1. Half the problem in investigating and analysing things like this is that these days there is just as great a chance of gross incompetence and short-sighted stupidly being at the bottom of it as subterfuge. Print no longer attracts high calibre people to its ranks, and nuclear energy is not the only topic that has been affected.

    This isn’t to say there may not have been complicity in this case, but the fact is that Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, is so bad, and its contents so biased and poorly researched that it not going to convince anyone with any science background, and those holding antinuclear views don’t care what real science says anyway. All others will find the work far too dense to wade through and will probably accept the judgment of those they trust on its contents rather than form their own opinion on the matter.

    The New York Academy of Sciences is the real loser here as it has exposed itself and done far more damage to its credibility than the work in question has done to nuclear energy.

  2. Your friend’s letter was eloquently scathing. I bet they wanted to crawl in a hole after reading it.

    Thank you for this post. This has given me more background about that Chernobyl book than I could have expected to research by myself.

  3. Excellent report and the kind of stuff needs to “Get Out” of the web into the real world. Are there any politicians with brass sacks that this stuff can be faxed to? Any reasonable radio or TV hosts who’ll pick this issue up? Do we have permission to email this to the whole lot of them? God knows anti-nukers have the mainstream media coyly on their side well as “eco-friendly” research establishments, so where’s our edge? This kind of anti-brainwashing material needs to get out to the public like yesterday.

    To me, the proof of the pudding is rather than go through the time-wasting morass of invalidating bad and biased research, why not whip up a new study based on virtually incontestable current Historical and Medical findings which would automatically do the job? With the internet today this should be almost a cinch, if not quick phone calls to hospitals in Russia and Hiroshima or other nuclear sites to obtain birth anomaly records from way back along with accountings of other local industrial sites and growth (and “incidents”) concurrent those records and see what abnormalities pops up. Actual historically-based data, not speculative or conjecture or “what ifs”. Show us the freaks and Doomsday data. Ask is nuclear energy being singled out as being impossibly malevolent and toxic when you have medical and bio labs which store and work with hideously virulent pathogens and viruses which don’t heed evacuation zones — nor get any — were they to escape. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander; if bio facilities don’t have evacuation zones for accidental terrible plagues, why should nuclear plants whose worst accidents worldwide only killed a handful of people if at all??

    James Greenidge

  4. @James

    The UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation already did the definitive study. That is one way that we know that the NYAS published study is terribly wrong, and not just a little wrong.


    According to that study the total deaths so far is less than 50 with a calculated POSSIBILITY of as many as 4,000 more who MAY die a little earlier than they would have without the accident.

    1. >> That is one way that we know that the NYAS published study is terribly wrong, and not just a little wrong.

      I don’t know the right term for such, but if it’s not outrageously sloppy and alarmingly inept research, could it be considered willful philosophically-based “industrial slander” on the sly, what for want of a better term? Maybe (if they wake up!) the nuclear industry has a case!

      >>According to that study the total deaths so far is less than 50 with a calculated POSSIBILITY of as many as 4,000 more who MAY die a little earlier than they would have without the accident.

      Let’s say, off the top of my head, we triple that to cover any unsung military reactor accidents around the world since the first pile was fired up. That’s 150 outright reactor deaths in over sixty years of using nuclear power (I don’t do the “cancer probability in 30 years” thing since a good cigar or barbecue skews that prediction). My God, should we pull out a scorecard of how many workers/public were lost in other industries in the same time period?? THESE are the kinds of stats that MUST get out!!

      James Greenidge

  5. In the second paragraph, Rod Adams wrote:
    Ted Rockwell, a long-time member of the Academy, has written several op-eds and worked hard to politely ask the leaders at the Academy to repute the work…

    This should read …at the Academy to repudiate the work…

      1. Rod is an English major out of the USNA. With appeal, I’ll defer to his authority to invent a word, especially if he’ll get on board with “refudiate.”

        Don’t misunderestimate his strategery.

  6. I’ve lost a lot of respect for the IPCC by allowing themselves to be used as a stalking horse for Greenpeace.

    There’s been scientific discussion about how politics and values influence the opinions of members of the general public as well as scientists regarding the theory of AGW:


    Though I’m not yet ready to agree with the idea that politics are influencing the AGW theory with regards to most actual climate scientists, I certainly agree with the perspective that public acceptance or nonacceptance of the AGW theory is closely tied to politics and values.

    Further, I will vigorously agree with the concept that individual values and politics both within and outside of the scientific community shape what solutions you want to use in response to the theory of AGW. For instance, the near out of hand discounting by numerous greens of nuclear energy and geoengineering measures makes it look to people who are apolitically concerned about AGW that they have a hidden agenda.

    1. In my personal opinion, this cannot be stressed enough: Scientists Must Hold Themselves to the VERY HIGHEST Standards of Ethics and Accuracy. That is the only way that the public can fully trust the scientific community.

      I think the vast, vast majority of scientist *DO* adhere to a very high standard of behavior, but unfortunately, when there’s even the slightest wiff of dishonesty, that provides fertile grounds for the likes of Helen Caldicott to say that the UN Studies are a giant conspiracy, a whitewash, a coverup, the “Elite” trying to hide the truth from the masses, for their own gain.

  7. It is rather remarkable that Mr. Braaten is conducting a peer review now and looks forward to publishing it. The usual thing to expect would be to have the peer review first, and then decide about publishing the book.

    Then again, probably better late than never.

  8. How long before we see photos of Japanese children with birth defects (we’ve already seen the earless rabbit) and predictions of a million dead from Fukushima fallout? Or how long before Harvey Wasserman says that America killed more Japanese by giving them nuclear power than by dropping atomic bombs on them?

    If AGW is even remotely possible, we absolutely have to replace fossil fueled electricity production with nuclear fission. We already know what happens to this planet when we explosively disperse GCi of radioactive debris across the planet. Atmospheric nuclear tests resulted in no measurable change in global human population and very little ecological impact. On the other hand, civilization wasn’t around during the last ice age, so we don’t know what will happen to us if there is major climate change on a global scale.

    – Look forward to more of the Russian connection.

    1. I was chuckling at the earless rabbit and toe-less cat and cesium tea stories popping up _weeks_ ago. I’m asking myself, what’s the gestation period of a rabbit to begin with? Bunny must’ve already been a while in the oven before Fukushima occurred since he popped up right after the quake — does even massive radiation clip ears just before birth? I like the cesium tea thing too; like long does tea take to grow before you harvest it and bother to notice if there’re bare radioactive traces from Oz in it? One of these days I gotta do some research and find out exactly what reactor was nearby when Mark Twain found his infamous two-headed snakes and twin-tailed snapping turtles, among some.

      James Greenidge

  9. There is something terribly disturbing about finding out how formerly respectable scientific bodies have been purposely infiltrated by representatives of groups with declared agendas …

    Some of us discovered this a while ago. Glad to see you’re catching up, Rod.

    The Environmentalist Movement figured out long ago (probably back in the seventies or eighties) that the best way to push their agenda is to quietly work in the background to get the “right-thinking” people into the top administrative positions of these organizations. The more sympathetic people you get into these positions, the easier it becomes to get more there. It’s not just the NYAS that has been “infiltrated.”

    I’m willing to bet that you’ve never heard of the National Academy of Science’s “Temporary Nominating Group for the Global Environment.” Some very influential members of the NAS today were elected via this route rather than the conventional vetting process.

    1. Also do not forget the money trail. I am sure there are ways you can contribute financially to the NYAS.

      1. @Daniel – I was “teasing” about my plan to follow the money with the comment about the shadowy Russian oil oligarch who has been generously supporting the NYAS.

    2. @Brian – I would love to hear more about the temporary nominating group. Links would be great, but so would personal stories.

      1. Rod – The NAS has several paths to membership. The key part of this process is getting nominated, because that is where the most rigorous part of the vetting process occurs. The normal procedure is that a nomination is submitted by an Academy member and sent to one (or more) of the Academy’s 31 Sections, each of which specializes in a particular discipline. The merits of the candidate are considered by the section, and at least two-thirds of the section membership must approve the nomination (although the exact number depends on the procedures of the particular section and most require more support than this) for the candidate to become a nominee.

        Having been nominated, the candidate is considered by a broader segments of the NAS membership, which naturally involves less scrutiny (would you really expect an evolutionary biologist to be the best judge of the academic merits of a theoretical physicist?). At this point, the process becomes mostly a ranking exercise to ensure that the top nominees get in under the yearly upper limit for new members (currently 72). Nominees who don’t get in under the limit are automatically reconsidered next year for nomination.

        Finally, there is a ballot of all members attending the NAS Annual Meeting, but in this ballot, all of the nominees are voted in as a group. Thus, you can see that getting the nomination is the hard part.

        There are two ways to be nominated other than the normal process of selection by a Section. A candidate can be nominated by a petition by a group of members (called a “Voluntary Nominating Group” or VNG) or he or she can be selected by a special group appointed by the NAS Council (called a “Temporary Nominating Group” or TNG). Although called “temporary,” the TNG’s can last for quite a long time, sometimes decades or more. There is nothing particularly sinister about the TNG process, but it is usually applied to seek out a particular type of nominee. For example, the NAS recently appointed several new TNG’s to seek out younger nominees, hoping to lower the average age of new NAS members, which currently is about 56.

        In the case of the Temporary Nominating Group on Global Human and Environmental Sciences, the goal was clearly to seek out and nominate environmental activists, including those who would not survive the vetting processes of the two NAS Sections devoted to Environmental Science. What is alarming, however, is that the members nominated through this TNG now form a Who’s Who of some of the top people in the NAS. In fact, I seem to remember hearing that the current president of the NAS was nominated through this process.

      1. Do you know anything about how much it costs for a ‘major American industrialist’ to buy a seat on the Board of Governors?

        Unfortunately, I have no idea. So I take it that you don’t buy the story of no involvement or knowledge by the Board of Governors about the decision to publish the book?

  10. THEODORE ROCKWELL and others could also stop being a member of the Academy to protest.

    That would make a point.

  11. I just had enough and sent this email to NHK news world in Japan.

    This is their website :


    I hope you will put an end to the nuclear fears and publish this information on your site. It is time for people to come back home.

    The enclosed information is common knowledge, yet it seems that people in Japan are being put thru suffering that is not necessary. It is your duty to inform and put an end to the nonsense regarding evacuation guidelines that are imposed and that are not based on science.

    Please verify the following information by yourselves and stop evacuating your citizens based on the ridiculous 20 msv a year threshold.

    If I lived at Fukushima, and my house had not been damaged by the tsunami, I would not evacuate. The radiation from the reactor has not exceeded natural background radiation in many inhabited places on Earth.

    book: ”Power to Save the World; The Truth About Nuclear Energy” by Gwyneth Cravens, 2007 Gwyneth Cravens is a former anti-nuclear activist.

    Page 77: Natural gas contains radon, a radioactive gas.

    Page 86: Among 80000 nuclear bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cancer rate was only 6% higher than expected. Radiation is very weak at causing cancer.

    Page 98: There is a table of millirems per year from the
    background in a list of inhabited places.
    Chernobyl: 490 millirem/year
    Guarapari, Brazil: 3700 millirem/year [=3.7 rem]
    Tamil Nadu, India: 5300 millirem/year [=5.3 rem]
    Ramsar, Iran: 8900 to 13200 millirem/year [=8.9 to 13.2 rem]
    All are natural except for Chernobyl.

    Don’t take iodine pills unless your doctor tells you to. You are not getting enough radioactive iodine [iodine131 or Iodine 129] from Fukushima to cause you any harm. There has always been natural background radiation. We date ancient mummies by the radioactive carbon they ate thousands of years ago. The half life of iodine131 is 8 days. That means that every 8 days, iodine becomes only half as radioactive. Iodine129 has a half life of 17 million years. It decays so slowly that it is almost not radioactive. Iodine 131 is the highly radioactive one. Cesium has a more dangerous half life because its half life is comparable to half a human lifetime, but cesium is not an element needed by living things. Iodine pills have side effects.

    If you live in Chernobyl the total radiation dose you get each year is 390 millirem. That’s natural plus residual from the accident and fire. In Denver, Colorado, the natural dose is over 1000 millirem/year. Denver gets more than 2.56 times as much radiation as Chernobyl! But Denver has a low cancer rate.

    Calculate your annual radiation dose:

    The Average American gets 361 millirems/year. Smokers add 280 millirems/year from lead210. Radon accounts for 200 mrem/year.


    Coal contains: URANIUM, ARSENIC, LEAD, MERCURY, Antimony, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Selenium, Barium, Fluorine, Silver, Beryllium, Iron, Sulfur, Boron, Titanium, Cadmium, Magnesium, Thorium, Calcium, Manganese, Vanadium, Chlorine, Aluminum, Chromium, Molybdenum and Zinc. There is so much of these elements in coal that cinders and coal smoke are actually valuable ores. We should be able to get all the uranium and thorium we need to fuel nuclear power plants for centuries by using cinders and smoke as ore. Unburned Coal also contains BENZENE, THE CANCER CAUSER. We could get all of our uranium and thorium from coal ashes and cinders. The carbon content of coal ranges from 96% down to 25%, the remainder being rock of various kinds. See:

    “Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII – Phase 2″ National Academies Press page 66, 331, 80, 70
    page 66 in pdf or page 49 in hardcopy: ”[T]he extrapolation of dose-response data for genomic instability to radiation-induced cancers in the low-dose range <100 mGy is not warranted." 100mGy= 100 millisieverts = 10 rem.

  12. @Daniel -the problem with resigning in protest is that it is a gesture that cannot be repeated.

    I vote for remaining in the organization and agitating for change from the inside.

  13. It’s good that there’s a fight on this issue! Ellis Rubinstein, by the way, was a writer and editor at Science magazine for many years. He cannot have been unaware of the implications of his decision to publish lies.

    The NYAS is an open membership group; to become a member, one pays the membership fee. No nominations necessary.

    RE: infiltration. Over the past 30 or so years, the nation’s scientific institutions have increasingly been headed by greens of one shade or another, often anti-nuclear and Malthusian. The current Presidential Science Advisor John Holdren is a prominent case in point.

    I have posted this link previously, but I’m doing it again because I think it is an effective counter to the NYAS/Greenpeace report, written by a member and past chair of UNSCEAR, Zbigniew Jaworowski: “Observations on Chernobyl After 25 Years of Radiophobia”:

  14. This just out :

    The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company say they have stabilized the crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

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