by Barry Brook from Brave New Climate, examining the health effects of very high background radiation in Kerala, India from thorium-containing monazite sands. The background radiation in Kerala can be up to 30 times the global average, yet “The cancer incidence rate overall in Kerala is much the same as the overall rate in India; which is about 1/2 that of Japan and less than 1/3rd of the rate in Australia.”

        Here is a link to the 2009 study.

    2. It’s a null hypothesis. The fact that it is taken as “science” by members of the public, like Applebaum, is bizarre. It’s not science, it’s convention.

    3. Jim, the harm must be proven. What you are saying is we must trust that there is harm at low dose even though we can’t see it. This is religion, not science.
      Can the affirmation that low dose cause harm be falsified ? No. Then it’s not science, by Popper’s principe. LNT begins to be science at the threshold where it’s correctness can be proven.

    4. @Jim Baerg

      That is exactly why the LNT, especially as initially presented as a risk to genetic health, has been so pervasive and difficult to overcome. It is an assertion that cannot be disproven but sounds quite scary. Even when people have been exposed to low doses and are perfectly healthy — at least as perfectly healthy as anyone else — the LNT tells them they might still be holding a losing lottery ticket for some future cancer. The exposed persons might also be shunned because the LNT asserts that there is some chance of a negative genetic effect that might be undetectable for several generations — with the word “several” being completely undefined.

      This supposedly “conservative” theory thus puts people at a real risk of psychological stress and pain because if they were exposed, there is nothing they can do about it. There is no cure for the potential harm and no relief from what could be a significant source of sleep-depriving and hope-destroying worry.

      The honest observer would not use your phrasing; she would simply say that if there is a risk it is so small that it cannot be measured and is not worth any concern.

    5. Now there are effect studies regarding:

      – Medical rontgen operators in ~ the sixties (before equipment improved and special protection was arranged);

      – Children getting CT scans;

      – fetuses who got extra radiation of only 20% of (low) background (0.3mSv/a). Not strange as fetuses have very high cell division rates, and DNA cannot be repaired at cell division as it is then single stranded;

      which all show that a little extra radiation deliver already substantial health harm.

      The high background radiation argument is not valid as:
      – Experiments by Il’enko etal (1988) showed already that 20 generations of selective breeding are needed to adapt to higher radiation levels.
      The lifespan cost of the increased and faster repair (through a.o. telomere shortening) remained unresolved then;

      – Studies regarding Ramsar’s inhabitants of the highest background districts in the world (6mSv/a as shown by a separate study) show increased DNA damage despite faster repair. That indicates more health problems, less intelligence, etc.

      – In line with these results, a recent study found significant shorter lifespan for people living in high background radiation area’s.

      Taking into account the results of Il’enko & Krapivko, it is save to assume that people receiving an increase in radiation dosis are far more vulnerable.

      These real life studies are far more relevant than fruit fly studies.

      Of course there can be an hormetic effect, as with many poisonous substance’s, but that is short term (a few decades or less). Such as with chemo’s against cancer.
      But there is no doubt it shortens normal life, as now also shown for radiation.

      1. @Bas

        I’ve read some of the studies. They don’t show substantial health harm. Some torture numbers enough to result in “statistically significant” results, but that term is not equivalent to significant or worth worrying about.

        The eugenicists on the Genetics Committee were wrong. So are their modern day acolytes.

        1. Rod,
          Wade Allison also doesn’t believe results which are obtained via somewhat advanced statistical method’s (especially if he doesn’t like those results).
          But the major scientific community does, as statistical mathematic scientists do state those methods are valid.
          So you can be assured science won’t change it’s position.

          1. @Bas

            Torturing data “via somewhat advanced statistical methods” to find exceedingly minor marginal “effects” might satisfy statisticians and their definition of “significant,” but when it comes to all of the rest of us, the word “significant” has a completely different meaning.

            You, a rather anonymous internet commenter, are dismissing the reservations of a professor emeritus of physics from Oxford when you attempt to convince people to disregard Wade Allison. While some argumentative people will call me out as appealing to authority, what I am actually doing it appealing to credibility. Allison has earned it, you have not.

            When balanced against the visible environmental destruction and significant injury/death toll of continued abject dependence on burning hydrocarbons, even those who take your results on face value should be able to recognize that the risks you document aren’t worth giving up the benefits of increased use of nuclear energy or medical treatments and diagnostic procedures that use the nearly miraculous capabilities of ionizing radiation.

          2. Rod,
            The issue is not who earns more credibility.
            The issue is that the scientific community follows and does believe those statistical methods! Also because nobody could falsify them.

            Ending fossil fuel with renewable will go faster, as renewable;
            – produce more KWh per invested $; and
            – can be implemented much faster (~1yr vs ~6yrs).
            A typical example is China where wind+solar production took off only a few years ago and already surpassed nuclear.

  3. This is not a domestic US matter. In the 1950s the world looked to the US for scientific leadership. In this case, as uncovered by Calabrese, the institutions of the US have been found wanting, not just by neglect but by deception. The reputation of US science, not just one publication, is at stake and it should come clean so that its friends can respect it again. The truth will come out soon anyway from my pen and from others. There are many people around the world who are working with Jerry and Rod. McNutt needs to understand that this is a current international cultural matter, not just a 50-year-old domestic scientific wrong-doing.

    1. I agree Wade Allison.You also have the issue of egos getting in the way of reason and prudent action, with people and institutions unwilling to admit that their almost religious anti-nuclear fervor are wrong. I think lost in the issue of countries dumping nuclear out of fear is that their going full blast fossil affects everyone on the planet, not merely their local power grid and economy. Going nuclear is virtually going to have to be an internationally sanctioned requirement if we’re TRULY serious that climate modification is an global environmental emergency. I think there’s a thinking out there not only of denial, but that there’s a perpetual recovery opportunity beyond points of no return. Plus nuclear energy needs an ongoing aggressive educational ad campaign like no tomorrow. If BP Gulf can render half the South amnesic about a major oil catastrophe that actually caused deaths and major damage along that whole coastline, t’s high time for the nuclear community to ply such hardcore Ad techniques to erase nuclear’s Darth Vader image.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

    2. Don’t worry.
      The world is moving towards substantial more strict radiation standards than USA has. They follow gradually the recommendations of the UN dosage committee.

      Furthermore, e.g. medical radio-therapists in NL estimate that the more frequent use of CT-scans in USA together with the older equipment still in use, cause ~2% extra deaths in USA.
      Which contribute to the low life expectancy in USA.

  4. “You also have the issue of egos getting in the way of reason and prudent action”

    Egos, and as Rod has been pointing out for several decades now, wallets. Big ones.

  5. SCIENCE MAGAZINE AND AAAS

    The magazine is the contact with AAAS and the National Academy of Sciences for scientists and the media that report on scientific and science policy subjects.
    It is bizarre that a concept as ridiculous as the Liner Non-Threshold Theory of low-level radiation exposure health effects (LNT) has not only survived but has been allowed to drive risk assessment, regulations and operating procedures for several decades. It is long past time for NAS, AAAS, EPA and NRC to attack this issue on scientific and medical bases.
    The editor of Science is one who can help resolve this matter by informing readers of the history and scientific mistakes in the past in addition to new research on the subject including the Fukushima episode.
    NRC and EPA should start proceedings to bring their regulations into the real world.
    – – Dave Rossin

    1. I agree that LNT would not survive real scientific scrutiny but why should we expect these organizations to do anything other than protect their jobs and their reputations. Does anyone believe that a majority of our politicians/leaders or media would protect them if they concede that they have used this theory to inflict fear, substantiate their importance and rip off the nuclear industry (power, medicine, agriculture, construction, etc.) for forty years. They know that it is safer for them to just be quiet and hide behind the general populations’ nervousness regarding anything nuclear. I like to think that these organizations are people that would seek scientific truth for the benefit of humanity, would admit an embarrassing history and resist the will of their paymasters. I can see how it could be easiest to delay, evade the question, seed doubt and hide behind history. It is not like the industry in the early years was perfectly transparent about how they stored and disposed of the nuclear materials. The nuclear industry of that time saw how other industries were allowed to dispose of incredible volumes of much more toxic and carcinogenic materials into the ground, waterways and seas. No one wants to admit an embarrassing history but I agree it would be nice to have these organizations admit that a flat world is not scientific truth and neither is LNT.

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