[ RadSafe ] Chris Busby

John R Johnson idias at interchange.ubc.ca
Thu Apr 21 13:45:07 CDT 2011


There is no "contradiction in terms". Health Physics is the term used in the 
US that is Radiation Protection in the rest of the world. The Health Physics 
Society publishes the Health Physics Journal (one of the best in the world). 
I have been  member science 1974 and won the 1997 Distinguished Scientific 
Achievement Award .

John R Johnson, PhD
4535 West 9th Ave
Vancouver, B. C.
V6R 2E2, Canada
idias at interchange.ubc.ca

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Busby Chris" <C.Busby at ulster.ac.uk>
To: "The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List" 
<radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu>; "The International Radiation Protection (Health 
Physics) MailingList" <radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 11:27 AM
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Chris Busby

I am not a health physicist. This is a contradiction in terms

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at agni.phys.iit.edu on behalf of Franta, Jaroslav
Sent: Thu 21/04/2011 14:32
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) MailingList
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Chris Busby


         For all we know, Busby may be the best chemist in the UK.  He is 
not a health physicist.

Steven Dapra

Interesting read:


Time for the Green Party - and the Guardian - to ditch anti-nuclear quackery
Posted on 21 April 2011

by Mark Lynas

Yesterday I was an environmentalist. Today, according to tweets from 
prominent greens, and an op-ed response piece in the Guardian, I'm a 
"Chernobyl death denier". My crime has been to stick to the peer-reviewed 
consensus scientific reports on the health impacts of the Chernobyl 
disaster, rather than - as is apparently necessary to remain politically 
correct as a 'green' - cleaving instead to self-published reports from 
pseudo scientists who have spent a lifetime hyping the purported dangers of 
I have discovered over the past few weeks that the anti-nuclear end of the 
environmental movement has no regard for proper scientific process when it 
comes to the issue which defines it. Perhaps this is no surprise, because as 
George Monbiot and others have shown, the methods used by campaigners on 
nuclear bear all the hallmarks of the methods used by anti-science climate 
change 'deniers'.
Take the UK Green Party. Its 'national speaker' (de-facto shadow minister) 
on science and technology is Dr Chris Busby, the eminence grise of the 
anti-nuclear movement. Busby runs something called Green Audit, a 
purportedly scientific research outfit which has spent years 'discovering' 
non-existent leukaemia clusters and around Britain and blaming them on 
nuclear power stations. Green Audit is intimately tied up with the Green 
Party, and Busby's line on nuclear dominates its thinking: scientifically, 
this is like the UK Independence Party getting its climate science from Lord 
Monckton, another absurdity which consigns this party too to the lunatic 
Green Audit graduates are careful not to portray themselves as such. 
Recently on a Channel 4 debate I found myself opposite a Dr Paul Dorfman, 
whose Guardian bio - that he "is a senior researcher, University of Warwick, 
and a member of the Nuclear Consultation Group" suggests independent 
expertise, not partisan ideology. Yet Dorfman is an ex-Green Audit hack. 
Yesterday's 'Chernobyl denial' piece by Richard Bramhall in the Guardian 
also suggests academic credentials: his Guardian bio reveals that "Richard 
Bramhall is secretary of the Low Level Radiation Campaign; he was a member 
of the government's advisory Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal 
Emitters from 2001 to 2004?. But Bramhall is also a Green Audit comrade, not 
a radiologist, and the committee he refers to was set up by former 
environment minister Michael Meacher at the behest of none other than Chris 
Busby. Molly Scott Cato, another leading light in the UK Greens, was a 
co-founder of Green Audit, and co-authored some of its worst papers.
Green Audit's work has been panned by real scientists on numerous occasions. 
Most spectacularly, Busby and his colleagues recruited a Welsh TV station as 
a collaborator on a recent research exercise to 'prove' that supposed 
leaukaemia clusters on the coast of North Wales were attributable to 
radiation releases into the sea by the nuclear complex a couple of hundred 
miles up the coast at Sellafield. The only problems were that the cancer 
clusters never existed, and that even if they had, there is no plausible 
biological mechanism by which the infinitesimally small dosages of radiation 
received by coast-dwellers from Sellafield could have caused them.
None of this daunted Green Audit, which presumably knew its conclusions 
before it started its 'science'. Busby's work succeeded in scaring local 
people and generating media headlines, which was no doubt the intention. 
Claiming child leaukaemia rates twenty-eight times the UK average in the 
local area, Busby (who is portrayed as a "radiation expert") told the local 
Daily Post that the "link between Sellafield and excess childhood cancer is 
indisputable". As well as frightening people about radiation, this kind of 
exercise helps undermine public support for nuclear power, which is surely 
the broader underlying agenda.
But when real experts from the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance 
Unit tried to replicate Green Audit's work, they found a trail of errors and 
distortions. (The resulting WCISU paper was then published in a 'real' 
scientific journal, the Journal of Radiological Protection (PDF here), 
unlike Busby et al, which was self-published.) Here are some choice quotes 
from the former:
In summary, the overall leukaemia incidence for Wales was counted twice. 
trebling the local incidence in north Wales. This error produced spurious 
clusters in various locations in rural Wales, with the notable exception of 
Powys in mid Wales. For example, Green Audit reported a 'cluster' of 10 
cases of leukaemia in children aged 0-4 years in Snowdonia, whereas one case 
actually occurred during that period (1974-1989).
Whoops. And please remember, this work was conducted by the Green Party's 
science spokesperson, and presumably adds to the party's 'evidence base' on 
the strength of which it continues to oppose nuclear power. But there's 
more. Much more. What about "Green Audit's hypothesis that very low levels 
of human-made radionuclides have an effect on cancer incidence"? According 
to the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, "the claimed effect 
has no biological plausibility". So why were Green Audit's conclusions 
accepted so uncritically by the media and the public, if not by scientists? 
Because, "a high degree of mistrust in conventional agencies can make 
elaborate conspiracies seem plausible".
So this is what Green Audit and other anti-nuclear campaign groups thrive 
on: distrust of both the nuclear industry and official health protection and 
regulatory agencies, allowing them to invoke shadowy conspiracies by men in 
white lab coats who presumably enjoy foisting dangerous radioactive 
materials on an unwilling public, all no doubt controlled by a sinister 
mastermind bearing a striking resemblance to Mr Burns off the Simpsons, the 
evil boss of Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.
The similarities with climate science 'deniers' is overwhelming. Take the 
selective use of data. Climate sceptics make much of the supposed lack of 
global warming over the last ten years - they do this by starting their data 
series in 1998, which was a very hot year, making it appear as if cooling 
took place thereafter. Similarly, Busby et al exclude Welsh leaukaemia data 
between 1974-81 (when there was only one incidence on the North Wales 
coastal strip, despite a much more lax safety regime in Sellafield during 
that period and consequently far greater releases of radiation into the 
sea), and use instead the period 1982-90, when there were nine. Had Green 
Audit used the longer data series, their conclusions would not have been 
statistically significant, which was presumably why the earlier data was 
According to WCISU's review of Green Audit's statistical methodology, "we 
found clear evidence of data-dredging which renders all subsequent 
statistical inference spurious". Instead of proper scientific objectivity 
being applied to the figures, there was evidence "that the dataset has been 
systematically trawled". In other cases, Green Audit seems to have worked 
with media reporters to simply go around knocking on doors, as if the 
anecdotes they dug up would trump the quantitative data produced by official 
agencies (who might be in on the pro-nuke conspiracy). As the WCISU paper 
Welsh reporters have collaborated with Green Audit to carry out intrusive 
and inaccurate surveys rather than accept registry figures. Television 
documentaries, based on erroneous results, have spawned misleading articles 
in the national press and across the internet. In a process driven by these 
Green Audit reports, levels of public anxiety have been raised and trust in 
cancer registries eroded.
All this demonstrates at best a cavalier attitude to the scientific process. 
According to radiologist Richard Wakeford, Busby even set up his own journal 
for a while because he was unable to get his sub-standard work published in 
the genuine expert literature. This European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics 
journal, was, according to Wakeford, "a curious entity that was launched in 
2005 and claims to publish peer-reviewed papers, but which, after five 
issues of Volume 1, appears to have run out of steam after Issue 1 of Volume 
2 in 2006." (The link Wakeford gives, www.ebab.eu.com, now appears to be 
defunct, and links through to dating and adult websites.) He points out: "I 
shall let you be the judge of just what might be going on here by pointing 
out that Busby, a member of the Editorial Board, is an author of no fewer 
than eight papers in the currently existing (as of February 2008) six issues 
of the journal!"
Indeed. This reminds me more than anything of the snafu at Energy and 
Environment journal, which published a variety of flawed scientific papers a 
few years ago appearing to undermine the mainstream consensus view on global 
warming. This was decried by environmentalists at the time as being an 
egregious distortion of the proper scientific process. As US green writer 
Chris Mooney wrote about the above saga in 2004:
This is how it begins: Proponents of a fringe or non-mainstream scientific 
viewpoint seek added credibility. They're sick of being taunted for having 
few (if any) peer reviewed publications in their favor. Fed up, they decide 
to do something about it.
They get their paper through the peer review process and into print. They 
publicize the hell out of it. Activists get excited by the study, which has 
considerable political implications.
Before long, mainstream scientists catch on to what's happening. They shake 
their heads. Some slam the article and the journal that published it, 
questioning the review process and the editor's ideological leanings. In 
published critiques, they tear the paper to scientific shreds.
But it's too late for that. The press has gotten involved, and though the 
work in question has been discredited in the world of science, partisans who 
favor its conclusions for ideological reasons will champion it for years to 
come. The scientific waters are muddied. The damage is done.
Quite. Lastly, climate change deniers have made copious use of front groups, 
often sponsored by industry. Greens have worked tirelessly to expose links 
between commercial interests like Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries and the 
anti-environmental movement, particularly in the United States. But 
anti-nuclear greens like front groups too. Busby got himself on various 
scientific committees, and - when he didn't like the consensus of his expert 
colleagues - self-published a 'minority report' to try to discredit the real 
In his Guardian piece Green Audit's Richard Brahmall highlights the 
innocuous-sounding European Committee on Radiation Risk as having conducted 
real research on the dangers of 'internal emitters' in causing cancer (this 
is the latest wheeze to try to undermine the consensus findings on 
Chernobyl). He fails to mention that the ECRR was set up by European Green 
parties, and that its 'scientific secretary' is. (scroll down on this page) 
none other than Chris Busby.
Today the danger is that, in the light of Fukushima, the flames of public 
anxiety about nuclear power and radiation are fanned anew by anti-nuclear 
activists who have scant regard for science and still less for the impact of 
their assertions on the general public they are so intent on scaring. 
Unfortunately the Guardian seems all too happy to publish many of their 
'reports', with very little corrective information from the real experts. 
Just as the Telegraph is the in-house UK journal for climate science 
deniers, so the Guardian seems to have been captured by the radiation 
science deniers on the anti-nuclear branch of the green movement. That has 
got to change, or trust in this newspaper too will eventually be eroded.
And as for the UK Green Party, I suggest that potential voters make it clear 
to their aspiring representatives (of which Chris Busby is one) that they 
would prefer to vote for a political party which takes science seriously, 
and which is therefore able to shoulder the responsibilities of government 
in a rational and evidence-based way. Otherwise, if they ever get more than 
one MP, the UK greens could end up following the lead of their German 
comrades by switching off nuclear plants and turning their country back to 



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