1. Rod, your objections to Kit are entirely logical, and statisticaly correct. However, your response doesn’t consider the psychological and attendant physical damage inflicted on the public by “prudent” health standards based on a false concept (LNT) broadcast as “unsafe at any dose” by a willing world-wide news media. The need for rational (and realistic) radiation protection standards goes far beyond nuclear economics itself.

    1. The media is largely staffed by intellectuals who call themselves ‘progressive’. In truth, most people who proudly wear that label aren’t progressive at all. They’re arch-conservatives who fear technological progress. They extol the virtues of subsistence farming, home-made arts and crafts, and mom-and-pop stores. Being rich enough to afford such inefficient luxury themselves, they seek to impose this ‘small is beautiful’ ethos on the rest of the world, much of which has yet to achieve such levels of comfortable prosperity. It trumpets its pathological fear of industry and ‘big business’ in every headline, and displays its anti-progressive terror of modernity in every article.

      This bias is an abdication of responsibility. Worse, it is dangerous. Besides the immediate financial harm that results from such irresponsible, untruthful reporting, it gives anti-progressives slogans for protests in the streets, and has prompted paralysis at government policy level when it comes to needed policy changes like radiation protection standards.

      1. The Dalai Lama would hold a similar discourse so that cheap energy could become the ultimate equalizer for poor countries.

      2. Well, my meaning of ‘Progressive’ is one who believes that society should not be organized in a way that the top 400 wealthiest families in the US control more wealth than 50% of the entire population of a country of 330 million people. And, not where a single hedge-fund manager can ‘earn’ $5B in one year (that is not a typo, his name is John Paulson). An oligarchy is no more efficient or just than communism.

        It has nothing to do with technological progress. I am a strong supporter of nuclear power and every other form of scientific progress (kind of goes with being a scientist).

        1. SteveK9, I understand your concerns and in part agree with them. But, in a free society, can we really impose barriers that limit accumulation of personal wealth? Some kind of national law that limits CEO or business owner salaries and benefits? Centralized control (centrally planned economies) have historically been somewhat inefficient and in some cases have failed spectacularly with subsequent political and social chaos.

          In a previous life when I managed some businesses of various kinds (consulting and engineering firms, even a family farm) I tried to take a long view and practice some form of “enlightened capitalism”. We obviously worked as hard as we could to deliver quality services and goods and maximize profits, but we tried to distribute those as fairly as we could among the employees, based on merit and performance. When things were tight the partners (I and others) reduced our slice of the pie first. I learned through experience that treating employees fairly and honestly was the best way to boost productivity and enhance morale. I’ve often thought if the CEOs today took a similar approach, we’d see less of these stories about “corporate greed” and billion dollar golden parachutes.

        2. What is wrong with what you call ‘accumulation of wealth’ is that the rich don’t pay for their mistakes or their fair share of taxes.

          They just can’t lose. I know of cases in the US and Canada where elected officials in high ranking political positions have made provisions in the laws to favor their own corporations. That is criminal.

        3. Daniel, what in your opinion is “fair”? In the early 1980s, my tax rate was 50%. Basically, the government took half of everything I earned, so for every hour I worked and earned for myself, I worked another hour for the government (in terms of income). Was that, in your opinion, a “fair share”? Did I get any credit on my tax returns for the fact that I helped found and run a company that employed close to 100 other people? How “fair” is it that while I was paying 50% of my earnings to the government, there were people who, by choice, did no work and paid no taxes? How “fair” was that?

        4. In Canada, fiscal liberation day is somewhere in August. That’s when I start earning income in my pocket. I do not mind paying taxes.

          However, in the not too distant past, a law was passed in Canada regarding the fiscal management of family trust funds. Mister Desmarais, a wealthy man beyond my accounting capabilities, managed to escape this law and transferred is assets in a safe heaven. Paul Martin, then finance minister and PM of the country, managed to have one of his companies exempted from a law regarding maritime trade.

          1) I want a frigging tax refund ! 2) I do not want the taxman to call me the day after I am late filing my tax returns.

          I want fiscal fairness for all.

        5. “In the early 1980s, my tax rate was 50%. Basically, the government took half of everything I earned”

          Not half of everything you earned. Half of what you earned above a certain threshold, which in most countries is the income of a very prosperous person. Below that threshold, you pay less than 50% – probably much less. Depending, again, on the country, a part of your income is not taxed at all.

        6. So, you don’t mind paying taxes, but you want a refund. That seems to imply that you think what you are paying is, perhaps, just maybe, just a little bit…unfair? If not, why should you mind not having a refund?

          In this country, citizens are free to pay the government more, if they want. If they feel their tax burden is too low, then can send in more. The government will cash their check. Strangely enough, very few do. When challenged on this point, Warren Buffett, who has called for higher taxes, refused to pay more, even though he could if he wanted. John Kerry’s home state, Massachusetts, allows a checkoff on their state tax return to allow taxpayers to send in more. When investigated, it was found that the Kerrys, in spite of their billion dollar net worth, elected not to pay more, even though they could.

          So, how would you implement “fairness” to avoid accumulation of vast wealth by a few? Set a government limit on maximum pay? Confiscate property if it is deemed “excessive”? Who would make those decisions, and set those limits, and by what authority? I should tell you that we need to learn from history here. England tried something similar in the 1960s. Harold Wilson’s Labor Government (“progressives”) imposed a 95% “supertax” on rich people. The Beatles wrote a song about it (“Taxman”). People simply left the country. This was why John Lennon fought so long and so hard for a green card in this country. It wasn’t out of any particular love for the US, he in fact hated it, but he didn’t want to pay the taxes back home. George Harrison and David Bowie went to Switzerland. Ringo Starr found refuge in Monaco and later, LA. Mick Jagger ended up in Jamaica. Freddy Mercury went to Munich and New York City. So, the “soak the rich” approach simply created a whole class of tax exiles.

          1. Conservatives often recommend that the government operate in a more businesslike fashion. Well-managed businesses do not strive to charge people the lowest possible prices; they strive to establish optimal prices based on maximizing long term income. Set prices too high and lose market share; set them too low and you leave potential revenue on the table, lower total income, and reduce your ability to invest for the future.

            In government terms, we should be setting taxes in a similar manner. It would be smart to avoid creating tax exiles, but it would also be smart to ensure that people who appreciate all of the benefits of the US are not allowed to just move their money elsewhere and still capture those benefits. If taxes are too high, they should be free to move and renounce their citizenship and protections of our military, legal system, infrastructure, and educated citizens.

            Reagan, as much as I admired some of us philosophies, was wrong. In a place where the government is by the people and for the people, it is not the problem; it is a potential source of solutions to shared challenges.

        7. What I am saying is stop the crime. In the US, Congressmen know in advance the laws that will be enacted. They can trade on this knowledge without being prosecuted. For you and I, this is criminal and known as insider trading.

          Go figure.

          I want fairness. I don’t mind paying taxes.

        8. FWIW I think everyone should pay something. I suppose a “flat tax” would be fairest in terms of the size of the “bite” it takes from your wealth, as a percentage of the total. But some argue that this is regressive in that the “bite” means more to those who have less total wealth. I understand that argument, and am not unsympathetic to it.

          I also understand that taxes are necessary for government to function in an orderly society. I’d prefer to mimimize it as much as possible and fund those things that government simply has to do, but also realize that in the end it is a political system that will determine such things. End the theft? Sure, who could be against that? How to make society and life itself more “fair”? A tougher nut to crack. My philosophy has always been to do things to encourage individual achievement and maximize opportunities for everyone who participates in our economy, reward producers, innovators, and achievers, and discourage dependence and an entitlement mindset.

          1. Few businesses charge every customer the same price – they establish different pricing levels based on many factors, including the customer’s desire to pay more. I know that sounds a little odd; who should voluntarily pay more for essentially the same product? All you have to do to realize that such behavior is quite common is take a look at the pricing for first class airline seats, “prime” seats at a football stadium, meal prices at certain kinds of restaurants, and real estate prices in certain kinds of neighborhoods. In many cases, people with more money than sense pay way more that necessary to obtain the goods that they want the rest of us to admire.

            Well managed governments ought to figure out a way to get in on some of that irrational spending behavior by properly pricing its services.

        9. The fairest tax they say would be a transaction tax. A sales tax on every financial transaction. This would tax the rich,who spend more, harder than the poor, and would put a brake on the sort of automatic high speed trading of securities that some blame for much of the current financial crisis.

        10. Would that not have a dampening effect on economic activity? Taxing transactions in a consumer-driven economy would either reduce the number of transactions for non-essential items, and perhaps drive more of the economy “underground”. You could try to be selective in the transactions you tax, but that would raise the “fairness” issue again, and also could have unintended consequences. Remember the “luxury yacht” tax of the Clinton era? Supposedly it would have been paid by all those richies out there buying yachts. All it did was destroy the domestic boat building industry and put a lot of middle-class working stiffs on the unemployment line. Why? Because the richies simply bought their yachts in the Bahamas and sailed them back home. Another bonehead government scheme gone wrong.

          1. @Wayne SW – It is difficult to imagine that a tax would drive securities trading “underground.” Just like securities brokers already do, the government should be collecting little crumbs on every single trade. The numbers would add up rather quickly into a healthy injection of resources for schools, bridges, airports, high capacity communications, and other valuable contributions to our common good.

          2. Having been a boat part supplier in the 1990s, I agree with your general idea, but why didn’t the government do a better job of analysis to see that the tax needed to be assessed in such a way as to allow the boat owners to purchase their yachts overseas as long as they wanted to keep them there and not show off their vast superiority over the rest of us here in the US.

            I have nothing against wealth and do not believe that limits should be imposed, but I have a real problem with people who believe that they are somehow “self made” and have no obligations to provide some payback to the society that enables them to succeed. Some rich people are like a certain very talented wide receiver who forgot that his skills were pretty useless in isolation, without a solid team of other people to help showcase what he could do.

        11. Most of these schemes avoid the issues you brought up by making the tax itself rather small, say 2% or so. And yes it would also apply to offshore transactions.

          They almost all envision this happening in a cashless economy.

          I’m not sure it’s a practical solution at this time, but it bears thinking about.

        12. The fairest tax is a consumption tax. No matter who you are, the more you consume, the more you pay.

        13. I like to think of taxes in terms of work extraction and frictional losses.

          The government provides goods and services to the economy chiefly the constraints of the economy/society brought into being through our code of laws and regulations. Which, because we are a democracy, represent the rules to which we agree. The government also enforces those rules which is why the rule of law is so important. If there was no rule of law then there would be no constraints even though we agreed to them.

          The next useful service the government provides is the military which serves to protect our economic interests abroad. In this sense, the military is an extension of the State Department. (Just don’t tell the DOD)

          The final service the government provides is through the coinage. The printing of money (the volume of money) effectively determines the size of the economy. In this sense the marginal utility of money represents the pressure of the economy.

          Thus when the government needs some cash it prints more money, extracting useful work from the economy. Extract too much useful work and the economy is at a low pressure high entropy state and there is little value left in it. This is how the loose monetary policy of the fed is taking the value of people’s investments and using it to fund current consumption.

          As for progressive taxation, I look at it as windage on a turbine. As we are extracting useful work, it it represents the losses in the system. It is akin to the ‘dead weight loss’ in microeconomics. Wealth redistribution is effectively paying people to do less. The more heavily we redistribute the wealth the less people will work and the lower the overall output of our economy. You can see this effect in the distribution of income. It is skewed to the lower incomes as a result of the constraints placed on personal income. The fit of it is very much to that of a skew normal distribution.

          So far everything that I have said is positive and not normative. I placed no values on what should be done.

          Now for the normative part. As with most engineering projects you design the system for what you want. We optimize our systems to achieve the greatest output for a given input. So when I look at how our economy is designed, I cringe. We are paying people to do this, heck we even elect them. If I ever designed anything like this, I would have been fired a long time ago.

          1. @Cal – one problem I have with people who complain about redistribution of wealth is that they immediately aim towards the idea of some people getting something for nothing and thus becoming a complete drag on the economy.

            A very wise man named James Couzens, who was once Henry Ford’s business partner, recognized that a society where all of the people at the very top captured the vast majority of the resources was really a poorly designed system for maximizing overall wealth and productivity. He convinced Ford to redistribute some of the wealth to the people who were working long hours to produce the automobiles that Ford was selling. (Many lightly researched history stories give Ford the credit for raising worker salaries, but it was Couzens who ran the numbers and provided the convincing arguments.)

            I have had the privilege of meeting and working with thousands of Americans, not just in my professional life but in churches, on swimming pool decks, at softball diamonds, and in support of cheerleading competitions. My professional life includes working with high school educated sailors and high school dropout manufacturing employees and construction workers (before I went to USNA).

            Nearly everyone I have met preferred to work and make something of themselves instead of just collecting a check for doing nothing, especially considering the very modest sizes of those checks.

            The real redistribution that America needs is something akin to what we had in the 1950s and 1960s where there were still plenty of wealthy people, but salaries were rising and the general welfare was increasing under a progressive tax system that build some terrific school systems, some economic lubrication in roads, airports, and communication systems, and helped to ensure that people who could afford to help invest in the future development of the country did so, even if they selfishly did not want to.

        14. Well, let me throw in my two bits and say that I understand the “system” as it exists today certainly has problems. I for one can’t feature the idea of CEOs reaping tens or hundreds of millions in salaries and running companies into the ground, outsourcing the jobs of tens of thousands of their own employees to push up the value of their stock options and then selling out, and collecting tens of millions of dollars in “severance pay” from their Boards when they flop as CEOs and ruin the companies they are supposed to be running. I don’t think failure should be rewarded. Any job I’ve ever had, if I did a lousy job, I wouldn’t receive a huge paycheck for it, all I’d get is the gate. So, there’s that problem.

          The other issue I have is that today’s business model seems to be one of maximizing short-term gain and, more than anything else, avoiding any and all risk. You look back at the history of many of our great industrial and business concerns and you see that a lot of the successes were a result of risk-takers undertaking bold ventures. And they were rewarded for their courage. Those that failed were allowed to fail, and try again if that was their desire and was within their means. American business today seems to teach that you should not undertake any risk. I don’t know if that is a result of selfishness (can’t let those stock option prices drop, or reduce this quarter’s dividend payout), or lack of incentive (the rewards do not justify the risk), the prospect of being penalized for your success (greedy capitalists need to be punished). Whatever the cause, American industry is paralyzed and if it doesn’t revive we’re going to be a second-rate economic power.

        15. @ Cal,

          Canada and England still track M3 for sure and so do a lot of countries. It is a important communication metric in monetary policy.

          The US stopped publishing M3 when Iran started its Oil Bourse in 2008. From that point on, Iran’s oil was no longer traded in US dollars.

          What was the first thing the US did when they invaded Iraq ? Well, Wolf Blitzer was in the middle of explaining it on FOX and got pulled by the ears and never spoke of it again.

          That’s right. The next day Iraq’s oil was no longer traded in French Francs but in US dollars. Want motivation ? look no further.

      3. @ Cal

        The Fed don’t really print money. It is the banking system that expands the money supply. The Fed does however influence it through open markets operations.

        1. I was referring more to the act of quantitative easing QE1 and QE2 along with a stealth QE3. Where the Fed purchased Treasury securities amount other actions.

        2. If the Fed had kept measurements of M3 around, all these QEs would have been more precise. In some cases they did some harm not knowing what the true aggregate monetary mass was and hindered the creation of credit. No wonder these QEs started once they lost track of M3.

        3. I was able to determine the marginal utility of money with utility being in units of Joules. A problem that Walras was trying to solve. The comparison to CPI is stunning. The impact that the average price of primary energy has a significant impact on the marginal utility of money. Basically on average how many joules 1 dollar will purchase. As a reference 1970 was about 1J/$ and through the 80’s and 90’s 0.25J/$ to today 0.1J/$. And we wonder why we feel poor today. So by the measure I have the 80’s and 90’s were a constant pressure process. The dollar devalued by 4 in the 1970’s today we are at about 3. Maybe there is a reason why 70’s hairstyles are back in vogue or why I’m driving a TR6… or why I feel just plain broke.

          Do you know of anyplace that is still tracking M3, and willing to share for a low cost? It would be pretty easy to verify the process and evaluate which monetary measure was most accurate.

          I don’t know how in tune you are with thermodynamics. I think the Cobb Douglas production function is a reformulation of the ideal gas law under a polytropic process.

          P(V)^n has the analogy of lambda (M)^n. Where lambda is the marginal utility of money and M is the money supply. I need to sit down and derive the equations of state to confirm that I think the n in this process is the alpha+beta=n where the alpha and beta are the exponents in the C-D model. Thus if n=1 the process is isothermal.

        4. @ Cal,

          I posted this reply but it was misplaced above. Here it is again to follow up on your message:

          Canada and England still track M3 for sure and so do a lot of countries. It is a important communication metric in monetary policy.

          The US stopped publishing M3 when Iran started its Oil Bourse in 2008. From that point on, Iran’s oil was no longer traded in US dollars.

          What was the first thing the US did when they invaded Iraq ? Well, Wolf Blitzer was in the middle of explaining it on FOX and got pulled by the ears and never spoke of it again.

          That’s right. The next day Iraq’s oil was no longer traded in French Francs but in US dollars. Want motivation ? look no further.

        5. I was hoping to have some more recent data on this. I can do a comparison of 1970 to 2003 with what is available M1,M2, and M3 along with EIA data from 1970. Don’t have too much time right now but this is on the to do list. Thank you for the info.

  2. “…the current LNT (linear, no threshold) model that essentially says that every dose, no matter how tiny, carries a measurable amount of avoidable risk.”

    No, the LNT model says nothing about “measurable”. It says that every dose, no matter how tiny, carries a positive probability of producing an effect. The probability is calculated from the slope of the line, which is based on empirical evidence.

    ALARA is a philosophy which could (or not) be employed under any number of different dose response models. People can have disagreements about what is “reasonable”, but LNT is the best dose response model based on the empirical evidence.

    I am happy to hear Ted Rockwell’s Messiah (Dr. Wade Allison) state that his opinions are subject to motivated reasoning and he’s not identifying as an expert on radiation safety (though his website suggests he is). That’s good, because he is misleading a lot of people:


    1. And I would still like to see you explain how the Health Worker Effect is at work in studies that show reduced rates of cancer in those occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation.

      You will recall that you made this claim here in an earlier post criticizing Dr. Wade Allison.

      This is the third time I have asked you to clarify your remarks, or admit to error. What are we to assume from this stonewalling by you? Without some reply on this matter from you, everything else you assert must be questioned as the opinions of an uninformed demagogue who is incapable of rational thought.

      1. “Occupationally exposed” means they were employed. People who are employed, particularly in an industry like the nuclear industry, are in a better state of overall health than the general public.

        Hence, the healthy worker effect confounds any comparisons between that cohort and a cohort with lesser state-of-health demands.

        1. Rubbish. That doesn’t square with the link to a paper on the subject you had in that article. At any rate making the unsupported statement: “People who are employed, particularly in an industry like the nuclear industry, are in a better state of overall health than the general public,” is absolutely unsupportable as being far too general.

          The effect in question is not relevant, particularly because the study in question looks at the mortality of UK radiation workers before age 85 from all cancers (not all causes)and finds it is 15-20% lower than comparable groups. Thus it is not comparing nuclear workers with the general population, but with cohorts of the same status.

          I suggest that you review just what the Healthy worker effect is and come up with an explanation of why you think it is occurring in these cases that doesn’t insult our intelligence.

    2. HI Bob,

      As a layperson (scientifically) I am wondering what you think is the problem with using the measure – as high a reasonably safe? Is this a wrong way to approach radiation danger? If yes, can you help me understand the comparative risks of low level radiation? It needs this level of protection because it is more dangerous than… ??

      1. “As high as reasonably safe” isn’t a measure. It’s a philosophy. With carcinogens, we typically want to avoid all exposure, since there is a risk with each unit of exposure. But when we can’t avoid all exposure, we get as little as we can get away with. So ALARA is more logically consistent with the nature of biophysics.

        But at the end of the day, the phrases are just semantics. Someone has to decide what numerical risk levels are appropriate for modern society from chemical and radiological hazards. In the U.S., the EPA maintains the risk levels fairly consistent between a chance of lifetime death of 1 in a million and 1 in 10,000 from these hazards.

        Will that please everyone? No. It wouldn’t matter what the numbers were, there’ll always be someone who will moan.

        1. @Bob – I figured it out. The big difference between you and me is that I believe it is generally the esponsibility of an informed citizenry to decide what risks they will accept and which they will avoid.

          It is not the government’s job to protect us, it is their job to enable us to live freely and abundantly.

          That is what a government by the people and for the people will focus on doing.

        2. “As high as reasonably safe” isn’t a measure. It’s a philosophy.

          It’s a philosophy that society uses for many common hazards. For example, it is the philosophy uses to set speed limits.

          So ALARA is more logically consistent with the nature of biophysics.

          ASARA (As Slow as Reasonably Achievable) is more logically consistent with biomechanics. Slower speeds cause less injuries due to less kinetic energy. For example, speed limits could reasonably be held to 12 mph or less (roughly the speed of the world record time for running a marathon), which could be considered consistent with “natural” speeds.

          In the U.S., the EPA maintains the risk levels fairly consistent between a chance of lifetime death of 1 in a million and 1 in 10,000 from these hazards.

          According to the National Safety Council, the lifetime odds for dying in a motor vehicle accident is 1 in 88.

          Don’t let anyone ever tell you that government regulation is consistent. It’s kind of like that old joke with the punchline, “We’ve already established what kind of woman you are. Now we’re just haggling about the price.”

        3. Hi Bob,

          Well, I am closer to the answer to my question. So is the risk from dying from Ionizing radiation from a Nuclear Power Plant in the USA 1 in a thousand or 1 in a million? I note that with either of these numbers that you are either a thousand times more likely or a million times more likely to die from some other cause.

          Then comes the question – would the benefit of having electricity and perhaps liquid fuels generated from Nuclear Power reduce some of the other risks of dying?

          Finally, I note that as far as I can tell everyone Dies! We are only extending life by a number of years. If the risk of dying by ionizing radiation is 1 in a million in the USA and that risk is mitigated by 10 fold (1 in 10 million), we move the number dying in a year from 330 people down to 33 people.

          So we will have helped about 297 people to not die from this cause but from some other cause.

          What is the relative risk involved? As a professional what is the risk of some dying in the USA from radiation released by a Nuclear Power Plant?

  3. Stephen Hawking says the colonization of outer space is key to the survival of humankind, predicting it will be difficult for the world’s inhabitants “to avoid disaster in the next hundred years.”

    “Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill.”

    Hawking has never been ‘tuned’ to nuclear saying that terrorisms is a big concern. Yet, I think that nuclear is an infinite source of energy as the planet’s ecosystem replenishes the Uranium supplies, from streams to rivers and into oceans.

    Uranium is everywhere on the planet and it can’t be that bad for us. I don’t believe that all this ‘inventory’ was just dumped at one point and that was it. There has to be a replenishment system of some sort, but this has not been adressed. Does anyone know for sure ?

      1. But it does move around. Is there a purpose for this motion of Uranium in the ecosystem? How does it end up in the earth’s core ? Is it from the oceans that are being fed from streams and rivers?

        1. It ends up mostly in the core because it is a heavy element. As the Earth formed, heavier elements make their way towards the core, lighter elements towards the crust.

          The Earth is constantly moving elements between its core and surface. There are mid-oceans ridges bringing fresh rock up, and subduction zones forcing old rock down. The tectonic plates themselves are constantly moving. Volcanos and early meteor hits also redistribute material.

    1. Total uranium on the planet is not increasing, or being replenished. It is all the product of supernova energy, dumped into the dust clouds that formed the solar system. However there is plenty of uranium for a very energy-rich civilization for many millions of years using fertile U-238. Likewise for thorium.

      Uranium in the sea is indeed being replenished, by runoff from the land. So sea-water uranium extraction for breeder reactors could be said to be renewable.

  4. Learn the rules, follow the rules, ignore the crack pots.

    I am an old guy but I learned about BS from grizzle old WWII vet. My career choice in the navy was predicated on never having to kill based on the unspoken burden that I saw older men in my life. It is also a burden when a mistake results in the loss of life of a fellow sailor. There are inherent risk associated with the military. One of the other things, I also learned was respect for the environment.

    So when Rod talks about the enormous costs of nukes I say BS.

    History lesson. To start with it comes to making electricity, nuclear power is different and has been since the beginning. The nuclear industry established a methodology for protecting the public from the consequences of an accident. I give you TMI as an example. The cool thing about protecting the public is we protect ourselves.

    When I started in nuclear power, nukes were the only industry with such methodology. One of the first lessons was as enlisted MM on a WWII tin can during VN. We were anchored in San Diego Bay and I was instructed pump bilges under the cover of darkness. Pumping bilges is old as ships but we were being watched by anti-war/environmentalist.

    One lesson to be learned is don’t get caught but that kind of thinking is old school. Of course as a nuke I know to wipe up oil and keep your bilges clean. This is a neutral example of how standard change with time. Both Rod and I are required by regulations to a warning sign for discharging oil from the bilges of our boats in a watershed with millions of cars with leaking oil pans.

    Over time, nuke methodology has been adopted by all industries. It is call process safety (Title 29 of CFR Section 1910.119). The difference between nukes and the rest of industry is that we did not kill thousands and forced into a safety culture by regulations.

    Bhopal was a watershed event has lead to process safety regulations in the US. The timing relative to the closing of Rancho Seco created work I could do and I started taking environmental engineering courses.

    About ten years later I am at a conference related to the renewable energy project I am working. In many social setting I was reluctant to mention by nuclear background. Now I could tell people I worked in renewable energy. As the keynote speaker discussed important issues, I thought ‘oh sh** I have jumped from the frying pan into the fire’. Radiation is easier to deal with that bacteria and hydrogen sulfide.

    Rather than being ignorant of regulation I am very well informed. The easiest power plant to be an environment engineer is at a nuke plant. I get paid more at a nuke plant because of my nuclear knowledge. The standing joke is that ‘environment manager’ should be called designated inmate. The US NRC has a letter of intent with OSHA so, the NRC enforces that boatload of regulations at nuke plant.

    Maybe the best way to explain the Rod’s generalities are off base is actual examples. During normal operations, offsite dose is controlled by letting gaseous fission products decay before release. The PWR system I was responsible for at Rancho Seco was call Waste Gas System. We would collect noble gases, compress, and store it in five tanks for 45 days. No big deal. For those who do not understand, it only takes a small leak to put operators in breathing masks. After a gauge was calibrate, a filling was not tighten correctly. I monitored air borne levels closely and was able to find a small leak before levels rose action levels. I has a systematic approach to finding leaks. After I took over the system, operators did not need to wear anymore. Airborne levels were higher outside the plant when a temperature inversion would trap radon.

    The irony is California Title 24 regulations to make houses more efficient (so we can close down nuke plants) have created indoor air quality issues including radon.

    BWRs handle fission product gases differently. The offgas systems collects none condensable gas from the main condenser. Hydrogen and oxygen generated in the core are recombined recovering the energy. This leaves a small volume of noble gases which is filtered in a HEPA filter. An example of ALARA is putting the HEPA filter in a refrigerated vault like you might see at a butcher shop. This slows down the migration of noble gases through the activated charcoal thus reducing the 5 mrem/yr fence line does four orders magnitude to an insignificant and undetectable level. Again, no big deal.

    Now Rod pull out your eclectic bill. You will find charges for adding pollution controls to the coal plant that makes our electricity. For me it is about $20/month. My share of the $300,000,000. This will provide no environmental befit because air quality was good.

    This an application of LNT but looking at coal emissions. I have a great deal of respect for how AEP makes my electricity. It is a hard job and I am happy with the product. I am also happy with my county government based on things like good schools. I am less happy with the state government but is better than California where the number of windows is regulated because they do not want nuke plants to reduce AGW.

    I am very unhappy with the present federal government especially the EPA. While Bush regulations made my electricity more expensive, I concerned about having a reliable power supply.

    “uncovered ponds, ash piles ”

    TVA had a TMI event at the Kingston power plant. It cost more to cleanup than TMI. New regulations for handling coal ash are in the works now. Kingston power plant is just off the interstate. I took the time to drive around the area. I have lived near coal plants and they are not bad neighbors especially if you can have a boat dock in your backyard. TVA has also decided to more toward nukes and away from coal.

    “cheap natural gas turbines ”

    These are not used for baseload. CCGT are not cheap power plants and they are not cheap to operate. They are cheaper to let sit idle for 6 months a year.

    The bottom line is that new power plants must be built to today’s standards for safety and environment protection. Many location in the US and the world the most economical choice is new nukes as shown by what is happening in the world. Clearly new nukes are a good choice but not the only choice. I do not think lowering standard will build more nukes. Raising standards is in fact making new nukes more competitive because the cost are going up for other sources.

    1. @Kit – how many active nuclear projects are going on in the US today? How many were there just 5 years ago?

      How many of your colleagues have had to move on to other work instead of building the fleet of reactors that Wallace used to talk about?

      I did not quote generalities. I quoted written regulations and provided links.

      My statements about the high cost of nuclear plant construction and the factors driving those costs do not come out of thin air.

      1. It was before your time Rod but we built a fleet on nuke plants. We actually built more than we needed so some of them did not get finished. It had nothing to do with the links you posted. Lots of bloggers post link about things they do not understand.

        What we need to do is keep the nuclear option open in the US by building a few nukes now so we are ready to replace the fleet of 104 nukes when the time comes. We also need to replace coal plants that can not meet new regulations.

        So Rod in case you missed we are doing that now. Until demand increases, the US do not need a new fleet. China does, India does, Brazil does!

    2. Kit,

      Except that these regulations affect anything considered as nuclear radiation – like mining for rare earth metals and dealing with the thorium after separation. Your focus on the plant operation does not take into effect the economic impacts of planning for as low as reasonably achievable in several contexts outside the boundaries of the plants. It also is inherently contradictory as your comments about Radon show.

      1. David, only an an apparent contradiction is caused by sloppy thinking on your part.

        This is why it is important to using a systemic approach to analyzing things especially when there is an emotional aspect.

        So let us start with making electricity in the US. We have very strict safety and environmental standards because we can make meet them. If you disagree, please provide information that is not the fear mongering ilk that we get from the media.

        One of my big gripe is the stupid stuff done in the name of conservation to protect the environment from making electricity. I am a big fan of conservation but not to the point of making indoor air quality worse than the air in Los Angles.

        Radon in houses is an example of unintended consequences nothing more.

        Mining is a different industry than making electricity. So is making fertilizer and medical treatment. So is ALARA costing those industries more money. I do not know.

        When I say that do one has been hurt by radiation from a commercial nuke in the US, that does not apply to the medical treatment with radiation. Oops, we made a mistake; sorry you are dead. This stuff is an annual report by the NRC to congress. A recent mistake did not kill anyone with radiation but some may have died when they did not get enough radiation to kill the cancer.

        1. There is a difference between a mechanically or designable limit to releases(ALARA). There are also limits of exposure based upon medical data. There is a great deal of misinformation in the media during a nuclear report about which limits are being broken and what that actually means medically.

          For the engineering an operating of a nuclear plant ALARA can be practically zero, as it should be for all industries. So when you go a little beyond practically zero, that amount can be thousands of times greater than normal, but still millions of times lower than a measurable medical risk level.

          The problem isn’t ALARA. The problem is when people who are ignorant of radiation decide to use engineering limits rather than medical limits to write articles or make laws. This makes the public confused. How can something that is 2,000 time greater than the legal limit be safe? What they don’t know is the legal limit was set 200,000 times lower than a medical risk level.

          So, I don’t agree that the requirements set on the nuclear plants need to be lessened. I believe that everybody else needs to understand better the medical limits and be aware of the difference.

        2. Perhaps my thinking is sloppy. Could you help me by looking at the situation of rare earth metals which are now only mined in China due to the presence of Thorium which western governments regulate at the As Low as Reasonably Achievable level?

          I thought I understood that a more reasonable standard would allow us to mine these metals locally and simply return the Thorium to the earth. Instead, due to the ALARA standards the thorium represents an unlimited risk.

          Am I looking at this correctly? Do you hear me arguing that Nuclear power plants should be unsafe?

    1. You know you really should read these links in detail before you post them.

      I see why Dr Allison chose that paper to reference as the authors do their utmost to massage the data to come to a conclusion that supports LNT. They fail.

      Even after throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the data in an attempt to undermine the discrepancies they are forced to admit:

      “As in previous NRRW analyses, overall mortality was lower than expected from national rates. Although the overall magnitude of the HWE has changed little between analyses, SMRs have varied over the follow-up, with indications of a decrease among workers with at least 30 years radiation work. In the 15-country nuclear worker study which included many of the workers in NRRW-2, adjustment was made for duration of radiation work or employment, so as to allow for any ‘healthy worker survivor effect’, and led to a sizeable increase in the estimated ERR per Sv for all cancers other than leukaemia (Cardis et al, 2007; Vrijheid et al, 2007). However, a similar stratification by whether or not the duration of radiation work was at least 10 years tended to reduce estimates of the ERR in NRRW-3; furthermore, stratifying by whether or not the duration was at least 30 years had little impact.(Muirhead et al, 2009).”

      Thus although the adjusted data yields results that are not as favorable to lower cancer incidence as the raw data suggests, overall mortality was still lower than expected.

  5. You don’t even understand the context of what you’re quoting. There were two previous studies that showed a strong HWE. In this third attempt, they did more data analysis to overcome HWE.

    But they were still not able to.

    The reference that Allison provided concludes that the HWE is the prominent cause of what is observed. We know that because when they took targeted actions in an attempt to reduce the effect, it was reduced, but not enough.

    Your issue is with him, not me. He provided the reference, but now you seem to have a problem with it.

    Deal with it.

    1. Oh I understand the context all right, and I expect now so do you. The fact is that you cannot claim from anything written in that paper that the net difference in cancer mortality that Dr Allison mentioned are not there after corrections were made for confounding variables including the Healthy Worker Effect.

      Claiming that the HEW effect could not be completely eliminated because the results don’t fall into line with preconceived ideas of what the results should be is laughably inane.

      1. No, the reason it’s the HEW is because healthy workers were compared with the general population:

        ” Mortality was compared with rates for the general population of England and Wales by calculating standardised mortality ratios (SMRs), expressed as percentages. Thus an SMR of 100 denotes equality with national rates. ”

        That’s the foundational reason.

        1. Now who is cherry-picking quotes out of context?

          That was one element in the external analysis, not part of the conclusions. On top of which, (again if you took the time to read the paper in full) the HWE was only considered in the internal analysis, making me wonder if you not just throwing stuff up against the wall to see what sticks.

          This sort of thing makes you look a fool.

    2. Another study that shows a lower incidence of cancer among nuclear workers is the nuclear shipyard worker study. In that case, the “healthy worker effect” was not an issue since it compared nuclear workers against workers doing very similar tasks without exposure to radiation.

      This is one of the studies that really led me to believe there was a focused effort to avoid publishing any study that disputed the LNT assumption. For some unreleased reason, the DOE did not publish the study after it was completed and, as far as I know, never funded the recommended follow-up studies.


  6. @Rod

    “November 19, 2011 | 5:00 PM
    @Bob – I figured it out. The big difference between you and me is that I believe it is generally the esponsibility of an informed citizenry to decide what risks they will accept and which they will avoid.

    It is not the government’s job to protect us, it is their job to enable us to live freely and abundantly.

    That is what a government by the people and for the people will focus on doing.”


    The last time I checked the government was composed of the people and elected by the people.

    If I accept an informed risk of zero carbon, how do I make anyone else comply with my informed risk?

    1. Bob – that is a completely different issue. The risk of CO2 is its potential to damage our common atmosphere and the balance that keeps our current environment in a reasonably well known condition.

      The hazard that the way-below-background-variation radiation protection rules that you keep defending are attempting to reduce is the risk to individuals. After all, aren’t you the one who keeps telling us to ignore ecological studies in areas with high background levels because the studies have not attemptd to track individual exposures?

      1. I am not defending way below background rules.

        Show me one post where I did that. Good luck!

        I’m just defending the science that says LNT is the best model of radiation dose. I defend it, because it’s true.

        The risk of CO2 (change to “radiation”) is its potential to damage our common atmosphere and the balance that keeps our current environment in a reasonably well known condition.

        The risk from radiation, is very small, but not zero. The risk from CO2 is much larger.

        Either way, government has to assess where to draw the lines.

        1. Bob – please go back and read the limits that this post objects to. They are roughly 1-5% of average background levels and way below the variations in background around the world.

          Please stop just being argumentative.

  7. Look, this whole debate is nothing more than a naked attempt at turf protection on one hand and craven politics on the other.

    I know all about turf protection. The time I spent in aviation bridged the deregulation initiative in the industry. The cries of safety going down, and passenger’s lives being put at risk was coming from every unionized corner of the field. Yet despite these Cassandras, aviation hasn’t become unsafe, nor did the dire predictions come true.

    What happened is that some airlines failed because they were so inefficient they could not compete on a level playing field, and some people that were doing useless tasks lost their jobs.

    The current standards for radiation protection means money spent on needless protection, and employment for a group of radiation priests, and it is protecting this flow of money and those jobs that is at stake here and nothing else.

      1. You haven’t yet. I was referring to radiation safety workers.

        And if that’s all you can muster against what I wrote, I guess I’ve come close.

        1. It’s the epidemiologists who determine the risk coefficients, not radiation safety workers.

          Are you saying the epidemiologists have a secret deal with radiation safety workers to skew the epidemiological results?

          Can you provide evidence of this, or is just a vision your having?

        2. I’m writing about an effort by the whole radiation protection industry to keep standards high so as to protect their incomes. The fact that this idea seems to bother you shows me I’m getting close.

  8. @DV82XL

    “November 19, 2011 | 5:34 PM
    Now who is cherry-picking quotes out of context?

    That was one element in the external analysis, not part of the conclusions. On top of which, (again if you took the time to read the paper in full) the HWE was only considered in the internal analysis, making me wonder if you not just throwing stuff up against the wall to see what sticks.

    This sort of thing makes you look a fool”

    The external analysis (which suffers from HWE) was the basis of of Allison’s “fact”:

    “The mortality of UK radiation workers before age 85 from all cancers is 15-20% lower than comparable groups.”

    That’s where the 15-20% comes from. That is where this discussion began. The HWE is what is causing the 15-20% difference.

    Allison’s paper says this, but Allison ignores what his own reference says.

    Quit while you’re behind.

    1. The paper in question shows a decreased mortality and incident rate for cancers in radiation workers even after two separate attempts to make it go away. This is not even touching on the fact that the methods used to estimate HWE are questionable, and that there was a very poor attempt to misuse latency to pad the results in favor of showing a linear effect. This is the bottom line here.

      I haven’t a copy of the book in question as yet, so I won’t try and defend what Allison wrote until I read it, but your contention that the results of the study by Muirhead, et.al. shows that all differences are the result of HWE and other biases is categorically wrong.

  9. @DV82XL

    “November 19, 2011 | 6:20 PM
    I’m writing about an effort by the whole radiation protection industry to keep standards high so as to protect their incomes. The fact that this idea seems to bother you shows me I’m getting close.”

    Where’s the evidence? Delusions do bother me.

    1. The LNT model was first considered in the 1940s purely on the theoretical grounds that a single hit by ionizing radiation on a single cell could cause chromosome damage that could cause a mutation or cancer without any hard evidence to support that contention. The justification for using the LNT model was that too many test animals or too much time would be needed to evaluate chronic dose rates. If the LNT model is correct, there is no “no observed adverse effect level”(NOAEL) for regulators to observe, thus officials responsible for public health can claim justification in calling for minimization of exposures to ionizing radiation. Note that this is tantamount to saying that avoiding sunlight is justified on the grounds that nobody will get sunburns in the dark. Added to this, during the Cold War a number of people promoted the LNT model in an attempt to discourage nearly all uses of nuclear weapons and nuclear power, and used it as leverage in their campaigns

      As a result the radiophobes and the politicians took a handy but false rule of thumb and enshrined it in law and regulation. The second problem, related, is that this results in a lot of stupid but expensive procedures where people and vendors can make a lot of money thus entrenching this false standard through special interests.

      The evidence is the continued reliance on a thoroughly debunked standard, and the defense of such by people like you.

        1. You have seen it here. That YOU don’t accept it is quite irrelevant as your position is the one you have to defend. In other words you come here to advance your position that LNT is valid, we do have to, nor particularly care to make you accept ours, that it is not.

          Therefore the onus is always going to be on you to make good your claims, not the other way around.

    2. Bob – I have provided anecdotal evidence – from a very good source whose identity I agreed to protect – about how a couple of well positioned bureaucrats in the EPA office that holds the purse strings for the LSS have systematically chosen LNT adherents for the BEIR committees.

      I realize this story would not stand up in court without the first hand witness. That does not mean it is not true or worth sharing with as many people as will listen. I have the name and phone number of the bureaucrat if there are any investigative reporters who is reading here and would like to follow up with a call to find out more from the man who wants to keep the LNT in place until the last atomic bomb survivor perishes.

      1. Rod –

        The evidence supports LNT, therefore, you expect the EPA to pick people who are LNT adherents.

        I expect the USGS to pick people who are adherents to the concept that the Earth is roughly spherical.

        I expect NASA to pick people who are adherents to the concept of space-time.

        I don’t want these agencies picking idiots.

        I expect

        1. I expect NASA to pick people who are adherents to the concept of space-time.

          That doesn’t even make any sense.

  10. Sorry for remnants (“I expect”) above.

    We want the LNT study to remain in place until the last A-Bomb survivor dies….that improves the statistics!

    That’s basic epidemiology…not a news story.

    1. … until the last A-Bomb survivor dies

      After which, I’m sure there will be a news story about the A-Bomb claiming its last “victim.” 😉

      1. You might be right…but just to ensure folks understand, the A-bomb survivors in the study are not 100% of the survivors of the A-bomb.

        If all the study participants die, there could still be some A-bomb survivors who remain living who were not enrolled in the study. Unless, of course, they all die first.

        1. I think what Brian was getting at was that the last person in the study could die from a cause unrelated to the bomb exposure.

          But that headline in the news would most certainly be worded such as to place the blame of the cause of death on the bombing event.

  11. The major problem with ALARA is that it is NEVER achievable. It is like the fable of how long will it take to get to the goal if you move 1/2 the distance with each step.

    INPO (Institute of Nuclear Power Operations) grades all US operating nuclear power plants about every 18 months. (IAEA has a similar program for foreign plants) One of the significant measures is their adherence to ALARA requirements (No competent nuclear professional could keep his job if he considered them a “guide.”) To get the best INPO rating the plant must have ALARA numbers, exposure levels, etc. in the top half of the top quartile of plants. If a plant receives an INPO evaluation that has just a few marks in the second quartile, the senior nuclear executive and plant manager will be looking for a new job, or, if they stay, be sent to what we call the “Spent Fool Pool” (where managers go that have exceeded their “Peter Principle” rating.) This creates a never ending, ratcheting, cycle of reducing their dose to as close to zero as possible. (It is for this same reason that the accident rate at a NPP is less than in an accounting firm office. )

    On several occasions (more than 6) my plant has built a mockup for planed equipment replacement that cost more than $100,000 to “simulate actual conditions.” Then we have had welders practicing a weld that will be performed during the outage on that mockup more than 6 months before the outage. And they will keep practicing it till they can significantly reduce their time. Just like an athlete training for the Olympics, these activities are filmed, training department personnel NAD Radiation Protection personnel are observing, and critiques are made of each activity. Procedures are changed, pathways of ingress/egress are changed/modified, positions are changed, and it is done over. Every aspect of the required change is practiced and evaluated. Often it costs more to perform all of these “training” activities than the actual cost of replacing the piece of equipment.

    This is NOT ALARA! it is ALAA PERIOD. There is nothing Reasonable about it. And plants that don’t do this are not only in the bottom half of INPO ratings they are in the bottom half of NRC ratings. And the resident HP expert posting on this web page makes a fortune from these activities. I have seen more than one Rad-Protection worker buy a new vehicle right after the end of the outage.

    1. I shudder to think at all of the man hours that are wasted due to being “gassed up” from Radon. The training opportunities that are lost because of concerns over radiation exposure. Think not knowing where those obscure valves are is important read the INPO report on Fukushima.

      There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch and the man-hours and capital that we expend on excessive radcon are taking away from something else. It is called a missed opportunity costs.

      So what is the value added by these measures, what level of added safety is increased. The proponents of LNT rely on the precautionary principle and that the value of a human life is incalculable. So we go to insane and I do mean inane measures to protect everyone from each incremental exposure. Since a human life now represents a singularity each improvement is always justified.

      What if there was a threshold? Then that would imply that the incremental improvements add no value and any measure to push below the threshold has no added benefit.

      How many millions of dollars and missed man-hours and loss of knowledge do we have because we accept the LNT model out of course. There is peer review work going both ways about the LNT. Then that means there is reason to doubt the validity of the model. There exists evidence that contradicts the current ideology. Bob and others accuse those who dare to presume to question the basis of the way we do things as being radical cultists. Bob, I see your name I think of Fu-shnickens. “Here comes Brother Bob.” It makes me smile.

      I was jumped for presuming in an earlier post for questioning the scientific integrity of the National Research Council. If the only people who get nominated for a job share the same ideology, then they are not compromising their political integrity, just the scientific method.

      The DDREF is still a linear model. It just tries to fit the existence of a threshold better than the full LNT.

      Imagine the benefit to the rate payers and share holders if every nuke plant cut their radon budget (please note this includes wasted man hours) by 1.5 million per year. That is a free energy day.

      Now some may accuse me of being a greedy capitalist. If the suit fits wear it. I will retort by asking, “Ah so you are in the radcon business and you do not want the subsidy to go away that is propping up your business at the expense of the entire economy for no added benefit.” Who is being moral? And yes, it is a morality question.

      1. DDREF is, frankly, nonsense. I have no idea how it can sensibly be presented as a realistic model.

        Additionally it is direct evidence that LNT is wrong at low doses. There would be no DDREF if all the evidence could be taken and interpreted using LNT – but it can’t, so DDREF was invented to keep the low-dose effect dogma alive.

        Requiring DDREF at low doses and switching to LNT at some (unspecified) higher dose means that you no longer have a continuous model. It’s a joke.

    2. A fortune is right!

      Mr. Applebaum founded and sold a company named RACE that provided radwaste handling services. The sale to Studsvik was for $27.5 million plus another $8.5 million assumption of existing debt for a total of $36 million. I still have trouble understanding how my little blog has attracted the attention of such a successful and wealthy businessman.


      Here is one of several articles that mentions the name of the founder and owner of RACE.


        1. @DV82XL – I’m not complaining. I hope that I can actually disrupt the status quo long enough to make some real change in the trajectory. The scary thing about our current direction is if we do not make any changes we will arrive exactly where we are heading.

  12. LNT-Based Fear Strikes Again

    Future Cancers From Fukushima Plant May Be Hidden

    The idea that Fukushima-related cancers may go undetected gives no comfort to Edwin Lyman, a physicist and senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that advocates for nuclear safety. He said that even if cancers don’t turn up in population studies, that “doesn’t mean the cancers aren’t there, and it doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.”

    “I think that a prediction of thousands of cancer deaths as a result of the radiation from Fukushima is not out of line,” Lyman said. But he stressed that authorities can do a lot to limit the toll by reducing future exposure to the radiation. That could mean expensive decontamination projects, large areas of condemned land and people never returning home, he said. “There’s some difficult choices ahead.”

    Part of the article describes some of the public’s responses, driven by fear, that have reached the level of superstition.

    1. Where is the nuke truth emergency rebuttal squad??? God we need one like yesterday! No wonder anti-nukers get away with poisoning fact and seeding agenda-flavored fear so freely all over the media!

      One of my favorite (and sealed) old paperbacks is “Carrying The Fire” by Mike Collins (a overlooked pre-“Right Stuff” must read!), and he recounts how “prissily fussy nervous Nellies to put it mildly” the space doctors were about how weightlessness and radiation would affect the human body in his Gemini days, especially skimming the Van Allen belts. The over-concern and exaggeration piled so high that on a blackboard there were more med reasons NOT to venture into space than going. Eventually the national priority swept the qualms aside to get the job done and none of the docs’ cancer-laced predictions have shown up in any of the lunar cruising astronauts to this day, even though moon-hoaxers believe they never went because the Van Allen belts and solar flux would’ve roasted them alive! You really have to take over-concern over tiny matters and effects with a grain of salt else stay in your caves.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

      1. What are you going to do?

        There are several serious problems:

        (1) Many Japanese don’t trust their government and government sources.

        (2) You’re dealing with unknowns. At the exposure levels considered here, the risk is neither proven to exist nor proven not to exist.

        (3) You have dueling experts. So while the chair of the UNSCEAR radiation committee, says that “the committee considers it inappropriate to predict a certain number of cancer cases from a low-dose exposure, because low-dose risk isn’t proven,” the professor from Columbia University believes it is perfectly acceptable to count putative cancer cases via collective dose.

        (4) Official standards are ambiguous. For example, the NAS BEIR committee has formulated a risk model based on LNT, but dodged the responsibility to specify its limits of applicability. Thus, the implicit assumption is that it is always applicable.

        What can be said other than what has already been said by certain people in the article?

  13. Some Questions:

    Who is Bob Applebaum? Does he have a web page? Why does this site defer to him?

    Why no references to Radiation Hormesis? The LNT theory is destroyed by Radiation Hormesis, No?

    Dan Kurt

    1. Dan,
      Start reading through the radioactive wolves and just about every single post since then. It’s been a long trek. Basically, he is arguing for the sake of arguing in order to defend the status quo which he has made a great deal of money off of. So anything that contradicts this will be highly contested by him. He uses the guise of those who oppose LNT as being “deniers” hoping that by naming a group that thinks critically as one that is idealogical, he can obfuscate the data to preserve his position. There is much discussed over the past month.

      Here is Bob’s blog:

    2. Dan – Bob’s been visiting here for several weeks now, decrying anyone who is not lock-in-step with the BEIR-VII LNT model as a “denier.”

      He has his own blog now (see below) and has been visiting other blogs to complain, apparently, about Rod and some of the people who comment on this blog — e.g., on ScienceBlogs. Observe:

      I am experiencing pseudo-skepticism in the nuclear power community. The science is clear that radiation causes cancer in accords with a linear, no threshold model (it may not, but there’s no evidence to suggest otherwise, the strength of the evidence is LNT).

      But there’s a group of pseudo-skeptics who think there’s a threshold or even hormesis (low levels are good for you).

      I felt compelled to start a blog about this, comparing those folks to global warming deniers, evolution deniers, etc. Blog is ribjoint.blogspot.com.

      Posted by: Bob Applebaum | November 4, 2011 11:23 AM

      I’ve also included one of the responses to Bob’s comment — with a minor editorial addition for clarity — since I think that some of the people who regularly read this blog might enjoy it.

      I’ve had a brief exchange about LNT etc. (and mainly other things) with the Czech Republic’s nuclear watchdog: she is a very highly educated and competent nuclear physicist and policy expert.

      Let me say that I tend to believe that LNT is right. However, I haven’t really seen “proofs” in either way. The question depends on biology etc. Bob Applebaum only offers screaming “let’s expel LNT deniers” and all fascist crap of this sort. You know, these are not arguments, maybe just arguments that Bob Applebaum isn’t capable of thinking about this issue rationally – but it’s still not an argument about LNT or hormesis in either way. Applebaum acts just like climate alarmists or other ecofascists; but this fact still doesn’t prove and doesn’t disprove LNT (or hormesis).

      I somewhat disagree with Alex, too, [that “for the purposes of risk assessment it’s better to err on the side of caution, so LNT is used”]. If hormesis were right, reducing people’s exposure to occasional small amounts of radiation would hurt their health in the very same way as exposing them to the radiation assuming that LNT is right. It goes both ways. You can’t choose a universal answer that is “always safer”. If the answer is wrong, e.g. if LNT is wrong, such an answer may always be harmful for health, too.

      This is analogous to the climate debate where this fact is much more clear. Spending on “carbon mitigation” is almost certainly making us more vulnerable and increases the risk that we will be hurt by some event, atmospheric or otherwise. The simple matter is that the carbon regulation policies are subtracting wealth and GDP growth rate and those things are helpful in efficiently dealing with real problems, whatever they can be. Moreover, we may also be experiencing cooling which would almost surely be worse than warming, and by adding negative contributions to the temperature via CO2 regulation, we could make the problem worse.

      All these things must be fairly calculate in a rational cost-and-benefit analysis. It’s just not true that there is always an answer that should be chosen regardless of the evidence.

      Posted by: Lubo Motl | November 10, 2011 2:16 AM

    3. Dan – I do not think one can call the response to Applebaum “deferring” to him.

      A search of Atomic Insights with the word “hormesis” results in 16 articles. It is a frequent topic related to the health effects of low level radiation.

      1. re: “Dan – I do not think one can call the response to Applebaum “deferring” to him.” Rod Adams

        IMHO, you are too polite. If I were in your position I would smite him until he stopped wasting the readers’ time on this board.

        If and when I have some free time I will look back and read many if not all of the hormesis articles.


        Dan Kurt

        1. Much more productive letting him post and using his remarks to show just how hollow LNT is. Block him and he’d scream that Rod was afraid of the truth.

  14. Thanks for the replies.

    I don’t have the time to enter into the debate as my mother died yesterday and I am a continent away from home, my herniated spine is giving me the fits after a 9 year reprieve and now I have to do some travelling some how during the busiest travel week in the USA–Thanksgiving Week!

    I will make one comment however. Someone should look up the story about the Apartment Building in either Hong Kong or Taiwan that had rebar contaminated with Cobalt 60 used in its construction. People living in that complex were studied for adverse effects of their being irradiated over many, many years. The story I heard was that those affected had better health, fewer cancers and longer lives than controls.

    Thanks again.

    Dan Kurt

    1. I am sorry to hear about your loss.

      The article has been much discussed and was summarily dismissed by Bob as being flawed.

    2. I think it offers pretty sound results in support of hormsesis. There is a large sampling form the Taiwanese population with an age density that was consistent with the population distribution. So we have a large representative sample with a significantly lower cancer incidence rate with a very high annual exposure.

      1. One more thought. While waiting for my wife I started to scan the WWW and found this interview on the LNT subject:

        Dan Kurt

  15. I’ve only read the online excerpts of Dr. Allison’s book, but the impression I get is that he does not systematically compile the multiple sources of evidence discounting LNT. Have there been any meta-studies of the multiplicity of sources ranging from Ramsar (Iran), airline staff, inverse correlation of cancer rates of ‘natural’ background levels, peasants affected by USSR bomb tests, etc. Surely today there must be sufficient historical data that epidemiologists can say with a degree of certainty where the threshold curve begins?

    1. JMAC; somwhere above about 100 mSv. I have a suspicion it is different for different cancers. Ceratinly leukemia seems to have a higher threshold and I recently saw something that implied the threshold for bone sarcoma from strontium-90 was 850 mSv.

  16. This just out from Japan:

    Health checkups show that some Fukushima residents were exposed to 15 millisieverts of radiation in the first 4 months after the nuclear disaster.

    The government has set a target of one millisievert per year as a safe exposure level.

    Fukushima Prefecture has been testing all 2 million residents following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March.

    1. One millisievert per year. Sounds kinda simple and arbitrary to me, like something any layman can remember or need to, right? (Huh, like EXACTLY what is a millisievert and how many blood cells can it fry or tickle, uh?) I’d LOVE to see how that Japanese “safemax” target would swing as a U.N. “recommendation”. What are they going to do? Condemn whole cities around the world whose rad backgrounds aren’t up to snuff??

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

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