[ RadSafe ] FW: New Scientist report on Uranium risks compromises ICRP (UNCLASSIFIED)

Falo, Gerald A Dr USACHPPM Jerry.Falo at us.army.mil
Wed Sep 10 07:47:16 CDT 2008

Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED 
Caveats: NONE
FYI from the "Low Level Radiation Campaign."  I thought that this might
be of interst to the group.


From: bramhall at llrc.org
To: list at llrc.org
Sent: 9/9/2008 3:00:06 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: New Scientist report on Uranium risks compromises ICRP


ICRP model in trouble

A New  <http://www.nuwinfo.se/tickell20080903newscientist.html>
Scientist report on Uranium toxicity reveals a massive gap in the
scientific modelling of the International Commission on Radiological
Protection (ICRP). There are massive implications for all aspects of
nuclear policy and Uranium weaponry. 


"Secondary Photoelectron effect" 

The dangers of Uranium may have little to do with its inherent
radioactivity. The Low Level Radiation Campaign's Dr. Chris Busby has
proposed that genetic damage is caused by the interaction of natural
gamma and other radiation fields with Uranium or any element of high
atomic number. The impact of the gamma causes localised showers of
ionisations close to particles and even single atoms of elements of high
atomic number. Research by Busby in conjunction with Pr. Ewald Schnug, a
colleague at Germany's Federal Agricultural Research Centre, is about to
be published [see footnote].

All elements absorb gamma radiation and re-emit its energy in the form
of secondary photo-electrons. Their ability to do this varies with the
fourth power of the atomic number of the element; Uranium absorbs gamma
rays 585365 times more effectively than water does. The shower of
localised ionisations caused by the secondary photo-electrons creates a
mechanism for genetic damage which is ignored by the conventional model
of radiation risk. (The arithmetic is in LLRC's journal Radioactive
Times April 2008 page 8. www.llrc.org/rat/subrat/rat72.pdf)

In 2003 Busby reported this "Secondary Photoelectron effect" to the
British Government's Committee Examining Radiation Risk of Internal
Emitters (CERRIE). It was one of the many important topics omitted by
the CERRIE Majority Report. Subsequently Busby published two papers [see
footnote] and described the effect to the UK Ministry of Defence
Depleted Uranium Oversight Board and CoRWM (Committee on Radioactive
Waste Management).

Heavy metal poisoning 

The New Scientist has discussed the Secondary Photoelectron effect only
in relation to Depleted Uranium, although it has far wider relevance. It
has potential to explain why heavy metals are toxic. Heavy metal
toxicity exists despite wide differences in chemistry; until now no-one
has understood the reason.

Uranium DNA affinity

Uranium itself has a high affinity for the phosphates in the DNA
molecule and it is known that, at small total body burdens of Uranium, a
very high proportion of it will be on the DNA. Meditated by the
Secondary Photoelectron effect, Uranium focuses the energy of natural
gamma radiation onto DNA. This has the potential to explain observed
high risks of genetic diseases associated with nuclear facilities and
events like Chernobyl which are ignored by the ICRP and sneered at by
the pro-nuclear International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health
Organisation (which has to defer to IAEA in matters of radiation and

Policy implications

The mining, processing, use and disposal of Uranium must now be seen as
creating health hazards far greater than predicted by the ICRP's out of
date modelling. There are extremely important policy implications for
nuclear power, disposal of radioactive waste, and nuclear weapons
(including depleted Uranium and new generations of weapons containing
other types of Uranium). 

As LLRC has said since 1992, the effects of other types of radioactive
pollution have probably been underestimated too, but it now seems that
Uranium is the dominant problem.

New light on Busby's "Second Event theory"

In the last 20 years Chris Busby has proposed his "Second Event theory"
as a possible explanation of how radioactive elements that decay more
than once (Strontium 90 is an example) may have a greater effect on
genetic mutation. A first radioactive disintegration that hits a cell
without killing it forces the cell to repair itself. If a second
disintegration hits the same cell during the repair process, which takes
a few hours, it may cause a mutation that the cell cannot repair. This
is all in Wings of  <http://www.llrc.org/wings/wingspage.htm> Death


Supporters of nuclear power have attacked the theory, not least because
they said radiation could not initiate the repair process in cells, but
in the New Scientist article the ICRP's Hans-Georg Menzel accepts that
"double hits of energy are known to be the most damaging to cells." The
Majority Report of CERRIE denied this in 2004 after long arguments. See
the Minority  <http://www.llrc.org/wobblyscience/subtopic/cerrie.htm>
Report (http://www.llrc.org/wobblyscience/subtopic/cerrie.htm) for the
true state of the debate on the Second Event theory.

The Secondary Photoelectron effect is now seen to be another case of the
general Second Event theory, describing how sequences of radiation
events can be concentrated into very localised cellular targets. These
considerations make nonsense of the conventional model of radiation
biology, which views radiation in terms of average energy transfer
across large volumes of tissue. The old concept of "dose" is now useful
only for those exposure regimes where the radiation truly is
well-averaged. The regulation of radioactivity in the environment is
about to enter a new phase in which "ionisation density" will be the
vital parameter. 

Compton scattering

In the New Scientist article Mark Hill of Oxford University is reported
as saying that Compton scattering would reduce the importance of the
secondary photo-electron effect. However, Hill only discusses high
energy gamma; the low energy part of the natural gamma spectrum will
create relatively high ionisation densities with a correspondingly
enhanced probability of causing double hits to DNA.  

s-could-cause-cancer.html%20> New Scientist article in full is only
accessible to subscribers 

but it is free on http://www.nuwinfo.se/tickell20080903newscientist.html

and  <http://www.pharmacychoice.com/News/article.cfm?Article_ID=93531>


The Low Level Radiation Campaign plays a key role in all this. LLRC
funds much of Dr. Busby's research. It was LLRC's publicity material
that alerted Professor Schnug to Dr. Busby's existence, and our office
put them in touch with each other. It was our journal Radioactive Times
that alerted New Scientist to the imminent publication of Busby and
Schnug's new paper.

LLRC does all this and much more on a microscopic budget, but we need
money. Please consider a donation. http://www.llrc.org/donation.htm
tells you how you can give money - cheques, Standing Orders, transfers,
and Paypal (you don't need to have a Paypal account of your own)

Clicking on this
charset=UTF-8> link takes you to our Paypal account, which is a safe way
to send money and costs you nothing.

You can do this even if you don't have a Paypal account - when the
payments page opens, scroll down to find where you can pay with plastic.


1. "Advanced Biochemical and Biophysical Aspects of Uranium
Contamination". Chris Busby and Ewald Schnug: Institute of Plant
Nutrition and Soil Science, Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL),
Bundesallee 50, D-38116 Braunschweig, Germany in "Loads and Fate of
Fertilizer Derived Uranium", pp. xx-xx Edited by L.J. De Kok & E. Schnug
(c) 2007 Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands

2  Busby C (2005) Depleted Uranium weapons, Metal Particles, and
Radiation Dose European Journal of Biology and Bioelectromagnetics Vol 1
No 1 p 82-93 www.ebab.eu.com <mip://043805e0/www.ebab.eu.com> 

3. Busby C (2005) Does Uranium Contamination amplify natural background
radiation dose to DNA?

European Journal of Biology and Bioelectromagnetics Vol 1 No 2 p 120-131
www.ebab.eu.com <http://www.ebab.eu.com/> 






The statements and opinions expressed herein are my responsibility; no
one else (certainly not my employer) is responsible, but I still reserve
the right to make mistakes.

Don't panic! - Douglas Adams in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Gerald A. Falo, Ph.D., CHP
U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine - Health
Physics Program
jerry.falo at us.army.mil
DSN: 584-4852 

Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED 
Caveats: NONE

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