A few days ago, I wrote What should “Radioactive Wolves” teach critical thinkers? and promptly got really busy at work. I put in several “half-days” (Navy lingo for a 12 hour work day) and did not have much time for paying attention to Atomic Insights.
When I finally got around to checking on things, there were already almost 200 comments. The early ones focused on a throwaway line or two in the post mentioning my suspicion that there might have been less accident than purposeful destruction at Chernobyl based on the incredible series of operational missteps. Most of the rest, however, turned out to be a running battle of words exchanged between a retired radiation protection professional and everyone else.
Bob Applebaum, the radiation protection professional, repeatedly defended the Linear, No-Threshold dose response assumption as representing the best available science. His primary source for that defense came from the BEIR (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) VII report.
On the other side of the discussion, there were at least a dozen separate people who provided a number of different references, thought experiments, experience, and statistical analysis that called the LNT into question and described it as a useful regulatory assumption, not a model that accurately predicts dose response or that should be used to compute consequences of an accident like Chernobyl or Fukushima. One of the key sources that Applebaum dismissed is the March 2005 report titled Dose-effect relationships and estimation of the carcinogenic effects of low doses of ionizing radiation. Here is his rather enlightening dismissal of that report:
October 28, 2011 | 9:34 PM
Not my problem… that is a change the goalposts fallacy.
I live in the U.S.
I’m not going to respond to anything anyone has done in dozens of other countries.
Should the U.S. be a Muslim theocracy because some other country has decided to?
Am I compelled to respond to that.
Applebaum also dismissed the Health Physics Society’s current position statement on low level radiation risk, saying that it was based on 1997 science and dismissing the commenters who pointed out that it has been updated and reaffirmed several times since it was first published.
October 26, 2011 | 12:35 PM
You are in denial.
If you read NCRP, 1997 you can see the position paper reflects 1997 science.
BEIR VII reflects 2006 science.
Science marches on.
Reading through all of the comments may take some time, but if you are interested in the topic and want to learn more, your time would be well invested. I am going through the thread and may elevate some of the comments to become guest posts in their own right – with the permission of the original authors, of course.