[ RadSafe ] Re: Serious reporting on Chernobyl - and the LNT

Ludwig Dr. Feinendegen feinendegen at gmx.net
Sun Oct 30 04:15:45 CST 2005

Dear Jim:

Thanks again for the info. I am delighted about this article and hope that
people note what is going on.  I am still on travel and will come back later
after my return. 

All the best,

> --- Ursprüngliche Nachricht ---
> Von: "Muckerheide, James" <jimm at WPI.EDU>
> An: <mbrexchange at list.ans.org>, <cdn-nucl-l at mailman1.cis.McMaster.CA>
> Kopie: "rad-sci-l at wpi.edu" <rad-sci-l at WPI.EDU>, <radsafe at radlab.nl>
> Betreff: Serious reporting on Chernobyl - and the LNT
> Datum: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 11:27:34 -0400
> Friends, FYI.
> Why can't the nuclear industry produce and apply the equivalent factual
> treatment of the readily documented lack of health effects from low dose
> radiation exposures!?
> Regards, Jim Muckerheide
> ===================
> Washington Times: Chernobyl exposed - Editorials/Op-Ed - 
> By Joshua Gilder 
> October 25, 2005 
> It turns out that scaring people to death may be more than a 
> figure of speech. That's the overriding message of a recently 
> released U.N. report on the health effects of the 1986 explosion 
> at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the then-Soviet Ukraine. 
> The result of an exhaustive investigation by eight U.N. 
> agencies, the report concludes that a "paralyzing fatalism" 
> among the residents of the effected areas and problems such as 
> suicide, alcoholism and clinical depression -- resulting in part 
> >from people's perceived sense of hopelessness -- "pose a far 
> greater threat to local communities than does radiation 
> exposure." 
> The Chernobyl explosion and resulting fire spewed 200 times 
> as much radioactivity into the environment as the Hiroshima and 
> Nagasaki atom bombs combined, directly affecting an area 
> currently inhabited by some 5 million people. (Built with 
> standard Soviet disregard for public safety, the unstable 
> reactor had no containment structure.) 
> At the time of the disaster, all Europe was thrown into 
> panic, with estimates of as many as a half-million people dying 
> as a result of the contamination. Yet, according to the report, 
> there have been fewer than 60 fatalities so far, about 50 of 
> them on-site staff and emergency workers exposed to massive 
> radiation poisoning at the time of the blast and its immediate 
> aftermath. It is believed that nine children have also died of 
> thyroid cancer as a result of the accident, though these deaths 
> may have been preventable. 
> The U.N. scientists were deeply divided over the report's 
> prediction that an extra 4,000 may eventually die from cancer, a 
> statistical conjecture based on what many believe to be faulty 
> science. 
> All agreed, however, that the more urgent task is for 
> governments in the region to get accurate information to their 
> frightened populations, as the decline in mental health brought 
> on by undue fear is by far "the largest public health problem 
> created by the accident." 
> Getting the American people accurate information on 
> radiation and its dangers (what's real, what's only imagined) 
> might be something the U.S. government should consider as well. 
> For decades, anti-nuclear activists have hyped fears about 
> nuclear safety in order to halt the construction of nuclear 
> power plants in the United States. They have been bolstered in 
> this effort by official government regulatory policy, which is 
> based on something called the linear no-threshold theory (LNT). 
> More a result of politics than sound science, LNT holds that any 
> amount of radiation is bad for you (that there is no threshold 
> under which the effect is benign), and that the damage is 
> cumulative, building up consistently over time. Thus one can 
> extrapolate from the effects of massive radiation poisoning in a 
> straight line back to zero, predicting a certain number of 
> cancers even at levels of exposure far below the normal 
> variations in natural background radiation. The Chernobyl 
> report's prediction of another 4,000 deaths was such an LNT 
> extrapolation. 
> One problem with this theory is that it is contradicted by 
> massive epidemiological evidence. While the average level of 
> natural background radiation in the Rocky Mountains is over 
> three times greater than the Gulf Coast, cancer incidence in the 
> Rockies is actually lower. The residents in Kerala, India, are 
> exposed to as much as eight times more radiation than in other 
> parts of India; and households in Ramsar, Iran, are dosed with 
> 13,000 millirem annually, compared to the U.S. average of 300 
> millirem -- all without observable adverse health effects. 
> In a recent unanimous report, the French Academies of 
> Science and Medicine also took issue with LNT, pointing out that 
> no carcinogenic effect from low doses of radiation has been 
> shown in animal tests. More devastating, the academy declares 
> that LNT is based on old science and that its underlying 
> assumptions are "not consistent with current radiobiological 
> knowledge" concerning self-repairing mechanisms within cells. 
> Why does this matter? Because many people today forgo 
> low-level medical radiation treatments and X-rays due to 
> inflated fears about their cancer-causing potential. Our country 
> endlessly debates whether to build desert storage for spent 
> nuclear fuel that might leak inconsequential amounts of 
> radiation in a million years. And anti-nuclear activists use LNT 
> to try to block the construction of new nuclear power plants, 
> the only possible source of the abundant clean energy we'll need 
> to wean ourselves off foreign oil -- and stop pumping 
> petro-dollars into the hands of terrorists. 
> If the United States is ever going to overcome its own 
> "paralyzing fatalism" on nuclear energy and its uses, it's going 
> to have to discard the flawed science of LNT theory. One hopes 
> this happens sooner rather than later: Our personal health and 
> economic well-being -- not to mention our national security -- 
> may well depend on it. 
> Joshua Gilder is a visiting fellow at the Lexington 
> Institute. 

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