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, September 6, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: SCAM NUMBER THIRTY-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 THIRTY-ONE: When assessing the health risks of particular radioisotopes, make invalid comparisons between the health effect of the isotope as it is found in nature with the health effect of the technologically enhanced form of the isotope.

The defenders of depleted uranium weapons are guilty of a gross scientific gaffe. They proclaim that these weapons pose no radiological hazard, and they substantiate their claims by citing research on the health effects of the uranium-found-in-nature on uranium miners, uranium millers, and other populations of workers in the uranium fuel cycle. What these proponents conveniently fail to mention is that no body of scientific research exists to prove that their comparison is valid. They presume, without proof, that inhaling the dust of ore in which uranium exists in low concentration has the same biological impact as inhaling minute particles of pure uranium metal contaminated with small quantities of fission products. (A fuller discussion of the make-up of DU weapons can be found in the chapter Are Uranium Weapons Made of Uranium?) It has never yet been proven that the physiological response of the human body to the two forms of uranium is the same. Thus, it is presumptuous and unscientific to proclaim that depleted uranium weapons pose no risk to health. Yet this fallacy of relying upon studies of the health effects of the uranium-found-in-nature to acquit uranium munitions of being a radiological hazard has been used in reports authored by the National Research Council, the Rand Corporation, the Royal Society in the UK, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the World Health Organization. How can all these institutions make the same simple procedural error in their research protocols? The debate over the safety of nuclear and radiological weapons has little to do with biology and everything to do with what you can get away with in the court of public opinion.