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, April 29, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: Exhibit E continued

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.

Exhibit E continued

It is beyond the scope of this book to offer an exhaustive review of the popular and scientific opposition that arose in the second half of the twentieth century to the nuclear agenda. The point has been to provide just a sketch of the social context in which the government’s efforts to coerce the nation into hosting nuclear weapons and reactors took place. Controversial and dangerous programs were thrust upon the American people. Many perceived these as reckless endangerment to public health. Research by scientists with impeccable credentials confirmed the perceptions of many citizens that the risks from radiation exposure were cause for legitimate concern. Waves of opposition from throughout the heartland repeatedly swept over Washington. Nuclear programs were under a perpetual state of siege. The government was forced to adopt a defensive posture in opposition to the very citizens it was supposed to represent. Much money and manpower was expended devising new tactics to dissuade the public from raising further opposition. When evidence began accumulating of the hazard to health from low doses of radiation, members of the nuclear establishment recognized that a point of crisis had been reached. A endgame had to be devised. Unmistakable proof of endangerment from low doses of radiation would render all state-sponsored nuclear programs indefensible. The government would be exposed as culpable for injuring tens of millions of its citizens. Financial reparations would be demanded for the ill and families of the dead. Accusations of crimes against humanity might be lodged. The line in the sand had been drawn. At whatever cost, by whatever means, mainstream science could not be permitted to establish a link between low levels of radiation and ill health. This was the unprotected flank of the entire nuclear enterprise. Renegades to the nuclear agenda could mount a successful scientific attack over this ground and ruin the plans of the Cult of Nuclearists. To forestall this prospect, radiation science as it applies to public health was preemptively infiltrated and subverted. A system of radiation safety was implemented that successfully masked low-level radiation effects and the threat to health of internal contamination. Worldwide acceptance of the bureaucratic infrastructure that upheld this defective methodology enabled mainstream science to testify before all mankind that government-sponsored nuclear programs and commercial nuclear power plants were safe and posed no hazard to health of the general population. With this accomplished, the Cult of Nuclearists had erected an impregnable and unassailable fortress by which to protect all future uses of radioactive material. Effective opposition would be forever muted. To challenge government on the safety of any of its programs involving radioactive material would first require a successful challenge to the entire edifice of radiation protection guidelines and the orthodox methodology for calculating dosage and assessing risk. As long as this infrastructure maintained the facade of scientific impeccability, all antagonists would be cut off at the knees, unable to challenge on “scientific” grounds that nuclear and radiological programs were ruining the health of life on planet Earth.

As outlined earlier in this chapter, the development of units of measurement for dosages of radiation was a profound intellectual achievement. It enabled scientists to quantify the interaction of radiation with matter. Likewise, the work of the Tri-Partite Conferences and Subcommittee Two was a milestone in radiation safety, allowing scientists to make significant inroads into determining what might constitute hazardous levels of internal contamination. In the hands of unscrupulous scientists, however, these scientific achievements were redirected to serve a political purpose. Hiding within established scientific theory and legitimate protocol, these scientists transformed the science of radiation protection into a masterpiece of trickery and beguilement. As currently crafted, the methodology for calculating dosages of radiation to exposed populations and determining health risks from these dosages is weighted against ever establishing definitive proof of hazard from low-dose exposure from internal emitters. This is by design. The reigning paradigm dictating the current approach to radiation protection has been artfully constructed to mask low-level radiation effects. This faithfully serves the Cult of Nuclearists which has been scattering radiation over the Earth for half a century. Science has been kidnapped to intentionally hide the destructive health consequences to all life on Earth by the nuclear programs of the government.

It is alleged that the Cult of Nuclearists perpetrates a conspiracy against the people of the Earth so as to pursue its unquenchable thirst for developing nuclear/radiological weapons and procuring centralized control of the production of electricity through nuclear power. They hide the poisoned fruit of their nefarious deeds, radioactive pollution of Nature and the people of the Earth, behind inaccessible and fraudulent scientific models. They depend upon the international radiation protection agencies to enshrine these models and make them unassailable. With this infrastructure in place, every radiation release can be made to appear as inconsequential to health. Numbers are generated to “scientifically” verify the harmlessness of each release and demonstrate that dosages fall within limits accepted as permissible by the standard setting agencies. With no recourse to any other point of view, the public is forced to accept the opinion of the “experts.” Most insidious is the fact that a whole generation of health physicists has been indoctrinated into the prevailing paradigm so as to unquestionably uphold the instrument of deception used to validate and protect the Cult of Nuclearists. Occasionally, scientists sufficiently trained in the radiation sciences to appreciate the fraud being perpetrated emerge to offer testimony against the corrupted paradigm. The defenders of the status quo then work to have these “rogue” scientists spurned and have their scientific work marginalized. The science of radiation protection, once conducted under the spirit of the search for truth, has been transformed by governments into an instrument of intellectual enslavement and the perpetuation of ignorance. The victim of this crime is ultimately Life itself. The viability of all life forms to survive in an increasingly contaminated environment is being eroded and will continue to erode throughout the generations until an end is brought to this villainy.

The accusations materializing across these pages are momentous. Where, it will be asked, is the proof?

Admittedly, within the public domain, no smoking gun exists for these crimes. There are no confessions from the principals involved, no documents unearthed revealing an international conspiracy. But it is the major thesis of this book that proof of this nature is not required. To know the Cult of Nuclearists and their crimes, all that is required is to look to their deeds. By their deeds you will know them. Left in the wake of their efforts to cover-up the radioactive pollution of the Earth is unmistakable evidence of their lies and deceptions.

Radiation protection, when applied to the public’s exposure to nuclear/radiological weapons and the effluent from commercial nuclear reactors, is an elaborate show of smoke and mirrors. It has been constructed to make an elephant, radioactive contamination of the Earth, disappear. Betraying the magicians’ craft, secrets of the trade will now be revealed.

Contained within each new deck of cards are two jokers. In many types of card games, the rules allow for these jokers to take on changing identities for the benefit of those who hold them. In the game of radiation protection, these two jokers are DOSE and RISK. These are extremely slippery characters, chameleons, continually metamorphosing to lend the appearance to any radiation release that nothing hazardous to human health has transpired. When a radiation release occurs, the two most important pieces of information members of the public who might have been exposed want to know is their level of exposure (dose) and the risk this dose poses to their health. Clever manipulation of these two key pieces of information can transform any radiation insult, no matter how extreme, into a seemingly benign event.

Let’s start unmasking the fraud by looking at the concept of dose. At its simplest, a dose of radiation represents a quantity of energy absorbed by the human body. As we saw earlier, the first unit of absorbed dose was the rad. It is calculated by dividing the total energy absorbed, measured in ergs, by the mass that absorbs it, measured in grams. Dose = energy divided by mass (d = e/m). According to current radiation protection guidelines, adults employed in industries where exposure to radiation may occur are permitted an annual dose of 5 rem (0.05 Sv). Members of the general public are permitted 0.1 rem (1 mSv) per year.

Now let’s play a little game. Suppose, purely as a thought experiment, that the current system of radiation protection is not about protecting the public from the ill effects of radiation, but rather about protecting the nuclear establishment from criticism and covering up the casualties suffered by the public by the deeds of the Cult of Nuclearists. In order to insure that this racket continues indefinitely, doses to the public must be made to appear below the permissible dose. Given this prerequisite, how many ways can we manipulate the joker called dose so as to hoodwink a naive and trusting public into believing that they are safe from harm?

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: Exhibit E continued

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.

Exhibit E continued

Dr. John Gofman was another scientist that began to express his doubts that the population remained unharmed by fallout. Gofman had been a staunch supporter of the nation’s nuclear programs. He was a co-discoverer of the fissionability of uranium-233, and during the Manhattan Project, he had helped to isolate the first milligram of plutonium. He went on to become head of the biomedical section of the Lawrence Livermore Radiation Laboratory. In May 1963, the AEC had announced the initiation of a “comprehensive, long-range program exploring in greater breadth and depth . . . man-made environmental radioactivity and [its] effects upon plants, animals and human beings” [1]. Gofman was selected to oversee the program, and he worked closely with Arthur Tamplin, a former graduate student. It was during this work that Gofman began to undergo a conversion. He became convinced that public health and safety were not top priorities during weapon testing or in the Government drive to develop commercial nuclear reactors. In May of 1966, Gofman and Tamplin published a report entitled “Estimation of Dosage to Thyroids of Children in the US From Nuclear Tests Conducted in Nevada During 1952 Through 1957.” It contained a realistic picture of the spread of radioactive iodine across the country and dose estimates to children’s thyroid glands from the ingestion of contaminated dairy products. Some original dose estimates had to be scaled down after consultation with the AEC. In 1969, Gofman and Tamplin made headlines that further aggrieved the AEC. Up until that time, the scientific community and the public had received repeated assurances that routine leakages and discharges of radionuclides from nuclear reactors would pose no threat to health. During the course of their research, Gofman and Tamplin came to the opposite conclusion. At a science symposium in San Francisco in October 1969, they reported that levels of radioactive effluent from nuclear reactors which were deemed safe would in truth kill large numbers of people:

“If the average exposure of the US population were to reach the allowable 0.17 rads per year average,” they warned, “there would in time be an excess of 32,000 cases of fatal cancer plus leukemia per year.” And the deaths would occur “year after year.” Thus they recommended an immediate lowering of the legal exposure limit by a factor of ten, to 0.017 rads“ [2].

Gofman and Tamplin made other waves during 1969. After Sternglass published his article on infant mortality and weapon testing, the AEC approached Gofman to refute the findings. Gofman handed the assignment to Tamplin, who reviewed Sternglass’s research. The opinion he arrived at was that the number of cases of infant mortality had been overstated. At most, fallout from atmospheric testing was responsible for only 4,000 infant deaths. Pleased by this, the AEC encouraged Tamplin to publish his findings in Science. But they urged him to omit all mention of infant deaths caused by fallout from nuclear weapon tests.

For their ongoing opposition to the nation’s nuclear agenda, both Gofman and Tamplin were forced out of their jobs. “ In 1973, as a casualty of his integrity, Dr. Gofman lost his position in his laboratory” [3]. In 1975, having lost his staff and budget in a thinly disguised act of blackballing, Tamplin resigned his position with Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.

For his involvement in the nation’s nuclear program, Gofman has made the following confession:

I feel that at least several hundred scientists trained in the biomedical aspect of atomic energy — myself definitely included — are candidates for Nuremberg-type trials for crimes against humanity for our gross negligence and irresponsibility. Now that we know the hazard of low-dose radiation, the crime is not experimentation — it's murder” [4].

The issue that refused to be buried was that low levels of radiation were a threat to health. The subject repeatedly surfaced in the scientific journals. It represented the gravest threat to the nation’s nuclear programs. Nuclear weapon testing released radiation into the environment. Commercial nuclear power plants could not operate without venting radioactivity into the surroundings. If low levels of radiation were confirmed as dangerous, the public would be outraged. The government was cornered. To safeguard its nuclear programs, the government had to deny the hazard of low-level radiation. The government’s position on low-level radiation was aptly summarized by Lieutenant General Harry A. Griffith, the director of the Defense Nuclear Agency during the Reagan administration, when he testified in the early 1980s before Congress on the subject of compensation to victims injured by the nation’s nuclear weapons initiative:

“[Griffith] recited a litany of possible horrors should compensation be granted. Griffith testified that relief measures for the offsite population would result in a lowering of current radiation health standards, thus endangering the continued operation of academic research programs, medical and dental procedures, nuclear power plants, industrial radiology, nuclear ships, and the nuclear weapons program.

General Griffith also said that to encourage “the erroneous impression” that low levels of radiation were a health hazard would disrupt these programs in four ways. First, claims would be filed against the government and private industry that would place “a heavy burden” on these entities to disprove. Second, nuclear workers would become more difficult to recruit, and ‘the potential loss of manpower would stagnate the nuclear program.” Third, compensation under existing health standards would result in those standards being lowered and “essential activities could be continued only with greatly increased cost while others could not be continued at all.” And fourth, legislative and judicial recognition that low levels of radiation were hazardous “would increase the anxiety of the general public — itself an undesirable phenomenon — and thereby increase resistance to productive and necessary programs” [5].


[1] Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), San Francisco Operations Office. Biomedical Studies Planned for AEC’s Livermore Laboratory. Press Statement. May 31, 1963.

[2] Wasserman H., Solomon N., Alvarez R., Walters E. Killing Our Own. New York: Dell Publishing Co.; 1982.

[3] Durakovic A. Undiagnosed Illnesses and Radioactive Warfare. Croatian Medical Journal. 2003; 44(5):520-532.

[4] Gould J.M., Goldman B.A. Deadly Deceit: Low Level Radiation, High Level Cover-Up. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows; 1990.

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

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: Exhibit E continued

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.

Exhibit E continued

Despite every effort by the AEC to downplay the danger of the inhalation, ingestion, and absorption of radionuclides liberated into the environment, evidence began accumulating throughout the 1950s that ignited widespread concern. Reports from downwinders began to appear in the press documenting hair loss and skin burns, poisoned wells and dead livestock. Fission products, particularly strontium-90 and cesium-137, began to be detected in the nation’s food supply. High concentrations of iodine-131 were discovered in dairy products of communities downwind of the Nevada Test Site and in the thyroid glands of the children consuming these dairy-based foodstuffs. The Baby Tooth Survey provided unmistakable evidence that strontium-90 was accumulating in the teeth of children in all areas of the country. Suspicion and fear began to surge about the possibility that radionuclides released from weapon tests were causing increased incidences of infant mortality, leukemia, thyroid disorders, and cancers. These combined revelations erupted in a crescendo of vocal protest, both in this country and abroad, that was a key factor in bringing the United States and the Soviet Union together for the signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963. But the end of atmospheric testing did not put an end to the public’s distrust of the Government. In the decades that followed, waves of protest rolled across the country over such issues as the siting and safety of commercial nuclear power plants; the siting of nuclear waste repositories; proposed production of the neutron bomb; government refusal to provide financial and medical compensation to atomic veterans, nuclear workers, and downwinders; the health hazards of living in proximity to weapon production facilities and nuclear reactors; Three Mile Island; and today, depleted uranium.

Against this backdrop of ongoing civil unrest, guardians of the government’s nuclear agenda were threatened by an even more formidable onslaught. Scientists not under the thumb of the nuclear establishment began publishing research that cast serious doubts on the adequacy of the government’s safety guidelines. One tactic the AEC routinely turned to was to offer reassurance that radiation exposure received from fallout was no greater than that routinely received by a diagnostic x-ray. [Here again, attention is focused on external exposure to the exclusion of internal contamination.] This stratagem started backfiring during the second half of the 1950s. In 1955, while collecting data on the effects of x-rays on unborn children, David Hewitt of Oxford University noticed a trend toward a 50% increase in the number of British children dying of leukemia. His statistics encouraged Dr. Alice Stewart of Oxford’s Department of Preventative Medicine to search for the reason. Dr. Stewart discovered that the death rate from cancer among children under the age of ten was double among children whose mothers received x-rays while pregnant. X-ray exams conducted during the first trimester created a 10-fold increase in risk that the child would develop cancer. Further, multiple x-ray exams had a cumulative effect, with the risk of cancer increasing with each x-ray performed. These quite revolutionary findings on the effects of low doses of radiation had a profound impact on the propaganda campaign on behalf of the militarized atom. Science testified before all mankind that levels of radiation previously considered harmless were responsible for inducing cancer.

In May 1957, E.B. Lewis published an article in Science demonstrating that the incidence of leukemia was directly proportional to the dose of radiation received and that there was no safe level of exposure. The following month, Linus Pauling, who twice won the Nobel Prize, published an article in Foreign Policy Bulletin announcing his belief that 10,000 people were dead or dying from leukemia as a result of nuclear weapon testing. The following year, Pauling published estimates of the public health impact from the massive release of carbon-14. According to his calculations, the bomb tests “will ultimately produce about one million seriously defective children and about two million embryonic and neonatal deaths and will cause many millions of people to suffer from minor heredity defects” (Pauling). Also in 1958, Andrei Sakharov, the “father” of Russia’s hydrogen bomb, added credibility to Pauling’s estimates by declaring that every megaton of nuclear explosive detonated in the atmosphere would create 10,000 deaths from the uptake of carbon-14. Based on the rate of weapon testing, he estimated that half a million people had already died by the mid-1950s and each following year the number would increase by two to three hundred thousand.

In 1963, Dr. Ernest Sternglass, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School published an extremely controversial article in Science. He calculated that, as a result of fallout over the previous two years, everyone living in the northern hemisphere received a radiation dose of 200 to 400 millirads, roughly equivalent to a pelvic x-ray. Testifying before the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy that same year, Sternglass cited Stewart’s research on x-rays and the incidence of childhood cancer and estimated that the atomic tests of 1961 and 1962 would create an extra 800 childhood cancer deaths.

Sternglass profoundly rankled the nuclear establishment in 1969 with publication of the article “Infant Mortality and Nuclear Tests” in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists [1]. [The magazine’s managing editor, Richard S. Lewis, informed Sternglass that, both before and after publication of the article, he received calls from Washington informing him that publication of the article was a “grave mistake.”] According to Sternglass’s article, rates of infant mortality between 1935 and 1950 had been declining by 4% per year. With the advent of atmospheric bomb testing in 1951, the rate of decline slowed. When bomb testing came to an end in 1963, rates of infant mortality resumed their downward trend. Sternglass calculated that the interruption in decline of infant mortality during the era of atmospheric testing represented a death toll in the United States of 375,000 infants before their first birthdays.

Up to the present, Sternglass has continued publishing data on the health hazards of low doses of radiation. But his work has been marginalized by the mainstream nuclear establishment.

“BEIR V [the 1990 publication of the Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation] does not list Sternglass in its index and astonishingly has no section on the infant-mortality effects of radiation. As far as the reader of this standard work on low-level radiation is concerned, Sternglass never existed and radiation has no effects on infant mortality “ [2].


[1] Sternglass E.J. Infant Mortality and Nuclear Tests. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 1969; 25:26-28.

[2] Busby C. Wings of Death: Nuclear Pollution and Human Health. Aberystwyth, Wales: Green Audit Books, Green Audit (Wales) Ltd; 1995.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: Exhibit E continued

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.

Exhibit E continued

The thesis to be developed here is straightforward. The faultless work of the Tri-Partite Conferences and Subcommittee Two underwent a sinister metamorphosis in the years subsequent to its development at the hands of government scientists and administrators who were sympathetic to nuclear weapon development and the proliferation of commercial nuclear power. In response to the government initiative to impose nuclearism on its citizenry, sectors of the public, beginning in the mid-1950s and continuing up to today, began to acquire a rudimentary understanding of radiation effects and embarked upon a path of vocal opposition and protest against the government agenda. Simultaneously, research conducted by independent scientists began appearing with increasing frequency in scientific journals that revealed that catastrophic health effects were being created by the radioactivity which was routinely jettisoned into the environment. Amidst growing social unrest, the Atomic Energy Commission and its successor agencies, the Energy Research and Development Agency and the Department of Energy, were forced to pursue increasingly sophisticated methods of controlling the perception of hazard of the radioactivity being spewed over the population and infiltrating the food supply. Each radiation release, as it became known to the public, required a state-sponsored public relations campaign crafted to keep the citizenry ignorant of the potential medical consequences accompanying that release. Within this charged political climate, the information officers and radiation physicists who were sympathetic to the government’s nuclear agenda discovered an unintended consequence of the work perfected by Subcommittee Two: The computational system developed for computing dosages from internal emitters contained within it all the makings for an instrument of deception. While struggling to portray each radiation release in the most benign light by repeatedly running numbers through their equations until they produced the desired results, the propagandists chanced upon the discovery that the computational system could be re-engineered into a political device for masking the medical significance of radioactivity delivered into the human body in low doses from internal emitters. By this conversion, the dosages delivered to exposed populations and the medical implications of these dosages could forever be manipulated so as to give the appearance of being of no consequence. Servants of the nuclear agenda realized they were heirs to a masterful propaganda tool. In their hands, the accepted methodology for calculating dosages from internal emitters, and thus how the public perceived the hazards thrust upon them, could be mathematically manipulated so as to trivialize the quite real threats to health. By computational abracadabra, all dosages to vulnerable populations downwind of liberated plumes of radioactivity could be made to appear within the permissible limits upheld by the international radiation protection community. What started out in Subcommittee Two as an effort to protect people from radiation was transformed into a vehicle of fraud for masking the potential health consequences of government-sponsored nuclear programs.

Although paying lip service to the hazards of fallout throughout the era of aboveground weapon testing and in the aftermath of radiation releases from nuclear facilities, the government’s entire nuclear program since Hiroshima has hinged on the public remaining ignorant about the phenomenon of internal contamination. The cover-up began in earnest in the years immediately after the Second World War. In 1946, the United States demonstrated to the world its nuclear might by detonating two atomic bombs in the Bikini Atoll of the Marshall Islands. In 1947, and again in 1949, teams of researchers from the Laboratory of Radiation Biology of the University of Washington traveled to Bikini to study the ecological impact of the radiation releases. For the first time, it was observed that plants and animals incorporated environmentally deposited radioactivity into their internal structures. Investigating the local food chains, they discovered that radioactivity accumulated in ever-increasing concentrations within organisms along each step of the food chain with the highest internal concentrations found in the feeders at the top of each chain. From then onward, internal contamination by fallout could not be honestly denied. But that is exactly what the Atomic Energy Commission did habitually when weapon testing commenced in 1951 at the Nevada Test Site and the Pacific Proving Grounds.

There is no need to dwell at length on the cover-ups and deceptions perpetrated by the Atomic Energy Commission against the American people in regard to the hazards of nuclear pollution. It is an ugly, undeniable fact, substantially documented in the historical record.

Footnote: For those interested in researching this travesty, a number of popular histories appeared in the 1980s documenting the AEC’s coverup of radioactive contamination of the American public. Although not currently in print, copies can still be found in libraries and used bookstores. A few titles follow:

Fallout: An American Nuclear Tragedy by Philip L. Fradkin

Justice Downwind: America’s Atomic Testing Program in the 1950s by Howard Ball

Multiple Exposures: Chronicles of the Radiation Age by Catherine Caufield

The Cult of the Atom by Daniel Ford

The Day We Bombed Utah: America’s Most Lethal Secret by John G. Fuller

Under the Cloud: The Decades of Nuclear Testing by Richard L. Miller

Killing Our Own by Harvey Wasserman, Norman Solomon, Robert Alvarez, and Eleanor Walters. This volume can be downloaded from the internet in its entirety at - 1035k.

(The problem we are chasing here is that essentially nothing has changed today from the time when the AEC was in charge of radiation protection except for the fact that the lies and deceptions have become more sophisticated.) To protect the nation’s weapons program and the monied interests’ investment in commercial nuclear power, the AEC was forced onto a precipitous tightrope act between managing the hazards of fallout and the need to cause as little alarm as possible throughout the population. Success in this balancing act required the pretense of absolute safety to the population from low-level exposure to fallout. Despite the fact that the NCRP had adopted the position in 1948 that no-threshold dose existed for the onset of radiation injury, “for several decades, AEC officials continued to publicly assert that there was a threshold of safety and that its exposure limits [the dosages deemed permissible to the public] were below that threshold” [1]. In harmony with this deception, the AEC published in a pamphlet in 1953 to argue that “low-level exposure can be continued indefinitely without any detectable bodily change” [1]. One cornerstone of the AEC’s disinformation campaign was to confine all discussion on radiation effects to external gamma irradiation. When publishing information on the offsite drift of radiocontaminants from the Nevada Test Site, the hazard of fallout was routinely trivialized and always explained in terms of potential external exposure. Thus, news releases from the AEC were forthright as to the intense burst of gamma rays at the moment of detonation and the hazards of gamma emitters in fallout. But to minimize the perception of hazard, reassurances quickly followed, informing people that the gamma burst was geographically limited to the immediate vicinity of a blast and that radionuclides in fallout rapidly decayed and were quickly dispersed throughout the environment in harmless concentrations. The possibility of internal contamination was left totally unmentioned or downplayed as insignificant. The AEC was fully cognizant of the hazards of internal contamination but kept the subject out of the public domain. Robert Minogue, a research director for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission once said, “High AEC officials knew very well the biological effects of low-level radiation in the 1950s. They can’t use ignorance as an excuse” [2]. The fallback position on internal contamination repeatedly professed by the AEC was that, if external gamma radiation was within the established safety limits, the internal buildup of dangerous levels of radionuclides was unlikely. When queried, the AEC rationalized its position with a number of flagrant lies and ill-conceived notions about internal contamination, claiming that released radionuclides were characterized by

(1) a short half-life so the radiation would not persist long enough to deliver a harmful dose; (2) the lack of similarity to normal body constituents so that retention would be very small; (3) if passed through the metabolic processes of the human food chain, decay and insignificant retention would appreciably diminish any potential hazard; (4) that normal food preparation would be expected to remove most of the deposited radionuclides; and (5) that wind-borne fallout clouds at distances far from the NTS would not maintain atmospheric concentrations long enough for inhalation to be a significant route of exposure. Therefore the emphasis was placed on minimizing the external exposure of the offsite population” [3].

With the passage of time, the lies told by the AEC were exposed. Today, the agency’s legacy is the monumental betrayal of the American people that included the following misdeeds:

1) Failure to provide adequate warning to people living downwind of weapon tests.

2) Failure to develop an adequate radiation monitoring system.

3)Failure to explain to exposed populations the increased health risk confronting children.

4) Failure to warn of the hazard to livestock grazing on contaminated land.

5) Failure to inform about food-chain contamination.

6) Failure to inform those at risk about what steps could be taken to minimize their exposure.

7) Failure to disclose the results of research on the health effects of fallout.


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

[2] Wasserman H., Solomon N., Alvarez R., Walters E. Killing Our Own. New York: Dell Publishing Co.; 1982.

[3] Black S.C., Potter G.D. Historical Perspectives on Selected Health and Safety Aspects of Nuclear Weapon Testing. Health Physics. 1986; 51:1.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

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.


In Exhibits A through D, we have examined glaring shortcomings in the current approach to radiation safety as it applies to low doses of internal emitters. We have pinpointed major flaws in the reigning paradigm of how radiation interacts with living cellular structure, the way dosage is calculated, the research used to justify and perpetuate these errors, and the biological effects that the current system cannot adequately address. With this groundwork prepared, we can carry a torch into the heart of darkness of the nuclear age. Egregious malfeasance crouches silently within the answer to a single question: Why do radiation protection agencies continue to uphold an antiquated model of how internal emitters interact with living systems when assessing the hazards to health of ionizing radiation?

In their book Radiation Protection Dosimetry: A Radical Reappraisal [1], Jack Simmons and David Watt are very generous in their assessment of the current state of affairs within the radiation protection community. They liken the continued reliance on “absorbed dose” for assessing low-level radiation effects to the planetary system developed by Ptolemy that perpetuated the false notion for 1,400 years that the Earth was the center of the universe. In the Almagest, published in the middle of the 2nd century A.D., Ptolemy presented a mathematical theory for the motions of the Sun, the Moon, and the planets. According to the theory he proposed, the Earth was suspended in the center of the universe. The stars were fixed points of light on the inside of the celestial sphere. The alternation of the day and the night resulted from the rotation of the entire celestial system around the Earth. To account for the motion of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, Ptolemy proposed that the planets moved on small circular paths, the epicycles. The centers of these epicycles, the imaginary points around which the planets circled, in turn orbited the Earth along great circular paths called deferents. To fully account for the ongoing accumulation of astronomical measurements, including the peculiar retrograde motion of some of the planets, a number of correction factors were periodically introduced into the system that compounded its complexity. Although unwieldy, the model was adhered to for fourteen centuries for its apparent accuracy in explaining observations and its ability to forecast future movements of the planets across the heavens. However, as the centuries passed, astronomical measurements accumulated that produced increasing discrepancies between observation and theory. By about 1500, many investigators doubted the correctness of the Ptolemaic system. This growing lack of confidence in established doctrine provided fertile ground for the conceptual revolution introduced by Copernicus. To account for all available observations, Copernicus inaugurated a paradigm shift, proclaiming that the Sun was the center of the universe, and the Earth, spinning on its axis, circled the Sun along with the other planets.

Simmons and Watt argue that the current system for calculating dosages of radiation and relating these dosages to observed biological effects is analogous to the Ptolemaic system. Over the last half century, an enormous amount of data has accumulated on the biological effects of radiation. This expanded knowledge base has forced the introduction of multiple correction factors into the models for calculating dosage and dose effects developed during and after the Manhattan Project in order to rescue these models from obsolescence and irrelevance. At this point, according to Simmons and Watt, the current methodology is unwieldy and incapable of accounting for the full range of confirmed observations. The time has arrived for a paradigm shift to bring theory more into line with observed phenomena.

This explanation for the continued embrace of an outdated model of radiation effects is naive. It fails to acknowledge and address the political interests that are so faithfully served by the perpetuation of the timeworn model that the radiation protection agencies insist on clinging to. Given that the current system for determining dosages of radiation and calculating biological effects does such an excellent job of protecting government and commercial nuclear programs from liability and criticism by the public, it is legitimate to ask whether another explanation exists as to why faulty models, out of sync with modern research, are allowed to dictate radiation safety.


[1] Simmons J.A., Watt D.E. Radiation Protection Dosimetry: A Radical Reappraisal. Madison, Wisconsin: Medical Physics Publishing; 1999.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: Exhibit D continued

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.

Exhibit D continued

To conclude Exhibit D, it is necessary to reiterate that the computational system developed during the Tri-Partite Conferences and carried into the NCRP and ICRP was an outstanding achievement in mankind’s quest to manage the hazards to health posed by internal contamination by radionuclides. The system reduced to manageable abstractions the complex array of variables that were involved in the biological behavior of radionuclides. This permitted reasonable first approximations to be derived of what might constitute a nonhazardous dosage of radiation. To quote Rosalie Bertell:

"There are many administrative decisions embedded into the elaborate (artificial) methodology for calculating effective whole-body dose and for calculating the expected number of radiation-induced fatal cancers. The strengths of the ICRP approach rest primarily on its ability to quickly convert a multidimensional problem, that is, a mixture of radionuclides, having a variety of energies and types of emissions, multiple pathways to humans, and a variety of target human organs, into a linear system amenable to management decisions. This is a recognized mathematical achievement. However, in risk assessments, long-term chronic exposure, the aftermath of a disaster, or in worker compensation hearings, these same techniques cloud reality and work effectively against justice for the victims. The elegant mathematics must not be allowed to cover up the injustices" [1].

For all its strengths, the ICRP model is deeply flawed in one significant respect. It breaks down when it is applied to low-dose effects produced by internal emitters. The effort to prop this model up where it cannot adequately account for observed biological phenomena and to force reality to conform to the model is the source of the injustices alluded to by Rosalie Bertell. As outlined in this Exhibit, there exists a wide range of biological phenomena capable of being produced by low doses of internal emitters that cannot be addressed by current models of risk as propounded by the radiation protection agencies. These agencies represent their models as the definitive statement of how radiation affects the human organism, but this is, at best, a half-truth. Vast regions of uncertainty exist which are currently ignored in risk assessment. This is not without consequence for the welfare of humanity. Governments exploit the flaws in the current model to rationalize the safety of their nuclear/radiological agendas. Under these circumstances, there is no mechanism in place to constrain their deeds. With science rendered impotent to testify before humanity the crimes of governments, and with scientists incapacitated by falsehood to stand up for the health and welfare of humanity, governments are in effect carrying out radiation experiments on the entire human race. Rather than respecting the biological phenomena coming to light through modern research and curtailing their activities in the name of caution and respect for life, governments are ignoring biology in pursuit of their nuclear programs. Under such circumstances, the ICRP, NCRP, NRPB, UNSCEAR, and BEIR are ineffectual pawns at best, complicit criminals at worst, supporting the reckless endangerment of all life on planet Earth by offering no force to counter the misdeeds of governments. The results of their flawed methodologies legitimize these misdeeds. These organizations never intercede on behalf of humanity by sending the message to government, “Wait! There are biological phenomena that are not sufficiently taken into account in our current understanding to justify the scattering of radioactivity in the environment!” Although they stand before humanity as agencies of protection to the human race, they are complicit in the furtherance of policies that are contaminating, and will continue to contaminate, populations with radioactivity.

By ignoring the biological implications of their nuclear/radiological policies, governments have forced a scientific issue, which would normally be settled by trained professionals guided by the scientific method, into a political issue. By casting caution aside and flouting biological truths in their pursuit of unlimited power, governments have left citizens with no recourse but to enter into a political struggle to curb government abuses and rescue the biological domain. If the radiation protection community is unwilling to restrain imprudent government and military policy, there is no other way.


[1] Bertell R. Limitations of the ICRP Recommendations for Worker and Public Protection from Ionizing Radiation. For Presentation at the STOA Workshop: Survey and Evaluation of Criticism of Basic Safety Standards for the Protection of Workers and the Public against Ionizing Radiation. Brussels: European Parliament, February 5, 1998a.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: Exhibit D continued

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.

Exhibit D continued

There are numerous other examples of biological effects not adequately considered by ICRP risk assessments. For instance, some people are genetically predisposed to a heightened sensitivity to radiation damage. Are these people adequately protected by current radiation standards developed in the one-size-fits-all model of the ICRP?

"Animal and human studies have identified genetic subgroups with enhanced sensitivity to radiation e.g. Japanese LSS study and women developing early breast cancer. In the extreme cases of those carrying the ATM gene for ataxia telangiectasia, there is extreme radiosensitivity and tendency to leukemia, lymphoma, and some solid tumors" [1].

Footnote: ataxia telangiectasia is a rare, inherited, progressive, degenerative disease of childhood that causes loss of muscle control, a weakened immune system, and an increased risk of cancer.

Take another example of biological variations among people outside the purview of ICRP models. Not everyone’s immune system functions identically. Immune response to radiation insult may differ significantly from person to person. Models ignoring the variations may put segments of the population at greater risk to radiation injury. Further, the immune system performs defensive surveillance on behalf of the body and can mitigate the effects of mutation or tumor progression induced by radiation. However, the effectiveness of this system can be suppressed by exposure to certain stressors such as ultraviolet light. This suppression of immune system response may, under some circumstances, be another factor involved in the enhancement of hazard from low doses of radiation.

Take a third example. It is a well-established fact that different radioisotopes, due to their chemistry, have an affinity for different organs of the body. This fact is acknowledged in ICRP models, and the hazard posed by different radioisotopes to different organs is adequately taken into account. But the same consideration is not given to radioisotope affinity on the molecular level. For example, it has been proven that Uranyl UO2++ ions bind strongly to DNA [2]. This suggests that internalized depleted uranium may have an affinity for DNA molecules. Thus, depleted uranium may pose an enhanced hazard to genetic damage out of all proportion to its “dose.” The same is true for strontium isotopes which have affinity for the phosphate backbone of DNA. It is essential that such molecular affinities be incorporated into assessments of risk from radiation because molecular effects at extremely low doses may nonetheless induce serious consequences to health in the form of mutations.

Another phenomenon ignored by ICRP models is the chemical transmutation radioisotopes undergo upon radioactive decay. When an atom undergoes transformation from one element to another, the chemical bonds which it has formed can be broken leading to significant alteration of the molecular structure of which it was a part. The impact of this chemical change is mentioned in the publication of the European Committee on Radiation Risk.

"The macromolecules which are the operators of living systems — proteins, enzymes, DNA and RNA — depend upon their tertiary structure, or shape, for their activity and biological integrity. Alteration of this shape results in inactivity of the macromolecule. This inactivation could in principle be effected by the sudden transmutation or alteration of one atom in the macromolecule. Since the molecular weight of these macromolecules is usually greater than 100,000, it is clear that incorporation of one atom (of e.g. C-14 which decays to Nitrogen) may result in an enhancement of effect of many thousand-fold" [1] .

When radioisotopes enter the internal environment of the body, they are available to become incorporated into the structure of significant macromolecules. Upon radioactive decay of just one atom in such a molecule, the function of the entire molecule may be altered or destroyed. A question yet to be addressed in risk assessment is the impact to health on individual cells, organs, and the whole organism of such altered molecular junk flooding the human body.

The ECRR mentions another interesting biological phenomenon that may in time prove important in risk assessment. In a recent theory of cancer expression hypothesized by Sonnenschein and Soto, a communication field exists between cells, and a threshold number of genetically damaged cells must come into existence before cancer can develop [3]. This idea is based on the theory that cell proliferation is the default state in multicellular organisms and that some permanent inhibitory signal must exist to deter proliferation. It is postulated that this inhibitory signal is carried by cell-to-cell communication and is perpetuated in the field of this communication network. “If this is found to be generally so then the effects of high local doses, as occur in the region near hot particles, may be particularly effective in causing cancer, since the damaged cells are all close to one another” [1]. By this theory, hot particles can create sufficient local damage to disrupt the inhibitory signal generated between cells and lead to cancerous proliferation.

One last biological phenomenon mentioned by ECRR that has yet to enter into consideration by ICRP models is the transfer of radioisotopes to the developing fetus in a woman who is internally contaminated. Once again, alpha emitters released at extremely minute concentrations may have consequences out of all proportion to the “dose” as currently calculated by ICRP models.

"For early developing fetuses, the local dose from particles of plutonium oxide or other actinide alpha emitters will be massively high and may result in a range of effects from fetal death and early miscarriage to effects in childhood. This is a case where the biological end-point may result from a very low probability, high risk event" [1].


[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.

[2] Wu O., Cheng X., et al. Specific Metal Oligonucleotide Binding Studied By High Resolution Tandem Mass Spectrometry. Journal of Mass Spectrometry. 1996; 321(6) 669-675.

[3] Sonnenschein C., Soto A,M. The Society of Cells: Cancer Control and Proliferation. Oxford: Bios Scientific Publishers; 1999.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: Exhibit D continued

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.

Exhibit D continued

When one takes into account the differences in cell sensitivity to radiation at different times in the cell life cycle, the hazards of low doses of radiation may be much greater than that supposed by ICRP models. According to the ICRP, radiation effects are proportional to dose. This linear relationship is well-documented at high doses, and via mathematical extrapolation, it is assumed to be equally true at low doses. However, when taking cell sensitivity into account, the dose-response relationship at low doses takes on a different picture. It is not unreasonable to assume that throughout an organ or throughout the whole body, some portion of cells at any one time are undergoing replication. Normal replacement of dead or aging cells can account for this turnover. When this subgroup of sensitive cells is factored into consideration, the concept of averaging a dose over an undifferentiated mass to derive an organ dose once again seems out of touch with reality and the linear dose-response model breaks down at low doses. A biphasic dose-response relationship would offer a more accurate model of low-dose effects to cell populations that include among them cells in a state of hypersensitivity to radiation damage. Such a response has been observed by Burlakova [1,2]. To explain, let’s assume that one percent of a cell population is actively dividing and in repair replication sequences, and for argument’s sake, that these cells are 200 to 600 times more sensitive to a hit from a radiation track. What would the dose-response look like?

"Well, as the dose was increased from zero, the sensitive cells would begin to be damaged and a proportion of these hits would result in fixing a mutation and increasing the possibility of cancer. As the dose increased further, eventually this rise in response would peak as these sensitive cells were killed. The mutation yield would then begin to fall. However, at some point, the insensitive G0 cells would begin to be damaged and the whole process would begin again, with a rise in cancer" [3].

It can be seen from this model that the lowest doses of radiation can induce mutations in the most sensitive cells. Thus, the likelihood of developing cancer may be enhanced at low doses. As the dose rises, these most sensitive of cells are killed preventing cancer expression. This has the effect of masking the low-dose mutagenic effect. As the dose increases further, the cells in G0 begin to be damaged and the dose response begins to take on the linear appearance that is currently assumed to be true for all doses. Within this theoretical framework, the possibility emerges yet again that internal emitters releasing low doses of radiation may pose a greater hazard than currently assumed by a simple linear extrapolation from high doses of radiation delivered external to the body.

It is reasonable to hypothesize that in the case of fetal injury, dose-response cannot be linear, but must be biphasic. This point is clearly addressed within the Minority Report of CERRIE, the Committee Examining Radiation Risk in the Environment:

"The Committee [CERRIE] considered the effect that the assumption of a continuous linear dose response relationship would have on the interpretation of findings in epidemiological studies. We [those who authored the Minority Report] argued that this (assumption that increasing dose would consistently produce increasing effect) was biologically implausible — for example, increasing dose to the fetus would ultimately result in its death. As a consequence, if an analysis of any endpoint in infants were expressed in terms of increasing dose it would show a maximum followed by a reduction. If there were sub populations of cells or people of different sensitivity, there could then be a subsequent increase (a biphasic dose response)" [4].

The biphasic dose response to low-dose/slow-dose rate exposure was proven by Burlakova and her colleagues after extensive research on animals and humans. This work was summarized in an article by Rosalie Bertell entitled Gulf War Syndrome, Depleted Uranium and the Dangers of Low-Level Radiation:

"They [Burlakova and fourteen other scientists] examined carefully the following biological phenomena under ionizing radiation exposure situations:

* alkaline elution of DNA of lymphocytes and liver

* neutral elution and adsorption of spleen DNA on

nitrocellulose filters

* restriction of spleen DNA by EcoRI endonuclease

* structural characteristics (using the ESR spin probe

technique) of nuclear, mitochondrial, synaptical, erythrocyte and leukocyte membranes

* activity and isoforms of aldolase and lactate hydrogenase enzymes

* activity of acetycholine esterase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase

* the rate of formation of superoxide anion radicals

* the composition and antioxidizing activity of lipids of the above mentioned membranes

* the sensitivity of cells, membranes, DNA, and organisms to the action of additional damaging factors.

For all of the parameters a bimodal dose-effect dependence was discovered, i.e. the effect increased at low doses, reached its [low-dose] maximum, and then decreased (in some cases, the sign of the effect changed to the opposite, or “benefit” effect) and increased again as the dose was increased. Dr. Burlakova has speculated that at the lowest experimental doses used in this research, the repair mechanism of the cells was not triggered. It became activated at the point of the low-dose maximum, providing a “benefit” until it was overwhelmed and the damage began again to increase with dose. This may well be the case" [5].

Footnote: It is important to note that it is only within this narrow dose range, where cell repair mechanisms begin to kick in, that the concept of hormesis makes sense. The concept, however, is abused when cited to prove that low-dose exposure is “beneficial” to the organism. Burlakova has demonstrated that numerous detrimental effects occur at lower doses before this seeming “benefit” appears.


[1] Burlakova E. B. Radiation Protection Dosimetry. In E.B. Burlakova, V. Naidich, J.B. Reitan (eds.): Radiobiological Consequences of Nuclear Accidents-Contamination, Radioecology, Radiobiology and Health. Nuclear Technology Publications. 1995.

[2] Burlakova E.B., Goloshchapov A.N., Gorbunova N.V., Zhizhina G.P., Kozachenko A.I., Korman D.B., Konradov A.A., Molochkina E.M., Nagler L.G., Ozewra I.B., Rozhdestvensko L.M., Shevchenko V.A., Skalatskaya S.I., Smotryaeva M.A., Tarasenko O.M., Treshchenkova Y.A. Mechanisms of Biological Action of Low Dose Irradiation. In E.B. Burlakova (ed.): Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe for Human Health. Moscow: Co-published by the Centre for Russian Environmental Policy and the Scientific Council on Radiobiology. Russian Academy of Science. 1996.

[3] Busby C. Science on Trial: On the Biological Effects and Health Risks following Exposure to Aerosols Produced by the Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons. Invited Presentation to the Royal Society. London. July 19, 2000

Also given in part to the International Conference against Depleted Uranium. Manchester. November 4-5, 2000. Occasional Paper 2000/11. Aberystwyth: Green Audit. October 2000.

[4] CERRIE Minority Report. Minority Report of the UK Department of Health / Department of Environment (DEFRA) Committee Examining Radiation Risk from Internal Emitters (CERRIE). Aberystwyth: Sosiumi Press; 2005.

[5] Bertell R. Gulf War Syndrome, Depleted Uranium, and the Dangers of Low-Level Radiation. 1999b.