[ RadSafe ] Gofman on TMI and Chernobyl deaths

Steven Dapra sjd at swcp.com
Mon May 13 19:13:25 CDT 2013

May 13

         Plus, it's my understanding that 300 rems is LD50, which 
reduces the death toll to about 150.  Whatever the case, Gofman was 
talking nonsense --- as he was wont to do.

         Thank you, Andy, for your analysis.

Steven Dapra

At 07:58 AM 5/13/2013, you wrote:
>Boy, even if you accept his numbers for population dose and accept LNT
>at any level of exposure the math still doesn't work out. Using a risk
>coefficient of 5% per Sv a dose of 300 rem (3 Sv) gives a 15% chance of
>fatal cancer. So (if I remember how to do this, which might not be a
>good assumption), instead of 333 cancers we'd have 333 x 15% = 50 fatal
>But even this is likely an over-estimate since virtually all off-site
>dose to exposed individuals was so low, and since his population dose
>figure is so high. It brings to mind the ICRP statement that, if the
>dose to the most-exposed individual is trivial then the dose to all
>individuals must be considered trivial and it's inappropriate to assume
>that the collective dose will somehow have an impact. Or to use an
>analogy I posted earlier, we can't throw a million one-gram rocks at
>everyone in Cleveland and assume that, because the cumulative weight is
>a ton, a few people will be crushed.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
>[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Steven Dapra
>Sent: Friday, May 10, 2013 11:22 PM
>To: radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu
>Subject: [ RadSafe ] Gofman on TMI and Chernobyl deaths
>May 10
>          Gofman claimed a human exposure of
>100,000 man-rems from the Three Mile Island
>accident.  He then claimed one death per 300
>man-rems.  Dividing 100,000 by 300 gives 333
>deaths from Three Mile Island --- at least in Gofman's world.
>          He made this claim in the Foreword to
>the 1979 printing of his book "Poisoned
>Power."  The Foreword will be found at this link:
>          To find his specific claim about the
>number of deaths, scroll down the page about
>two-thirds of the way to the paragraph beginning
>"Now we are ready to solve our equation."
>          For Gofman's claims of deaths resulting
>from the Chernobyl accident, see a 1994 interview
>with Gofman in "Synapse," the student newspaper
>published by the University of California in San
>Francisco.  In the interview, Gofman said:
>"After Chernobyl, I estimated that there were
>going to be 475,000 fatal cancers throughout
>Europe - with another 475,000 cancers that are
>not fatal. That estimate was based on the dose
>released on the various countries of fallout from Cesium-137."
>          The link is:
>          The quote is near the beginning of the interview.
>Steven Dapra

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