[ RadSafe ] Alarmist view of health effects from nuclear plant ops and accidents in letter published by Edmonton Journal

Steve Schulin steve.schulin at nuclear.com
Sun Oct 28 09:30:34 CDT 2012


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Oct 27, 2012

Alarmist view of health effects from nuclear plant ops and accidents in letter published by Edmonton Journal

Here's an excerpt from the letter. You can send reply to letters at edmontonjournal.com

Although the radiation from the Fukushima meltdown has not immediately killed many, the estimate for eventual cancer cases due to the meltdown is one million.

It is estimated the meltdown in Chernobyl caused as many as 985,000 early deaths. As can be seen in Paul Fusco's Chernobyl Legacy, birth defects are another one of the many effects of a nuclear catastrophe.

The book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment (2010) summarizes some 5,000 studies of the effects of Chernobyl.

Without a meltdown, studies show childhood leukemia clusters around nuclear power plants are twice the rate for all cancers among nuclear workers.

Source: Linda Massimo (Edmonton), "Risks go with nuclear power", letter to Edmonton Journal, Oct 27, 2012, p. A22

The newspaper's web page for today's letters included photo of a sign reading 'Stop, Forbidden Zone' on a barbed wire fence at the border of the 30-kilometre zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. 
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Here's the response I sent to letters at edmontonjournal.com

Subject: Radiation and health - Taiwan apartment study may surprise you

Re: "Risks go with nuclear power" (Oct 27)

To the editor of the Edmonton Journal:

The forecast of over a million deaths from radioactive material released from Fukushima is quite speculative. Here's an example of real-world data which shows that relatively low levels of radiation can be expected to have health benefit rather than harm: 
Some apartment buildings in Taiwan were built with radioactively contaminated steel. More than 10,000 people lived in those buildings for up to twenty years before it was discovered that the buildings were radioactive. Average dose: over 40 Rem per person. This is way higher dose than any residents, or even workers at the Fukushima site, have received. The residents of the buildings in Taiwan were all ages, shapes and sizes, encompassing old folks and even babies who spent their entire developmental lifetime and youngest years there after birth.

The residents of those apartment were found to have only 3% of the expected cancer deaths, and only 7% of the expected heart defects. The study is freely available at http://1.usa.gov/fauyt5

The authors of the study emphasize that "Information about this Taiwan experience should be communicated to the public worldwide to help allay its fear of radiation..." I agree.

Yours truly,

Steve Schulin,
Rockville, Maryland USA

The writer is the founding editor of nuclear.com and is a Registered Radiological Protection Technologist (NRRPT-Inactive)

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