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, May 31, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: SCAM NUMBER NINE

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.

SCAM NUMBER NINE: Let the fox guard the henhouse; leave radiation monitoring and dose reconstruction in the hands of those who have a vested interest in minimizing the perception of hazard.

This scam recurs every time radiation is released into the environment. A clear, documented example from recent history will suffice to expose the deviousness at work when the government takes responsibility for determining dosages and their medical consequences. In 1979, during the Carter administration, a radiation study was undertaken by the Task Force on Compensation for Radiation-Related Illnesses. The purpose of this study was to explore the feasibility of compensating radiation victims living downwind of the Nevada Test Site. The Task Force was comprised of 13 members, six from the Departments of Energy and Defense, with the others drawn from the Veterans Administrations and from the Departments of Justice and Health. In their final report, they estimated that, within the 250 mile radius of the test site, 170,000 people received radiation exposure. Using the “available monitoring data,” they “estimated” that

“19 people had been exposed to more than 5 rems, 10,817 persons had been exposed to between 1 and 5 rems, and the remainder had received less than 1 rem.

Using dose-response statistics published in the controversial 1979 draft report of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (the BEIR III report), the task force estimated that between 18 and 48 cancers above the expected number might occur, of which from 6 to 18 could be fatal. Applying an uncertainty factor of 2, the number of such cases could be as high as from 36 to 96, of which from 12 to 32 might be lethal. ‘Thus, from an overall public health perspective,’ the report stated, ‘the added risk to the downwind population from fallout was very small’” [1].

By this time, the reader should be able to spot some of the elements of the game being played by poker-faced representatives of government. Monitoring data throughout the whole period was inadequate. Dose estimates were based entirely on external gamma irradiation. The medical impact of internal contamination by fission products was conveniently swept under the table and made to disappear from the mind of the casual reader not versed in issues of radiation. Missing entirely from the report was any mention of thyroid doses, knowledge that had been assembled thirteen years earlier by Gofman and Tamplin in Estimation of Dosage to Thyroids of Children in the US From Nuclear Tests Conducted in Nevada During 1952 Through 1957. In that report, the estimated dosages to the thyroid glands of children living in cities within 250 miles of the test site included St. George, 120 rads; Roswell, New Mexico, 57 rads; Salt Lake City, 46 rads [1]. Only by ignoring the available evidence could the task force conclude: “Thus, from an overall public health perspective, the added risk to the downwind population from fallout was very small.”

In contrast to this politicized attempt to sanitize the misdeeds of the government, the National Cancer Institute published an interesting study in 1997. The study attempted to come up with a reasonable estimate of the amount of cancers induced in the population from weapon testing from internal contamination by a single fission product, iodine-131. It’s important to emphasize that only this one isotope was considered. Left out of consideration were the cancers induced by internally incorporated isotopes of strontium, cesium, plutonium, and the other radionuclides meriting attention. Their conclusion was sobering. They estimated that 150 million curies of iodine-131 were scattered over the United States in doses large enough to produce 10 to 75,000 cases of thyroid cancer, with 10% of these being fatal.


[1] Fradkin P.L. Fallout: An American Nuclear Tragedy. Tucson: University of Arizona Press; 1989.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: SCAM NUMBER EIGHT

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.

SCAM NUMBER EIGHT: In instances where environmental monitoring is undertaken, avoid measuring the full spectrum of radiation emitted from the radioisotopes involved.

This scam has been repeatedly relied upon throughout the nuclear age to minimize the perception of hazard created in the aftermath of major radiation releases. As outlined in Exhibit C, the study of the survivors of Hiroshima has been fabricated as a study of exposure to external gamma irradiation. Conveniently overlooked is the internal contamination incurred by both the study and control populations which hopelessly obscures any relevant conclusions of risk borne by those directly exposed to the blast. The same cover-up occurred with contamination drifting from the Nevada Test Site. The AEC monitored gamma emissions from fallout and attempted to sell to the public the idea that this was where the only hazard resided. Only grudgingly, when cornered by independent scientists, did the AEC reluctantly admit that radioactive iodine was a hazard to thyroid health and childhood development and that dose reconstruction of this radionuclide to the downwind population was warranted. Often overlooked is the fact that the detonation of a nuclear weapon produces over 400 different radioisotopes. Many of these are extremely short-lived and many are biologically insignificant. Nevertheless, a complex of radioactive molecules created out of dozens of medium and long-lived radionuclides can assault health in ways that are not yet completely understood. Further, these may act synergistically to produce effects not anticipated when each radionuclide is modeled independently.

Currently, this scam is being used very effectively to minimize the perception of the health toll from the accident at Chernobyl. If one scours the literature on the aftermath of Chernobyl, the persistent investigator will find little information on adverse health effects from the accident other than thyroid disease and thyroid cancer. The nuclear establishment has reluctantly been forced to admit these types of pathologies result from nuclear pollution. Thyroid disease, induced by radioactive iodine, is relatively uncommon, easy to detect, and appears within a relatively short time after radiation exposure. Children are the most vulnerable, and increased incidence of thyroid abnormalities stand out in glaring relief in a population exposed to fission products. These illnesses cannot be made to disappear. But again, what of the medical impact of the other biologically significant radioisotopes? These are being passed over in silence. They are treated as if they don’t exist and don’t pose a detriment to health. Sufficient time has yet to pass before an epidemic of radiation-induced tumors and other diseases will begin to appear. Evidence of this is present in data collected by the national cancer registry of Belarus. According to the database of malignant tumors maintained at the Clinical Institute of Radiation Medicine and Endocrinology Research in Minsk, cancer incidence between 1990 and 2000 rose 40% over the incident rate prior to the Chernobyl disaster [1]. And this alarming trend is emerging just 18 years after the accident. Although organizations aligned with the Cult of Nuclearists are working overtime to deny it, other radioisotopes besides those of iodine are producing an epidemic of malignancies in addition to the epidemic of thyroid cancer.

Sometimes, learning of the blatant cronyism that prevails among nuclear apologists can make a person embarrassed to be a human being. That was the response of this author when reading in September 2005 of a newly published study entitled “Chernobyl's Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts."” The three-volume, 600-page report was written by the Chernobyl Forum, a committee comprised of representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency, World Health Organization, United Nations Development Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations Environment Program, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, and the World Bank, as well as the governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Posturing as the new voice of authority on the Chernobyl accident, this coterie united behind the conclusion that the number of deaths that could be directly attributed to radiation was a mere 56. Of these, nine children died from thyroid cancer. The remaining victims, rescue workers who spent time in the immediate vicinity of the destroyed reactor, died from acute radiation syndrome. This death toll was in stark contradiction to previously published figures from the Ukraine where 4,400 deaths had been registered as attributable to radiation exposure. As reported by the Associated Press, the chairman of the Chernobyl Forum, Dr. Burton Bennet, said: “previous death tolls were inflated, perhaps ‘to attract attention to the accident, to attract sympathy.’ He said the majority of workers and residents around the plant received low doses of radiation, and that poverty and ‘lifestyle diseases’ posed a ‘far greater threat’ to local communities” [2]. Countering previous predictions that the number of deaths caused by Chernobyl would climb to tens of thousands, the Forum concluded that the upper limit would reach no more than 4,000. These deaths would be from cancer and leukemia among the population of 200,000 emergency workers, 116,000 evacuees and 270,000 residents in the most contaminated areas. The total number of children that would eventually develop thyroid cancer was estimated at 4,000. A fitting response to conclusions of the Chernobyl Forum was made by Oleh Andreev, spokesman for the Ukraine Emergency Situations Ministry: “The one who says the devil is not as black as he is painted had better live here and see the problem from the inside” [2].

The conclusions of the Chernobyl Forum are comedic skullduggery, brought to you by representatives of the same organizations that proclaim that depleted uranium in the environment is harmless. It is meant to whitewash the hazard to health of low levels of radionuclides. In rebuttal, the reader is referred to an article by Alexey V. Yablokov entitled “The Chernobyl Catastrophe - 20 Years After (a meta-review)” [3]. This article contains an extensive review of Russian research into the health effects produced by the accident. Among the data presented are a number of statistics that put the conclusions of the Chernobyl Forum to shame:

- Since 1986, there has been an increase in general mortality in the radioactively polluted areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia in comparison to neighboring areas (Grodzinsky 1999; Omerlianetz et al., 2001; Kashirina 2005; Sergeeva et al., 2005).

- A correlation exists between an increase in the number of stillbirths and the amount of radioactive pollution in the environment in some areas of Belarus (Kulakov et al., 1993) and Ukraine (Golovko and Izhevsky 1996).

- In some European countries, a correlation was revealed between perinatal mortality rates and the Chernobyl meltdown (Korblein 2006).

- In the polluted areas of Ukraine (Omelianetz and Klement’eva 2001) and Russia (Utka et al., 2005), an increase in infant and children’s mortality was documented.

- Between 1987 and 1995 in the polluted areas of Belarus, there was an increase in the number of newborns who died with central nervous system congenital malformations (Dzykovich 1996).

- Between 1990 and 2000, the rate of cancer increased forty percent in Belarus. The increased incidence of cancer in different territories of the country was in direct proportion to the level of radioactivity measured in the environment of each territory (Okeanov et al., 2004).

- The number of radiation-induced thyroid cancers recorded in Belarus alone totaled 4,400. The combined incidence rate for thyroid cancer in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia through 2001 was roughly 12,000 cases (Imanaka 2002). These numbers are expected to substantially increase over the next forty to fifty years.

- There is increased frequency of leukemia in all the polluted areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia (Prysyazhnyuk et al., 1999; Ivanov et al., 1996; UNSCEAR 2000).

- Among 32,000 people evacuated in Belarus, the incidence of lung cancer was four times greater than the national average (Marples 1996).

- Yablokov provides extensive documentation, citing scores of studies, that demonstrate a general overall decline in health among people from the contaminated territories when compared to pre-accident levels or when compared to populations not contaminated by Chernobyl fallout.

The medical effects from Chernobyl were not confined to the areas in immediate proximity to the stricken reactor. As an example, fallout from the accident produced congenital defects in babies born in Germany:

A recent study by a team of scientists from the official childhood cancer registry in Mainz, Germany, reported a statistically significant increase in a very rare kind of tumor of the nerve cells in young children (neuroblastoma) for babies born in 1988, 2 years after the explosion of the Chernobyl reactor (Haaf et al.). For the 1988 birth cohort, in areas with more than 104 Bq/m2 cesium-137 soil contamination, the number of cases recorded until mid-1992 was 1.96 times the expected number for Germany during the years 1980-1987 (22.5 cases per 106 live births); for areas with 6 x 103-104 Bq/m2 contamination, the number of cases was 1.65 the expected number, and for areas with less than 6 x 103 Bq/m2 radioactive cesium deposition the ratio was 0.98. Similar increases in neuroblastoma rates were found for babies born for the years after 1988. Given the clear association of relative risk for a rare congenital defect with levels of radioactive cesium contamination, a causal relationship is likely” [4].


[1] Okeanov A.E., Sosnovskaya E.Y., Priatkina O.P. A National Cancer Registry to Assess Trends After the Chernobyl Accident. Swiss Medical Weekly. 2004; 134:645-649.

[2] Loof S. Chernobyl Toll May Be Less Than Feared. Associated Press. September 5, 2005.

[3] Yablokov A.V. The Chernobyl Catastrophe -- 20 Years After (a meta-review). In C.C. Busby, A.V. Yablokov (eds.): Chernobyl: 20 Years On. European Committee on Radiation Risk. Aberystwyth, United Kingdom: Green Audit Press; 2006.

[4] Nussbaum R.H., Kohnlein W. Inconsistencies and Open Questions Regarding Low-Dose Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation. Environmental Health Perspectives. 1994; 102(8):656-667.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: SCAM NUMBER SEVEN

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.

SCAM NUMBER SEVEN: Following a radiation release, avoid conducting adequate radiation monitoring.

First-year students of philosophy are invariably presented with this classic dilemma to ponder: If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? An analogous conundrum is routinely posed by the Cult of Nuclearists: If radiation is released into the environment and no one is there to measure it, does a hazard exist? They would like the world to believe that the answer is no, no hazard exists. Each radiation release and its health consequences evaporate when no adequate radiation-monitoring data testifies to the event. No causality can ever be established between radiation and illness if exposed individuals have no information on the doses of radiation they have received. Most people suppose that radiation monitoring of the population and the environment is carried out with diligence. This is an unwarranted assumption. As Caufield observes,

Monitoring radiation in the environment and in humans is, in fact, so difficult that it is rarely done. Many people assume that radioactive releases are closely monitored and that government agencies know the radiation exposure of the local soil, water, plants, animals, and people. This is not the case. Some, but by no means all, radiation users are required to continuously monitor their own routine releases for gamma — through rarely for alpha — emissions. Water, soil, and food, however, are checked only sporadically and usually only for gamma radiation. Members of the public are not monitored for radiation exposure because of the expense, the inconvenience, and the fear that such monitoring would cause alarm” [1].

Radiation released into the environment poses a challenging problem to public health. Once liberated from its source, radioactivity most often migrates in the form of individual atoms or small particles. The pathways that these particles follow are determined by environmental forces working in concert with natural chemical processes. The fate of this radiation and the biological effects it produces remain unknown until scrutinized by meticulous scientific investigation. If this research is not undertaken, the perfect crime has been committed. Forensic investigation falters when there is no weapon and no body. So daunting is the problem posed by radioactive atoms freely dispersed around the planet that science has yet to evolve to the level of sophistication necessary to assess the full spectrum of biological effects that mankind’s nuclear experiment has produced. What the general public fails to appreciate is that the determination of levels of internal contamination is most often a costly, labor-intensive undertaking frequently requiring sophisticated detection equipment. The popular image in the public mind is of a radiation-safety officer dressed head to toe in protective clothing, a breathing apparatus strapped to his back, carrying a geiger-mueller counter that he swipes back and forth as he moves through the environment. This type of monitoring provides information about radiation in the environment. But it provides only indirect information about the potential hazards of internal contamination to those potentially exposed. Measurements of the actual levels of alpha and beta emitters trapped within a human body cannot be done by simply running a handheld detector over the body’s external surface. Given the limits of the technology, internal contamination, except in instances of acute exposure, is rarely performed. As a substitute for this, mathematical modeling is performed, based on environmental data to provide estimates of probable dosages of those potentially exposed. Estimates? Probable? Potentially? Another dirty little secret of the Nuclear Age scurries out from the shadows. With widespread monitoring of internal contamination not possible, knowledge of the fate of radionuclides liberated into the environment and their ultimate biological impact as it pertains to human health is simply not known. Average levels of contamination absorbed by humans can be estimated, but these may fail to take into account anomalous situations which result in individuals accumulating medically significant levels of contamination. When radiation escapes in the environment, it is not always uniformly distributed. Modeling the distribution of escaped radioactivity and possible patterns of uptake by humans may not accurately reflect the reality of what is taking place. Radioactivity can accumulate in unidentified hotspots. Animals used as food may accumulate environmentally dispersed radioactivity in their tissues at unexpected levels that may be hazardous. People’s patterns of consumption of contaminated food and water varies. People vary in the multiple exposures they receive from the full gamut of radiation-emitting sources. Formulating estimates of the “average” dosage for members making up a population can mask elevated and hazardous exposure to particular individuals. What we are doing to ourselves and to our planet is not known with sufficient precision to conclude that all is well.

The Cult of Nuclearists in the United Kingdom claims that plutonium released from the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield is medically insignificant. The Pentagon declares that depleted uranium released amidst populations is harmless. Such claims are scientifically baseless. Unless dosages are measured for the entire exposed population, unconditional affirmations of safety of all those exposed are not credible. The alternative is to speak the truth. But this would entail admitting that some amongst us are being made sick and are dying from nuclear pollution.

The AEC successfully misled the nation on the health hazards emanating from the Nevada Test Site by not conducting adequate radiation monitoring. Who amongst the population were exposed and the dosages they received will remain forever unknown. These people make up an invisible cohort of silent victims, casualties of the Nuclear Age. This cohort is filled by other faceless victims as well. What was the fate of the sport-fisherman vacationing in Washington State who consumed gluttonous quantities of salmon drawn from the Columbia River, a river heavily contaminated by high-level radioactive waste discharged from the Hanford Reservation?

Footnote: The Hanford Reservation in Richland, Washington was originally constructed to produce plutonium for the Manhattan Project and was a major production facility for nuclear material after the War. Today, 50 million gallons of high level liquid are stored underground in 177 storage tanks. In addition, the site is home to 2,300 tones of spent nuclear fuel, twelve tons of plutonium in various forms, 25 million cubic feet of buried or stored solid waste, and about 270 billion gallons of groundwater contaminated above drinking water standards.

In 2005, the Government Accountability Project and Boston Chemical Data Corporation released a study on contamination of the Columbia River. This study provided the first solid evidence of plutonium contamination in fish. Aquatic creatures were also found to be contaminated with elevated levels of strontium, mercury, beryllium, uranium and cesium.

The study also published data on strontium-90 contamination of mulberry plants offering proof that contaminated groundwater was being transfered into the biosphere. Rodent droppings bore evidence of a 13-fold increase in strontium-90 over similar specimens found downstream Hanford. This provided direct evidence of strontium-90 contamination in the food chain of higher organisms.

How much strontium-90 and cesium-137 did you or your parents ingest through the consumption of contaminated beef and dairy products during the era of aboveground weapon testing or after Chernobyl? How much depleted uranium did your son actually inhale during Operation Desert Storm? Estimates of dosage float around for these events, but really, they are nothing but guesses. They represent averages based on a number on unverified assumptions. Without precise monitoring of these seemingly innocuous events, ignorance prevails as to who the real victims of a radiation accident are. This suits the Cult of Nuclearists just fine.

The United States, with impunity, bombs foreign populations with uranium weapons and disguises its misdeeds by not monitoring radiation levels in the environment or within the bodies of contaminated victims. This casts a veil over the entire enterprise. Uranium/depleted uranium is deemed harmless because no efforts are being made to find out anything further about its effects. It falls to independent investigators to unearth the smoking gun. As this is being written, news is leaking out of Iraq that, in areas of downtown Baghdad, radiation has been measured at 1,000 times background levels. Why? How did that radiation get there? Who has been exposed? What were their dosages? Has anyone become ill? To these questions, no answers are forthcoming. A perfect crime.


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

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: SCAM NUMBER SIX

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.

SCAM NUMBER SIX: Beguile the public with inappropriate comparisons between external irradiation and internal contamination.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons and commercial nuclear power plants has succeeded in deluding the public of the hazards of internal contamination. Covering up the danger of radioactivity within the body from human-generated radioisotopes is the bedrock upon which the entire nuclear behemoth is secured. A common tactic used to dupe critical thinking on issues of radiation safety is to liken the dose received from internal emitters to the dose received by natural background radiation. This is very sophisticated flimflam. To the uninformed, it appears perfectly logical that dose is dose; regardless of how the energy is delivered to the body, the end result will be the same. If we receive small doses of radiation naturally just from dwelling on planet Earth or while flying in an airplane, and if these are harmless, it seems quite reasonable to conclude that the same doses delivered by internal emitters will likewise be inconsequential. By now the reader knows the con hidden within this line of thinking. It was extensively explored in Exhibit A. The biological effect of a dose of radiation depends totally on how that dose is delivered to the body. By natural background radiation, ionizing events are widely distributed both in space and time throughout the mass of the body. By contrast, internal emitters have the capacity of repeatedly hitting the same cellular structures within a small volume of tissue. In instances where “doses” are comparable, the hazard posed by internal emitters will be greatly enhanced.

This swindle can be found in the literature penned to defend the harmlessness of uranium weapons. Claims are made that the dose from inhaled uranium is as insignificant as natural background radiation. Left unsaid is that the dose from uranium/depleted uranium weapons is delivered by densely ionizing alpha radiation to sensitive and critical components of a small volume of cells, while natural background radiation is deposited throughout the whole body. Research has confirmed that, like plutonium, a portion of depleted uranium deposited in the lung is scavenged by white blood cells and transported to the tracheobronchial lymph nodes. These tiny structures become the repositories of concentrated quantities of DU. This localization of dose poses an elevated hazard to the organism that is simply not comparable to the same dose delivered to the whole body by natural background radiation.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: SCAM NUMBER FIVE

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.

SCAM NUMBER FIVE: In the aftermath of a radiation release into the environment, the perception of hazard to the exposed population can be managed by controlling information of the quantity of radiation involved, and thus, the dosages.

Returning to our simple equation of dose = energy/mass, it is readily observed that dose can be made to appear smaller by reducing the amount of energy involved. The energy emitted by radioactive atoms is a known physical quantity. If you know which radioisotopes are released in an event and in what quantities, you know their manner of radioactive decay, their half-life, the amount of energy emitted by each decaying atom, and so forth. This knowledge can be combined to derive estimates of the maximum dose to the entire exposed population. Under these circumstances, the only way to manipulate knowledge of the dose people may have received is to control knowledge of the total amount of radioactivity actually released. If you are in a position to do this, no one will be able to accurately assess the doses received, whether these doses are within the range deemed “permissible,” and what illnesses appearing later in the population might be attributable to radiation exposure. Examples of this scam are too numerous to mention here within these pages. Repeatedly over the decades has long-suppressed information come to light of once-secret radiation releases from such nuclear installations as Sellafield in the UK, the Chelyabinsk-40 complex in the USSR, and in the US at the Hanford Reservation in Washington State, Rocky Flats in Colorado, the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina, the now-closed Feed Materials Production Center in Fernald, Ohio, and the nuclear facilities in Paducah, Kentucky.

This scam was the major tool involved in covering up the commercial nuclear reactor accident in 1979 at Three Mile Island. To this day, the public has been denied access to accurate information on what radionuclides were released and in what quantities. Without this key piece of information, “dose” to members of the exposed population is incalculable. The number of people made sick by the event, the number of people that will die because of the event, can never be gauged as long as information on dosage is manipulated or withheld. This protects the nuclear establishment from culpability and ensures ongoing support for the wide range of nuclear programs. The big losers at Three Mile Island were those dwelling downwind of the event. With no knowledge of the dosages they may have received, they are unable to assess the risk they incurred to their health. Their lives are forever haunted by the prospect of radiation-induced cancer waiting to ambush them 25 to 40 years down the road. If disease strikes, their anguish may be intensified by not knowing the reason. People ask, “Why is this happening to me?” Victimization is hard to bear, particularly when it robs you of your health and shortens your life. Cover-ups of radiation accidents carry in their wake many different types of human misery.

Three Mile Island was not an isolated event. The catastrophe at Chernobyl in 1986 was variously reported by different organizations with diverse interests in nuclear technology. These reports differed by their estimates as to how much radioactivity was released from the destroyed reactor core. At the time of the accident, the core contained approximately 192 tons of radioactive material consisting of approximately nine billion curies of radioactivity. In the immediate aftermath of the event, the Soviet government declared that 50 million curies of radionuclides and 50 million curies of chemically inert radioactive gases escaped into the biosphere. This overly conservative estimate was challenged from many quarters. The Nuclear Agency Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated that the maximum release from a group of the 20 most important radionuclides totaled 340 million curies. Estimates made at the Argonne National Laboratory in the United States suggested that 30% of the core’s radioactivity, nearly three billion curies were released in the accident. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s estimate was even higher, suggesting that half of the core’s radioactivity, 4.5 billion curies, were spewed out of the breached reactor. Finally, Vladimir Chernousenko, Scientific Director of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences Institute of Physics in Kiev's Task Force for the Rectification of the Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident published an estimate that fully 80% of the core’s contents were liberated into the environment [1]. These varying estimates are not just of academic interest. Each represents a political statement. Each implicitly carries a statement of the possible health effects that will be distributed throughout the contaminated populations. What is the true health legacy of Chernobyl? No one really knows. The lethality of the accident can only be gauged on the basis of the quantity of radioactivity liberated. The uncertainty of this critical piece of information renders all estimates questionable.

When one reviews the history of radiation accidents, one repeatedly discovers that the public has been kept in ignorance of the potential medical impact from events because they have been denied access to knowledge of the quantity of radioactivity released into populations. Operating under the veil of national security, governments can escape accountability for their deeds. How many tragedies have been covered up? How much radiation was released by the weapons labs of the nation? How much radiation has been released by commercial nuclear reactors? How much radioactivity has escaped into the environment? If you control this information, you control the thinking of the people. You cover up medical effects by covering up dosage.

Again, the discussion comes around to uranium weapons. The United States currently pursues a policy of preventing information of its weapon systems from reaching the public domain. No one knows how many types of weapons contain uranium, how much uranium is contained in each weapon, and the tonnage of weapons discharged in each campaign. This cover-up serves an important political purpose. It prevents dosages of radioactivity from being calculated. If an Afghan family lives immediately downwind of a building destroyed by a bomb containing 1,000 pounds of uranium, and if they inhale aerosolized uranium dust from the plume, their radiation dosage may be medically significant. It is fraudulent science, hocus pocus mumbo-jumbo, to sell the world on the corrupt idea that uranium weapons are not radiological weapons, and these weapons are not capable of producing indiscriminate health effects. The United States of America is perpetrating crimes against humanity and covering up its deeds by covering up the radiation dosages of its victims.


[1] Chernousenko V.M. Chernobyl, Insight from the Inside. BerlIn Springer-Verlag; 1991.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: SCAM NUMBER FOUR

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.

SCAM NUMBER FOUR: To ensure that the radiation protection community develops standards of safety acceptable to the nuclear establishment, make sure important staff appointments are filled by scientists sympathetic to the nuclear agenda.

The subject of “hot particles” dispensing huge quantities of radiation into small volumes of cells has haunted the nuclear establishment since the Manhattan Project. In the book The Angry Genie [1], Karl Morgan relates a telling anecdote of how the politicized radiation community dealt with this problem in the past:

An early example of our profession’s prostitution occurred with the ‘hot particle problem’ (HPP), which arose during the first five years of operations at the Hanford plutonium-producing facility (1944-49). Small radioactive particles released into the environment caused a substantial health risk to the surrounding population.

Since the dose from a small, radioactively contaminated dust particle varies inversely as the square of the distance from the particle, simple calculation indicates that extremely high local tissue doses of thousands of roentgens will be received by the lung cells close to one of these small particles. Such large doses not only kill most of the cells close to one of these small particles but also cause surviving cells farther away to change into primordial cancer cells, the precursors of malignant tumors.

These hot particles contained a mixture of radionuclides, such as Sr-90, Cs-134, Cs-137, Ru-106, and I-131, and undoubtedly some of the particles contained plutonium. Apparently no one conducted Pu-239 measurement at Hanford, but alpha measurements made elsewhere indicated large amounts of Pu-239, U-238, and U-235 on some of those particles.

The AEC ‘solved’ the HPP when it formed an Advisory Committee of Competent Authority to investigate the matter.”

After providing this background information, Morgan goes on to disclose how members of the committee for studying the HPP were chosen. A declassified letter is reproduced, originally written on September 25, 1962. It was authored by Paul Tompkins, deputy director of the Division of Radiation Protection Standards of the Federal Radiation Council. It was sent to Commissioner Haworth of the AEC. A portion of this letter reads as follows:

Memorandum for Commissioner Haworth through Director of Regulation.

Subject: Status Report on Current Activities of the Federal Radiation Council Working Group

1. It was agreed that current levels of radiation from fallout were too low to impose a practical problem in public health. It was suggested that the Public Health Service come up with its views as to what levels would correspond to enough of a health risk to justify diversion of resources in order to provide protection. If any reasonable agreement on this subject can be reached among the agencies, the basic approach to the report would be to start with a simple, straightforward statement of conclusions. We would then identify the major questions that could be expected to be asked in connection with these conclusions. It would then be a straightforward matter to select the key scientific consultants whose opinions should be sought in order to substantiate the validity of the conclusions or recommend appropriate modifications [emphasis added].”

Bluntly stated, this is an ass backward method of doing science. Start with the conclusions you want to arrive at. Determine the questions that may arise when putting forth these conclusions. Then acquire “scientific confirmation” of your predetermined conclusions by enlisting support from scientists sympathetic to your political agenda. This stain on the scientific enterprise is sobering. It testifies that science as a purely objective path for disclosing the nature of physical reality is a myth.

Morgan continues:

The Advisory Committee proclaimed that the HPP presented no problem after all. In reaching this conclusion, they accepted the meager data they could find that supported what I believe was their foregone conclusion.

The Advisory Committee disregarded early studies of high incidence of in-situ tumors when Sr-89, Sr-90, Y-91, Ce-144, Ra-226, and Pu-239 were injected subcutaneously or intramuscularly into mice, rats, and rabbits, such as the results reported by H. Lisco et al. in 1946 (Lisco et al.). Minute amounts of plutonium produced cancers at the site of injection and bone tumors occurred frequently in mice, rats, and rabbits injected with plutonium at levels ranging from 0.05 to 5 millionths of a curie per gram of injection — the majority of the plutonium-induced tumors occurring in the spine. One microgram of Pu-239 (0.061 microcurie) injected locally under the skin would induce fibrosarcomas even though much of the injection dispersed from the site. This frightening and sobering news caused us to increase our efforts to reduce plutonium exposure, but the decision of the advisory committee still stood: the HPP did not exist.

For the cause of justice, the HPP cannot be covered up. Hundreds of thousands of years will pass before all the evidence can be destroyed. Some of these particles remain in attic heating ducts and furnaces. Some are certainly in the remains of those unfortunates who unknowingly inhaled these radioactively contaminated dust particles. These hot particles will remain in geologic formations for millennia, where future generations of scientists may obtain evidence on the foolhardiness of their ancestors.”

Stacking different scientific committees with the same people is a way of giving the impression that a broader consensus exists on a particular issue than actually is the case. This gimmick has been put to good effect by those organizations which have issued reports on the harmlessness of depleted uranium. Keith Baverstock substantiated this fact in June of 2005 during a presentation to the European Parliament:

A number of organizations, including the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UK Royal Society, the International Commission on Radiological Protection and the European Commission Article 31 Group have, since 2001, published advice relating to the health consequences of exposure to DU. You may wonder, as I do, how such authoritative and independent organizations, making ostensibly “independent” assessments of the situation can all ignore the evidence that exists in the scientific literature.

It is worth noting that these assessments may not in fact be truly independent. For example, staff of the UK National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) are acknowledged as contributing to the WHO and RS reports, the Chairman of the ICRP was recently the Director of the NRPB. Staff members of the NRPB collaborate with the IAEA and have been members of the Article 31 Group. It is, therefore, possible that a few individuals have influenced the outcome of these so called independent assessments” [2].


[1] Morgan K.Z., Peterson K.M. The Angry Genie: One Man’s Walk Through the Nuclear Age. University of Oklahoma Press; 1999.

[2] Baverstock K. Presentation To The European Parliament. June 23, 2005.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: SCAM NUMBER THREE

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.

SCAM NUMBER THREE: Continue to calculate organ doses from internal emitters by averaging the emitted energy over the entire mass of the organ.

This is basically a rewording and summation of Scams One and Two. The work of the Tri-Partite Conferences and Subcommittee Two developed the method for calculating an organ dose from internal emitters by averaging the emitted energy over the mass of the organ. Deceivers use this science to mask the physiological impact of embedded hot particles. They dilute the emitted energy by smearing it over a mass of tissue, as in the Busby example above, and then declare how the dose is too low to be hazardous. This is the centerpiece of the cover-up to forever assure that the medical effects of low levels of radiation produced by internal contamination will never be determined. Earlier in this chapter, we cited the example of Dietz, who calculated that a particle of depleted uranium, 2.5 microns in diameter, transmits to the cells in its immediate vicinity in one year a dose of 170 rems. He concluded his article by saying, “until these doses can be related to a cancer risk factor, they must be viewed as qualitative indicators of danger, as red flags.” This point unveils another element of this scam. The risk of developing a cancer from internal emitters is calculated from doses delivered to whole organs. The risk posed by localized point sources of hot particles has not been scientifically determined. Thus again, the assertion that uranium/depleted uranium weapons are without risk is premature and lacks scientific validation.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: SCAM NUMBER TWO

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.

SCAM NUMBER TWO: Rigidly adhere to the traditional concept of dose when evaluating the biological effects of radiation, even in instances where that concept of dose is rendered meaningless.

Earlier in this chapter, a description was given of how the science of radiation protection matured when the meaning of a dose of radiation was finally defined in terms of measurable and quantifiable phenomena. The rad represents a quantity of energy absorbed by a gram of matter. In keeping with many other concepts in physics, the rad is an idealization, an abstraction, from physical events. Embodied within the concept is the assumption that the absorbed energy is evenly distributed (averaged) throughout the mass that absorbs it. This concept evolved from the study of x-rays and it accurately modeled the phenomenon at relatively high dosages. From an external source, a barrage of x-ray photons penetrates a mass and can be conceptualized as being uniformly distributed throughout that mass. Interacting with orbital electrons, the photons eject the electrons from their atoms. These liberated electrons create tracks of ionization through the material that, for all practical purposes, can be considered to cause uniform disturbance to the molecular makeup of the entire mass. This is a successful and powerful model. The degree of molecular disruption is directly proportional to the amount of energy absorbed. This has been experimentally validated in a wide range of applications and has become an extremely useful concept for predicating radiation effects. For instance, acute radiation syndrome is a medical condition initiated by dosages of approximately 100 rem (1 Sv) and above. The severity of the biological response to exposure and the course of the illness is directly related to the amount of radiation absorbed. The phenomenon has been so extensively studied that the likely outcome to a patient can be predicted on the basis of the absorbed dosage alone. The same holds true for cancer effects among exposed populations, again at relatively high doses. The number of cancers induced is directly proportional to the collective dose.

The success of this model demands a uniform distribution of energy throughout the mass that absorbs it. Conceptual problems arise within this model, however, when doses become so low that the entire mass is not uniformly disturbed. At this point the model breaks down. It no longer accurately describes what is taking place in the mass absorbing the radiation. To quote the European Committee on Radiation Risk, the energy units of rad and rem, gray and sievert “and the energy per unit volume approach are not applicable unless the system being irradiated is truly uniform. The model cannot deal with small volumes and inhomogeneities of dose, and for this reason, is unsafe to apply to internal irradiation” [1].

To illustrate the problem, let us return to an example given earlier in the chapter. Busby explored the hypothetical situation of a single particle of depleted uranium, 2 microns in diameter, deposited in the lymphatic system. Using the ICRP method for calculating dosage, the amount of energy released by the particle in one year, considered as being evenly distributed throughout a lymphatic system defined as consisting of 800 grams, creates the insignificant dose of 0.0000021 rem (2.1 x 10-7 mSv). Now we have to ask ourselves, what is the actual meaning of this number? Is it really the case that if we were able to take a measurement at any point throughout the mass of the lymphatic system that we would get a reading of 0.0000021 rem? No, this is not true, because the actual energy of radioactive decay is confined to the area around the point source of the single particle. Pure and simple, the purported organ dose in this instance is a mathematical fiction. It represents nothing in reality. It is a mathematical construction designed to create the erroneous idea that the energy of radiation emitted by the particle is uniformly distributed throughout the entire lymphatic system. But this is not the actuality of the situation. In reality, only a tiny volume of cells immediately surrounding the particle receives the entire dose. It is a major conceptual blunder to apply the traditional concept of dose to this dimension.

The shortcomings inherent in the concept of dose under these circumstances need no longer be an impediment to scientific accuracy. Advances in technology have given radiation biologists the power to witness, either directly or indirectly, radiation effects on both the cellular and molecular level. Microdosimetry allows for an accurate evaluation of the distribution of energy at this dimension of physical reality. And yet, radiation protection agencies rigidly adhere to the principle that the traditional concept of dosages to whole organs must be used to properly assess the biological impact of low levels of internal exposure. Why?

Because it deceives. Dosage, as misapplied to low levels of radiation, is a perfect instrument of camouflage, and is relied upon because it so successfully disguises the underlying biological effects. The successful model for calculating dosage and dose effects for high doses of external photon irradiation, by sleight of hand, is overlaid on a dimension of reality for which it doesn’t apply. The science that supports the nuclear establishment forces this fit. It is the basis for the unfounded assumption, rigorously defended, that low-dose effects can be accurately extrapolated from verifiable high-dose effects. This abuse of the concept of dosage is one of the cornerstones of the conspiracy to mask the significance of low doses of radiation. It is an intentional misrepresentation of the phenomenon, upheld by the radiation protection community, to confuse people and distract intellectual inquiry into the safety of exposure to low levels of radiation.

As a front for the American war machine, a number of organizations have issued scientific opinions that uranium/depleted uranium weapons cannot possibly pose a radiological hazard to health. They base this claim on the fact that the dose uranium delivers to the lung is too small. They estimate the energy released by a hypothetical quantity of inhaled DU dust and average it over the mass of the lungs. Calculated in this way, the dose does appear insignificant, below regulatory concern. But let’s shift paradigms for a moment. Let’s dispense with the traditional concept of dose and view the contamination as a number of discrete alpha particles producing tracks of densely packed ionizing events that pass through the nuclei of nearby cells. All of a sudden, the shroud of deception created by the concept of dose drops away. On the cellular level, uranium/depleted uranium, even in “insignificant” quantities, is clearly seen to be quite capable of producing double-strand breaks, mutation, genomic instability, and bystander effects. These are radiological hazards. The defenders of DU weapons innocently proclaim that these weapons pose absolutely no hazard to health because of the low doses they impart to tissue. This is nothing but a nasty deception, an out-and-out lie.


[1] 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.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: SCAM NUMBER ONE

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.

SCAM NUMBER ONE: According to the equation, dose = energy/mass, a dose of radiation can be reduced (and made to appear within the guidelines of safety) by increasing the mass that absorbs it.

One of the secret incantations recited by those charged with managing radioactive waste goes like this: DILUTION is the SOLUTION to the POLLUTION. An example of how this maxim can be implemented to the benefit of the nuclear industry is illustrated by Karl Morgan in his book The Angry Genie. While employed at Oak Ridge during the 1940s, Morgan shared the responsibility of safely disposing of the radioactive waste generated as a byproduct of the nuclear weapons program. Broaching the subject with members of the Atomic Energy Commission, Morgan received a striking response: “Why not just dilute the radioactive waste to the occupational maximum permissible concentration, discharge it into White Oak Creek where it will seep into the Clinch River, and forget it?” [1]. The implications of following this advice must be amplified. Regardless of whether or not the radioactivity being alluded to was diluted prior to discharge, the same quantity of radioactivity would be released into the waterway. Diluting it first, however, gives the appearance of being in compliance with legal statutes while not diluting it is a criminal violation. Presto! A magical way of transforming hazardous concentrations of radioactive waste into benign levels below regulatory concern. This is a routine method of complying with environmental regulation. For instance, hospitals, universities and research centers are permitted to routinely flush limited concentrations of low-level radioactive waste into sewers. By diluting the quantity of radiation in a volume of water, the perception is altered as to what is going on without actually changing the end result of how much radioactivity is being dumped into the environment.

This same sleight of hand has been applied to dosages received from internal emitters. In the United Kingdom, a major controversy has erupted concerning the health effects to the population from plutonium-239 released from the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing facility. The Irish Sea is heavily contaminated with plutonium. Radioactivity is brought inland by sea spray and evidence exists that coastal communities are more heavily contaminated than those further inland. The winds also carry plutonium-laced effluent from Sellafield throughout much of the UK. Autopsies have confirmed that a proportional relationship exists between the amount of plutonium lodged in the tracheobronchial lymph nodes and how far the deceased lived from the facility [2]. Further testifying to the extent of environmental contamination, plutonium has been detected in the feces of sheep grazing as far as 100 km from Sellafield and within the teeth of children living up to 200 km away. The plutonium escaping the plant primarily poses an inhalation hazard. Once deposited in the lungs, the insoluble particles of plutonium are available for scavenging by white blood cells which then ferry the pollutants to the tracheobronchial lymph nodes. It is important to note that the combined mass of these tiny bodies of tissue is approximately 15 grams. (Inhaled particles of DU are likewise scavenged from the lungs and transported to the tracheobronchial lymph nodes.) In a contaminated individual, these lymph nodes can contain plutonium in concentrations between 100 to 10,000 times higher than in any other tissues of the body [3]. Due to alpha emissions from the intensely radioactive plutonium, it can be assumed that a frighteningly high dosage of radiation is being deposited in these tiny tissue masses. As a consequence, there is an elevated risk for leukemia, induced by mutations to stem cells present within the nodes. As noted by Dr. Chris Busby: “Given that this organ [the tracheobronchial lymph nodes] has been identified as a source of lymphoma and leukemia in animals, this sounds very like the cause of the Sellafield leukemia cluster” [4]. For the nuclear establishment, such talk is heresy. If the public embraced the idea that pollution from a nuclear facility was causing leukemia, the weight of opinion might topple the government and force closure of Britain’s nuclear program. The Cult of Nuclearists of that country cannot allow for such a possibility. As related by Busby [5], the National Radiation Protection Board came to the rescue, armed with the prestidigitation of the corrupted computational system for calculating dosage. In NRPB R-276, Risk of Leukemia and other Cancers in Seascale from All Sources of Radiation [6], plutonium dosage to the population was calculated by modeling the lymphatic system as consisting of a mass of 8000 grams that included the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas, uterus, thymus, thyroid, stomach, both intestines, colon, red bone marrow, and cells on bone surfaces. The reader is challenged to find a single physiology book written anywhere in the world that offers such a definition for the “lymphatic system.” Here, indisputable evidence is apparent of blatant criminality masquerading as science. In this publication, the dose actually deposited by plutonium to the tiny tracheobronchial lymph nodes is intentionally misrepresented as a dose to the whole “lymphatic system” following the conventional but sometimes questionable practice of stating exposure in terms of an organ dose. The lymphatic system, in turn, is modeled as consisting of a huge mass of tissue, a mass which for the most part is receiving no radiation. Only by this clever trick of mathematical dilution can the hazardous dose deposited in the tracheobronchial lymph nodes be made to appear as falling below regulatory concern as defined by the radiation protection community. While seriously contaminated people are becoming sick and dying from plutonium contamination, the National Radiation PROTECTION Board is covering up a public health tragedy with lies so as to run interference for that nation’s nuclear programs.


[1] Morgan K.Z., Peterson K.M. The Angry Genie: One Man’s Walk Through the Nuclear Age. University of Oklahoma Press; 1999.

[2] Popplewell D.S. Plutonium in Autopsy Tissues in Great Britain. NRPB Radiological Protection Bulletin No. 74. Chilton. 1968.

[3] Taylor D.M. Environmental Plutonium in Humans. Applied Radiation and Isotopes. 1995; 46:(11):1245-1252.

[4] Busby C. Health Risks Following Exposure to Aerosols Produced by the use of Depleted Uranium Weapons. Paper submitted to the Conference on Facts on Depleted Uranium. Prague, Czech Republic. November 24-25, 2001.

[5] Busby C. Depleted Science: Health Consequences and Mechanisms of Exposure to Fallout from Depleted Uranium Weapons. Contribution to International DU Conference, Hamburg, October 16-19, 2003. Aberystwyth: Green Audit; 2003.

[6] Simmonds J.R., et al. NRPB R276: Risk of Leukaemia and Other Cancers in Seascale from All Sources of Radiation. Chilton: National Radiological Protection Board; 1995).