Skip to comments.Fukushima and the Future of Nuclear Power (No evidence that low doses of radiation are harmful)
Posted on 03/11/2012 2:16:32 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
In the early 1980s, a Taiwan steel company accidentally mixed some highly radioactive cobalt-60 into a batch of steel rebar. The radioactive rods were then used in the construction of 1,700 apartments. As a result, people living in these buildings were subject to radiation up to 30 times the normal amount received from the natural background.
When dismayed officials discovered this enormous error 15 years later, they surveyed past and present apartment dwellers expecting to find an epidemic of cancer. Normal incidence would have predicted 160 cancers among the 10,000 residents. To their astonishment, the researchers discovered only five cases of cancer -- 97% lower than anticipated amount.
Birth defects were 94% below anticipated rates. These findings were published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons in 2004. As one researcher phrased it, exposure to high levels of background radiation had apparently bestowed upon residents, "an effective immunity from cancer".
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Hey, chemotherapy included in your rent!
Author notes that one year after the Fukushima accident, there have been ZERO fatalities or adverse health effects from radiation exposure at Fukushima.
All damages thus far have been as a result of suicide, depression, despair among 100,000 people what have been evacuated from their homes with a 12 mile radius.
Some people have even shunned them in their new locales under the bizazre supposition that they constitute a radioactive danger.
According to the article, researchers speculate that low radiation doses may ironically immunize the body from cancer and birth defects by stimulating the body’s repair mechanisms into greater responsiveness, just as vaccines stimulate the immune system.
That would explain the low cancer rates of residents in the Taiwanese apartments who experienced 10 times the level of radiation as is prevalent in the evacuation zone.
I tend to think that Fukushima is Japan's "global warming", a giant propoganda scam to deflate progress and expand Gov't control by their current left-wing ruling politicians.
I read recently (don’t recall where, but I will look) that the amount of people killed during construction of windmills world-wide has far exceeded the amount of deaths attributed to nuclear accidents from operating plants.
There is a fancy term for it (begins with H) but there is a scientific viewpoint that low doses of radiation are beneficial. Low doses can stop cancers from forming. There was one expert who was hounded out of the public spotlight for making such a claim within the past 5 years. It appears to be true, but very politically incorrect to claim that radiation is a health tonic in low doses.
Reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Repo Man:
Seriously, I have a book by Gilfillin where he describes an experiment where they exposed a roomful of lab animals to one RAD per day.
Outlived the Control Group.
And that's why Dan Rather hates us. ;)
Maybe radon mines are not such a bad idea. :-)
Your recall correctly PFR88. It isn't hard to make such a statement because no one has ever died, or, arguably, even injured, anywhere, any time, as a result of the radiation produced at a commercial nuclear facility - about as perfect a safety record as has ever been compiled by electrical generation technology. Why should that be a surprise? Nuclear engineers have always known, after losing some brilliant scientists during the rush to build an atomic bomb, and even before that, like the Curies, doing the early experiments leading to eventual use of radiation, that radiation could be lethal. People who work with the technology, and I was one of them, don't want to be injured, and certainly wouldn't knowingly develop technology which could hurt our families.
Dangers from solar and wind? The extemely diffuse energy, by comparison with hydrocarbon or nuclear energy, from solar and wind means massive installations are required to collect usefull quantities. The numbers are staggering. We have pretty reliable accident data for workers who work at heights and at night. We have some numbers, in the hundreds, of those injured and killed who fall from roofs working on their rooftop solar collectors, which always introduce roof maintenance problems, Whether falling from ladders or off of a roof, whether amateur or professional, those people were injured, and some died. From the fifty or so to maintain an operating nuclear plant to the thousands needed to support a small, 36 square mile solar array, and its heat storage, millions of gallons of something equivalent to super heated propyalene glycol, since even sites close to the equator receive less than 7 hours of high insolation (useful flux density) incident solar energy, and that requires tracking heliostats, tens of thousands of them. The deaths aren't as frightening to people as nuclear radiation, but dead or crippled nevertheless.
For wind power, the 70 bald eagles who die each year, when there is a much less expensive alternative is enough for me. The maintenance crew at Altamont, if they dared talk, would tell of tens of thousands of dead birds underneath those turbines. Still, if the power didn't require subsides, a case could be made because the efficiency of U.S. manufacturing, our economy, what's left of it, depends upon competitive energy prices. The entire Middle East survives on our productivity, the West. We could be independent from the Middle East, saving our own oil for the 40% of petroleum products not used for transportation or power generation, if we exploit the safest and cleanest technology - not that we won't some day find a replacement.
Nuclear waste? Commercial reactors extract but a fraction of the fission energy from fuel rods. Uranium has been to inexpensive to make reprocessing economic, or worth fighting the environmental bar (to whom Petr Beckmann dedicated his book, to Ralph Nadar, most of whose income came from tithes within the organization of trial lawyers). But waste is easy to store, nothing like the one hundred train car loads of slag produced each day from a one thousand megawatt coal plant, and will probably have enough value in the future to warrant doing what we do today, store it in pools until risidual heat from spontaneous decay disappates, or reprocess as the economy dictates.
Not only has no one been injured, commercial nuclear plants have produced no air pollution. The tiny amounts of radioactive isotopes released by nuclear plants are dwarfed by the normal release of isotopes from coal plants, which have no way of scrubbing radioactive isotopes. Both oil and natural gas release some radioactivity. After all, oil and gas reside deep underground which is whare uranium, radium, and some radon live. The inadverdent Taiwan study, which should be pursued, but hasn't for political reasons. In the U.S., government controls most scientific research. What congressman dares to tell his constituents that he signed a bill to pursue the health advantages of nuclear power?
Now for Chernobyl. Chernobyl was not a commercial nuclear plant. It was a graphite (read very old design, like the Enrico Fermi's pile under the football stadium at U of Chicago) core reactor, chosen by the Soviets because it produced lots of plutonium useful to weapon manufacturing. Access to the core was through swinging doors. There was no six inch thick steel pressure vessel, no hermetic concrete containment eighteen inches thick. But Chernobyl's most serious source of injury to the public was being off line. Three deaths within a few days to operators was the immediate result. Reports of leukemia incidence from the Ukraine ranged from 20 to 60 over five years following the accident, but there were many cities in the Ukraine with no excess radiation where leukemia incidence was higher, so what to make of the those studies? But the U.S. EPA reports (twenty year old data) that emissions from a thousand megawatt coal plant cause about 200 excess deaths per year. The coal replacement for the melted plant at Chernobyl killed more in a year, twice as many deaths, at least, than the accident. Who are dying at Fukashima? Citizens whose lives have been so shattered by the destruction of their homes by the earhquake and tsunami, and by the loss of jobs related, in part, to the dearth of electrical power and cost of its replacement, that they commit suicide.
Coal is much safer than no power at all. Both solar and wind are, like Solyndra, con jobs to justify directing our money to Democrat bundlers, and make money by creating a synthetic market with subsides. Does anyone still not understand that Al Gore, on the board of Keiner Perkins, would, and probably still will, since California is proceeding with the ripoff while they can, from cap and trade investment funds. He is just their poster boy. It is blatant fraud.
A close friend introduced me to a Czech defector, Petr Beckmann, through a book, The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear. Beckmann escaped communism, and was very much aware of the efforts to undermine capitalism he saw as soon as settled in the U.S. He wrote the book thirty five years ago and it remains as valid today as it was then. The copy I saw had been borrowed from the Radiation Laboratory, now Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory library. I might have dismissed it except for the names of the three previous signatures on its sign-out card, Glenn Seaborg, Luis Alvarez, and Ed McMillan, three of the five or six nobel prize winners at The Lab, (and my friend's name). The book was not a serious monograph, but a crudely published, and with a provocative title. The book turned out to be a remarkably clear summary of the risks and benefits of nuclear power, then being attacked for its presumed association with atom bombs and proliferation. Beckmann recognized the Soviet propaganda in those attacks, and little has changed, except that the USSR collapsed.
China, whose senior political executives are scientists and engineers by education, is building nuclear plants as quickly as it can, using a core design begun at Westinghouse, and acquired by Toshiba when politics all but killed our domestic nuclear engineering industry. Goodness knows, Beijing wants clean air, like that in 90% nuclear electric France. China is proceeding to build 125 nuclear electric plants by 2025, and has three plants built, in low power testing, begun in 2008. America's ‘newest’ nuclear electric facility began licensing almost twenty five years ago. If Japan is willing to commit economic suicide by keeping its nuclear plants shut, and if Japan has any credit left, it may be able to purchase power from China, since it has no hydrocarbon or expandable hydro-power of its own.
America is run by lawyers, whose activities consumed much of the profit from investments in nuclear power in the U.S. by suing every private effort to build new plants. The U.S. government, taxpayers, provided funds for lawyers on both sides of the civil challenges. How clever to make laws, like cap-and-trade, to guarantee the incomes of investors and lawyers, by effectively selling rights to air. The public which must pay for the confidence game, and defend from it, to manufacture anything. Clever lawyers, who manufacture nothing, have built a scheme to tax productivity! Environmental legal activism became the principal function of Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and many previously legitimate focii for those most of us who treasure the environment.
Do the indications that there might be some beneficial effects from exposure to low levels of radiation differentiate between the type of radiation, the length of exposure, etc?
Anybody that might think such a stunt was an “accident” should lay off the wild wood weed for a while.
I read the book thirty years ago. I thought it was excellent.
I remember the book was directly available from the author and the price was something like two dollars or fifty cents if paid in silver.
I hadn't thought of “Health Hazards...” for a couple of years when I got involved in a very big optics project. The clever technique involved correcting for diffraction caused by thermal effects - light bends as a function of the density of air, which is why we see shimmering on hot days. The chief scientist showed me the mathematical source for the technique; low and behold it was Petr Beckmann’s “Scattering of Electromagnetic Waves.” I went back and read “Health Hazards...” with new respect.
Beckmann also published a newsletter, “Access to Energy”, almost to the day he died. When he died Access was continued by another excellent scientist, this time a biochemist, formerly the director of the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto, and also a student of Pauling at Cal Tech. Pauling is a testament to the fact that scientists out of their fields do not necessarily maintain the standards of rigor that made them successful, and Pauling certainly was successful. Robinson had the integrity to find some pathologies not the least helped by vitamin C, and Pauling was furious when Robinson reported on the results. It went to court, perhaps even the Supreme Court, and Robinson was vindicated, but lost his position. Beckmann’s and now Robinson's newsletter is still excellent. Robinson is competing for a congressional seat in Oregon now held by a Pelosi cohort.
Robinson reported on what was known about hormesis a year or so ago. The implications of the cancer statistics from the housing complex in Taiwan, where families were bathed in 60 mrem of incremental beta (average total background is 200-300 mrem) would be so important to the relief of human suffering that it is a remarkable testament to the focus of parasites in government that they will await the private sector, and propose a study only in order to be able to regulate it. The regression analysis from the study suggested an optimal exposure, in addition to the natural background, was around 100 mrem. In this decay process both electrons and gamma rays are produced. I have read conjecture about why this might work; electron bombardment is used in cancer therapy. But not being an atomic physicist, or oncologist, I can only wonder why the phenomenon has not been funded, though this wouldn't be first time (like when the NSF refused to fund studies to validate the HIV-AID hypothesis, which is conjecture, and contested by Nobel prize winner for inventing PCR, the only mechanism for detecting live virus, Kerry Mullis.).
As a summary, there is no reason for scarce and expensive electricity.