[ RadSafe ] Fw: The sad history of nuclear waste policy

Jerry Cohen jjc105 at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 6 19:51:15 CDT 2011

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Jerry Cohen <jjc105 at yahoo.com>
To: Franz Schönhofer <franz.schoenhofer at chello.at>
Sent: Wed, April 6, 2011 5:38:41 PM
Subject: Re: The sad history of nuclear waste policy


I too am retired and believe that should make our views more valuable since we 
can be completely objective and need no longer cater to the whims of funding 
agencies. For example, I have for decades opposed incorporation of the LNT 
nonsense in low-dose radiation policies and even advocated consideration of 
hormesis (still deemed a heresy by most policy makers). 
In this regard, I have long advocated oceanic disposal of nuclear waste. Perhaps 
you knew Charles Osterberg, an oceanographer who directed the oceanic studies at 
the IAEA marine laboratory in Monaco. Osterberg was a strong advocate for sea 
disposal of radioactive wastes. He  made a convincing case for it, but his pleas 
fell on deaf ears. As early as the 1960's, the concept of geologic disposal of 
nuclear waste became so entrenched that any other approach was summarily 
dismissed. I think the current nuclear waste policy fiasco began in the 1950's 
when the US Atomic Energy Commission requested that the National Academy of 
Science establish a Committee to recommend a policy for nuclear waste 
management. This committee consisted almost entirely of geological scientists 
and perhaps one chemist. No health phyisicists or other radological protection 
expertise was represented. In my opinion, this was the first in a series of 
blunders leading to the Yucca Mountain debacle. One could still make a 
convincing case that Oceanic disposal of nucwaste would clearly be safest, 
cheapeat , and relatively easy from an operational standpoint  ----- assuming 
that anyone cared to listen. Too many people have made a good living pursuing 
our  current disastrous policies and unless there is an unlikely enlightenment 
of our policy makers. this condition will continue.
Previously, on radsafe, I quipped that if anyone were to come up with an 
acceptable plan for  NW disposal, he would likely be lynched by a mob of crazed 
geologists. Then the geologists would have to go back to finding oil and other 
valuable minerals as God intended for them to do ;-).


From: Franz Schönhofer <franz.schoenhofer at chello.at>
To: Jerry Cohen <jjcohen at prodigy.net>; The International Radiation Protection 
(Health Physics) MailingList  <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Wed, April 6, 2011 1:26:57 PM
Subject: AW: [ RadSafe ] Worried about a radioactive ocean? A reality checkBy 
MALCOLM RITTER , AP Science Writer


It should not be necessary to support your statement, because anybody
interested in the facts should be able to find in the literature, internet,
google  and even on Wikipedia (which should be used with much caution)
information about releases of radioactive material to oceans in much detail.
The impact of nuclear bomb testing to radionuclide concentrations both in
the environemnt and in the ocean water is very well and detailed documented
over many decades.  

So what? Why do we independent (yes, I am retired and had a hard time in my
position in the Austrian Radiation Protection Departments in various
ministries) scientists not qualify to make comments? 

I personally have been involved in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident,
which without doubt has resulted in runoff to oceans. I am well informed
about the discharges from Sovjet plutonium production sites to an ocean, as
well as  from British facilities at Sellafield, from the French one at la
Hague. I really enjoyed the seafood from places near Sellafield and it would
be a real shame not to eat the seafood in places close to LaHague. 

In the South Pacific around the former nuclear test sites of Mururoa and
Fangataufa the plutonium distribution has been carefully evaluated, showing
no alarming concentrations. The far away concentrations of other artificial
radionuclides are nothing more than to be totally neglected. The only dose
which might be of significance is the one from Po-210, which is obviously
accumulated by shellfish. This is the case everywhere, also near Sellafield
and wherever in this world. I enjoyed seafood at all the places I have been

Best wishes to all of you, whether eating sea food or cereals...


Franz Schoenhofer, PhD
MinRat i.R.
Habicherg. 31/7
A-1160  Wien/Vienna

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] Im Auftrag von Jerry Cohen
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 06. April 2011 20:28
An: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Betreff: Re: [ RadSafe ] Worried about a radioactive ocean? A reality
checkBy MALCOLM RITTER , AP Science Writer

What is the point of this article? To the "Greenies", the concentration of 
radioactivity is irrelevant.
To them, "Any is too much"

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