Remembering Leslie Corrice’s words from Episode 11, Corrice’s dismay over the results of radiophobia are echoed by many professionals, one being Dr. Antone “Tony” Brooks, who grew up in “fallout-drenched” St. George, Utah, which led him to study radiation at Cornell University. For an excellent, short video of the conclusions he reached, please visit:
The belief that tiny amounts of radiation can be lethal created ALARA – As Low As Reasonably Achievable – an anti-nuclear bias that has permeated our regulations for decades. However, “reasonably” is vague, and “achievable” depends on technology, not health effects.
For example, the World Health Organisation has set a public exposure limit for tritium from nuclear power plants of 0.1 mSv per year. Canada’s reactors comply with this limit, but due to ALARA, the limit in the USA is 0.04 mSv per year. Why? Because it is achievable – not because it is necessary.
Tritium (also known as hydrogen-3), is often used in watches and emergency exit signs. It is also present in our food and water. Furthermore, its tiny nucleus emits a particle so slow that it cannot even penetrate skin. In comparison, the Potassium-40 in our omnipresent banana emits beta particles that are 230 times as energetic, but no one worries about those deadly bananas.
LNT and ALARA can easily lead to absurdities: For example, airline passengers are exposed to about 20 times more cosmic radiation than those at ground level, but despite the dire predictions of LNT, they experience no more cancer than those who don’t fly. Should jets be required to fly at low altitudes, where they produce more greenhouse gases, just to satisfy ALARA – and what about the flight attendants and pilots who constantly work in higher levels of cosmic radiation?
As Radiation detection technology improves, ALARA just increases fear.
Washington’s Hanford storage site has a budget of about USD 3 billion per year, much of which is used to try to reduce area radiation to the LNT-based standard of less than 0.15 mSv. (Normal Denver exposure is 40 times higher.)
It is wasteful to spend money “protecting” people from tiny amounts of radiation. Instead, let’s finance programs that help people stop smoking, which brings carcinogens like cyanide, formaldehyde, ammonia, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide into intimate contact with their lungs. (Smoking related diseases kill 5 million people per year).
Radiation exposure in reactor buildings is so low that it isn’t an issue, but educating the public on basic environmental radiation is a very critical issue.
For example, after Fukushima, lack of accurate radiation knowledge and the media’s eagerness to hype radiation issues caused a run on potassium iodide [KI] pills along our west coast, but no media explained that this was pointless. Pharmacies ran out, and some patients who needed KI couldn’t get it, while those who needlessly took it actually raised their chances of disease because too much KI can cause thyroid malfunction.
“Radiation safety limits have been ratcheted down from 150 mSv/year in 1948 to 5 mSv/y in 1957 to 1 mSv/y in 1991 without supporting evidence by relying on the erroneous LNT model. EPA limits are set 100 times lower than levels that could cause harm. ALARA leads people, the press, and Big Green to falsely conclude that any radiation exposure may kill you.”
For more on the consequences of accepting LNT, which led to ALARA, please see these links:
James Conca, in Forbes: “There are some easy decisions to make that will save us a trillion dollars, and they could be made soon by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA could raise the absurdly low radiation levels considered to be a threat to the public. These limits were based upon biased and fraudulent “research” in the 1940’s through the 1960’s, when we were frightened of all things nuclear and knew almost nothing about our cells’ ability to repair damage from excess radiation.
“These possible regulatory changes have been triggered by the threat of nuclear terrorism and by the unnecessary evacuation of tens of thousands of Japanese after Fukushima Daiichi, and hundreds of thousands of Russians after Chernobyl. There, the frightened authorities were following U. S. plans that were created because of the ALARA policy (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) that has always been misinterpreted to mean that all forms of radiation are dangerous, no matter at what level. It’s led to our present absurdly low threat level of 25 millirem.
“Keep in mind that radiation workers can get 5,000 mrem/year and think nothing of it. We’ve never had problems with these levels. Emergency responders can get up to 25,000 mrem to save human lives and property. I would take 50,000 mrem just to save my cat.
“This wouldn’t be bad if it didn’t have really serious social and economic side-effects, like pathological fear, significant deaths during any forced evacuation, not receiving medical care that you should have, shutting down nuclear power plants to fire up fossil fuel plants, and a trillion-dollar price tag trying to clean up minor radiation that even Nature doesn’t care about.”
Approximately 100,000 people were evacuated from the Fukushima area after the meltdown, and by September, 2013, about 1,200 evacuees had died from suicide and the stress of the excessive evacuation.
Dr. Brian Hanley: [Fukushima] “If no evacuation had occurred, and everyone had lived outdoors with no precautions, at most 15 cancer deaths might have happened, but probably none.
“People have been going to radioactive spas in Ramsar, Iran for a long time without ill effect. In a 2-week visit, the dose would be a maximum of 10 mSv. That is 6 to 80 times more radioactive than the evacuation zone of Fukushima.”
“To enable nuclear power, the NRC must renounce the non-scientific basis for LNT and ALARA”Dr. Robert Hargraves
Coming up next week, Episode 13 – What’s So Great about Nuclear Power
Links and References
1. Next Episode – Episode 13 – What’s So Great about Nuclear Power
2. Previous Episode – Episode 11 – Looking for Radiation
3. Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
4. Dr. George Erickson’s Website, Tundracub.com
5. The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
#GeorgeErickson #UnintendedConsequences #Thorium #Fukushima #ALARA #Radiophobia #Ramsar