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Radiation is Safe Within Limits

Robert Hargraves's picture
Chief Marketing Officer ThorCon US

AB Dartmouth College mathematics; PhD Brown University high energy physics. Co-founder ThorCon International. Author "THORIUM: energy cheaper than coal". Chief Information Officer Boston...

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  • Apr 10, 2017

Opening eyes to the facts.

Nuclear power is a green environmental solution. It generates no CO2. The fuel is cheap and inexhaustible. Green nuclear power can solve the global crises of air pollution deaths and climate change. Cheap energy can help developing nations escape poverty and let industrialized nations improve economic growth.

Is nuclear power safe? Yes, the primary obstacle to nuclear power is misunderstanding of radiation health effects.

Erroneous, common misunderstandings:

  • There is no safe level of radiation.
  • Radiation effects are cumulative.
  • Chernobyl killed nearly a million people.
  • Nuclear waste is deadly for a million years.

These mistruths create public fear, so regulators adopted unnecessary rules to isolate the public from radiation. The excess costs and delays make nuclear power more expensive and impede its benefits to people.


Radioactive materials have atoms that decay at random. Half decay within their half-life.

Atom Half-life
potassium-40    1.2 billion years
americium-241  432 years
cobalt-60            5 years
iodine-131          8 days

Radiation results from each atom’s decay.


Alpha particles (two protons + two neutrons) can not penetrate skin.


Beta particles (electrons ejected from nuclei) do not penetrate metal foil.

Gamma radiation (energetic photons) is partly absorbed by bone to make X-ray images

Radioactivity is a count of atom decays. One count per second is one Becquerel (Bq). A banana has beta radioactivity of about 15 Bq from its potassium-40. Smoke detectors have americium-241 made in nuclear reactors, with alpha radioactivity of about 30,000 Bq.

Radiation dose is the energy transferred from radiation to body tissue. A one-millisievert (mSv) dose is 0.001 watt-second of energy per kilogram of tissue (x20 for alpha particles). One mammogram exposure may be 2 mSv.

Natural background radiation comes from cosmic rays, breathing radon, ingestion of food and water, and proximity to rocks such as granite.

Natural radiation dose rates vary, averaging 3 mSv/year in the US, 4 mSv/y in Denver, and 7 mSv/y in Finland.


A massive, single, whole-body radiation dose severely injures blood cell production and the digestive and nervous systems. A dose over 5,000 mSv is usually fatal. Spread over a lifetime it is harmless. Why? At low dose rates cells have time to recover. Cancer is not observed at dose rates below 100 mSv/y.

Linear response

Radiation can break a chemical bond in a DNA molecule and create a slight chance it might recombine improperly to propagate cancerous cells. Linear no threshold theory (LNT) says the chance is proportionate just to radiation dose, even at low dose rates over long times. It’s wrong.

Hermann Muller used his 1946 Nobel prize to advocate LNT theory. He used fruit flies exposed to 2,750 mSv and up. But to heighten public fear of atomic bomb fallout during the Cold War, he extrapolated his results down to below 100 mSv, despite contrary evidence. The flaw in LNT theory is that it considered only radiation dose, not dose rate. LNT theory ignored life’s adaptive response.

Adaptive response

Radiation can be safe. We now know that DNA strands break and repair frequently, about 10,000 times per day per cell. MIT researchers observed that 100 mSv/y radiation dose rates increased this number by only 12 per day. The overwhelming majority of breaks are caused by ionized oxygen molecules from metabolism within the cell. Because DNA is a double helix, the duplicate information in one strand lets enzymes readily repair any single-strand break.

Double strand breaks also occur naturally, about once per week per cell. Most such breaks are also due to intracellular oxygen, with natural background radiation increasing the break rate by about 0.1%. Specialized repair centers within cells fix these breaks, as observed by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley Labs

Adaptive response continues at the cellular, tissue, and organism levels. This protection peaks near 100 mSv exposure and persists for a year or so. The process is similar to immune response to vaccinations against smallpox, polio, or influenza.


These examples show that radiation is safe below 100 mSv/y and LNT is wrong.

Atomic bomb survivors

The US exploded atomic bombs over Japan in 1945, killing 200,000 people. 93,000 survivors have since been closely monitored for health effects. In 55 years 10,423 survivors died from cancer, 573 more than the 9,850 deaths normally expected by comparison with residents away when the bombs exploded. But there were no cancer deaths observed from radiation doses less than 100 mSv.

Taiwan apartment buildings

Recycled steel contaminated with cobalt-60 was used to build apartments, exposing 8,000 people to 400 mSv of radiation over 20 years. Cancer incidence was sharply down, not up 30% as LNT predicted. Instead the adaptive response to low-level radiation seemed to confer health benefits.


Doses up to 8,000 mSv killed 28 emergency workers in 1986. The Chernobyl Forum estimated up to 8,000 children contracted thyroid cancer from milk contaminated with iodine-131, and 15 died. Relying on LNT theory, the report projected up to 4,000 future fatal cancers might occur, but these have not been observed among the 100,000 fatal cancers normally expected.

US nuclear shipyard workers 

The US studied workers maintaining nuclear submarines who were exposed to low levels of gamma radiation from cobalt-60. The study compared 28,000 nuclear workers and 33,500 non-nuclear workers. People exposed to more radiation (averaging 8 mSv/y) had a death rate from all causes 24% less than the others. This contradicts LNT theory.

Medical radiation

Radiation medicine exposes a US person to 3 mSv/y on average. Diagnostic radiation doses are low, ranging from 0.001 mSv for a dental X-ray to 20 mSv for a CT procedure.

Therapeutic doses are high. A rotating X-ray beam focused on cancer tissue delivers up to 80,000 mSv. To minimize the risk of causing cancer in nearby tissue, radiologists divide the radiation dose into fractions, administered daily rather than all at once, giving healthy tissue time to recover. If LNT were true this fractionated radiation therapy wouldn’t work.


The tsunami-flooded reactors overheated and released radioactive materials. Residents were evacuated from areas with > 20 mSv/y exposure. (IAEA recommends > 220 mSv/y.) A UN panel of expert scientists concluded that radiation caused no attributable health effects and likely none in the future. Radiation killed no one, but the evacuation stress did kill over a thousand. Most refugees could have safely returned home.


Exposure limits that were set by LNT theory ignore observed low-level radiation effects. Public radiation safety limits have become more restrictive, from 150 mSv/y (1948) to 5 mSv/y (1957) to 1 mSv/y (1991).

These rules are political and inconsistent. Nuclear workers are allowed 50 mSv/y, and astronauts 500 mSv/y. EPA’s limit for indoor radon is 8 mSv/y, but 0.04 mSv/y for tritium in drinking water. EPA limits Yucca Mountain exposure to < 0.1 mSv/y for 10,000 years.

The LNT fallacy that any radiation can kill you led to the ALARA principle (as low as reasonably achievable). But achievability is based on ever-changing technology capability, not health effects. LNT and ALARA ratchet limits lower and increase costs and fear.

Radiation is safe within limits.

An evidence-based radiation safety limit would be 100 mSv/y. Ending LNT and ALARA rules will enable the full environmental and economic benefits of green nuclear power.

Ask regulators to adopt new, scientific, evidence-based radiation safety limits. Support the petitions of Dr Carol Marcus et al to the US NRC. Learn more at,, and

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Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 11, 2017

LNT is supported by the US National Academy of Sciences as stated in their authoritative BEIR reports and supported by many research results as well as theory.

Pro-nuclear folks who promote a threshold, forget a.o. that DNA is single stranded during cell division hence cannot be repaired when damaged as there is no reference. So such damage then may result in permanent damaged DNA (though often the cell will die).

Sperm during production is most vulnerable as that has highest cell division rate.
As male sperm is slightly smaller it has a lower chance to be damaged (and killed) by a radiation particle. So sudden small increases in radiation are visible via increased m/f sex ratio of newborn (as noted in UNSCEAR’s 19858 report to the UN)

Highly significant increases in m/f sex ratio of newborn is found around all significant nuclear facilities and Nuclear Power Plants. *)

For example:
High genetic damage was found around Germany’s prime nuclear waste store, Gorleben, despite the fact that the thick walled dry casks were stored in a building with 50cm thick walls (slide 17-19 in the first link).

As increased levels of DNA damage also implies less intelligence and less health and the increased damage continues into next generations, German state govt decided to initiate a due diligence study by pro-nuclear scientists. Those had the opinion that those results couldn’t be true (dry casks in a building with thick walls and behind an high dike in the woods: What damage could that create 5 – 40km away?)…. It was probably an exceptional coincidence.

So the pro-nuclear scientists included significant more districts (most down wind which they didn’t care as it couldn’t be true anyway) around Gorleben in their study.
To their horror, they found even more DNA damage with higher significance than the original study (whose results were already with P=0.001)!

German state govt then organized a conference with all involved scientists after which a report was sent to central govt in Berlin and Berlin decided to close the facility prematurely in summer 2015, while the huge storage building was still largely empty.

It’s remarkable that in USA such nuclear waste casks are still stored in the open air. Apparent US authorities consider genetic damage to civilian population to be of little importance.
*) That higher genetic damage also delivered weak indications of increased levels of health damage by studies in Germany, France, UK, USA (usually P=0.1 – 0.05). The numbers of children involved were too small to show increases with high significance.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Apr 11, 2017

Have I mentioned that you should be banned for repeatedly spamming us with anti-nuclear junk-science by the likes of Scherb, Mangano and Busby?

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 11, 2017

The faulty idea that an increase of 1mSv/a (normal background is ~2mSv/a) is harmless, is a.o. showed by the study regarding serious birth defects in districts in Bavaria after Chernobyl. Some districts got rainfall from a passing Chernobyl cloud (Cs-137), other similar nearby districts didn’t. Nobody was aware at the time that it would deliver serious health consequences for fetuses, hence newborn (Chernobyl was 1,000mile to the east)…

The 10 districts with most rainfall got extra radiation levels of 0.4mSv/a – 0.8mSv/a.
The birth defect study showed highly significant upwards jumps of serious birth defects (Down syndrome, malformations of the heart, abnormal limbs, stillbirth, etc) only in the districts which got the rainfall (P=0.00003).

Furthermore logistic regression showed that the size of the radiation increase was linear related with the size of the serious birth defect increase:
33% more birth defects per mSv/a radiation increase!

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 11, 2017

Check the studies on which the presentations are based. Those are published in decent peer reviewed scientific journals.

I understand that you try to deny reality, but it’s better to start from reality.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Apr 11, 2017

Typically, your lying “scientists” are shunned by decent journals, but of course, it happens that nonsense slips through. It was a long time I bothered to look your stuff up and it was junk then and is junk now.

As for denying reality, you need to invent new physics to explain how spent nuclear fuel dry casks within tough buildings would affect people “5-40 km away”. The Nobel price money is awaiting you, Bas. Go ahead and find this magical radiation long-distance effect. Perhaps some muons that pass through the Earth but is selectively drawn to sperm of Germans? Because the gamma sure doesn’t reach that far, nor does alpha and beta.

Also, background radiation varies wildly but the effects you talk of just isn’t there.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Apr 11, 2017

Bas, the editor of the peer-reviewed journal to which you’re referring quit in 2011 because too many in the field were “inadequately trained or prepared to present the research [he was] interested in hearing” – in essence, his professional peers were no longer his academic peers. Junk science sold more copies of Environmental Science and Pollution Research than did the rigorous variety.

If you want to base your arguments on junk science that’s your choice, but it shows.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Apr 11, 2017

Bas, the lying liar, lies some more.

The faulty idea that an increase of 1mSv/a (normal background is ~2mSv/a) is harmless, is a.o. showed by the study regarding serious birth defects in districts in Bavaria after Chernobyl.

Birth defects are also caused by stress, such as that generated by scare campaigns over radiation.  Meanwhile, in Ramsar the excess exposure from Ra-226 can be up to 72 mSv/yr and there is NO mention of birth defects whatsoever.

How do you live with yourself, being paid to lie like this?  Did they surgically excise your conscience, or did you just break it falling off a mountain or something?

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 13, 2017

Your link states regarding Ramsar:

… only about 1000 people reside in the HNBR areas. The annual effective doses received by the inhabitants from external exposures (indoors and outdoors) range between 0.7 and 131 mSv with a mean of 6 mSv …

Average natural external dose in the world is ~2.5mSv/a.

So the increased natural background radiation would create roughly a threefold of the serious birth defects*) But with 1000 people living there, such tripling won’t deliver statistical relevant results. **)
As your 2009 review also states: Roughly a million people is needed to conclude about the health effects of such radiation increases.***)

Though significant increased levels of genetic damage in people living in the high radiation district of Ramsar was observed by at least two studies; Ghiassi-Nejad, etal (2004) and Zakeri etal (2011). As well as significant increased chromosome repair activities, which indicates shorter live (telomere shortening); Mohammadi etal (2006).

Furthermore your linked 2009 review concludes:

The only real conclusive evidence is that indoor radon studies indicate an elevation of lung cancer risk even for levels of exposure as low as 200 Bq m−3

Which radiation level equals ~3.4mSv/a, only slightly more than natural background

Combining HNBR’s may include enough people to show significant effects. So a meta-study combining the data of 46 peer-reviewed studies, was performed in 2010-12. That study indeed showed significant increased health damage.
Global research published an easy to read article about the meta-study, adding other scientific study results.

HNBR area = High Natural Background Radiation area.

*) If those occur with similar frequency as in Germany, which is unlikely comparing German living, feeding and health care levels.

**) Even studies which included more people missed the statistical power. E.g. a Kerala Down syndrome study could include only 25 cases, hence no conclusions possible (apart from the Kerala problems regarding dose estimations, due to the patchy nature of the radiation there)..

***) E.g. the study of Scherb etal, which I linked above, considers millions of people. Hence its extreme high statistical reliability.
Note that it’s also unclear whether Iranian, etc. birth registers contain accurate registrations of all serious birth defects. Even in the high developed western world not all countries have that. Studies become expensive and prone to faults when registers don’t contain those.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 13, 2017

Scherb etal, the scientist you accuse without any foundation, were at the end of a scientific conference with a.o. pro-nuclear scientists chosen to produce the final report about the genetic damage to newborn caused by the stored dry casks in Gorleben. Which report was sent to Berlin after which central govt decided to close the still largely empty store prematurely!*)

No need for new physics to explain how spent nuclear fuel in dry casks within tough buildings affect people 5-40 km away.
Just do your nuclear physics homework.
To help you.
Consider hot Ar-41 created via neutrons colliding with Ar-40 (half life ~2hrs), which is also ionized due to the recoil of the emitted gamma quant at the collision, hence attracts water droplets.

Regarding background radiation, study my response to EP below.
*) Consider also the long list of publications in many different peer reviewed scientific journals authored by Scherb etal.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 13, 2017

The study that I linked was published in 2003. Don’t see how an editor leaving 8years thereafter could play a role.
– you may assume they have more editors;
– keeping >8yrs the same job is in my world an oddity. Time for him to leave anyway;
– Peer reviewed and editor reviewed are two different things with different targets.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Apr 13, 2017

Bas, you’re a liar, everyone knows you’re a liar, so just go away.

No need for new physics to explain how spent nuclear fuel in dry casks within tough buildings affect people 5-40 km away.

You need new physics to explain how an ionized argon atom (ionization energy 15.76 eV) remains ionized longer than the fraction of a nanosecond it takes to run into a molecule of nitrogen (ionization energy 15.58 eV) or oxygen (12.07 eV) and take an electron from it.  Your entire bogus water-droplet model depends on it staying ionized long enough to get picked up, when it can’t.

Just do your nuclear physics homework.

You need to be personally introduced to some Newtonian physics, specifically inelastic collisions.  Enough inelastic collisions between you and some hard objects might help cure you of your pathological lying.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Apr 13, 2017

Consider hot Ar-41 created via neutrons colliding with Ar-40 (half life ~2hrs), which is also ionized due to the recoil of the emitted gamma quant at the collision, hence attracts water droplets.

And you say I should do nuclear physics homework? Seriously?

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 14, 2017

Not quite, though you make some progress compared to last time.

Note that at the measurement station in Gorleben village (~2km from the nuclear waste store) the neutron flux increased already from ~ 8nSv/hr towards ~16nSv/hr when the storage site became operational in 1998/2000. While the major genetic damage occurs at distances of 10 – 30km away (there sex odds jumped from ~ 1.01 towards ~ 1.11).*)

It’s a pity that they didn’t install more measurement stations farther away. Near all are installed at the (fences of) storage site itself as you can see in the above linked “Jahresberichten Umgebungsüberwachung”.

It appears to me that in USA govt accepted that no permanent measurement stations were installed some distance away from stored dry casks, etc…
So no relevant info possible as it’s not known what the radiation situation was before such nuclear site started.
*) That neutron flux increase combined with the birth numbers, won’t of course not deliver a statistical significant increase in the m/f sex odds in the village.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Apr 14, 2017

Note that at the measurement station in Gorleben village (~2km from the nuclear waste store) the neutron flux increased already from ~ 8nSv/hr towards ~16nSv/hr

Google Translate cannot translate those documents.  Searching the 1997 and 2000 documents for “nSv” yields nothing.

It appears that those documents may be raw scans without OCR and thus un-searchable.  You are truly a scumbag, you know that?

However, I’m curious now.  If the flux at 2 km was an additional 8 nSv/hr, then at 100 meters per the inverse square law it should be 400 times that, or 3.2 μSv/hr.  Actually, more than that.  Nitrogen has a thermal-neutron absorption cross section of 1.9 barns (and a much larger scattering cross-section, so neutrons could not follow a direct path over 2 km through air).  At 78 mass% of 1.2 kg of air per cubic meter over 2000 meters, each square meter of pathway has 1872 kg of nitrogen in it.

1872 kg is 1.34e5 moles or 8.05e28 atoms.  A barn is 1e-28 square meters, so each square meter of the 2 km pathway has about 15.3 square meters of absorptive area in the N-14 cross-section alone.  Even ignoring scattering (which would make the path a random-walk and massively increase the attenuation over distance) the flux would be reduced by a factor of e^(15.3).

An increase of 8 nSv/hr neutron flux at 2 km would thus have to be AT LEAST 14 Sv/hr at 100 meters.  In short, people would fall over and die after just a few minutes in the vicinity.  This obviously did not happen.  Therefore, everything you’ve told us is complete bullshit.

You’re a pathological liar, Bas.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 15, 2017

The issue is that DNA is single stranded at duplication, hence cannot be repaired if damaged by a radiation particle.
And (damaged) DNA carries the info on which the new cells are constructed….

Gamma rays (as all other rays and even electrons) can be considered as being particles and being waves. Both views are valid.

How much ‘radiation’ does penetrates depends on the exact substance of it. Remember the neutron bomb whose radiation (being neutrons) can penetrate thick (40cm) steel and kill the crew inside tanks, etc.
Same neutron radiation can also easily pass the much thinner steel of dry casks.

Please read better. I did not claim that the dry casks emit gamma radiation.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 15, 2017

Depend on what you consider nuclear material:
Neutrons do escape from the dry casks as one can easily measure.

The measurement instrument at the village of Gorleben, ~2km away from the dry casks storage and installed years before the first dry casks arrived, measured roughly a doubling after the dry casks arrived and were stored in the building.

While the increase in genetic damage at distances less than 5 km is very much smaller (hardly measurable) than that at 10-30km distance. Which is explained by the Ar41 mechanisms.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 15, 2017

The dry casks are behind the 50cm thick walls of the building and the whole terrain is surrounded by an high dike.
So there is virtual no direct radiation involved as you can also see at e.g. Abb. 6 of Jahresbericht 2014 (which I linked previously).
The figure is only schematic. It ignores the AR41 mechanisms.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Apr 15, 2017

Bas changes his story AGAIN:

The issue is that DNA is single stranded at duplication, hence cannot be repaired if damaged by a radiation particle.

Note, yesterday it was a doubling of neutron flux at 2 km from the storage site… apparently without any commensurate increase AT the storage site.  Which would have to be in the multiple Sieverts per hour.  Someone would DEFINITELY have noticed that.  In other words, it didn’t happen; Bas is lying.

Bas attributes the purported biological effects (which do NOT appear next to the storage site, but some distance away!) to formation and decay of Ar-41.  The problem is, Ar-41 is not a neutron emitter; it beta-decays to K-41 and cannot be responsible for neutron flux 2 km away.  Also, Bas postulates no mechanism by which argon (a noble gas) could seek out and bind to DNA during the few hours it persists in the environment.  Nor does Bas supply a mechanism other than electrostatic attraction to water droplets (which aren’t always present in surface air) to explain how the Ar-41 doesn’t just waft away, when the actual phenomenon of the ~68 nm mean free path of molecules in air, ~300 m/s mean speed and difference in ionization potentials means that Ar-41 will not stay ionized for even a nanosecond.

Bas is clearly displaying paranoid ideations by all measures.  He could just be a professional liar (and that is what I suspect he actually is), but paranoia is what he’s spreading.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 15, 2017

Different question, different appropriate answer.
Your attitude doesn’t generate efforts for detailed explanations.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 15, 2017

In 6 fall-out contaminated prefectures, not evacuated because the radiation level was too low, perinatal mortality increased about 9 months after the failed NPP started to emit its radio-active material (increase ~15%, P-value 0.0009).
Despite the fact that >95% was directly blown to the ocean thanks to the lucky winds.
As no increases in not contaminated areas, and moderate increases in moderate contaminated areas were found, no doubt that the emissions of the failing NPP are the cause.
Note that this indicates also substantial increased genetic damage (=health damage now or in later life) to newborn by the radio-active fall-out of the NPP.

The UN WHO expert committee concludes in its 2013 report that the risks on certain cancers in later life for Fukushima children will be increased by up to ~7%. Despite the speedy evacuation.

Your UNSCEAR lead panel of expert scientists concluded that there were no immediate health risks.
Which is correct as the damaging health effects of increased radiation become visible after a long latency period of in general 10-60 years as also occurs with low level poisoning with nicotine (smoking), asbestos, etc.
That latency is found by many research such as the RERF regarding the effects of the atomic bombs on Japan (read their most recent report).

So the conclusion that the ill-fated Fukushima NPP won’t harm substantial people’s health and won’t kill them, is simply wrong. Despite the Japanese fast evacuation and other precautions.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Apr 15, 2017

More lies from Scherb, your favourite junk scientist.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 15, 2017

Robert, your linked report states in its summary:
“It is impossible to assess reliably, with any precision, numbers of fatal cancers
caused by radiation exposure due to Chernobyl”.

So your 4000 victims is not, or no longer, supported.
The 2011 WHO Q&A states::”25,000 potential excess cancers for Europe … through 2065 that might be attributable to exposure to radiation from Chernobyl of which
16,000 cases could be fatal.

Which is still too low. E.g. when one consider the numbers of newborn victims in areas 1000miles away, as shown with extreme high significance (P=0.00003), and extrapolates. Other, more reliable estimates range from 80,000deaths towards more than a million deaths over a period of ~100years due to the Chernobyl radiation.

Consider e.g. the review by 3 leading radiation professors from the most Chernobyl affected countries published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (despite massive opposition of pro-nuclear).
The review, supported by the Chairman of the Ukrainian radiation committee, concerned thousands of studies. It concluded towards 825,000 deaths before 2006.

So more than a million victims as most cancers and deaths still had to come due to the long latency period (10-60years) as shown by a.o. the RERF studies (as with smoking).

*) The 2006 Chernobyl forum is based on only a few hundred studies; excluding all studies which didn’t concern direct involved people. Even those were not fully considered.
E.g. the ~800,000 liquidation workers; they assumed that those who didn’t react to a questionnaire were healthy, while in reality rather the opposite should have been assumed.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Apr 15, 2017

Bas – there’s nothing natural about a dose of -2.5mSv/a, which would indicate you’re radioactive. You should have that checked out.

Possibly you meant to write “<2.5mSv/a", and the only thing we need to worry about is the endless cascade of junk science radiating from your TEC account. Unfortunately, putting you in a lead-lined room wouldn't help, if you still had internet access. Any suggestions?

We could alert the 650,000 residents of Denver, CO of Hagen Scherb's important findings – between cosmic radiation and radon, they're exposed to 12.4 mSv/a:

but running about, clutching their hair and screaming like antinukes, might pose more risk. So let's educate them instead. Let's tell everyone the truth:

"The data show high doses of radiation may cause cancers. But there are no data to establish a firm link between cancer and doses below about 10,000 mrem (100 mSv – 100 times the NRC limit)."

Then Denver residents can continue to enjoy their healthy, outdoor lifestyles, instead of cowering in some darkened hovel like Hagen, and polluting the world with his anti-science message.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Apr 16, 2017

Referencing Scherb (the liar and academic fraud) again.

He finds a remarkably steady trend line in the very noisy data; this is a classic sign of assuming the conclusion.  However, the most interesting part is that the jump doesn’t follow anything resembling a curve of actual radiation exposure.  It does, however, follow the general trend of (a) disruption by the quake, tsunami and forced evacuation, and (b) recovery as routines and services are re-established.

The UN WHO expert committee concludes in its 2013 report that the risks on certain cancers in later life for Fukushima children will be increased by up to ~7%.

A “conclusion” you don’t link, which has not been seen (by definition) and which is based on a dose-response model known to be flat wrong in that regime.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Apr 16, 2017

In other words, the dry casks are behind excellent neutron shields (concrete contains a great deal of hydrogen in the water of hydration, which both moderates and absorbs neutrons).  There is virtually NO neutron radiation which escapes, period.

Given that your model requires well in excess of 10 (probably hundreds or thousands) of Sv/hr of neutron radiation at 100 meters to yield the consequences you claim at 2 km, and that it is plainly obvious that this NEVER could have happened, you are proven to be a bare-faced liar.

Know what could have happened to double the trivial 8 nSv/hr neutrons in 1997 to 16 nSv/hr neutrons in 2000?  Changes in solar activity leading to more cosmic rays generating neutrons at the surface.  100% natural.

Sure enough, solar activity was shrinking from 2007 to 2010.  In short, Bas is a liar.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 16, 2017

No respected scientist with statistical knowledge will dispute the trend line. It is the result of a well known statistical analysis method, published in scientific journals.

The radio-active contamination by the nuclear reactor occurred rather suddenly, so does the increase in perinatal deaths ~9months thereafter.
The trend line continues at the increased level. So the 15% increase of perinatal deaths is not a short phenomenon. The radiation contamination will continue to make victims as it concerns mainly contamination with a half life of ~30years…

The research concerned people in areas that were not evacuated and mostly were not hit by the tsunami, as the tsunami occurred only in coastal areas.

As you can see, there was no recovery from the increased level of perinatal deaths. The trend line shifted 15% upwards and continued at that level.

The link with the UN WHO report:

That dose-response model is repeatedly confirmed by many research, and widely accepted in science. Also by the US National Academy of Sciences.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 16, 2017

You still adhere to the wrong idea of (direct) neutron radiation Trying to avoid the recognition that nuclear facilities do create substantial genetic harm to new born?

Though some neutrons can escape via the roof, the ventilation openings high in the building (necessary for cooling as the dry casks produce lot of heat), etc.,
that is not (and cannot be) the major cause of the substantial genetic damage suffered mainly at distances 10 – 30km away.

The second, expanded study by the pro-nuclear scientists even found more serious genetic damage at same distances!

As I wrote earlier: Improve your (nuclear) physics knowledge and you find the real mechanisms involved.

Your remark about solar activity (2007-2010) is irrelevant.

Study the two PPT’s that I linked in my first comment before you comment.
Then you would have known that those substantial increases in genetic damage:
– around Gorleben happened near all in 1994-1998 period.
– occur only in the area up to 50km away after the start of significant nuclear installations (incl. NPP’s). Also when those start in other years.
– are higher downwind (of the prevailing wind).

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Apr 16, 2017

So how does this indirect neutron thing work?

You still adhere to the wrong idea of (direct) neutron radiation

You’re still lying your a** off, Bas.  There’s no mechanism for neutrons to be absorbed and re-radiated at a distance of kilometers; both C-14 and your hyped Ar-41 are beta emitters.

Trying to avoid the recognition that nuclear facilities do create substantial genetic harm to new born?

P-hacked data with a completely ridiculous mechanism.  I’m recognizing that you lie about that, just as you lie about everything else.  It’s what you do.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 17, 2017

Your linked site estimates that 3.3% of the Denver residents dies because of cancers caused by the radiation. Adding the other deadly diseases caused by radiation, delivers that ~5% of the Denver residents die because of the 12.4mSv/a radiation according to your linked site.*)

The NRC dose of 100mSv is reached in 40years with an annual dose of 2.5mSv/a (the average natural background radiation in the world), and in ~20years in Denver*).

Note that the studies that I link concern the devastating health effects on newborn which are many times more vulnerable than adults, because fetuses have an ~1000 times higher frequency of cell division and with cell division DNA is single stranded and cannot be repaired. So the frequency of major birth defects (=stillbirth), increase with ~33% per mSv/a radiation increase, as found by a.o. this solid study.

Hence the US standard of 1mSv/a extra radiation to the civilian population due to nuclear power facilities, allows for an increase of ~33% in very serious birth defects (=stillbirth), to the population.**)
An unacceptable health damage level for a method of electricity generation, while cheaper methods are available that also emit less CO2/KWh than nuclear.
Especially since the damage is for important part genetic, hence transmitted to next generations!

It’s a pity that US low level radiation effect research is so backwards or theoretical. It explains why the DOE Low Dose Radiation Research Program was stopped, and the backwards NRC radiation page that you linked.
*) The 10.4mSv/a (84%) that comes from radon is easily avoided be increased ventilation in buildings (as is obliged in NL). So then only 2mSv/a + about 10-30% of the radon radiation rests. Resulting in 3-6mSv/a which is in line with other figures for Denver residents which I saw.

**) found with extreme high significance P=0.00003, also because those of other districts (Berlin, E-Germany) could be included (those districts were not included regarding other birth defects as those areas had no reliable registration yet).

Birth defects concerning Down syndrome, abnormal limbs, malformations of the heart, etc. are huge tragedies for the newborn and their parents,

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Apr 17, 2017

Bas – you’re rambling and making no sense whatsoever. You naively represent 40 years of cumulative radiation exposure as being equivalent to a single massive dose. You continue to rely on one unqualified hack (Hagen Scherb) to support your fringe phobia of nuclear energy. You’re now resorting to hyperbole, with warnings of “deadly diseases, devastating health effects, serious birth defects, huge tragedies” – ad nauseum.

This is not the lexicon of scientists, but one of deranged fanatics. Please – listen and learn from scientists. You’re embarrassing yourself.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Apr 18, 2017

Linking to your favorite academic fraudster Scherb through a link-shortener to hide your provenenance.

You are shameless.

Robert Hargraves's picture
Robert Hargraves on Apr 18, 2017

Yes, there may be many fewer than up to 4000 victims.

Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, MD PhD DSc, former Chairman of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) stated:

“What is really surprising, however, is that data collected by UNSCEAR and the Forum show 15% to 30% fewer cancer deaths among the Chernobyl emergency workers
and about 5% lower solid cancer incidence among the people in the Bryansk district (the most contaminated in Russia) in comparison with the general population. In most irradiated group of these people (mean dose of 40 mSv) the deficit of cancer incidence was 17%.”
Also see BEIR VII p 216
P 14 Jaworowski

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 18, 2017

The study researched congenital malformations (Stillbirth, Down, Neural Tube, heart, limbs) from 1981 to 1991 and found permanent upwards jumps 4-9months after Chernobyl in the area (1,000miles away)!

But only in districts that were contaminated. Not contaminated nearby similar districts were unaffected.*)

The height of the increase was linear related with the level of the contamination. Regression analysis found an increase of 33% per mSv/a contamination for stillbirth (P=0.0003)**).

Found increases for:
– Malformations of the heart (ICD7454+7455):
83% more per mSv/a (P=0.002)

– Deformities of the skull, face, jawbone, neck, spinal column, hip joint, long bones of the legs, and feet:
129% more per mSv/a increase in radiation (P=0.00004).

Try to read and understand why the linked study is so solid and unique.
*) As German district birth administrations systematical registered all serious birth defects since the seventies, no sampling confounding. All births were included in the research.

**) Stillbirth also included E-Germany & Berlin. Those areas were not included in the deformities & malformation study as birth administrations in those areas only registered stillbirth at the time.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 18, 2017

Data collection regarding the Chernobyl accident by UNSCEAR and the Chernobyl forum was highly selective.*) Many suspect in order to find a low number of casualties as the research effort was lead by the IAEA whose target is the promotion of peaceful nuclear.
So the IAEA urgently needed an authoritative comforting scientific message in order to restore the expansion of nuclear power.

Your first link (assume regarding Bryansk) doesn’t work.
But in 2003 Ivanov etal found significant increased thyroid cancer in the region during 1991-1998. Which indicate the long lasting serious health effects. So opposite to your statement.

Note that av. life expectancy in the Bryansk region decreased after Chernobyl from 76 to 72yrs in 2002 (recovered in 2014; rain washes the radio-active Cs, etc gradually away, so the decrease is faster than 30yrs).
This 2016 report shows the continued serious problems in the region.

most irradiated group of these people (mean dose of 40mSv)

?? People in areas with that level were all evacuated…

Nice story about his UNSCEAR struggles, but little scientific data.
He misses several points:
– of course increased radiation has healing (cancers) & hormetic effects, but in the long run it also shortens life. As it also implies higher DNA repair activities as shown for e.g. Ramsar, and telomere length shortens with each repair, etc.

Worse: it has been shown that small increases of radiation (from 0.2mSv/a onward) deliver high increases in the chance on serious congenital malformations in newborn (incl. perinatal death) as shown in comments above.
NYT report also about inherited damage:

Jaworowski refers to the fruit fly story of ~70years ago and creates a false impression by e.g. his statement: “the linearity assumption was not confirmed by early epidemiological surveys of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors”, which may be true as;
early radiation dose estimates were wrong (RERF executed a dose revision in 1958/60); and
– similar as with smoking there is a latency of 10-60years before the harmful health effects of increased low level radiation become visible.
Later research by the RERF confirmed the linearity assumption, and in its most recent report also for levels below 100mSv.

He assumes wrongly that LNT was motivated by the cold war and the drive to stop atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons.
Also shows that he is convinced that more nuclear energy is necessary hence nuclear has to be accepted by the public.
Which explains why he presents that radiation is far less harmless, than it is… Which gives also a clue, regarding the unrealistic health damage statements of UNSCEAR.

*) E.g.
– Only a selection of the >800,000 Chernobyl liquidators got a questionnaire.
Furthermore those who didn’t respond were supposed to be healthy (while the suggestion of others that those were dead or seriously ill, seems more in line with other research publications such as those in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, etc).

– Only direct involved people were considered. So the deadly health effects outside nearby regions in e.g. western countries with more developed (research) environments were excluded.
While studies showing those health damaging effects with extreme high significance, were already publicized in peer reviewed scientific journals…

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Apr 20, 2017

Note that research found highly increased rate of neural tube defects for newborn in the period 2000-2006, in Chernobyl contaminated Rivne oblast (=province)*)

With highest increase in the district Polissia, where the contamination was worse; 46% increase of neural tube defects in newborn in the period 14-20years after the Chernobyl disaster occurred.

So the detrimental genetic and health effects of the radio-active contamination continue during many decades.
Until the contamination (Cs-137, etc) is spread over the earth by rain, etc. and the whole world suffers light increases which is then unmeasurable due to;
– the dilution; and
– the slow rise of such birth defects due to the slow spreading, which increase is countered by the decrease due to improved health and medical care.
So no longer visible but still present…
*) Rivne oblast is ~200km west from Chernobyl,
Bryansk oblast is ~400km East-North-East from Chernobyl.

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