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  1. A related document, RERF’s Views on Residual Radiation was posted on the Radiation Effects Research Foundation’s website in December 2012. Its but 6 pages whose primary intent was to answer criticism that RERF neglected possible carcinogenic effects of residual radiation (e.g. fallout) when evaluating subject exposures for its long-term studies.

    RERF’s conclusion was it basically doesn’t matter: residual radiation was small compared to induced radiation which was small compared to direct radiation, and their control group of relief reservists who entered the Hiroshima area the day after the bombing and were exposed to highest levels of induced radiation (but not direct radiation as they weren’t there at the bombing) showed no increased mortality — from any cause — over their countrymen who thank god they were elsewhere:

    The estimates showed that most of the unit’s radiation exposure was from induced
    radiation, that the estimated maximum dose was 100 mSv based on both chromosome
    aberration frequencies and computer simulations, and that the average dose for the entire unit was 13 mSv. Moreover, in a mortality study of these 99 people conducted over a period of 42 years since August 1945, no difference was observed in either all causes of death or cancers when compared with national averages.

    This is on page 4 and would appear to contradict LNT just on its own. A standard objection to such epidemiological evidence is that there’s no accounting for life-style changes these men may have made after learning of their exposure. Which may well be true — but if one concedes that hypothesized radiation effects are lost in the noise of day-to-day living, then from an overall risk assessment, does it really matter?

    The article concludes with some less-than-alarming news regarding Fukushima:

    Because food and drink are now being monitored adequately following the accident and the amount of radioactive substances suspended in the air is extremely small, concerns about internal exposure should not grow any further as long as the current monitoring system is maintained. In terms of effects from radiation exposure immediately after the accident, results of measurements conducted so far by the government of Fukushima Prefecture on tens of thousands of people have shown that the committed dose is less than 1 mSv in more than 99.9% of such people, and the maximum dose observed in this group is as low as the global average background radiation level (2.4 mSv a year).

    …but don’t tell Leslie, okay? (joke)

  2. I should amend that. From an overall risk assessment it might indeed matter, if one can estimate an upper bound on the beneficial effects of any unaccounted for lifestyle changes. What it doesn’t do is provide support for LNT.

  3. These are excellent resources on their own for the scientifically literate lay reader, particularly those who may still accept the fear-inducing narrative about the dangers of radiation from nuclear power.

    This is great stuff! Thank you — and SARI — for your efforts.

  4. The NIPCC are excellent resources on their own for the scientifically literate lay reader, particularly those who may still accept the fear-inducing narrative about the dangers of carbon dioxide from coal power.

    It’s great stuff! Thank you-and NIPCC-for your denial.

    http://www.nipccreport.org/

    1. @Bob Applebaum

      I’m disappointed. I must have posted after your bedtime; it took more than 12 hours before you jumped in with your ever-so-useful allegation that people who reject the linear no-threshold dose assumption are equivalent to climate change deniers.

      Can you, for once, please provide some credible analysis or relevant commentary?

    2. Bob;

      Just because the excessive C02 is proven devastating to the environment doesn’t mean the optimum level of C02 in the atmosphere is Zero.

      Since we know you force your belief that the optimum level of Ionizing radiation is zero, that puts yourself in the denial camp that minor background levels may actually be good for us.

      I think deep down you realize this, but the cognitive dissonance given your radiation fear cash-in vs the actual benefit of low levels of ionizing radiation is too great.

        1. The link would also cast doubt on Acid rain (I grew up just out side the blue line of the Adirondacks), which received great harm from Acid rain. And they pretend 2nd hand smoke isn’t so bad.

    3. Bob, could you comment on this recent update to the atomic bomb survivor data? I don’t think I have seen you discuss that aspect of the whole low dose situation before.

      Also, how do you feel about the bolded portions of the following sentence from above. I have a guess for what your internal reaction to it is, but prior to stating that guess, I’d like you to present your own thoughts/feelings towards the bolded phrasing, boldness added by me.

      “Our group is multidisciplinary and includes expertise in a variety of areas including radiation source characterization, radiation transport, external and internal radiation dosimetry, radiobiological effects (both harmful and beneficial), dose-response modeling, radiation risk and benefit assessment, nuclear medicine, diagnostic radiology, radiation oncology, commercial nuclear power, technology supporting use of nuclear power, isotope production, and nuclear/radiological emergency management.”

      I am sure that Helen Caldicott’s feelings, as an ideologue would be something to the effect of: “To suggest that there would be any possibility of any benefit gained from additional radiation is an utter absurdity”.

  5. So I’m curious……

    Seems to me, that in the event of a nuclear explosion, that citizens would be subjected to irradiated debris in the form of dust particles, breathed in, as well as coating the environment. Where in the case of a nuclear event at a power plant the issue is more one of the release of radiation sans the debris caused by a massive explosion.

    So….does this change the amount of health risk posed by the levels or exposure? Of course, just the inhalation of dust is harmful by itself, but as these irradiated particles of dust languish in the lungs, does it compound the radiation exposure?

    1. @POA. Sure. Just don’t extrapolate down to zero, which is silly, and that’s what Bob Applebaum does.

    2. I think at Hiroshima the radiation from plutonium and other irradiated particles was trivial compared to the gamma burst from the explosion, and even that did less damage than the blast wave and the heat. Both bombs in Japan were air burst, so the fireball didn’t irradiate very much dust. There was a little bit of plutonium in the Chernobyl fallout, closer to the reactor, but, as at Fukushima, gases and volatiles dominated. Gases aren’t a concern; of the volatiles, there was about four times as much Iodine 131 at Chernobyl as Cesium 137. These both produce beta radiation within the cell, with similar energy levels, and leaving damage trails on the order of a millimetre long. Iodine concentrated in the thyroid, which weighs about 15 to 20 grams, whereas Cesium is found more or less evenly throughout the soft tissues, say forty kilos in an adult. Iodine 131 has a half life of eight days, Cesium 137 is about 30 years, roughly 1300 times as long. So in the first week those in the fallout area might have received very approximately 4 x 2000 x 1300 = ten million times as much radiation in the thyroid as in any other organ ( ignoring the concentration of iodine into milk by the cows which were the main vector for it.)
      By now the iodine has long decayed to zero, but any radiocesium still around should have about half its original potency. This article details measurements on wolves in Gomel, Byelorussia, one of the more heavily affected areas.
      http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/analysis_opinion/AJ201203280003
      ‘ For example, the amount of cesium-137 accumulated in each kilogram of flesh extracted from wolves–which sit at the top of the food chain–was measured at 40.8 kilobecquerels, based on 96 samples, between 1998 and 2000. The figure dropped to 23.9 kilobecquerels, based on 79 samples, from 2001 to 2005.

      However, the level rose to 30.7 kilobecquerels, based on 19 samples, from 2006 to 2010.’ That is about 4,000 times less than a lethal dose, according to Wikipedia-
      ‘A 1972 experiment showed that when dogs are subjected to a whole body burden of 3800 μCi/kg (140 MBq/kg, or approximately 44 μg/kg) of caesium-137 (and 950 to 1400 rads), they die within thirty-three days, while animals with half of that burden all survived for a year.’

      1. Whoops, scratch that. On rechecking, the releases from Chernobyl were calculated by activity, not quantity. So assuming roughly similar uptake, dose to the thyroid would only be a few thousand times more than to the rest of the body.

        1. Just for completeness re. I-131 and thyroid cancer, one might note two substantial differences between Chernobyl and Fukushima:
          1. With their seafood-rich diet, Japanese children are not noted for iodine deficiency. This in contrast with Soviet-era Belarus and Ukraine children, who were.
          2. One of the things the Japanese government did do right after the Fukushima explosions was immediate distribution of protective iodine tablets to inhibit uptake of I-131 in any fallout. As result there have been no excess thyroid cancers reported in Fukushima, and none are anticipated. In contrast, there have been 6,000 thryroid cancers in the Chernobyl effected area since 1986, and “…many of those cancers were most likely caused by radiation exposures shortly after the accident.” There have been about 10 thryroid cancer deaths. From UNSCEAR’s 2012 report:

          “Apart from the dramatic increase in thyroid cancer incidence among those exposed at a young age, and some indication of an increased leukaemia and cataract incidence among the workers, there is no clearly demonstrated increase in the incidence of solid cancers or leukaemia due to radiation in the exposed populations. Neither is there any proof of other non-malignant disorders that are related to ionizing radiation. However, there were widespread psychological reactions to the accident, which were due to fear of the radiation, not to the actual radiation doses.”

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