Both the great Truths and the great Falsehoods of the twentieth century lie hidden in the arcane, widely inaccessible, and seemingly mundane domain of the radiation sciences

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: EXHIBIT F continued

What follows is the continuation, in serial form, of a central chapter from my book A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science.

EXHIBIT F continued:

To complete this indictment, we must return to the subject of depleted uranium weaponry. Research, to be discussed in later chapters, has confirmed that veterans suffering symptoms of what is called Gulf War Illness test positive for the presence of depleted uranium in their bodies. These findings must be taken seriously. But those who defend depleted uranium munitions as radiologically benign don’t sponsor credible research to confirm their claims. Instead, they rely on two arguments to bolster their position. First, the dose of radiation delivered by internalized uranium is too low to produce injury; second, a review of published studies on internal exposure to uranium provides no evidence that DU, in concentrations likely to be encountered on the battlefield, could be radiologically hazardous. Setting aside the second argument for a later chapter, the first argument can now be easily refuted. The concept of dose falls apart when applied to low levels of internal contamination with radioactive particles. It is a meaningless and scientifically fraudulent idea when transported from the phenomenon of external exposure at high doses of x-rays and gamma rays and then forced to fit the altogether different phenomenon of localized damage to cell clusters vastly smaller than whole organs. The rationale of this translation is that both phenomena share the common characteristic of transferring energy from the radioactive source to tissue. However, dose requires averaging energy over masses of tissue, and it is scientifically absurd to take localized emissions from embedded radioactive particles and average that energy over the mass of an entire organ. All this does is make the biological damage disappear behind some mathematical hocus-pocus, which then produces the impression that the contamination and the cellular chaos it causes are irrelevant. Radioactive particles decaying within the human body cause biomolecular alterations and cellular damage. The important scientific question is whether this damage is repaired or if it induces altered function and disease. “Dose” provides no relevant information on this fundamental issue. It is just a mathematical abstraction that is adequate for quantifying whole-body exposure or whole-organ exposure to either x-rays/gamma rays or a uniform distribution of a radionuclide throughout an organ, but it is meaningless when applied to nonuniform distribution of radioactive particles. Further, the Hiroshima study and other studies of external exposure provide no relevant information regarding low levels of exposure to internally embedded hot-particles. Again, the notion that it is scientifically justifiable to extrapolate from high levels of external exposure to low levels of internal exposure is grounded on the erroneous idea that biological effect is proportional to the quantity of energy absorbed. However, as has been shown, the alteration of essential macromolecules within cells has nothing to do with the quantity of energy absorbed. It is voodoo science to discount the hazard of embedded uranium particles, or any other radioisotopes, solely on the basis of dosage. The only responsible way to proceed for determining whether or not contamination by depleted uranium is hazardous is to examine the outcome of epidemiological studies of instances of uranium exposure and determine the health consequences. The question to be addressed later is whether or not any previous studies have any relevance to the inhalation on the battlefield of insoluble, micron-sized particles of alloys of uranium metal laced with other contaminants such as plutonium, americium, neptunium, and technetium-99.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: EXHIBIT F continued

What follows is the continuation, in serial form, of a central chapter from my book A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science.

EXHIBIT F continued:

Following up on the idea that a woman’s geographical location and the environmental forces acting within that location may be a factor in the development of breast cancer, Gould et al. compiled data for age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rates (age-adjustment to 1950 standard population) of white women for each of the continental 48 states and the District of Columbia. They compared the breast cancer mortality rates for the periods 1950-54, 1980-84 and 1985-89, and displayed this data in a chart where the states were organized into the nine census regions of the country. In this way, regional variations would be immediately apparent and possible environmental factors could be easily postulated. Shockingly, the NCI had never published national data in this format, ruling out a useful method for detecting environmental influences that may be contributing to cancer. This was either a gross oversight, or perhaps, another scam. Gould notes that only once did the NCI publish a table for breast cancer rates for all states, for the period 1984-1988, but the data was organized with the states listed alphabetically. This method precluded easy detection of regional, i.e., environmental, causes of cancer. When the statistics compiled by the NCI were organized and displayed by regions, the end result supported the conclusion that a regional correlation existed between age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rates and cumulative release of radioactivity from weapon tests and commercial nuclear power plants. Fission products in the diet and drinking water — new pollutants introduced into the environment at the end of W.W.II — were identified as the likely initiators for the increasing rates of breast cancer. During the course of their research, Gould et al. made a host of interesting discoveries, some of which are listed below:

1. In the New England, Middle Atlantic, and East North Central regions, breast cancer mortality rates are significantly above the national average. Such widespread distribution of above-average rates in a genetically diversified population rules out the possibility that genetic factors alone are responsible. Some unidentified environmental factor is at work sustaining the breast cancer epidemic.

2. Breast cancer mortality rates in the Southern and Mountain regions have been rising since 1950-54 far more rapidly than in the nation as a whole. New Mexico and North Carolina registered increases as great as 30% since 1950 compared to moderate increases for the US as a whole of only 2% for 1980-84 and 1% for 1985-89.

3. For the period 1950-54, 10 years after the beginning of nuclear weapon testing, breast cancer mortality rates differed widely between regions. The lowest rates were in the rural East and West South Central regions. Arkansas had the lowest mortality rate of 15.4 deaths per 100,000. Again, differing rates of breast cancer in different geographical regions bear witness that genetic factors are not the sole cause of the breast cancer epidemic.

4. In the period between 1950-54 and 1980-84, the state with the greatest increase in breast cancer mortality was New Mexico, with the rate increasing by 39%. Why New Mexico? Could the Trinity nuclear weapon test in 1945 and the presence of the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory be possible contributing factors? Supporting this contention is the fact that in the 10 contiguous counties in the southeast corner of New Mexico, the region in which the Trinity blast occurred, combined age-adjusted mortality rates increased by 72%. In 1950-54, there were 12.1 deaths per 100,000 people. By 1980-84, 40 years after the test blast, the rate had increased to 20.9 per 100,000.

5. After New Mexico, Arizona and Utah showed the next greatest increase in breast cancer mortality — 29%. These states, bordering Nevada and immediately downwind of the Nevada Test Site, were the routine dumping ground of large amounts of radioactive fallout from weapon tests that silently and invisibly contaminated food and water sources.

6. The cessation of aboveground weapon testing in the early 1960s had a marked influence on breast cancer mortality rates 20 years later. Not only did the enormous increase in breast cancer mortality taper off within the rural states of the Mountain region bordering the Nevada Test Site, they actually showed a significant decline between 1980-84 and 1985-89. This reversal is no surprise if fallout contamination in the diet was a contributing factor to cancer rates.

7. Of the nine census regions, the West South Central region, comprised of Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma, had the lowest rate of breast cancer mortality for the entire period between 1950 and 1989. These low rates persisted despite the fact that these states hosted the largest petrochemical manufacturing facilities in the nation and their agricultural lands were the repository for large amounts of DDT and other chlorine-based pesticides and herbicides. Consequently, these environmental factors by themselves cannot be responsible for the breast cancer epidemic. If they are in some way responsible, some other unidentified cofactor(s) must also be involved.

8. In contrast to the declining rates of breast cancer in the Mountain region after the end of aboveground weapon testing, breast cancer rates continued to climb between 1980-84 to 1985-89 in the rural southern states along the east coast from Delaware to Florida. If nuclear pollution is contributing to the breast cancer epidemic, this fact can be explained by the ongoing emissions of radiation from the region’s commercial nuclear reactors and releases from Oak Ridge and the nuclear weapon installation at Savannah River. All but one of the nine southern states along the Atlantic coast with nuclear reactors registered increases in mortality rates. In contrast, this was not the case in the high rainfall states of Louisiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi, which had no operating reactors before 1982. These states registered declines in breast cancer mortality of three, six, and three percent respectively during the 1980s.

9. Despite the cessation of aboveground weapon testing, breast cancer mortality continued to climb in states receiving large amounts of radioactive pollution from nuclear facilities. This was particularly evident in Rhode Island, downwind of four large reactors in Connecticut and two smaller reactors at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. Rhode Island, during the 1980s, had the largest increase of any state in breast cancer mortality.

10. Identifiable trends in the rates of breast cancer mortality exist between different states that are explainable on the basis of varying levels of radioactive pollution. For instance, almost every rural state showed increases between the period 1950-54 to 1980-84, most probably as the result of fallout from weapon tests. In the period between 1980-84 and 1985-89, a different pattern emerged. In states with no operating nuclear reactors, the rate of breast cancer deaths began to decline whereas in states most significantly exposed to emissions from nuclear reactors, rates continued to climb. The rural states evidencing declines in breast cancer mortality included North and South Dakota, Kansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. As observed by Gould: “Since all of these rural states had similar exposures to pesticides and other chemical pollutants, we may conclude that exposure to bomb-test radiation was the principal cause of the overall increased mortality since 50-54.”

11. Between the period 1950-54 and 1985-89, breast cancer mortality in the Washington state county housing the Hanford Reservation increased from 13.2 to 21.7 deaths per 100,000. For the county in which the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory was located, rates increased from 4.8 to 21.7. In St. Lucie county in Florida, exposed to pollution from four commercial nuclear reactors, the death rate from breast cancer jumped from 6.5 to 23.5.

12. In the 14 counties in which the seven oldest DOE reactor sites are located, combined age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rates for white females rose by 37 percent during the period 1950-54 to 1985-89. During the same period, the corresponding rate in the US as a whole rose by only one percent. In these 14 counties, the rate quintupled, from 371 deaths to 1,926 deaths, while the rate in the US as a whole only doubled.

13. The Oak Ridge study can be replicated for any area in the country where old DOE facilities are located. Women living in counties near the oldest reactor sites have registered by far the highest long-term increase in breast cancer mortality of women in any group of counties in the nation.

14. A comparison was made of breast cancer mortality rates among women in an aggregate of 14 counties that housed seven DOE facilities with reactors to women in an aggregate of nine counties housing DOE facilities without reactors. The women living in the 14 counties exposed to reactor emissions displayed an extraordinary and significant increase in breast cancer mortality of 37% between 1950-54 to 1985-89, compared to a 6% decline among women living in the counties not receiving emissions. This is a clear demonstration that reactor emissions are producing breast cancer.

15. The flat low-rainfall states between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River receive the lowest exposure to fallout from commercial nuclear reactors and have the lowest rates of breast cancer mortality.

16. Most civilian nuclear power plants are located in areas where precipitation levels are over 30 inches per year. There are only five reactors located in states with annual levels of precipitation below 15 inches. Interestingly, these five reactor sites are the only ones studied that fail to show a significant upward divergence in breast cancer mortality rates compared to the nation as a whole.

17. Brookhaven National Laboratory is located in Suffolk county in New York state. From 1950-54, when BNL began operation, through 1985-89, the county’s rate of breast cancer mortality was 40 times greater than the increase throughout the nation as a whole.

The research accumulating on the health detriment produced by released radioisotopes is putting the Cult of Nuclearists in a terrible double-bind. Mounting pressure will eventually force them into admitting either that doses to exposed populations have been greater than previously published or that the risk factors are in substantial error. They cannot have both. The only escape from this predicament is to attack the integrity of the research that casts them into this dilemma. This tactic, however, is becoming increasingly transparent as evidence mounts that radioisotopes in the environment are producing illness and death.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: EXHIBIT F continued

What follows is the continuation, in serial form, of a central chapter from my book A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science.

EXHIBIT F continued:

People tolerate nuclear power plants in their midst only because of constant reassurances by government and industry that routine emissions of radionuclides are insignificant and “doses” to the population are below regulatory concern. This posturing is intended to imply that the health of citizens is not being eroded by radiation. But what about the high incidence of breast cancer consistently found downwind of nuclear reactors?

“Libel!” thunders the Cult of Nuclearists. “Call in the prosecutor! The National Cancer Institute, in a study completed in 1990, found no heightened rates of cancer among populations living in proximity to nuclear reactors!”

The NCI study being referred to is Cancer In Populations Living Near Nuclear Facilities. If ever there was a scam orchestrated to beguile citizens, this was it. Thanks to Jay M. Gould and members of the Radiation and Public Health Project, its fraudulent conclusions were exposed in their book, The Enemy Within: The High Cost of Living Near Nuclear Reactors [1]. As revealed in this work, the authors of the NCI research, in a brilliant act of deception, based their entire study on the devious premise that the only people exposed to radioactive emissions from nuclear power plants are the people living within the counties where the facilities are located. Swept under the carpet was the embarrassing little detail that liquid and gaseous effluents pay no attention to county lines, that they are whisked to outlying counties by meteorological and geophysical forces. By defining at-risk counties as those actually hosting the reactor, the NCI authors harvested a second boon for deceit. Most nuclear reactors are located in rural counties with relatively small populations. Consequently, an increased incidence of breast cancer mortality, if one were detected, would represent only a small number of cases, too small to be considered statistically significant. As observed by Gould,

“A change in mortality in any county cannot be considered significant if it can be shown to be the product of chance variation. Most of the 3,000-odd counties in the United States are small rural counties. Any single county would have to register an extremely high above average mortality increase to be judged statistically significant, simply because there would be too few deaths involved.”

Thus, guaranteed by the dishonest methodology of examining cancer mortality in individual counties, the foregone conclusion was that no “statistically significant” rise in cancer mortality would ever be found among residents of “nuclear counties.” The NCI study echoed this in its conclusion: “if any excess cancer risk was present in the US counties with nuclear facilities, it was too small to be detected with the methods employed.” Case closed! Nuclear reactors do not cause cancer.

The monumental deficiencies of the NCI study and its counterfeit claim that living nearby to nuclear reactors presented no hazard to health were first exposed by Joseph Mangano in his article “Cancer Mortality Near Oak Ridge, Tennessee” [2]. (Oak Ridge was one of the secret cities of the Manhattan Project, created during World War II to produce uranium-235 by the process of gaseous diffusion. After the war, it remained a major production facility, helping America to amass its nuclear arsenal.) When the NCI turned its attention to Oak Ridge, it confined its study to examining cancer mortality for the two counties in which the facility was actually located, Anderson and Rowe. Although it identified an increased rate of cancer mortality in these counties when compared to the nation as a whole, the excess cancer deaths did not represent a sufficient number of cases to be statistically significant.

Using a more sensible methodology, Mangano set out to reexamine any possible connection between cancer mortality (from all types of cancer) and the nuclear pollution emitted from Oak Ridge. He compiled NCI statistics of the aggregated age-adjusted cancer mortality rates from 1950-52 to 1987-89 for the 94 contiguous counties within a 100-mile radius of the Oak Ridge facility. Using this approach, he overcame the two shortcomings of the NCI study. His “nuclear counties” were more realistically representative of areas actually contaminated by radionuclides emanating from Oak Ridge, and the study population was large enough for statistical significance to be achieved. (During 1987-89, 20,000 cancer deaths were on record within the area studied.) What Mangano uncovered put the NCI research to shame. During the period under investigation, combined cancer mortality rates in the counties under investigation increased 34 percent as compared to the five percent increase for the United States as a whole. As Gould observes,

“The probability that so great a divergence over a 37-year period could be the result of chance is less than 1 in 10,000 cases. Proximity to the plant must be a factor involved in this epidemiological anomaly. In the absence of a plausible alternative explanation, it is evident that some malevolent force of mortality has been emanating from the Oak Ridge reactors for a long enough time to have a much wider geographic impact than would be shown by merely the two counties chosen by the NCI for study.”

Through his new window on the cancer cluster near Oak Ridge, Mangano was also able to observe important environmental trends that had remained invisible in the NCI study. For instance, he discovered a significantly greater combined cancer mortality risk for counties located downwind of Oak Ridge, to the north and northeast, in comparison with counties upwind of the facility. This was to be expected if the center of the study area, the Oak Ridge reactors, were responsible for the increased mortality rates. He also discovered that residents living in elevated mountain counties faced a greater risk of cancer mortality than people living in lowland counties due to the greater precipitation to which they were exposed. This also was to be expected since radionuclides afloat in the air are brought down to the ground primarily by rain and snow.

Replicating Mangano’s methodology, Gould et al. studied age-adjusted breast cancer mortality in white females nationwide based upon a county-by-county database published by the NCI. Examining statistics for the 71 counties fully enclosed within a 100-mile radius of Oak Ridge, they calculated a 29 percent increase in aggregated breast cancer mortality during the same study period (1950-54 to 1980-84) compared with the national increase of only one percent. Recognizing that nuclear pollution from other distant sites may have contributed to the cancer increase in so large an area, the researchers narrowed their study to 20 contiguous rural counties downwind of Oak Ridge. In this instance, the aggregated breast cancer mortality rates showed a gain of 38 percent. In comparison, eight counties upwind of Oak Ridge during the same period had a four percent decline in breast cancer mortality.

The Enemy Within recounts the complete study performed by Gould et al. who investigated 60 reactor sites throughout the United States and calculated the age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rates within areas of 50- and 100-mile radii from these installations. What they uncovered was that, throughout the nation, counties within these designated areas had significantly higher rates of breast cancer mortality than either aggregates of counties further from reactor installations or for the nation as a whole. (The 50-mile radius was set for the study because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission uses a 50-mile definition to calculate dosages to the population in connection with nuclear plant licensing procedures. The implication is that the NRC is granting licenses to facilities that are killing women with dosages that are deemed safe.)

The national database used by both the NCI and Gould et al. consisted of 3,053 counties. In the research conducted by the NCI, cancer mortality rates around 62 reactor facilities were studied. On the basis of their location, only 107 counties were identified as “nuclear” counties, i.e., counties hosting or immediately adjacent to the reactors whose population was considered potentially exposed to radionuclides. This fundamental premise of the NCI study is completely unsound. Any eighth grader would know that pollution vented into the air or flushed into waterways will migrate great distances through the environment, contaminating humans either directly or through food chains or water sources that in turn will be the vehicle for contaminating humans. The control population used by the NCI consisted of people living in 292 different counties. For three-quarters of the nuclear facilities under investigation, the control counties were adjacent to the nuclear counties. All the control counties were located within 100 miles of a reactor. This ridiculous choice hopelessly biased the data. Whatever exposure to radionuclides suffered by people in a “nuclear county” would likely be suffered by people dwelling in a “control county.” Rates of cancer would be similar, allowing the fraudulent conclusion to be reached that people in nuclear counties are at no greater risk of dying of cancer than anyone else. This foolishness is an example of our tax dollars at work.

Gould et al. reviewed the conclusions of NCI study. When they looked at all 107 nuclear counties as an aggregate (simultaneously taking into account cancer rates in each county before and after the startup of each reactor), they observed a statistically significant increase in all types of cancer including breast cancer. When they combined the populations of the 107 nuclear counties with the 292 control counties and compared the cancer mortality rates in this population to the rates for the US as a whole, they once again discovered a statistically significant increase in cancer risk for this group of people. This finding soundly refuted the NCI claim that nuclear reactors were not inducing excess rates of cancer.

In their own study, Gould et al. studied 60 reactor sites and the age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rates in those counties located within a 50- and 100-mile radius of these facilities. This procedure produced study populations large enough to display statistical significance. At one point, using a methodology similar to that of the NCI, they calculated the combined breast cancer mortality trends of seven contiguous rural counties downwind and within 50 miles of each reactor. The total number of counties was 346. For the period 1950-54, the recorded age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rates for the people living within these counties was well below that of the US as a whole. In contrast, breast cancer mortality among women living within these counties today is well above the national rate. This observation again refutes the conclusions of the NCI study. As Gould observes in The Enemy Within:

“All in all, for 55 out of the 60 reactor sites we have been able to define some 346 contiguous, mainly rural counties that adjoin one or more reactor sites that have registered aggregated increases in current breast cancer mortality rates significantly higher that the corresponding national increase. Our sole purpose here is to demonstrate the limitations of the NCI definition of proximity to nuclear reactors, which in almost all cases resulted in too small a number of deaths to achieve statistical significance.”

In the Gould et al. study, 1319 counties in the United States were identified as being “nuclear,” within 100 miles of a nuclear reactor. The remaining 1734 counties, mostly rural and lying between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River, were defined as “non-nuclear.” For the period 1985-89, the combined age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rate for the nuclear counties was 25.8 deaths per 100,000. By contrast, the breast cancer death rate in the non-nuclear counties was 22.1 deaths per 100,000. Once again, the conclusion was reached that nuclear reactors were inducing cancer in the population. In an attempt to discredit this conclusion, the NCI undertook a review of the study of Gould et al., copying their methodology. Looking at the mortality rate of nuclear counties within 50 miles of a reactor site, they estimated a rate of 26.9 breast cancer deaths per 100,000 women, based on the 69,554 deaths nationally in the years 1985-89. In contrast, the breast cancer death rate for all other counties was calculated at 23.3. Of this, Gould made the following observation:

The probability that so great a difference could be due to chance is infinitesimal. This means that the cause of the current epidemic increase in breast cancer involves geographical factors that must be environmental and cannot be ascribed to differences due to genetic factors. We must therefore discard all the “blame the victim” and lifestyle factors invoked by the authorities to conceal the true man-made cause of the epidemic.”


[1] Gould J.M., Sternglass E.J., Mangano J.J.., McDonnell W. The Enemy Within: The High Cost of Living Near Nuclear Reactors. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows; 1996.

[2] Mangano J.J. Cancer Mortality Near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. International Journal of Health Service. 1994; 24(3):521-533.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: EXHIBIT F continued

What follows is the continuation, in serial form, of a central chapter from my book A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science.

EXHIBIT F continued:

The previous examples come from Europe and Asia, but health and longevity can be compromised just as easily by reactors operating within the United States. Evidence substantiating this was published in the Archives of Environmental Health in the article “Elevated Childhood Cancer Incidence Proximate to US Nuclear Power Plants” [1]. Mangano et al. compiled data on rates of cancer and leukemia in people living within a 30-mile radius of 14 commercial nuclear power plants located in the eastern United States. The 49 counties under investigation were home to approximately one-third of the 50 million Americans who live within 30 miles of a nuclear reactor. The rates of illness in the study area were then compared to rates compiled by the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) of the National Cancer Institute. SEER data is widely regarded as an accurate proxy for national incidence data. It compiles statistics from established tumor registries in five states and four metropolitan areas, representing about one-tenth of the US population.

In their study, Mangano et al. discovered that the incidence of total cancers in children under five years of age during the period 1988 to 1997 was higher near every one of the 14 nuclear plants than the national incidence rate represented by SEER data. The smallest excess in the cancer rate, + 0.7%, was observed near the Salem/Hope Creek nuclear facility in New Jersey. The largest excess, +29.1%, occurred near both the Turkey Point and St. Lucie power plants in Florida. The childhood cancer rate for all 49 counties combined was 22.51 per 100,000. This was 11.4% greater than the SEER rate.

For the same period, cancer incidence in children between the ages of five and nine exceeded the SEER rate in 13 of the 14 areas under study. Cancer incidence was 12.15 per 100,000 — 12.5% higher than the SEER rate of 10.80. The smallest excess of +2.2% was found near the Millstone reactors in Connecticut. The largest excess, +73.6%, occurred near the St. Lucie reactors in Florida. (For the sake of comparison, the incidence rate near the Crystal River facility in Florida was 6.5% below the SEER rate.)

When the two age groups were combined, the rate of cancer incidence was calculated to be 17.42 per 100,000 children, which is 12.4% above the national rate found by SEER. In 38 of the 49 counties studied, cancer incidence rates in children from birth to nine years old exceeded the rate for the US as a whole. When the incidence of childhood cancer occurring in counties within 30 miles of the reactors under study were compared to the rates for the remaining counties in states where the reactors were located, cancer incidence was once again discovered to be higher. The total excess incidence between the two groups of counties was 5.0%.

Investigating the incidence of childhood leukemia, Mangano et al. examined the rate in the 23 counties near five nuclear power plants in Pennsylvania. These regions accounted for slightly more than half the population of the state. Leukemia in these counties exceeded the US rate by 10.8% while the remainder of the state showed an incidence that was 11.5% below the US rate. According to the authors: “This finding supports the considerable evidence that, although the risk of all forms of childhood cancer is increased by radiation exposure, the risk may be greatest for leukemia.” For all other cancers, no difference was seen in the rate of incidence between the nuclear and non-nuclear counties even though they both exceeded the national rate by 2.6% and 3.2% respectively. The researchers concluded:

"This study found a consistent pattern of increased childhood cancer incidence in all study areas less than 30 mi (48 km) from nuclear plants in the eastern United States. Our findings support the biologically plausible concept that susceptibility to carcinogens, such as radioactivity, is greatest in utero and in early childhood. They also support numerous analyses documenting elevated childhood cancer rates near nuclear facilities in the United States and other nations. The finding that cancer incidence for children less than 10 yr. is 12.4% greater in the study counties than the US as a whole suggests that emissions from nuclear power plants may be linked with 1 of 9 local cases of childhood cancer. These descriptive epidemiological findings suggest a relationship between radioactive nuclides and childhood cancer and should be taken seriously in future research."


[1] Mangano J.J., Sherman J., Chang C., Dave A., Feinberg E., Frimer M. Elevated Childhood Cancer Incidence Proximate to U.S. Nuclear Power Plants. Archives of Environmental Health. February 2003.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: EXHIBIT F continued

What follows is the continuation, in serial form, of a central chapter from my book A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science.

EXHIBIT F continued:

The finding of an excess incidence of leukemia in areas near nuclear installations is not confined to the UK. A 15-fold excess in the incidence of childhood leukemia has been discovered near Cap de la Hague, France’s nuclear fuel reprocessing facility [1,2]. In this study, it was determined that the two excess risk factors for children were playing on the beach and eating shellfish. In a separate study, childhood leukemia within a 10 kilometer radius of the plant was six times the expected rate [3]. In northern Germany, a similar discovery was made. In children 0-4 years of age living within five kilometers of the Krummel nuclear power plant, a five-fold relative risk of leukemia was observed. This jump in leukemia incidence appeared five years after the plant began operations in 1983. A significant increase in adult leukemia in proximity to Krummel was also observed. Elevated levels of chromosome aberrations in the blood of local residents further supported the hypothesis that radiation was the causative agent for the leukemia cluster [4]. Environmental monitoring detected the presence of artificial radioactivity in air, rainwater, soil and vegetation, confirming chronic leakages of radioactivity from the facility. Calculations applied to the observed levels of radioactivity in the environment implied that emissions from the plant must have been well above authorized annual limits. In a separate study conducted by Korblein et al., a statistically significant increase in all types of childhood malignancies was discovered in children, ages 0-4, who lived in the areas closest to all commercial nuclear power plants in Germany. These findings remained unchanged when statistics for the area around the Krummel plant, with its confirmed leukemia cluster, were excluded.

In 1995, Iwasaki et al. published data concerning leukemia and lymphoma mortality between 1973 and 1987 in the vicinity of nuclear power plants in Japan [5]. Their study concluded that mortality from these diseases in the municipalities where the facilities were located was not significantly different from the control areas. The authors reached this conclusion by analyzing Standardized Mortality Ratios for each individual municipality. This created a multitude of small-number comparisons producing results of very low statistical power and guaranteeing that unless large numbers of illness were detected, no statistical significance would ever be derived from the study. The data was reanalyzed by Ziggel et al. [6] by pooling the incidence of leukemia and lymphoma for all municipalities housing reactors and for the control regions. When this was done, it was discovered that in the period 1973-1987, there were 307 observed leukemia deaths in all age groups where only 251 would have been expected based on Japanese national figures. The resulting Standardized Mortality Ratio of 1.22 demonstrated a 20% increase in leukemia in the study areas.


[1] Viel J.F., Poubel D., Carre A. Incidence of Leukemia in Young People around the La Hague Nuclear Waste Reprocessing Plant: A Sensitivity Analysis. Statistics in Medicine. 1996; 14: 2459-2472.

[2] Viel J.F., Richardson S., Danel P., Boutard P., Malet M., Barrelier P., Reman O. Carré A. Childhood Leukemia Incidence in the Vicinity of La Hague Nuclear-Waste Reprocessing Facility (France). Cancer Causes and Control. 1993; 4(4):341-343.

[3] Guizard A-V., Boutou O., Pottier D., Troussard X., Pheby D., Launoy G., Slama R., Spira A., AKRM. The Incidence of Childhood Leukemia Around the La Hague Nuclear Waste Reprocessing Plant (France): A Survey for the Years 1978-1998. Journal of Epidemiological Community Health. 2001; 55: 469-474.

[4] Ziggel H., Schmitz-Feuerhake I., Dannheim B., Heimers A., Oberheitmann B., Schroder H. Leukemia in the Proximity of a German Boiling-Water Nuclear Reactor: Evidence of Population Exposure by Chromosome Studies and Environmental Radioactivity. Environmental Health Perspectives. 1997; 105(Supplement 6):1499-1504.

[5] Iwasaki T., Nishizawa K., Murata M. Leukaemia and Lymphoma Mortality in the Vicinity of Nuclear Power Stations in Japan, 1973–1987. Journal of Radiological Protection. 1995; 15:271-288.

[6] Ziggel H., Hoffmann W., Kuni H. Leukemia and Lymphoma Mortality in the Vicinity of Nuclear Power Stations in Japan 1973-1987. Letter to the editor in Journal of Radiological Protection. 1996; 16:(3):213-215.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: EXHIBIT F continued

What follows is the continuation, in serial form, of a central chapter from my book A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science.

EXHIBIT F continued:

A very dramatic cluster of cancers has been discovered along the Menai Strait between the island of Anglesey and North Wales. Mud banks in this area are known to be heavily contaminated by radionuclides discharged from Sellafield. As reported by the Low Level Radiation Campaign:

In the seaside town of Caernarfon, leukemia in the 0-4 year-old age group is more than 20 times higher than the UK national average. Brain cancers in the 0-14 age group are 18 times the average. Elevated risks not confined to the town — the 34 wards surrounding the Menai Strait - have:

* an eight-fold excess of leukemia in children younger than 4

* a five-fold excess of brain and spinal cancer in children younger than 15

* a 10-fold excess of retinoblastoma in children under 14.

(Retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer, has been associated with radioactivity since the Seascale cluster of leukemia is accompanied by a 20-fold excess of retinoblastoma in children of Sellafield workers)” [1].

These findings are highly relevant to the current discussion. Britain’s Committee of Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) investigated the reported childhood leukemia cluster in the environs of Seascale, near the Sellafield reprocessing plant. Repeatedly, they advised that, according to the current knowledge base, doses to the surrounding population from Sellafield were too low to be responsible for inducing the observed illnesses. The even more dramatic cluster of childhood cancers along the Menai Strait serves as a powerful indictment of COMARE’s objectivity and its assessment of Sellafield’s innocence. What it does is offer further confirmation that radioisotopes released from this reprocessing facility are inducing cancer in children. This newest revelation of the relationship between radiation in the environment and cancer screams out, once again, that there is something terribly suspect in what is currently embraced as the “truth” about the risks to health posed by internal exposure.

In Europe, other nuclear facilities besides Sellafield have been found to be inducing illness in their neighbors. Clusters of childhood cancer and leukemia have been discovered in communities near the nuclear reprocessing facility at Dounreay in the far north of Scotland. Research undertaken in 1986 revealed that childhood leukemia within 12.5 km of Dourneay was 600% higher than the average incidence elsewhere in Scotland [2]. As at Sellafield, COMARE confirmed that this excess was real, but denied that it was the result of nuclear pollution, on the grounds that the currently accepted dose-response models could not account for it. Another cluster of childhood leukemia in the United Kingdom was identified in the region close to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire. The excess was observed in children under five years old who lived within 10 km of the facility [3]. According to the CERRIE Minority Report: “these well-documented effects indicate a potential for the existence of errors in the ICRP risk model of between two and three orders of magnitude.”

The Hinkley Point nuclear power plant is located near Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset, UK. The first reactor came online in 1964. That the plant was contaminating the surrounding area was confirmed in subsequent years with the discovery offshore of radionuclides adhering to fine sediments in the Steart Flats mudbank. To discover whether or not this pollution was harming the local population, the Somerset Health Authority in 1988 undertook a study of the incidence of leukemia in parishes within a 15 km radius of the plant. The study confirmed that, during the period 1959-1986, a significant increase occurred in the incidence of leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma among people younger than 25 years of age [4]. The relative risk, driven by a high number of cases occurring in the first five years of the plant’s operation, was between 2.0 ad 2.5 times the national average. For the period 1995-1999, breast cancer mortality in Burnham-on-Sea was twice the national average. Evidence that Hinkley Point pollution was responsible for this increase was made obvious by this observation from the researchers who discovered this increase:

Our first analysis of the Hinkley Point area was for breast cancer mortality. Results supported the hypotheses: analysis showed that there was a statistically significant excess risk of dying of breast cancer in the aggregate wards within 5 km of the center of the offshore mud banks near Hinkley Point (RR=1.43; p=0.02). The risk fell off with increasing distance from a point source taken to be the center of the mud bank with Relative Risks of 1.43, 1.33, 1.24, 1.16 and 1.13 in wards contained within 5, 10,15,10 and 25 km rings around the point source. The overall risk in the study area was 1.09 (relative to England and Wales rates for the same period). The most significant high risk ward was Burnham North with 8.7 deaths expected, 17 observed (RR=1.95; p=0.02).

We followed this by analyzing risk of dying of prostate cancer (Busby et al., 2000b). This also supported the hypothesis. As with the breast cancer, prostate cancer mortality showed a significant trend with distance, falling from 1.4 in the 5 km ring around the center of the offshore mud banks to 1.02 in the 25-30 km ring (Chi square for trend 3.47, p = .05). Again, the downwinders at Burnham-on-Sea suffered a significantly raised cancer mortality risk: for prostate cancer mortality in the two wards, Burnham North and Burnham South combined, the Relative Risk was 1.5 with p = 0.05 (14 expected, 21 observed)” [5,6}.

In the UK, HM Dockyard Plymouth services nuclear submarines. When the decision was made in 2000 to increase capacity, Devonport Management Limited, which operates the facility, applied to the Environment Agency to be allowed to increase its annual emissions of radionuclides. A 700% increase, from 120 GBq to 800 GBq, was proposed for tritium discharges into the Tamar River, which flows past Plymouth. In addition, permission was sought for raising tritium discharges into the atmosphere from 1 to 5 GBq together with a new requirement for releases of 45 GBq of carbon-14 and 15 Gbq of argon-41. This proposal raised concern among local citizens. One question that many people sought an answer to was the health effects, if any, caused by the lower levels previously permitted. In response, the South West Devon Health Authority (SWDHA) issued a report on leukemia in the Plymouth area, based on figures provided by the South West Cancer Intelligence Unit. According to the report, a statistically significant excess in leukemia incidence of 25-30% was present for the period 1995-1997, for both men and women of all age groups. However, the SWDHA report concluded that these increases were not related to radionuclide discharges from the dockyard. Their reasons, according to Cancer and Leukemia and Radioactive Pollution from HM Dockyard, Plymouth was: “(a) the crude death rates from leukemia were not highest in the wards closest to the dockyard, Keyham [on the east side of the Tamar near the dockyard] and Torpoint [on the western side of the Tamar, opposite the dockyard], and (b) radiation exposure from the releases were too small to cause any measurable increases in leukemia” [7]. To prove (a) as false and (b) as an invalid assumption based on incorrect risk models of the ICRP, Plymouth’s Campaign Against Nuclear Storage and Radiation (CANSAR) and the environmental group Green Audit conducted research on the incidence, not death rate, of cancer and leukemia in Keyham and Torpoint. The results of their study confirmed that in the 10-year period 1994-2003, there was an 18-fold excess risk of leukemia in Keyham (seven reported cases where only 0.38 were expected based on national rates) and a 4.7-fold excess in Torpoint (four cases reported where only 0.84 were expected.) To add greater strength to the findings, a proportional incidence analysis was carried out in which the ratios of leukemia to all cancers were determined and compared to the ratio for the country as a whole. Again, an excess incidence of leukemia in the two wards was confirmed. The risk for all cancers combined was also elevated. In Keyham, for all ages, there were 39 cases of cancer reported when the expected number was only 20. In Torpoint, there were 76 reported cases where only 45.8 were expected. These results confirmed the excess leukemia risk in the vicinity of the Plymouth dockyard. Further, they drive another nail into the coffin of inaccurate risk factors that leave leukemia incidence near nuclear installations unexplained.


[1] Low Level Radiation Campaign (LLRC). The Nuclear Laundry - Again! New Cluster of Childhood Cancers and Leukemia Far Worse than Seascale. Low Level Radiation Campaign Activists’ briefing. March, 2004.

[2] Busby C. Wings of Death: Nuclear Pollution and Human Health. Aberystwyth, Wales: Green Audit Books, Green Audit (Wales) Ltd; 1995.

[3] Beral V., Roman E. and Bobrow M. Childhood Cancer and Nuclear Installations. London: British Medical Journal; 1993.

[4] Green Audit. Hinkley Point Cancer Cluster: Cancer Mortality and Proximity to Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station 1995-1998.

[5] Busby C., Dorfman P., Rowe H. Cancer Mortality and Proximity to Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station 1995-1998: Part 1-- Breast Cancer. Aberystwyth: Green Audit: 2000.

[6] Busby C., Dorfman P., Rowe H. Cancer Mortality and Proximity to Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station 1995-1998: Part 2 -- Prostate Cancer. Aberystwyth: Green Audit; 2000.

[7] Busby C, Avent I. Cancer and Leukemia and Radioactive Pollution from HM Dockyard, Plymouth. Occasional Paper 04/04. Aberystwyth: Green Audit; March 2004.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: EXHIBIT F continued

What follows is the continuation, in serial form, of a central chapter from my book A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science.

EXHIBIT F continued:

When confronted with evidence that radionuclides emitted from nuclear installations do cause leukemias and other cancers, nuclear apologists parry the attack with the observation that those studies which do demonstrate a correlation between radionuclide exposure in the environment and illness involve relatively small population samples and the frequency of observed illnesses are not statistically significant. In many cases, this is a valid criticism which, for over half a century, has successfully prevented liability being assigned to those who discharge radiation into the environment. However, as research continues to accumulate, this position is becoming increasingly less tenable. Although small studies may produce statistical anomalies that fail to prove a rule, the cumulative power of numerous small studies, all confirming heightened incidence of childhood leukemia and cancer in contaminated areas, has to be respected as evidence that some real effect is being observed.

In Europe, a number of epidemiological studies have been carried out to examine the relationship between nuclear pollution and ill health. In geographical areas where isotopes have been found to accumulate, the local inhabitants have consistently faced greater risks of developing leukemia and cancer than predicted by ICRP models. Coastal communities in Ireland and Wales in proximity to the Irish Sea have been investigated due to the accumulation in that body of water of fallout, discharges from nuclear fuel-reprocessing (Sellafield) and dumping of radioactive waste (Sellafield and nuclear reactor facilities.) Along certain shorelines, radionuclides — most notably plutonium-239, cesium-137 and strontium-90 — have contaminated mudbanks, estuaries, and intertidal sediment (the sediment lying between high tide and low tide marks). Studies have shown that the radioisotopes discharged into the Irish Sea bind preferentially to fine silts. While afloat on the water surface, the action of wind and waves resuspends this fine particulate matter and blows it ashore. Alternatively, radioactive sediment trapped in the intertidal zone during low tide dries and is swept into the air by wind. In either case, the end result is that radionuclides from the sea contaminate inland air where it is available for inhalation by populations living along the coast. This hypothesis is supported by a number of observations. Airborne plutonium was collected in muslin screens set at various distances from the Irish Sea. The highest concentration of plutonium was found in those screens closest to the coast with a rapid falloff occurring within a few kilometers inland and then flattening out further into the interior. Analysis of plutonium in deciduous teeth showed the same gradient. Residents close to the coast bore a higher burden of plutonium contamination in their teeth than their neighbors living slightly further inland. As distance from the coast increased, plutonium concentrations decreased. A study of plutonium concentrations in sheep feces bore witness to the same phenomenon. Another study looked at the concentration of plutonium and cesium-137 in autopsy specimens. Again, a correlation was established between the distance of a person’s home from the Irish Sea and the extent of the body burden of contaminants. In this study, it was observed that the highest levels of radionuclides were found in the lymph nodes draining the lung, suggesting that inhalation was the route of exposure. This evidence of differential exposure to radiocontaminants diminishing with distance from the Irish Sea strongly suggests that sea-to-land transfer is the best explanation for the phenomenon. This radioactivity in the environment correlates with observations of a high incidence of cancers in certain coastal communities. In Ireland, a significant excess of childhood leukemia was discovered in a strip three miles wide along the east coast [1]. An excess of breast cancer was also observed among Irish women living close to the coast [2]. As noted in the CERRIE Minority Report: “The trends in cancer risk by distance from the sea correlated well with inland penetration by sodium chloride and concentrations of plutonium in air as measured by Harwell [Nuclear Research Establishment] workers in the late 1980s [3].”

The period of peak emissions from Sellafield, coinciding with the highest level of radioisotope pollution along the coast of Wales, occurred between 1974 and 1989. According to the Green Audit Irish Sea Research Group, the incidence of cancer in Wales for most age groups was significantly higher among people living in population areas centered within a 800-meter wide strip stretching along the coast of the Irish Sea. Compared with the combined population of England and Wales, a 4.6-fold excess of leukemia in 0-4 year olds was discovered in this coastal area [1]. The risk of contracting cancer was found to fall off as one moved west from the coast, first of all falling sharply, then showing a slight rise inland at the mountains, and then steadily decreasing toward the border with England where rates then became comparable with English rates.


[1] Busby C., Kocjan B., Mannion E., Scott Cato M. Proximity to the Irish Sea and Leukemia Incidence in Children at ages 0-4 in Wales from 1974-1989: First Report of the Green Audit Irish Research Group. Green Audit Aberystwyth, Wales. Occasional Papers 98/4. August 1, 1998.

[2] CERRIE Minority Report. Minority Report of the UK Department of Health / Department of Environment (DEFRA) Committee Examining Radiation Risk from Internal Emitters (CERRIE). Aberystwyth: Sosiumi Press; 2005.

[3] Eakins J.D., Lally A.E. The Transfer to Land of Actinide-Bearing Sediments from the Irish Sea by Spray. Science of the Total Environment. 1984; 35:23-32.