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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Background Reading: 3

What follows is an excerpt from my book A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science ( The thesis of this book is that the science of radiation effects has been corrupted by a political agenda to minimize the perception of the hazard to public health which follows the release of radioactive material into the environment. Starting with the next posting, the case against the Cult of Nuclearists for the crime of fraud will be laid out before the reader. Today's blog will introduce the perpetrators of the crime.

The Cult of Nuclearists

Mischief is afoot in the science of radiation effects. An epic deception has been created to deflect criticism from those who scatter radioactive material over the Earth. This deception, created to fulfill a political agenda, has corrupted the understanding of what constitutes a safe level of exposure to radioactive atoms drawn into the human body from nuclear pollution. As a consequence, the health of vulnerable populations around the globe is being eroded.

Who would possibly commit such a crime? How could it be accomplished? What would be the payoff?

In setting out to write a book about fraudulent science, an obvious first step would be to reveal who perpetrated the fraud. In this case of widespread, institutionalized corruption, unmasking the collaborators is not feasible. No whistleblower has stepped forward. No misplaced memoirs have been discovered, stuffed between the pages of a discarded book. No posthumous confession has yet been bequeathed to posterity. Nevertheless, those who committed the offense are not as invisible as they believe. Revelation comes from an unexpected quarter.

Inevitably, people make a mistake who attempt to redirect, or misdirect, understanding of physical law and the phenomena of nature. Their hubris blinds them to their ultimate undoing, that in time, nature itself will reveal their intrigue. New technology, novel experimentation, a reinterpretation of existing evidence and the like will eventually conspire to highlight any disparity between objective truth and political propaganda. And this is what has occurred.

The thesis of this book is straightforward: those who have monkeyed with science have left their signature in their works. Their corrupted science testifies against them. By their deeds, you will know them...

Over the course of the last half century, practically every effort by the public to prove injury from nuclear pollution has failed. The government and the nuclear industry has weathered each storm of protest and litigation, and in the process has mollified all opposition. They have succeeded by appealing to protesters’ naive faith that all proclamations made in the name of science are unblemished and objective. Their invincible strategy was based on beguiling the better judgment of all challengers with this seemingly irrefutable refrain: “The public has no need for concern. According to currently accepted international standards of radiation safety and risk assessment, the radiation released was in levels too low to create any adverse effects to health.”

Behind this incantation dwells a coterie of individuals who derive power and profit from nuclear/radiological weapons and technologies that spew radioactivity into the environment. Throughout this work, this group will be designated by the term “Cult of Nuclearists.” The use of such an oblique reference to point to the covert power structure of the United States is by no means original. For instance, in 1913, President Woodrow Wilson offered the following observation in his book The New Freedom: A Call For the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People:

We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world — no government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men.

Wilson also provided this observation:

Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.

President John F. Kennedy shone a light on the hidden power structure of the nation when he condemned secret societies and the threat they posed to free institutions. Addressing the American Newspaper Publishers Association in New York on April 27, 1961, Kennedy had this to say:

The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.

Today no war has been declared — and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack. Those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe. The survival of our friends is in danger. And yet no war has been declared, no borders have been crossed by marching troops, no missiles have been fired.

For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence — on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Perhaps, most famously, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned citizens of “unwarranted influence” and “misplaced power” by the “military-industrial complex” in his televised farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961:

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

It is interesting to note that the speech as originally written used the term military-industrial-congressional complex, but Eisenhower dropped the reference to Congress at the last minute. By implicating Congress, he was pointing to the reigning corruption of the legislative process: the lobbying, the enactment of laws and the appropriation of funds for the enrichment of private corporations, and the revolving door through which businessmen achieve public office, create laws and policies beneficial to their industries before returning to the private sector. By this process, government is transformed into the servant of private interests.

The Cult of Nuclearists is comprised of people of a common mentality. They embrace nuclear and radiological weapons as a reasonable element of warcraft and statecraft and are responsible for maintaining these weapons in our midst. They have never made a serious effort to forge an international consensus to banish nuclear weapons. They venerate the power they wield, the threat they project, the advantage they possess over the less powerful. They have created a world that 99.999% of humanity abhor. Worldwide, this group of people is relatively small, perhaps numbering in the tens of thousands, and yet they manage to hold six and a half billion people hostage to their agenda. Due to their small number, it is befitting to characterize their behavior as cultish. The Cult of Nuclearists is ideologically committed to perpetuating their instruments of devastation. They harbor a mentality in which the threat of mass destruction serves a useful purpose. They champion the credo that nuclear weapons maintain national security and international stability and that an enduring peace is achievable through deterrence strategy and the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction. Perhaps, most importantly, they capitalize on the menace of nuclear weapons to achieve, in peacetime, political objectives.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Background Reading: 2

What follows is an excerpt from my book A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science ( It provides background information that will allow the reader to follow what is to come in future postings. It is reproduced from the chapter entitled Radiation Safety in Its Infancy: 1895-1953

Radiation Safety After the War

While the Second World War was being fought, the work of both the US Advisory Committee on X-Ray and Radium Protection and the ICRP lapsed into inactivity. During their absence from the scene, the nuclear sciences underwent a revolution. The meaning and implications of “radiation safety” before the war had little to do with the new realities in existence by war’s end. In the 1930s, issues of radiation safety revolved around establishing exposure limits, primarily to patients and medical personnel. In the post-Manhattan Project world, radiation safety had to encompass the burgeoning nuclear industry as well as potential exposure to the entire population by radioactivity released into the environment. These new realities reinforced the implication, inherent in the concept of “permissible dose,” that what was deemed an acceptable risk was a judgment call made by members of regulatory agencies, and that members of society had to accept an element of risk to their own health for nuclear technology to flourish. Defining exactly what constituted acceptable risks to the general populace, however, was never a topic of public debate. It was left in the hands of those few charged with developing radiation protection standards who, needless to say, were people directly involved in the development of weapons of mass destruction or who were intimately associated with such people. And it is in their hands that radiation safety has remained up until today.

With the quantum leap in the amount of radioactive material present in the human domain after the war, new standards of safety were urgently needed, but a temporary void existed as to what organization would develop them. The Atomic Energy Commission came into being on August 1, 1946, and took charge of all the facilities and all of the nuclear materials of the Manhattan Project. Twenty days later, Lauriston Taylor revived the US Advisory Committee and began a vigorous campaign to have that organization recognized as the voice of authority on radiation protection in the United States. Taylor’s advocacy succeeded. The first meeting of the Committee was convened with the intention of initiating revision of the National Bureau of Standards Handbook 20, X-ray Protection. At that meeting, the decision was made to adopt a new name, the National Committee on Radiation Protection (NCRP). (When the NCRP became a US Congressional Charter Organization in 1964, its name changed again to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.) The decision was also made that membership should be extended beyond those with an interest in the medical application of radiation to include representatives from all organizations that had a vested interest in furthering standards for radiation protection. When reformed, membership on the committee consisted of eight representatives from various medical societies, two from manufacturers of x-ray equipment, and nine from government agencies including the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Bureau of Standards, the Public Health Service, and the Atomic Energy Commission. As time passed, the NCRP evolved into an organization of tremendous influence. The recommendations it propounded, along with those of the ICRP, became the basis of federal, state, and local statutes for managing radiation hazards.

From the outset of their formation, a codependent relationship developed between the Atomic Energy Commission, the agency that managed the nation’s nuclear program, and the NCRP, the organization which recommended standards of safety. Soon after the formation of the two organizations, the AEC began exerting pressure on the NCRP to formulate permissible dosages for workers in the nascent nuclear industry. Not only was this required to ensure worker safety but to protect the AEC from future liability. To legitimize the conditions in their facilities, the AEC was in need of backing from a respected scientific organization that had all the appearances of being independent. At the same time, it had to assure that standards of safety were not set so stringently that they would hamper the development of the nation’s nuclear program. To seduce the NCRP into providing these services, the AEC first offered to accord the committee semiofficial status as a regulatory body if it would quickly publish standards. This offer was turned down. According to Taylor, the AEC then promised financial aid “‘after we had demonstrated that we could do something for them’” [1]. Despite the desire to maintain appearances of being an independent agency, the NCRP was in a hopelessly incestuous relationship with the AEC. Half its members were government representatives. A great deal of the information it required to carry out its work was classified as top secret and access could only be attained through AEC clearance. And the AEC was the chief beneficiary of the committee’s work. Further, the NCRP was not able to maintain its financial independence. The AEC footed the tab for part of the NCRP’s administrative and travel expenses.

In the years that followed its initial establishment, the NCRP received funding from many other sources. Karl Morgan, a health physicist during the Manhattan Project and participant on the NCRP, was outspoken on the influence these sources had on the development of radiation protection standards:

"A cursory glance at the National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP), which set radiation protection standards in the United States, sheds light on whose hand fed those who set levels of permissible exposure. Past sources of income for the NCRP included the DOE [Department of Energy], Defense Nuclear Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, US Navy, American College of Radiology, Electric Power Institute, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, NASA, and the Radiological Society of North America. In truth, the NCRP relies upon the nuclear-industrial complex for most of its funding other than income from publication sales. Trust me, this fact does not escape NCRP members when they set standards for radiation exposure" [1].

When the NCRP got down to work after the war, their first order of business was to establish new radiation standards and to formulate policies for the new nuclear industry, on such matters as safe handling of radioactive material, environmental monitoring, the disposal of radioactive waste, and so forth. To pursue the necessary lines of research, eight subcommittees were established. In this way, many former scientists of the Manhattan Project came on board as advisors to the establishment of safety standards. The most important of the subcommittees formed were Subcommittee One, charged with reevaluating the currently accepted standard for radiation received external to the body by x-ray and gamma ray exposure, and Subcommittee Two, whose agenda was to formulate new standards for internal contamination by the plethora of radionuclides that had been born into the world in the nuclear reactors of the Manhattan Project.

Subcommittee One was headed by Gioacchino Failla, a physicist at Memorial Hospital in New York. The work of this committee focused on the accumulating evidence that the 1934 tolerance dose of 0.1 roentgen (0.1 rem) of x-ray/gamma irradiation per day was too high. By the end of 1947, Failla’s committee recommended that the dose for external exposure be cut in half to 0.05 rem per day, with the maximum permissible dose for a week readjusted to 0.3 rem. Before the official adoption of this new standard, Taylor queried the nuclear industry as to whether or not the new standards would in any way impede their program. The answer they gave is most telling of the philosophy of the NCRP:

"Ultimately, the committee settled on a figure that the nascent nuclear industry would accept. 'We found out from the atomic energy industry that they didn’t care [if we lowered the limit to 0.3 rem per week],” explained Lauriston Taylor. “It wouldn’t interfere with their operations, so we lowered it'” [1].

The problem of developing standards for isotopes undergoing radioactive decay inside the human body was an entirely different problem from merely revising the standards for external exposure and required much more time. Prior to the Manhattan Project, the possibility of internal contamination to humans was limited to select, small populations and only by a few radionuclides. Radium was used in medicine and industry. Uranium and radon were a hazard to miners. With the discovery of artificial radioactivity in 1934 and the development of the cyclotron, radionuclides that did not occur naturally on the earth began to be produced and used in biomedical research. The Berkeley cyclotron was the primary source of artificially produced radionuclides for civilian research prior to and during World War II. When the Manhattan Project was well under way, radionuclides for research were also being produced secretly in the nuclear reactor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and purified there at Clinton Laboratories. In order to maintain the secrecy of their origin, these radionuclides were shipped first to Berkeley and from there distributed to labs throughout the country. In 1946, the newly established Atomic Energy Commission initiated a program promoting peaceful applications of the atom and openly offered the radionuclides produced in Oak Ridge to interested scientists. As intended, easy availability rapidly accelerated research. In the first year, 1,100 shipments of radionuclides were shipped from Oak Ridge to 160 research centers. Two years later, Abbott Laboratories also began distributing radioisotopes. The ensuing research delineated the physical characteristics of each radionuclide and the behavior of each when introduced into animal and human subjects. Medical researchers sought for any clue in their studies that would indicate the possible usefulness of a radionuclide in tracer studies, diagnostics, or treatment. The sudden proliferation of novel radionuclides created an urgency for the establishment of safety standards for each internal contaminant. This was a major focus after the war for the advancement of radiation protection.

All the information furnished in this chapter up to this point has been required background material and preparation for understanding the work conducted by Subcommittee Two. This committee was charged with the setting of radiation protection standards for radioactive material deposited in the interior of the human body through inhalation, ingestion, absorption, or uptake via skin lesions and wounds. Subcommittee Two pursued its work with the utmost integrity and succeeded in creating a system, expedient at the time, for establishing safety standards for internal contamination. Only many years later was their work subverted and transformed into a system of lies to cover up the true hazards to life produced by the release of radioactivity into the environment.

Subcommittee Two was chaired by Karl Morgan, who later presided for fourteen years over the committee on internal emitters for the ICRP. Morgan worked as a health physicist at Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project and was employed there for twenty-nine years after the war. He cofounded the Health Physics Society and served as its first president. He is frequently referred to as the “father of health physics.” In his later years, he became a controversial figure. He openly spoke out about the increased risks from unnecessary medical x-rays and advocated cutting the accepted standards for permissible radiation dosages by half. The nuclear establishment labeled him a “rogue physicist” and marginalized him. He is quoted as having said: “I feel like a father who is ashamed of his children.”

When Subcommittee Two first met in September 1947, the challenge facing its members was daunting. Hundreds of novel radionuclides that had never before existed on the face of the earth, at all or in appreciable quantities, were being created en masse in the nuclear reactors that were producing fuel for atomic bombs. These same radionuclides were being created in the fireballs of atomic bomb detonations and scattered throughout the biosphere. Virtually nothing was known about their behavior once they gained access to the interior of the human body. Each possessed its own unique half-life. Each decayed in a unique manner. Each emitted different combinations of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, and the energies transmitted by these radiations varied from one radioisotope to another. Each demonstrated a unique pattern of distribution throughout the body. Each showed a preference for an organ or tissue where it tended to accumulate. Each had its own rate of absorption, retention, and elimination. As a consequence of these factors and many others, each radionuclide presented its own unique toxicological and radiological hazard. What further complicated understanding was the problem of how to assess the combined hazard to a victim when more than one radioisotope was incorporated into the interior of the body at the same time. The major conundrum facing Subcommittee Two was how to proceed.

As a model for success in their endeavor, the committee had before them the example of radium. But therein lay the problem. The first standard for a permissible body burden of radium was not formulated with any scientific accuracy until well over forty years after that radionuclide’s initial discovery. This successful standard was based primarily on direct observation of internally contaminated individuals who later developed overt symptoms of disease or signs of injury. Once such a person was identified, the quantity of radionuclide taken up within their body was established and then compared to that of other individuals who lived or worked in a similar situation but who had internalized less and remained unharmed. By this means, estimates could be derived as to what levels of internal contamination were presumably safe. As further data accumulated, these initial judgments could be adjusted as required. This same approach worked for establishing the first standards for uranium and radon inhalation in mines. There was also reliable information, again derived from direct experience, about radium-224, used for therapeutic purposes in Germany between 1944 and 1951, and thorium-232, known as Thorotrast, used between 1930 and 1950 in patients to produce better contrast in x-rays. In addition, there were the human radiation experiments involving plutonium.

The members of Subcommittee Two recognized that standards for all the new radionuclides created by nuclear fission could not possibly be derived by direct observation. Data on the physiological effects in humans of many of these radionuclides was completely lacking. Sufficient animal studies had not yet been performed. Comparison of effects to known radioisotopes was possible only in a limited number of cases. Years, if not decades, of research would be required to generate the vast amount of required information on the physical, chemical, and biological behavior of each radioisotope. Such a task would be monumental. Yet standards were needed quickly to offer guidelines for protection of workers in the nuclear industry. Some other approach was required for zeroing in on what constituted permissible levels for internal contaminants.

During the war, Karl Morgan and other physicists and medical personnel of the Manhattan Project had made first steps in developing a new methodology for calculating dosages for internal emitters. By the war’s end, they had succeeded in calculating the dose of radiation for seventeen radioisotopes in various chemical forms that would be delivered to the tissues they were likely to be deposited in once internalized. The methodology for these calculations was further developed after the War at three conferences on internal dosimetry held in 1949, 1950, and 1953. These meetings came to be known as the Tri-Partite Conferences in reference to the attending representatives who came from the three countries that had worked closely during the war in the study of radionuclides, namely Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Many who attended these conferences were former participants in the Health Division of the Manhattan Project and later were members of Subcommittee Two. This is both interesting and important. The foundation of today’s approach to internal contamination by radionuclides was forged by the subculture of physicists and medical personnel who built the first atomic bomb. Their mentality and orientation toward radiation safety evolved while they were immersed in fabricating weapons of mass destruction. While supporting the development of a weapon for the annihilation of masses of humanity, they simultaneously occupied themselves with developing safety standards to protect the world from the menace they were creating. In the postwar world, these same individuals entrusted themselves with becoming the guardians for all of humanity in their prescription of what constituted a permissible dose of radiation. This is an excellent example of the genocidal mentality referred to elsewhere in this book. To a healthy mind, true radiation safety would entail refraining from building weapons of mass destruction altogether.

The scientists participating in the Tri-Partite Conferences built upon the existing methodology for calculating the dosages for internal emitters and carried it further. What they created was a “computational system” based on mathematical modeling. This computational approach allowed them to calculate dosages from internal emitters and permissible levels of exposure without having to rely on direct observation and experimentation. In ensuing years, as new experimental findings and data from direct observation became available, this information was fed into the system to further refine and improve it. The methodology relied upon today by the agencies setting standards for internal emitters use this same computational approach, with updated modifications, to determine for the public what constitutes a permissible dosage of radiation emitted by radioactive atoms gaining entrance into the human body.

Many of the participants of the Tri-Partite Conferences later served on Subcommittee Two of the NCRP. These same people sat on a similar subcommittee studying internal emitters for the ICRP which Lauriston Taylor was instrumental in resurrecting in 1953. This is how the computational approach took root in these two agencies. The results of the Tri-Partite Conferences were transplanted into the NCRP and then into the ICRP, and these organizations became a clearing-house from which information about radiation safety was distributed throughout the world.

For the computational system to be effectively applied, a great deal of background data had to be assembled. First, the physical properties of each radionuclide had to be determined. The most important of these was the rate of decay, the type of radiation each emitted (alpha or beta plus the gamma ray that frequently accompanied each decay), and the energy this radiation would transfer to the organ of retention. As mentioned earlier, each type of radiation created different degrees of biological effect, and this information was included in establishing the quantity of energy each decaying atom would transmit to its surroundings. Also necessary was knowledge of the behavior of each radionuclide once introduced into the body. Of particular importance was the retention kinetics of each: where did it go, how long did it stay, and over what period was it released. Numbers were also needed to represent the fraction of the radionuclide that passed from the gastrointestinal tract or lung into the blood, the fraction in the blood transferred to the critical organ, the fraction passing into the critical organ compared to the remaining fraction in the total body, and the fraction of that taken into the body that actually was retained in the critical organ. By knowing such patterns of distribution, calculations could be made to determine the dose delivered by each radionuclide to each organ or tissue and its maximum permissible body burden.

For the computational approach developed by the Tri-Partite Conferences to be applicable for all radioisotopes in all human beings, it was necessary to formulate a conceptual model of the human body that would be representative of all people. This model became known as “Reference Man”, or more commonly, “Standard Man”. This ideal human was “regarded as weighing 70 kg, being 170 cm high, between twenty and thirty years old, a Caucasian of Western European habit or custom and living in a climate with an average temperature of 10o to 20o” [2]. The inclusion of information on custom and climate was to set parameters for average water intake and typical diet. The tissues of the body of Standard Man were considered to have an average density equivalent to that of water. Basically, Standard Man was conceptualized as a 70 kg mass of water. An average mass for each organ in the body was derived mathematically and conceptualized as a smaller mass of water residing within the larger mass of water.

The successful application of the computational system for deriving safety standards hinged on a knowledge of how much radiation each organ or the body as a whole could be exposed to without causing any ill effect. With no prior knowledge of the behavior of the majority of radionuclides once inside the body, how was determination of a permissible dose possible? Members of Subcommittee Two were forced to rely on the vast body of knowledge that had accumulated over previous decades of the body’s response to x-rays, i.e., EXTERNAL RADIATION. To quote Radioactivity and Health: A History:

"It should be noted that no cognizance is given in the system [computational system] to the nature of the biological effect being protected against. The limiting dose rate was determined by groups espousing basic radiation protection criteria. They arrived at their conclusions largely on the basis of work with external radiation sources [iemphasis added], except for the bone seekers. They applied their best judgment to the biological data and set exposure levels for the most sensitive functions [2].

The phenomenon of electromagnetic energy interacting with matter is what Manhattan Project scientists used for formulating a general model of what transpires when any type of radiation interacts with matter. So effective was their conceptualization in explaining the impact of x-rays and gamma rays on the body that they did not hesitate to apply the same model for explaining the biological impact of alpha and beta particles plus gamma rays released in the interior of the body by decaying radionuclides. They carried this thinking into the Tri-Partite Conferences after the war and made it a cornerstone of the computational approach for determining dosages of radiation delivered by internal emitters. The validity of the entire model of radiation effects in man that they were constructing hinged on the validity of the foundational assumption that the biological effect of internal radioactive decay could be modeled on the biological effect of external irradiation.

After a half century of radiology, a substantial body of knowledge had accumulated about the effects to different organs, and the body as a whole, from different quantities and intensities of x-rays delivered at different rates from the exterior of the body. Based on this experience with external radiation sources, those working on the problem of internal emitters assigned a maximum permissible dose and dose rate to each organ of the body of Standard Man. The assumption was then made that each organ could safely absorb the same quantity of energy delivered from decaying radioisotopes embedded in the organ as it could safely absorb from x-rays delivered from outside the body. To the thinking of the time, what was important was the amount of energy delivered. For the computational system to work, what was required was a knowledge of how much energy was being deposited per unit mass of tissue under consideration. It was this point of view that allowed members of Subcommittee Two to base their work on internal emitters upon the previous research on external irradiation.

A simplified, hypothetical example will suffice to illustrate the type of calculations being performed in the absence of direct observation and research on the behavior of each radionuclide once inside the body. Suppose the permissible dose from exposure to x-rays has been established for an organ. This quantity represents the amount of energy that can be transferred to the atomic structure of that organ with no manifestation of any ill effect. That knowledge is then used as a baseline for calculating what quantity of a particular radionuclide could be taken up by the organ without manifesting any signs of injury. To simplify the kinetics involved, the assumption was made that the internal contaminants were distributing the energy emitted from radioactive decay throughout the entire organ. In this way, an equivalency was visualized between external and internal radiation. Each form of radiation was delivering the same quantity of energy to the same mass of tissue. Consequently, there was no reason not to apply what was known of external irradiation to the problem of internal radiation. Although in time a host of modifying factors were introduced to account for differences in the way the different types of radiation were delivered and the type of biological effect each produced, these had no effect in displacing the fundamental assumptions that the transfer of energy was the essential characteristic of the interaction of radiation with the human body and that the energy delivered to an organ could be treated as if it were evenly distributed throughout the mass of that organ.

To return to the work of Subcommittee Two, once permissible dosages were calculated for each radionuclide, secondary standards were mathematically derived for the maximum permissible concentration of each radionuclide in air and water. The need for these safety standards was based on the idea that the only way to prevent a person from accumulating a hazardous dosage of internal emitters was to control the environment in which the person worked or dwelt in so as to limit hazardous accumulation of the radionuclide(s) in the air being breathed and in the food/water being ingested. A person dwelling in an environment where air and water did not exceed the maximum permissible concentrations would not accumulate levels of the radioisotope that would deliver a dose of radiation greater than the permissible dose. A working lifetime was considered to be 50 years. Intake for each radionuclide was presumed to happen continuously, either for a work week of 40 hours or continuously throughout a week’s 168 hours. Limits were then established for the maximum permissible concentration for each radionuclide in water and air so that a worker exposed to these levels would never accumulate the maximum permissible dose to an organ over his working lifetime or at a rate that presumably would be hazardous.

In a nutshell, this is the computational method developed at the Tri-Partite Conferences and used by Subcommittee Two in establishing permissible limits for internal emitters. Although undergoing extensive revision over the years as new information became available, this mathematical approach to calculating permissible dosages still forms the backbone of radiation safety today. It is Health Physics 101. It is unquestioned orthodoxy in regards to the proper way of calculating the radiation transmitted to biological structures from internalized radioactivity.

For the non-specialist struggling to make sense of the technical material just presented, a single image is all that is required to follow the essence of the discussion. Visualize a person inhaling some quantity of a radioisotope. Microscopic particles of that radioisotope pass into his bloodstream and by metabolic processes within the body are transferred to the critical organ where they subsequently become lodged for a period of time within the cells of that organ. While retained there, some of the atoms undergo radioactive decay and radiate alpha or beta particles, depending on the isotope, and usually an accompanying gamma ray which can be visualized as a photon, a massless packet of energy. The energy transmitted by the nuclear particles and the photon for each radioisotope are known physical quantities as is the rate of decay for each radionuclide. Standard Man provides a reference for the mass of each organ. As the energy of radioactive decay is emitted, that energy is transferred to the electrons of the atoms making up the cells of the organ of deposition. If an estimate can be made of the amount of the radioisotope initially inhaled, the computational method can be used to calculate the amount of energy transmitted to the molecular structures making up the organ. The assumption is made that that energy is uniformly distributed to the mass of the organ, and by this means, the organ dose can be determined.

The original intention of Subcommittee Two, formulated in 1947, was to recommend maximum permissible concentrations in air, water, and the human body for twenty biologically significant radioisotopes. When their final report was published in 1953, and a similar report published by the ICRP in 1955, values had been calculated for 96 radioisotopes. Work continued throughout the decade, and both committees published comprehensive reports in 1959 which included information on approximately 215 radionuclides and 255 values for maximum permissible concentrations.

The work of Subcommittee Two was a milestone in human understanding. It provided a relatively simple methodology for quantifying dosages of radiation delivered to the interior of the body by radioisotopes. Further, it established urgently needed standards of what might constitute nonhazardous levels for a variety of radioisotopes. The new guidelines provided the framework for all future animal and human studies into the toxicology of radioactive materials. Subsequent study began to demarcate what dosages of each radioisotope were necessary to produce detectable alterations at every level of biological systems from the molecular to the cellular to the histological to the systemic. With protection standards in place, researchers could work in apparent safety in the development of such disciplines as nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, and radiobiology. Then as now, what remained a fundamental priority was to validate the accuracy of the computational system to determine whether or not it successfully modeled the actual biological impact of internalized radioactivity.

Before concluding this brief history of the development of radiation protection standards for internal emitters, one final point needs emphasis. Every living creature on the earth requires protection from mankind’s experimentation with radiation. Without debate, this responsibility was assumed by the NCRP and the ICRP. These institutions were never truly separate or independent, and the membership of both heavily overlapped. Lauriston Taylor was deeply involved in the establishment of both organizations. Gioacchino Failla and Karl Morgan were chairmen for the subcommittees on external and internal radiation for both the NCRP and the ICRP. Other US representatives to the ICRP were also members of the NCRP. As a result of this cross-pollination, no opportunity ever existed for an alternative point of view to evolve in regards to what constituted radiation safety and what was judged to be permissible exposure.

"The Chair of the NCRP, Lauriston Taylor, was instrumental in setting up an international version of the NCRP, perhaps to divert attention from the clear evidence that the NCRP was associated with the development of nuclear technology in the USA and also perhaps to suggest that there was some independent international agreement over the risk factors for radiation" [3].

"Taylor was a member of the ICRP committee and the NCRP Chairman at the same time. The NCRP committees One and Two were duplicated on the ICRP with the identical chairmen, Failla and Morgan. The interpenetration of personnel between these two bodies was a precedent to a similar movement of personnel between the risk agencies of the present day. The present Chair of the ICRP is also the Director of the UK National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB). The two organizations have other personnel in common and there are also overlaps between them and UNSCEAR [United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation] and the BEIR VII committee [Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation Committee, originally funded by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1955, and now organized under the auspices of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.] This has not prevented the NRPB from telling the UK’s regulator, the Environment Agency, that UNSCEAR and ICRP are ‘constituted entirely separately’, a statement which the Environment Agency accepted. Thus credibility for statements on risk is spuriously acquired by organizations citing other organizations, but it can be seen as a consequence of the fact that they all have their origins in the same development and the same model: the NCRP/ICRP postwar process. This black box has never been properly opened and examined" [3].

The NCRP/ICRP black box is impenetrable. The public has no access into the hearts of those who have served on these committees, the discussions that have gone on behind closed doors, the compromises that may have been made in radiation safety for the benefit of government nuclear programs and the nuclear industry. However, the international radiation protection agencies have left within the public domain a penetrable artifact of their true intentions and their true allegiances, i.e., their system of evaluating the risks of radiation exposure and their standards of what constitutes a “permissible” dose of radiation. As this book loudly proclaims, by their deeds you will know them. You will know them by the fruits of their deeds. The reach of the Cult of Nuclearists and the services performed on their behalf by the radiation protection community is unmistakably written within the system currently relied upon to evaluate the hazards of internal contamination. Through a study of this system, glaring flaws become evident, intentionally left uncorrected to serve the political agenda of covering up the true impact to health from radiation released into the environment.


[1] Caufield C. Multiple Exposures: Chronicles of the Radiation Age. Toronto: Stoddart; 1988.

[2] Stannard J.N. Radioactivity and Health: A History. Springfield, VA: National Technical Information Service, Office of Scientific and Technical Information; 1988.

[3] European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR). Recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk: the Health Effects of Ionising Radiation Exposure at Low Doses for Radiation Protection Purposes. Regulators' Edition. Brussels; 2003.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Background Reading: 1

What follows is an excerpt from my book A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science ( It provides background information that will allow the reader to follow what is to come in future postings. It is reproduced from the chapter entitled Radiation Safety in Its Infancy: 1895-1953.

In returning to the historical narrative, the discussion now arrives at a fateful moment in the history of radiation safety. The Manhattan Project was a gigantic experiment in applied physics. Physicists dominated all aspects of the science required to build the bomb. This included all aspects of the Health Division. When the Manhattan Project got under way, the only standards available to the Health Division were those established prior to the war by, respectively, the US Advisory and the International Committees on X-ray and Radium Protection. The complicated undertaking of building the bomb and having thousands work in close proximity to high levels of radioactivity and novel radioisotopes demanded a revolution in all aspects of radiation safety. Herbert M. Parker, a British radiological physicist, headed the Protection Measurements Group of the health physics section of the Health Division. Besides being responsible for designing a new generation of radiation detection equipment, Parker had to overcome the major obstacle that had confounded researchers and radiologists over the previous two decades: how to devise a meaningful way of relating x-ray exposure to biological effect. The exposure to x-rays impinging on the surface of the body from an outside source was quantified by so many roentgens — a measure of the amount of ionization that quantity of x-ray energy would produce in air. Once that x-ray energy passed into the body, it was traveling through a different, nonuniform medium and interacting with a variety of biologically significant molecular structures. Some means were necessary for quantifying the changes being induced within the biological system. Ionization of the air external to the body, or the gas within a radiation detector, was one phenomenon. Biological changes in an organism due to that radiation was another phenomenon. The problem was how to connect these two into a meaningful framework. A further problem also confronted Parker. The roentgen was a measurement for x-rays and gamma rays. People working in the Manhattan Project were potentially going to be exposed to additional radiation in such forms as alpha particles, beta particles, and neutrons. In order to effectively protect workers from the cumulative effects of different types of radiation, what was required was a method of quantifying the dosages from different types of radiation by a single unit of measurement. In this way, exposure to a combination of gamma rays and beta particles, for instance, could be combined in a meaningful way to denote the total dosage of radiation received.

Parker was a physicist. He brought a physicist’s mindset to the problem of how radiation impacted on biological systems. And the simple and practical solution he devised was a physicist’s solution. To Parker, when looked at abstractly, the essence of radiation’s interaction with matter was the transfer of energy. X-rays transfer electromagnetic energy from an x-ray machine to the human body. These x-ray photons, interacting with the atoms of the body, transfer their energy to orbital electrons. Alpha particles and beta particles, with the kinetic energy they derive from being ejected from an atom undergoing radioactive decay, transfer energy from the nucleus of atoms to the electrons of the atoms within the human body with which they collide. What these types of ionizing radiation have in common is this capacity to transfer their energy into the body where it is absorbed by electrons, thus exciting them in their orbits and/or ejecting them from the atoms to which they are bound. As the amount of energy absorbed by the body is increased, so greater is the amount of ionization and biochemical disturbance to the system. Sufficient disruption results in altered function which is manifested in various forms and degrees of injury. Thus, from this point of view, the extent of alteration to a biological system is directly related to the amount of energy absorbed. To quantify this phenomenon, Parker devised a new unit of measurement for absorbed dose. The rep (roentgen equivalent physical) measures dosage as the amount of energy in ergs deposited per gram of material. Undergoing slight modification, the rep evolved into the rad (radiation absorbed dose) which represents the absorption of 100 ergs per gram of material. The rad is a convenient unit of measure. It is used to describe the amount of energy absorbed by any type of material (be it wood, metal, bone, muscle, or whatever) from any type of radiation. [The roentgen was retained as a unit of measurement for exposure. In health physics it represented the amount of ionization in air caused by a quantity of radiation as measured from outside the body. The rad was the unit of absorbed dose measuring how much energy was absorbed by the material with which it interacted. Precise measurement determined that 1 roentgen corresponded to the absorption of 83 ergs per gram of air and the absorption of 93 ergs per gram of tissue at the body’s surface. So close were the two units of measurement that they began to be used interchangeably. This also permitted gas filled detectors, that measured ionization, to provide information about the absorbed dose at the surface of the body.]

To understand the impact that Parker’s mentality and mode of thinking had on the subsequent development of radiation safety, one point is essential to keep in mind: in Parker’s conceptual model, the quantity of energy absorbed is treated as if it is uniformly distributed throughout the mass that absorbs it, i.e., the energy is “averaged” over the entire mass. This is what the rad represents, ergs per gram. To do this makes perfect sense within the mathematically oriented discipline of physics. However, as we shall see later in the discussion, this model is woefully inadequate when transferred into the discipline of biology where averaging energy over a mass of living cellular material is, in many instances, a useless concept for determining biological effect.

Parker was aware that the model he was developing had to account for the fact that different types of radiation (x-rays, alpha particles, beta particles, etc.) differed in how effectively they induce change in a biological medium. Consequently, Parker devised a second unit of measure that took these differences into account. First, for each type of radiation, experimentation was conducted to determine its Relative Biological Effectiveness (RBE) — the relative damage each caused to living tissue. The biological dose delivered by a quantity of radiation was then determined by multiplying the amount of energy absorbed (measured in reps or roentgen equivalents physical) by the RBE of the type of radiation that delivered the dose. The unit of measure of the product of these two quantities was the rem (roentgen equivalent man). As a hypothetical example, suppose the health effect to a type of tissue created by 1 rep delivered by alpha particles is compared to the health effect delivered by 1 rep of gamma rays, and it is found that the alpha particles produce ten times as much health effect. Alpha particles would be assigned an RBE of 10. What would be said is that the alpha particles deliver 10 rem to the body while the gamma rays deliver 1 rem. Both forms of radiation deliver the same amount of energy to the body. The biological impact of the alpha particles, however, is ten times as great.

The quantitative model that Parker developed introduced clarity into people’s thinking about radiation’s interaction with matter. So successful was this approach that it influenced all future thinking on the subject of radiation protection. According to this model, the biological effects of radiation were proportional to the amount of energy absorbed by the target, whether this was a particular organ or the body as a whole. To determine the amount of energy transferred, all types of ionizing radiation were now quantifiable using a single unit of measure, and the varying capacity for different types of radiation to produce biological alterations could be accounted for mathematically. Scientific investigation could now proceed to build a body of knowledge comparing the quantities of radiation absorbed to the biological effects they produced in different types of cells, tissues, organs, systems, and the whole body. Radiation protection was given a scientific footing that would allow it to keep pace with the revolution that was taking place in nuclear physics and in the new world created by the Manhattan Project.

But a subtle flaw lay at the heart of Parker’s model. It was all built upon the unfounded assumption that biological effects of radiation depended solely on the amount of energy absorbed. What made perfect sense from the point of view of the physicist was not in harmony with basic biological realities. At first, this wasn’t apparent. Only in the latter part of the 1950s, after new fundamental discoveries were made in biology, did the major shortcomings to the model begin to intrude into what was already orthodoxy in radiation physics. Thus, the physics-based model — which was hugely successful in advancing radiation research — turned out in time to have been a conceptual blunder that blinded many to a true understanding of the biological effects of radiation. More significant is the fact that it continues to blind the understanding of people, even people who have spent years of study on the subject.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


In August 2009, I self-published a book entitled A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science ( My purpose in writing it was to expose the widespread deceit published by our guardian institutions regarding the health effects of low levels of internal emitters, radionuclides absorbed from nuclear pollution in the environment which undergo radioactive decay while sequestered within the human body’s interior. The international radiation protection community interprets the hazard from this type of exposure by relying on a theory of radiation effects which was developed prior to the discovery of DNA in 1953 and the revolution in molecular and cellular biology which followed. Although expedient for its time, aspects of this theory have been proven antiquated and in need of revision. But no change has been forthcoming. The thesis of my work is that this situation has developed because the science of radiation effects has been infiltrated by those with a political agenda to minimize the perception of hazard of radiation released into the environment.

The chapter in my book which reveals the deceit which permeates current approaches to radiation safety is entitled The Most Heinous Crime in History: The Betrayal of Mankind by the Radiation Protection Agencies. A trial is convened, with the reader as the jury, and evidence for the prosecution is presented to demonstrate fraud within the science used to dictate what constitutes a safe level of radiation exposure. This material is so important to the common welfare of humanity that it is my desire to share it with as large an audience as possible. My intention for this blog is to serialize this chapter. I plan to post new material on Mondays and Thursdays, and hopefully over time, reproduce the chapter in its entirety. Some preliminary information from other chapters will be required to follow the discussion and this material will be presented in the first three postings.

The roll I took upon myself in writing this chapter was that of a reporter. The scientific ideas are not my own. They originate from researchers all over the world. I have compiled their work and organized it in a nontechnical form so as to make it as widely accessible as possible. Every statement of scientific import is referenced, so the reader may go back to the original source if required. The ideas presented herein are slowly gaining acceptance in Europe as evidence continues to mount that low levels of internal emitters are producing more disease in exposed populations than what is predicted by the models of risk published by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. A free exchange of ideas on this important subject has yet to occur in the United States.