Why radiation is safe and why all nations should embrace nuclear energy
Dr. Wade Allison — retired professor of physics and medical physics at Oxford University, author of Radiation and Reason and a founding member of the international SARI group (Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information — has recently published a video titled Why radiation is safe & all nations should embrace nuclear technology – Professor Wade Allison that is aimed at a general audience.
It explains why radiation associated with nuclear energy production, medical diagnostics, and medical treatments is generally safe and should not be a cause for excessive concern. Society’s carefully taught fear of radiation has been instilled purposely for a variety of reasons, some of which are quite nefarious. It should be overcome through greater understanding of both the reality of radiation health effects information and a recognition of the motives for the fear campaign.
Fear must no longer a deterrent for taking full advantage of the natural gift of incredible quantities of clean energy stored inside the atomic nuclei of certain actinide metals – specifically uranium, thorium and plutonium. Fear of radiation and nuclear power should not be allowed to continue decimating the Japanese economy by spending an extra $35 billion per year for imported LNG, coal and diesel fuel. It should not be used to enhance the power of autocratic, oil and gas-dependent regimes like those that rule Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Please set aside some time to watch this 45-minute presentation. Share it with your school age children. Share it with your friends and relatives, especially if you are the odd person out at Thanksgiving dinner who supports more nuclear power plant construction while others seem paralyzed by irrational fear of what might happen if they allow construction anywhere in a 200 mile radius of their home.
How pathetic and ironic that on YouTube Wade hasn’t even reached 200 hits while in the YouTube side column Alex Jones features Fukushima Reactor 2: Radiation 10 Million Times Above Safe Level? with over 15,000 hits and counting — not counting “ConnectDots2” and “Green Road Project” and “LibertyInOurTime”s anti-nuke takes tens of thousand hits. Wade isn’t just a lone wolf to surfers here; he’s just a loony old man with no visible backup from any nuke pro groups on line at all.
Allison’s video has only been posted for two days. There is no doubt that it deserves more attention. We all can help with that.
It’s time for nuclear supporters to make their voices heard, even if that takes some effort. Don’t wait for other people to take action. Be a leader if necessary.
FYI – Dr. Allison’s video is up to 1658 views. That needs to increase substantially, but it’s a start. Once again, please promote to your friends, relatives, acquaintances, civic leaders, teachers, etc.
Wade Allison, I want to thank you, for proposing reasonable science based safety levels for acute and chronic ionizing radiation in your book, Radiation and Reason. The slides in your video should get broader exposure. They help us to visualize just how over regulated ionizing radiation exposure really is. I am a biologist I know that radiation boosts the immune system in variety of ways. Our evolution occurred in a world with much more radiation; it is not surprising that low to moderate radiation actually promotes longevity.
Um. Let’s see. $35G up in smoke. That’d be six AP-1000 worth. Each year. 🙁
You wrote: $35G up in smoke.
Presumably the ‘G’ refers to giga = 10^9 — in the same way that ‘B’ refers to billion.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the use of metric prefixes in relation to dollars before. Have I missed a meme?
I have often wondered why human life evolved when it did. It probably would have been quite a sight to have seen the natural reactors if people had been around to witness it. Given that people who live in areas if very high background radiation seem to be in good health, I doubt if it was the higher levels of background radiation that kept higher life forms from evolving. Free oxygen had to reach a certain level (and form ozone in the stratosphere) for land animals to live. However that is separate from background radiation.
Well more food for thought. It’s very near the site of the natural reactors that the oldest known multicellular life has been found, appearing in the same period : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francevillian_biota
OTOH my understanding is that this site is one of the rare places on earth that has been left undisturbed by tectonic movements for this long, which could explain why both have been discovered there.
One wonders how many other natural reactors have disappeared through tectonic action.
One wonders how many other fossil natural reactors have disappeared through tectonic action.
Thanks for posting this video Rod. I had already read Dr Wade’s book ‘Radiation and Reason’, but it was good to have this refresher.
I have a some questions about converting from the gray to the sievert. The gray is one joule per kilogram. It is my understanding that the conversion for gama is one to one. Does that apply to x-rays? There is a multiplier for neutron and alpha particles which is a factor of 20 for alpha. How was it determined that the biological effect for alpha is 20 times greater for alpha for the amount of energy transferred?
X-rays and gammas are treated the same, yes.
Conversions for charged particles are actually something of an area of controversy, as different standards publications give different values. And different methods have been used to arrive at the “relative biological effectiveness” or dose-weighting factors. In general, the most recent numbers are based on irradiation of cell cultures to some specified level (such as 50%) die-off.
The whole radiation debate is fascinating and frustrating. And even highly intelligent capable people are still left scratching their heads… I have come to agree that radiation is not this horrible death sentence it’s been proclaimed to be, but it still seems to stand that some are more sensitive to its effects than others. Just as with everything, smoking, food, chemicals, some will die from exposures, others won’t, and some will probably experience better health and immunity. It’s a gamble and no one wants to lose.
There is science indicating enhanced radiosensitivity among certain people. It has appeared and been studies in relation to certain radiotherapy treatments.
However, and this is a big, comforting HOWEVER, the lowest radiation levels at which the effect has been observed is WAY above the doses that are considered to be “low doses” in the range to which the public can possibly be exposed from nuclear power operations in either normal or accident conditions. On my home computer, I have a paper that provides the threshold dose at which enhanced radiosensitivity is observed; I will find the number and post it when I get a chance.
That some people are more sensitive to the effects of radiation is a reasonable conclusion. However rather large doses of radiation is necessary to cause a reduction in longevity.
The 100 year study of British radiologists, the study of the U S shipyard workers, and the study of the radium dial painters all show that moderate levels of radiation do not correlate with decreased longevity. In fact John Cameron concludes that longevity is the most appropriate measure of health effects of radiation.
John Cameron, “In my opinion, the best epidemiological study of radiation workers ever done is the DOE supported U.S. nuclear shipyard worker study (1980-1988). The 28,000 nuclear shipyard workers with the largest cumulative doses had a death rate from all causes 24% lower (p<10-16) than that of 32,000 age-matched and job-matched unexposed shipyard workers. No other study of radiation workers had the important advantage of having job-matched controls. The details of this important study have still not been published. The DOE news release about the study did not mention that the deaths from all causes of the nuclear workers were 16 standard deviations lower than the controls. It does not seem realistic to me to suggest that this great health improvement can be explained by selection bias as suggested in a recent report."
Thank you Rod, I’d like to see that number when it’s posted. I’ve taken to reading all your posts and everything I can get my hands on regarding both sides of the debate. Before actually researching everything I was one of those driving myself insane with fear about everything especially the “dangers” of all the radiation that surrounds us. My stress was killing me faster then the granite countertop in my kitchen and the pacific caught sardines I’ve eaten post Fukishima (;
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