[ RadSafe ] Re: [ RRadSafe ] Re: Radiation Hormesis Why regulator is always on the receiving end! The action of Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission I request your views

Kai Kaletsch eic at shaw.ca
Sat Dec 29 13:00:25 CST 2007

K.S.Parthasarathy wrote: "I believe that CNSC's responsibility is to enforce 
safety regulations....I feel that CNSC need not worry over isotope shortage 

This interpretation of the CNSC's mandate may be correct and I think it is 
the root of the problem. You have agencies who's decisions have a broad 
effect on the well being of humanity and the environment, but they have to 
base their decisions on a very narrow mandate (and are not required, or 
allowed, to consider the broader implications of their rulings). Without any 
oversight, this can only lead to bad decisions.

In this case, Parliament provided the appropriate oversight. They also did a 
pretty good job in achieving consensus and in not overly politicizing the 
issue. (Maybe some unfortunate comments were made, but nothing big...)

We all know of instances where regulatory red tape has caused significant 
damage, not just to the licensee, but to innocent third parties or to the 
environment. But, since the consequences were less severe than a worldwide 
medical isotope shortage, parliament did not, does not, and should not, 
intervene. Every time elected officials get involved with these types of 
issues you run the risk of things getting politicized. Also, parliament has 
other things to do than to micromanage agencies.

So, in summary, we have a system that is designed to produce decisions that 
are often not in the best interest of society. If the consequence of these 
decisions is less severe than a worldwide medical isotope shortage, these 
decisions never get corrected.

To me, this is a less than ideal situation. I think a lot of the regulator 
bashing that is going on is more of a frustration with this system than an 
attack on the people. Most of the regulators I know are pretty reasonable 

Maybe we need an 'Agency of Common Sense and Public Good', whose mandate it 
is to make sure that the decisions agencies make are consistent with the 
greater public good and that agency turf wars are not fought on the backs of 
the public or the environment? Parliament could then oversee that single 
agency and hold it accountable, rather than all the current agencies.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "parthasarathy k s" <ksparth at yahoo.co.uk>
To: "Steven Dapra" <sjd at swcp.com>; <radsafe at radlab.nl>
Sent: Saturday, December 29, 2007 1:51 AM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Re: [ RRadSafe ] Re: Radiation Hormesis Why regulator 
is always on the receiving end! The action of Canadian Nuclear Safety 
Commission I request your views


I must confess at the very outset, I have some conflict of interest in any 
discussion on the role and behavior of regulators.I was a regulator for over 
17 years in my earlier avatar and had defended the role of my organization 
then and since then!.There is a general tendency of regulator-bashing in the 
list (in all lists!!) and I do not see the views of any one from the 
regulator's side in the list, I thought that I must react:

A few years ago when Dr Merril Eisenbud visited India, in a private 
discussion, he told us about  the mushrooming of US Federal Acts related to 
safety and environment. He traced the inspiration for generating such 
legislation to books such the "Silent Spring".. He had a nice graph showing 
the steep rise in laws with time.

Yes I agree there should be some balance in framing laws, there is no point 
in having a plethora of laws which cannot be enforced.

Laws are made by legislators or by bodies empowered to do it.  They collect 
inputs and feed back from all stakeholders. It may look very tempting to say 
that the lawmakers do not do a good job! Rather than leaving every item to 
activists, specialists should get involved; it is worthwhile to spend some 
extra time in highlighting issues for the benefit  of law makers. How many 
of us can say that we have done it?

The recent isotope shortage in US and Canada due to  the  AECL/CNSC 
conflict  is a case in point. I read references to it in  this list and in 
the media. I have the following views  I shall appreciate  points and 
counter points on the issue.

I believe that the Canadian  system (CNSC plus the Parliament) acted swiftly 
and tried to resolve the issue. I believe that CNSC's responsibility is to 
enforce safety regulations. The transcript of the Commission's deliberations 
indicated that AECL was taking its own time to comply with the stipulations 
in their licence. How long CNSC can continue condoning the operation of the 
reactor? I feel that CNSC need not worry over isotope shortage etc.

Some of you raise your hand in horror arguing that isotope shortage may 
cause the deaths of many patients and the regulator should factor in this in 
their decision. May be AECL and CNSC should have found a way out. They 
should have explored ways of  avoiding the crisis. Under the prevailing 
situation I endorse the decision of CNSC.

I endorse the decision of  the Canadian Parliament as well  in withdrawing 
CNSC's control over NRU for 120 days. They have every right to weigh the 
different factors to take the decision. It was appropriate that they 
exercised their right! But unfortunately the Canadian Prime Minister invoked 
sinister political motives in the action of  CNSC. The concerned authorities 
were ham handed in denying CNSC legal assistance.  Ultimately some one has 
to take a decision. The onus is on the Parliament which empowered the 

 I expect some of you to contribute your views on the subject . Was it the 
first time a Parliament acted against a regulatory body? The Atomic Energy 
Regulatory Board took action against the Nuclear Power Corporation of India 
Limited which operates Indian nuclear power plants on several occasions.Some 
of the restrictions led to loss of millions of Rs. Though there was a legal 
remedy to appeal to the Government it has never done it. Thus far, that is


----- Original Message ----
From: Steven Dapra <sjd at swcp.com>
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Sent: Saturday, 29 December, 2007 10:12:19 AM
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Re: Radiation Hormesis

Dec. 28

         John Jacobus wrote, "Generally, those who believe in
say that there is a benefitical effect as a blanket statement.  If you
disagree, then you are a regulator who is imposing undue restrictions."

         If indeed people are saying this about regulators they are
a clumsy and heavy-handed approach.  Hormesis may prove to be false.
state the obvious, lack of a hormetic effect does not mean exposure is
harmful.  Proponents of hormesis who say regulators who deny hormesis
imposing undue restrictions are just as wrong as  regulators who
(or try to regulate) below a level where no harm has been shown.  Or as

wrong as regulators who try to regulate based on junky studies.

         To back up again, it seems that the attempt to regulate
is based on a questionable study published in Environmental Health
Perspectives.  See this blog link
It has an excerpt from the editorial column in the LA Times,  the one
Barbara Hamrick mentioned earlier in this thread.  If readers go to
link, scroll down a short distance to an area that is highlighted in
orange, and read the three links in this area.  In particular, read the

third link (click on "overstated").  It is an article from the
Assessment Service at George Mason University about how Time magazine
played fast and loose with the truth about phthalate studies.

         The key study about phthalates in the context at hand appears
have been published in Environmental Health Perspectives. [Environ
Perspect. 2005 August; 113(8): 1056-1061.]  This link is to the
and to some related

         This link is to the paper (not in PDF):
you read nothing else, read the Discussion.  The qualifiers alone "are
worth the price of admission."

Steven Dapra

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