[ RadSafe ] Improper Application of ALARA following stabilization of Fukushima Nuclear Reactors

Dan McCarn hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Sat Mar 16 09:53:54 CDT 2013

Dear Mohan:

There was a Russian study from St. Petersburg following Chernobyl that
arrived at similar conclusions (10th anniversary meetings in 1996). It was
effectively squashed.

The mortality rate of survivors that were relocated was strongly effected
by stress-related diseases. My "old Russian boss", A. Nechaev, from the
IAEA is looking for that paper for me now. He reported that there were 5
increased-risk, stress-related diseases present: 1) Suicide; 2) Drug
& alcohol abuse; 3) Diabetes; 4-Heart disease; and 5) Stroke (listed in the
order of significance). These were increased risks compared to a control
population that remained just outside of the 30-km exclusion zone who
received a larger radiation dose.

A large part of the stress was related to media pressure, separation from
extended family, loss of meaningful work, living in sub-standard housing,
poor diet & very-low income.


Dan ii

Dan W McCarn, Geologist
108 Sherwood Blvd
Los Alamos, NM 87544-3425
+1-505-672-2014 (Home – New Mexico)
+1-505-670-8123 (Mobile - New Mexico)
HotGreenChile at gmail.com (Private email) HotGreenChile at gmail dot com

On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 3:32 PM, Mohan Doss <mohan.doss at fccc.edu> wrote:

> Dear All,
>      A few days ago I attended a meeting dedicated to the Japanese people
> affected by the nuclear reactor accidents at Fukushima two years ago.
>  Because of the steps taken immediately following the accidents including
> evacuation, there were no acute effects from the radiation, and little
> long-term ill effects are expected from the low dose exposures the public
> received.  However, the prolonged evacuation based on radiation safety
> regulations, which is still continuing for about 200,000, has resulted in
> severe emotional stress, and there is increased incidence of depression,
> PTSD, etc.  I have also read published articles and newspaper reports
> describing the evacuation stress-related deaths to be several hundred and
> may be even a thousand.  It does not seem right that following the
> radiation safety regulations should be resulting in thousands of people
> being sick with these mental illnesses and hundreds of deaths.  I think the
> reason for the radiation safety regulation-related casualties are because
> of an improper application of the ALARA principle that is part of the
> regulations.
>     Of course we all know NRC website defines ALARA as "an acronym for 'as
> low as (is) reasonably achievable,' which means making every reasonable
> effort to maintain exposures to ionizing radiation as far below the dose
> limits as practical, consistent with the purpose for which the licensed
> activity is undertaken, taking into account the state of technology, the
> economics of improvements in relation to state of technology, the economics
> of improvements in relation to benefits to the public health and safety,
> and other societal and socioeconomic considerations, and in relation to
> utilization of nuclear energy and licensed materials in the public
> interest. "
>    In my interpretation, the key point in this long definition is benefit
> to public health, i.e. the steps for dose reduction should be taken so long
> as the efforts involved and costs incurred are commensurate with
> improvement to public health, and that implies, of course, that the steps
> taken should not be harming public health.  Since the emotional toll the
> long-term evacuation took in Chernobyl was already known, the emotional
> effects should have been factored into the ALARA considerations and
> calculations, balanced by the expected reduction in cancers from the
> long-term evacuation based on the LNT model.  Though it is assumed that low
> dose radiation increases the cancer risk using the LNT model, the public's
> cancer risk could be reduced by engaging a larger fraction of the public in
> regular physical exercise through more education, facilities, incentives
> etc., since exercise is known to reduce the risk of cancer by 20% or even
> higher. In view of this, it appears as if we have accepted immediate
> definitive depressions and related deaths in order to achieve a slightly
> reduced risk of cancer (LNT model-based) far into the future.  Does not
> appear to me to be a wise trade, considering the risk of cancer can be
> reduced by encouragement of exercise among the public, and making other
> lifestyle adjustments.  It is hard for me to imagine being in this
> situation, of being evacuated and living in temporary shelters for 2+
> years.  If my family were evacuated in this manner, some members of my
> friends or family went through depression or died from depression, and the
> radiation safety officers or other officials there told me "I am sorry
> about the depressions and deaths in your family and friends,  but look how
> I have saved all of you from having increased cancer risk 10 years from
> now", I would have fired them all right there (if I had the power).
>    I would like to know if you all agree with this assessment regarding
> the misapplication of ALARA.  If this assessment is correct, we should be
> ending the evacuation soon, even if it involves somewhat higher radiation
> doses to some of the public, in view of the likely improvement to their
> emotional health. If there is sufficient agreement among the radiation
> safety professionals here that we should end the evacuation soon based on
> such considerations, we can present the arguments to the Japanese
> government as our collective opinion, and encourage a return to normalcy
> soon in Fukushima.  If it is a collective opinion with a large number of
> professionals supporting it, they might listen.  Of course it will be
> difficult to end the evacuation now, since we have been telling the public
> the low dose radiation is dangerous, the public has believed us, and will
> undergo emotional stress in returning to their homes from the cancer
> concerns.  But we can discuss how to reduce those concerns if there is
> general agreement about ending the evacuation.
>    Please answer the short anonymous survey at the following link soon, as
> I want to get a quick pulse on the community's thoughts.  Therefore, the
> survey will close on Monday, Mar 18, 2013, at 5:00 pm EDT:
> https://www.surveymonkey.com/**s/7F2K3HR<https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7F2K3HR>.  I will post the results here shortly thereafter.  You can of course
> discuss the ideas here, but the survey enables getting the pulse quickly,
> so we can decide whether to proceed further along the suggested lines, or
> accept the status quo. Thanks in advance for answering the survey.
>    With best regards,
>                                 Mohan
> Mohan Doss, Ph.D., MCCPM
> Medical Physicist,
> Associate Professor, Diagnostic Imaging,
> Fox Chase Cancer Center, R427
> 333 Cottman Avenue,
> Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497.
> Phone: 215 214-1707
> Fax:   215 728-4755
> E-mail:Mohan.Doss at fccc.edu
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