What you don’t understand is the path of the hurrican, it is impossible to predict if they will be killed. So best not to evacuate them as they might be fine. I mean, hardly anyone died in New Orleans and there was great upset at the evacuation. The New Jersey hurricane, well, I rest my case. Whatever it is. Hurricanes are entirely natural and safe. Something like that.


Natural background radiation in Japan is not much more than 1mSv. And you reckon it’s ok to increase that by a factor of 100 and not evacuate people?

Let’s confine this to man-made accidental releases of ionizing radiation into the environment. Could you explain how this is beneficial.


Yes. 100mSv over the course of a year does not seem to cause any health effects, any evidence for any damage at such a small level is highly tenuous.

Let’s confine this to man-made accidental releases of ionizing radiation into the environment. Could you explain how this is beneficial.
See Radiation hormesis for more info. What I am saying is that radiation release of upto 100 mSV has been shown to have very little effect and possibly even a beneficial one.


Radioactive water overflows barriers at Fukushima plant during heavy rain -> japantoday.com/category/nati … heavy-rain

Fukushima fishermen watch recovery slip away -> latimes.com/world/la-fg-japa … 1323.story

Japan pushes back cleanup of towns contaminated by radiation from crippled nuclear power plant -> washingtonpost.com/world/asi … story.html



From your Wikipedia link…


From your Wikipedia link…

I really don’t want to rehash this so I will just link to a papers discussing this… let me know if you can’t view them… there are many more…
Many of the recommendations and decisions made by such councils are political

dose-response.metapress.com/app/ … 1:119866,1

I can keep adding more and more papers this is the result of ten minutes search…


I think the below graphic is very well done, and worth considering.
In that context, 100mSv is flagged as the “lowest dose clearly linked to increased cancer risk”. Meanwhile 50mSv is the “Radiation worker one year dose”, with 4mSv being the "Normal yearly background dose. So the numbers being discussed in the thread are around what I would call a controversial level (i.e. low enough to be comparable to background levels, and for hormesis arguments to have some traction (however limited) while high enough to be linkable to cancer).

Note, if we did take dkin’s statement “release of upto 100 mSV has been shown to have very little effect and possibly even a beneficial one.”, and interpret that strictly as true, I would take that to mean that 100mSv is quite likely to be a threshold above/around which radiation becomes harmful. i.e. statement indicates that at that level results are 50/50 pos (weakly) and neg (weakly). If low doses are eigher positive (hormesis) or null (no effect) then likely that at this point you get clearer negative effects, and so I would want for safety to take a lower dose (I also take a low dose (1mg) of paracetamol when I have a headache, even though I would have a greater chance of eliminating my headache if I cranked the dose up to just 1% below the level that would damage my liver).

xkcd.com/radiation/ :


Any individual paper is not a good basis for policy, it is rather a snapshot of a scientific study. Reading the abstracts for those papers, the first acknowledges the difficulty in evaluating the effect of low doses. The second is very bullish on the assertion that LNT is invalid. The third questions the scientific basis for LNT, but without proposing something else (i.e. statement that “LNT is not based on science” does not equate to “we have a better threshold”; this is not a criticism: pointing out the invalidity of one approach is good, the scientist doesn’t have to put in place a replacement!).

I am not familiar with the science around ionising radiation. But I have worked professionally in the field of non-ionising radiation exposure (low frequency EMF). You get a lot of papers published, and naturally a lot of conflicting results:

  • EMF causes cancer
  • EMF causes childhood leukaemia
  • Aerosol effects near power lines are significant and concentrate pollutants
  • EMF causes alzheimers

You also get a lot of papers and studies that show no effect at all.

You can’t use any one or two papers to make policy. That’s not a criticism of the scientists doing the research: they set out to answer a narrow question amenable to experiment/theory. Policy gets made by looking at the sum total of the science (cellular studies, animal studies, theoretical models & simulations, epidemiology) and what it indicates, you then look at the uncertainties in that message (i.e. how well baked is the science, or is it still an emerging field?), and you generally take a conservative approach inclined to maintain business as usual (if EMF was so dangerous, we’d have seen it more clearly by now). Very often these days, a precautionary approach is taken.

The difficulty in back-tracking should be a factor. i.e. if we built nuclear plants with a low emission level, and then discover we didn’t need to, then that’s an unnecessary expense but the plants are still ok. If we built them with a high emission level, and then discover they are killing people, then that’s a mess and very very expensive to clean up (plus the damage to many people is already done).

The final decisions/recommendations are by committee, they are political, but they are science based to the extent that the science can provide a basis for that recommendation. Ultimately the decisions on what to actually do must be political (even choosing to “follow the science” is a political choice) since they are policies and the scientific effects are only one part of the decision making process.


Well if we look at Fig 4 page 237 of this report we will see that radiation exposure of up to 700 mSV (grays can be converted 1:1 to Sieverts for our purposes here) had no impact on cancer formation and from this paper (they don’t use a baseline cancer rate for some reason…)

Many retrospective human studies have shown reduced cancer rates in the cohorts subjected to low dose radiation in
comparison to the cohorts not subjected to such radiation (Hwang et al., 2006; Cohen, 2007; Vaiserman, 2010; Thompson, 2011).


Like I said, I’m not active in the science of this topic. What seems clear is that at a high enough dose you get cancer incidence increase. At low expsoure you either get no effect, or a weak effect (could be increase or decrease). Current policy, as far as I can see it, is that since the high dose effect is clear, and the low dose effect is unclear, you generally aim for a minimum exposure level.

Without reading these papers in detail, questions that would already occur are:

  • How many papers presented conflicting results?
  • In a meta-analysis what result emerges (e.g. 2 papers based on huge populations giving outcome A may well trump 20 papers with tiny sample sizes giving outcome B)
  • Are we confident we understand the precise type of radiation in question are comparable: do bomb survivors get the same mix of alpha/beta/gamma as those exposed to power-plant emissions. Are the vectors the same (inhaled, versus skin contact, versus ingestion)?
  • Are there confounding factors in the data? (e.g. this is a big issue with EMF data, living under/near a power line correlates with poverty, and poverty correlates with disease (with clearer causal links))
  • Are the results fully generalisable? Are there at-risk populations for whom the results wouldn’t apply and for whom LNT would be more applicable? (Trivial example: african-extraction populations in northern europe are vulnerable to rickets, a study based on that population could lead to a recommendation that sun exposure helps health, but if you generalised the result (and specific dose) to an irish population it wouldn’t be quite right (sun is good, but we need less, and suffer disease at lower dose)).

But the fundamental point is that just quoting papers doesn’t really justify the policy. One of the papers you link goes to great lengths to convey that radiation-hormesis is an emerging field, and under-studied (which is a reasonable argument for further study):

I find the other paper difficult to skim, but the abstract doesn’t seem to come down heavily on side of Hormesis:

Note, I’m not down on radiation-hormesis! A paper against it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The phenomenon makes some intuitive sense to me, and I think we both agree that the fear and scare-mongering around radiation health-risks goes far beyond the rational and the scientific. It’s likely that radiation-hormesis has been under-studied.


Lawmaker breaks taboo by handing letter about nuclear fears to emperor - -> japantoday.com/category/nati … to-emperor

Groundwater reached the surface of the ground on the seaside of reactor2 -> fukushima-diary.com/2013/10/grou … -reactor2/

Plutonium release from Fukushima Daiichi fosters the need for more detailed investigations -> ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3798882/

Nuclear Engineer: The question is, why all of a sudden the urgency at Fukushima plant, what do they know? — They’re obviously feeling pressure, like it’s one move away from checkmate (AUDIO) -> enenews.com/nuclear-engineer-que … mate-audio



Interview with Arne Gunderson starts 5 minutes in and lasts 35 minutes.


Japan Reacts to Fukushima Crisis By Banning Journalism - -> washingtonsblog.com/2013/11/ … alism.html


They’re Going to Dump the Fukushima Radiation Into the Ocean - -> washingtonsblog.com/2013/12/ … ocean.html


Record outdoor radiation level that ‘can kill in 20 min’ detected at Fukushima -> rt.com/news/fukushima-radiation- … tdoor-912/


Pandora’s Promise which was recently reased is well worth a watch. Discusses most of the main talking points without leaving out anything too obvious.


U.K. Risks Looking ‘Economically Insane’ on EDF Nuclear Deal -> bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-3 … -deal.html


This what happens when you suppress a technology like nuclear while simultaneously destroying your own world leading nuclear industry. After then discovering you actually need it, you can be held to ransom by those who control the technology. At least it’s better than relying on Russia to keep the gas flowing. Nuclear can and will become much cheaper in the future. I’m sure the French are toasting and enjoying a few glasses of wine :slight_smile:


For 32 years, she has kept up anti-nuclear vigil outside White House -> miamiherald.com/2013/12/16/3 … cause.html


npr.org/2013/12/17/251781788 … lear-power

scientificamerican.com/artic … al-warming