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      1. OMG the pagans are taking over. How will there ever be enough granola and crystals to satisfy them.

        More seriously, although they have an extensive anti nuclear history, as the tech that allows the least interference in nature the various pagan denominations will come to view nuclear as the best energy option. Or at least they should.

        And they were here long long before the Christians and remain despite attempts to totally eradicate them.

  1. (Egads, loones.)

    Already the antis are raising a hew and cry that discontinuing the study is proof positive that the NE crowd has something to hide, and is engaged in a cover-up. Seems to me, although expensive, it was in the interest of NE to go ahead with this study. It is self defeating to discontinue it. Its just opened the door for the FUDists to FUD ya further.

  2. In a way it’s kind of a shame, but from a practicality standpoint, our country doesn’t have unlimited funds to throw at studies (especially since we’re already 16 trillion in debt).

    But, it would have been so nice to have a study that perhaps conclusively showed the LNT model to be wrong to throw in the face of the antis.

    1. @Jeff S

      Unfortunately, the study would not have “proven” anything. People that insist there is an effect would simply claim the study didn’t look hard enough to find it.

      I have no doubt it would have been considered inconclusive because of all of the limitations identified in the summary of phase 1.

      1. But, regardless, discontinuing the study hands the FUDists a very cheap propaganda point. They not only still have the timeworn argument of “all dosages will make your nose fall off”, but now, in addition, they get to claim “See, we told ya so!! Those nasty radiation sellers are hiding the facts from you!”.

        At least the study would have shown a willingness to look for the truth. The discontinuation will give the impression of concealing the truth.

        1. @poa

          You’re free to have your own opinion. In mine, giving in to the idiots who think we have not done enough research on the health effects of low dose radiation is what provides the cheap propaganda. We need to have the confidence and strength of character to tell them that we know what we are talking about.

          I’d happily volunteer to expose myself to a chronic dose of radiation up to the limits I’ve written about here on numerous occasions. 100 mSv/month for as long as anyone cares to pay attention. That dose gives me a safety factor of somewhere between 3-10 before there is any elevated risk.

          1. I’d happily volunteer to expose myself to a chronic dose of radiation up to the limits I’ve written about here on numerous occasions.

            I thought about doing the same, but I realized that if I tried to e.g. import monazite beach sand from Guarapari, it would probably be confiscated by either customs or the NRC and my house declared off-limits until it was “decontaminated”.

          2. “……and my house declared off-limits until it was “decontaminated”.”

            You probably have the decontaminated part right, but it would be the CDC doing it, in the hopes that whatever ghastly bug you have that has infected your personality does not spread to the general population.

          3. it would be the CDC doing it, in the hopes that whatever ghastly bug you have that has infected your personality does not spread to the general population.

            Thank you for admitting that you are so rabidly anti-nuclear that you view anyone who does not hew to your ideological line as mentally ill.  Your insistence on conformity to your dogma, denying any possibility of challenge via contrary facts, disowns the entirety of science and the various Enlightenments which made science itself possible.

          4. @JohnGalt

            I rarely call people idiots (I remember one time out of my nearly 5,000 comments and 2,200 posts).

            If the audience has to ask for an explanation of a joke, perhaps the comedian should recognize that it wasn’t very funny.

            For the record, I checked the last two years of the comment log. You and I are tied; we have both called living people idiots one time. (I once referred to Teller and Lawrence’s promotion of “clean bombs” as idiotic.)

          5. Perhaps, Rod, for the same reason you think personal attacks, directed towards me, “make sense”. Why do you think EP’s calling me a liar, or a troll, (that he has done for months on end), should result in my having respect for him? Or, for that matter, for you, considering that you do the moderating? Its gotten real old, Rod. Its not that my insult was “funny”, its that the whole dynamic is amusing. The hypocricy of your moderation, the endless intellectual flatulence (ppppffffftttrollpppft) exhibited by EP, the blind and pathetic political ignorance that drives Brian’s world view, and loony loannes with his skewed, bigoted, and pious idea of what constitutes spirituality. If you ain’t chuckling, theres something wrong with you.

            1. @poa

              You changed subject. You insulted E-P. When he reacted negatively you essentially said, “can’t you take a joke?” I understand if you don’t like what he says about you, but you can’t expect him to think your statement was funny.

            2. @poa

              WRT troll accusation:

              From urban dictionary:

              Internet Troll
              A person whose sole purpose in life is to seek out people to argue with on the internet over extremely trivial issues. Such arguments can happen on blogs, Facebook, Myspace and a host of others.

              Perhaps it’s not your sole purpose, but you’ve explicitly stated that you get amusement from stimulating arguments.

          6. @ Rod

            Agreed. Why throw good money after bad when there is zero chance of changing minds? The problem has never been an issue of science and engineering, it is an issue of the will and until that changes, all the evidence in the world will be wasted on them. However, there are the rest of the hoi palloi who remain to be convinced…

        2. The discontinuation may give the appearance of concealing the truth, but of course continuing would give the impression that there’s some truth to find. I’m sure the bureaucrats didn’t care whether the study gave a yes or no answer, but continuing expense providing no definite conclusion would merely mean accusations of bureaucratic incompetence, pressure from both sides to conclude that their point of view was correct, and, worst of all, a continually growing call on their budget for more cash to settle the matter. I feel their decision to drive a stake through the heart of this one now made excellent administrative sense. This argument reminds me of the accusation during the great ebola panic that giving ZMapp to a white man first was racism. Obviously, if it had been first given to a black, this would have been the racist use by cowardly whites of blacks as experimental subjects. There is simply no way that such accusations can be countered, so there is no point in wasting effort trying.

  3. Personally, I’m sad to see the NRC throwing in the towel like this. (Although, I admit that I’m probably biased because my wife is an epidemiologist who specializes in studying environmental causes of cancer).

    I’m not saying that they should have followed through with the plans to launch a gigantic study with sufficient statistical power to reasonably determine an effect at such low levels of exposure. That is, of course, unfeasible. Nevertheless, it would have nice if they had run a cheaper study with much lower statistical power just to verify that there’s still nothing unexpected out there.

    At least that would have been something. Now there’s just nothing to show for the money already spent but a huge amount of paper telling us that this type of study is really, really hard, something that should have been known from the start.

    1. @Brian Mays

      Nevertheless, it would have nice if they had run a cheaper study with much lower statistical power just to verify that there’s still nothing unexpected out there.

      You cannot prove a negative. There is no way to perform a study that would produce evidence that would satisfy the detractors, so why bother expending millions of dollars and dozens of person-years trying — unless, of course, your profession is trying to count angels on the head of a pin.

      1. Rod – But you can prove a positive. If something was found, then it would be known and could be examined, understood, and fixed if needed.

        For example, based on the knowledge that you have available today, you know that, as an American, you can expect to live about 79 years. (Actually, it’s probably more than that because life expectancy also includes infant mortality, which tends to skew the number downward. Life expectancy goes up with age.) Based on family history, you might even expect to live well into your 90’s or to 100 or more.

        Does knowing this information mean that you don’t occasionally get a routine physical examination by your doctor? (You seem like a nice guy, so I hope that you do.)

        After all, such an examination cannot prove that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. As you correctly point out, you cannot prove a negative. But if there is something wrong, wouldn’t it be good to know it?

        The main risk of a physical examination (and an epidemiological study of people living near nuclear facilities) is the danger of getting a false positive — i.e., the test indicates something is wrong when everything is fine. This can be taken into account, however, and the positive value of being able to find a problem early usually outweighs the bad consequences of finding a false negative. It all depends on what happens after the examination (or study).

        The detractors are never going to be satisfied — even if the NAS’s most ideal study were to be performed at enormous cost. They’re mostly crazy, so I just take them out of the equation. They only factor in as concern trolls. For example, your intermittent guest Bas is now (incorrectly) complaining that “there is little such research done” in order to bolder the studies constructed by his favorite crackpot. Well, what is the solution to arguments such as that? More research. It doesn’t have to be absolutely conclusive on its own, but at least it is there as part of the larger knowledge base demonstrating that nuclear power is safe.

    2. If there’s a shame, it was in defunding the DoE’s Low Dose Radiation Research program. This NRC program could never have achieved anything because it was tasked with the impossible. It would’ve been a waste of time running a “cheaper study with much lower statistical power” because no one would’ve taken it seriously – not the NRC, anti-nukes, pro-nukes, nor any serious scientist.

      Now there’s just nothing to show for the money already spent but a huge amount of paper telling us that this type of study is really, really hard“. No. “really, really hard” is not another term for impossible. The money was wasted from the start.

      1. @Mark Pawelek

        I concur, but I think it was more than just a “shame.”

        I’m pretty certain that the decision to defund the DOE Low Dose Radiation Research program was a travesty that was done purposely to stop research that was coming up with unpopular results — like determining the mechanisms and reactions to actual radiation doses on models that were much more representative of human biology than fruit flies and corn plants.

  4. I don’t understand it.
    Those studies of the m/f sex ratio of newborn are cheap.
    Especially when there are good birth registers, incl. addresses, etc.

    Just download the data from the birth registers. Put them in a database and apply the statistical tests.

    1. And then only publish those that seem to confirm your prejudices and ignore everything else. This has nothing to do with science. Science is about plausible Quantitative links between cause and effect. If the cause is a million times too small to be responsible for the effect, it is the study that is flawed and not 70+ years of research on the effects of radiation. Can I ask again, how are the studies on the sex ratio after Fukushima going?

  5. One needs to ask the monetary value of free FUD ammo, handed on a silver platter to your opposition……..

    Excerpt…

    Nuclear watchdogs blasted the NRC’s decision, with Maryland-based Beyond Nuclear calling it “outrageous.”

    “Study after study in Europe has shown a clear rise in childhood leukemia around operating nuclear power facilities, yet the NRC has decided to hide this vital information from the American public,” said Cindy Folkers, a radiation and health specialist with the group. “An $8 million price tag for the next phase of this study is a drop in the bucket for an agency with a $1 billion annual operating budget.”

    Beyond Nuclear raised concerns about industry manipulation, noting that it had obtained documents showing NRC staff had been approached by the president of the US National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements offering a cheaper, faster and less sensitive study design, which the NRC has not yet agreed to accept. The Council is funded in part by the nuclear industry and has pro-nuclear ties.

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/32752-feds-cancel-study-of-cancer-risks-near-us-nuclear-facilities

    End excerpt.

    To head off the FUD, or ar least not give them the platform, is well worth the 8 mil this study was projected to cost. Note the article links to further FUD at its conclusion. No doubt, those articles, as well, conclude with further links. Common sense tells us what cancelling this study will reap. Huge mistake. In fact, it is an epic PR blunder.

  6. As Rod correctly states, there was no justification for even suggesting this study, as it was already known (with 100% certainty) that there is no impact. Certainly no impact that could ever be statistically measured.

    It was disappointing that NRC agreed to do the study. At that point, I didn’t think that there was anything worse NRC could do, with respect to generating baseless fear and mistrust of nuclear within the public. But, alas, NRC has now managed to do something even worse. That is, start the study but then call it off (with budget issues named as the reason). This of course will lead to accusations that they stopped the study because it was showing measurable health impacts.

    What a complete tragedy. It almost makes it hard to shake the notion that it’s actually intentional.

    1. @Jom Hopf

      What a complete tragedy. It almost makes it hard to shake the notion that it’s actually intentional.

      There’s little doubt in my mind that starting the study was an intentional effort to increase public fear and mistrust; that’s why I reminded readers who was in charge when it was initiated. However, the decision to end it was the right thing to do. It’s continued existence would be a constant source of concern.

      1. “There’s little doubt in my mind that starting the study was an intentional effort to increase public fear and mistrust”

        There’s been a lot of brouhaha raised about nuclear power for many years. As members of the public see no people hurt by this industry, isn’t is getting to the point where many members of the public are starting to consider anti-nuclear propaganda as BS? Nuclear supporters ought to raise a fund drive for the study since the results of “no problem” are a guaranteed foregone conclusion.

        Cell phone radiation is a similar issue.

  7. So, they wanted to do a study to determine the effects of a daily dose of radiation that is so small that the results could be effected by the fact that a measurable portion (large but not significant) decided to change their eating habits? That is, they stopped eating normal, everyday foods that contained potassium, like: Winter squash, Sweet potato, Potatoes, White beans, Yogurt, Halibut, Orange juice, Broccoli, Cantaloupe, and Bananas. And I only listed those with more potassium than bananas, all of which are part of a decent Vegetarian diet. Thus, a number of people deciding to go vegetarian could affect the study, and more are switching each year. Areas with a significant number of low income people eating fewer fresh produce could also affect the study.
    There is also the fact that some NPPs have fossil plants on the same site or very near (TMI, Turkey Point, etc.) that could also skew the results, if there were any. It would be a trivial matter to pick NPPs with fossil plants in the prevailing wind pattern that would significantly add to the “supposed” dose, helping achieve the desired goal.

    1. @ Rod

      The industry needs to be more aggressive in its dealings with the anti-nukes. Instead of being on the defensive trying to explain why these kinds of studies are not needed, it must be forcefully pointed out that a study has already been done and it demonstrated there was no correlation. If anti-nukes believe there is, then it is up to them to spend THEIR money rather than tax payer money, in proving their claim. They must be told to put up or shut up and if they choose to do a study, they must be reminded that it needs to have a little more scholarly gravitas than the Mangano/Sherman studies (and it is important to then rehash and eviscerate the Mangano studies). We don’t need to become nasty or hostile, just forceful.

      1. The people you need to reach could care less about the true results of “studies”. The will believe whatever they are told by their sources of information. Most americans live in an information tunnel, with a favorite media source feeding them their world view and political mindset. If exposed to an anti stance regarding NE, by their tunnel tender of choice, than they will be anti. And ditto for the pro nuclear set. So, the trick is to put tenders in as many tunnels as ya can if you wanna sell your schpiel, (be it BS, or the gospel truth.) And unfortunately for you guys, your opposition has an army of tunnel tenders in a whole bunch of tunnels.

        (By the way, it ain’t Whitby island, Rod. Its spelled Whidbey, and it is gorgeous beyond belief. Maybe you saw it during your navy days. A sailor’s dream. I really look forward to doing this job up here.)

  8. Well written article Rod —– you cover the subject and history well. This is an important issue! Understanding and communicating is as important as doing research — I thought the understanding by SARI, which you are a part of, leads to the best communicating. The right research is also important — we should be doing both.