Australian news, and some related international items

Despite what nuclear lobby researchers say, low dose radiation IS bad for you

Low dose ionising radiation IS harmful to health Independent Australia, Noel Wauchope, 21 May 12, A landmark study on Hiroshima survivors comprehensively disproves nuclear lobby spin about ionising radiation being safe at low doses.  This week, a new report about low dose ionising radiation was published — one that should put a spanner in the works of the nuclear lobby. It is called ‘Studies of the Mortality of Atomic Bomb Survivors, Report 14, 1950–2003: An Overview of Cancer and Noncancer Diseases’.

First of all, let me explain why this report is so important and so timely.

It’s now just over a year since the tragic Fukushima disaster. So the nuclear lobby thinks that it’s time to restart the nuclear renaissance, and to get people to stop worrying about ionising radiation.

To this end, the industry, and particularly the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have projects under way.

In particular, there are two important projects going on seemingly unrelated ones. But they are, as a matter of fact, closely related.  Both aim to dampen the public concern about ionising radiation — indeed, to promote acceptance of “low level radiation”:

One sets out to downgrade nuclear emergency procedures. The other aims at discrediting the scientifically accepted model on the cancer risk of low level radiation — known as the Linear No Threshold model (LNT), which states that there is no level below which ionising radiation is not harmful, with risk increasing with each added unit of radiation……..

Project 2 – discrediting the radiation risk model

The U.S. Department of energy funds research projects worldwide that promote the theories of “radiation hormesis” and “adaptive radiation”.

Radiation hormesis holds that, at a low level, radiation is not only harmless, but actually good for human health.

Adaptive radiation holds that people exposed to low level radiation, over time, become resistant to its cancer-causing effects.

It’s easy to see how well this fits in with a relaxing of the rules for safety around nuclear facilities, and a public complacency about the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island……

Radiation induced genetic damage has been found to be higher at low doses. This further supports the likelihood that lower doses are more harmful. This clear signal supports the accepted linear theory and the consensus on risk-modelling worldwide.
The Goddard analysis concludes with a warning about the dangers of public policy being made on unreliable and flimsy research reports:

“Ethical radiation policy experts don’t play Russian roulette with public safety.”

Two of the atomic bomb survivor scientists in the report said:

In the presence of available data, it is neither sound statistical interpretation nor prudent risk evaluation to presume that lower range is safe due to lack of statistical information in that range.”

It’s a pity that this 14th report of a huge and comprehensive study of radiation risk gets little or no mass media coverage, while those small, flawed, DOE-funded projects are much publicised and used to justify dangerous public health policy changes. One may hope that the genuine scientific community is aware of this, and will respond appropriately.

May 21, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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