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, July 29, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: SCAM NUMBER TWENTY

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 TWENTY: Entrust agencies of questionable objectivity with the power to establish the risk factors for low-level radiation exposure.

Historically, the radiation protection agencies and the committees that publish estimates of radiation risk have been staffed by people with close ties to government nuclear programs and the nuclear industry. When establishing guidelines for radiation safety, a fundamental consideration was the development of a system that enabled those with interests in nuclear technology to go about their business without undue interference. This clandestine alliance between regulators and users has introduced bias into the science of radiation protection and has ultimately been responsible for many of the scams unveiled in this Exhibit.

In the circle game of radiation protection, the ICRP earns its status and legitimacy from the regulatory bodies of governments that consult it for advice. Completing the circle, the radiation safety standards of a nation are deemed legitimate because they issue from such an authoritative and respected body as the ICRP. This incestuous relationship had its start at the beginning of the nuclear age, in 1946, when the AEC sought guidelines from the newly reformed NCRP, which it helped to establish through Lauriston Taylor. This, in turn, led to the formation of the ICRP. Today, the ICRP takes the position that its function is nothing more than to offer recommendations on radiation safety. In a meeting in Brussels in 1998, as recounted in the first publication of the ECRR, the scientific secretary of the ICRP, Dr. Valentin, told attendees “the ICRP was an independent body which gave advice on radiation safety, but that those who considered this advice unsafe or questionable were entirely free to consult any other group or organization” [1]. As fair and open-minded as this may sound, the ruse in the matter is that governments consult only the ICRP and the other copycat agencies when authoring laws and regulatory policies for their nuclear programs. Any individual or group is free to author whatever dissenting opinion they wish on the current safety of radiation standards, but it won’t make a damn bit of difference to the entrenched power structure and the nuclear programs it sponsors.

One would think that with the variety of international organizations involved in radiation safety, a number of different points of view on the hazards of low-level exposure would be represented. However, this is not the case. Except for minor differences, the various agencies base their work on the same assumptions and come up with similar risk assessments. They all embrace the flawed methodology outlined in Exhibits A, B, and D, and they all base their assessment of the risk of chronic, low-level internal radiation exposure primarily on the corrupted Hiroshima study or on other studies of acute, external exposure. All discount as inconsequential the health detriment posed by low doses of radiation. This unanimity of opinion can be interpreted in two different ways: either the science is so well understood that there is little room for disagreement, or a political agenda has taken hold of the various radiation protection agencies in order to control the perception of hazard posed by radiation exposure.

Control over what ideas occupy the minds of human beings are the stakes being played for in the debate over radiation risk. Those organizations fronting for the nuclear establishment promote a single, unified, dogmatic point of view of what risks are imposed on humanity. Given the influence and power of this tyrannical system, a new organization such as the ECRR should be welcomed into the debate for it provides fresh ideas, allowing the public to weigh alternatives and engage in free thought. To gain an appreciation of the importance for alternative points of view, it is instructive to compare the predictions of ICRP models and those of the ECRR on the losses imposed on humanity by nuclear technology. For instance, ICRP models predict that the worldwide health detriment from all nuclear activities (global nuclear tests, weapons fabrication, nuclear power production, radioisotope production, and accidents.) up to the year 2000 is 1,173,606 extra cancer deaths and 2,350,000 total cancers. Under these models, no infant deaths or fetal deaths are predicted as having occurred. By contrast, the ECRR has calculated an alternative picture of reality by adding additional risk factors to the ICRP methodology to fill perceived inaccuracies in that system. The ECRR models estimate the worldwide health detriment as totaling 61,619,512 extra cancer deaths and a total of 123,239,024 induced cancers. Further, they estimate that the human nuclear experiment has produced 1,600,000 infant deaths and 1,880,000 fetal deaths. Similarly, the predicted mortality from the accident at Chernobyl differs widely. ICRP models predict an excess of 30,000 fatal cancers worldwide, a figure that will be statistically invisible within normal population incidences of the disease. By contrast, ECRR models predict that the overall 70 year yield of fatal cancers, in Belarus alone, will be 1,200,000. Global figures are predicted to be in excess of 6,000,000.

The reason for these wide discrepancies rests primarily on how the ICRP and ECRR models estimate the health detriment produced by internal emitters. This is the crux of the debate on low-level radiation effects. As we have seen throughout this chapter, the ICRP predicts health effects by calculating the total amount of energy absorbed by the body or organ from decaying radioisotopes external to the body and deposited internally, weights the contributions of alpha emitters within the body’s interior, and then averages the total energy over the mass under consideration (whole body or organ) to derive a dose. In sharp contrast, the ECRR model partitions internal and external doses. The calculation of the internal dose, contrary to ICRP methodology, includes weighting factors that take into consideration the specific biophysical and biochemical behavior of each isotope within the body and, further, discriminates between whether the isotope(s) is distributed as individual molecules or as sub-micron or micron-sized hot particles.

The skirmish over dose-response is not simply some esoteric and theoretical controversy by the experts with no practical significance for the rest of humanity. The fate of the whole human race may very well rest upon it. Our ideas of the anticipated effects of a nuclear exchange, the amount of wellness sacrificed to our continued reliance on nuclear power, the health detriment imposed on a population by uranium weapons, all rest on the model we choose for faithfully portraying reality.


[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.