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, 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.