Credible nuclear deterrence effects, debunking dogmatic "disarm or be annihilated" enemy propaganda. Realistic effects and credible nuclear weapon capabilities for deterring or stopping aggressive invasions and attacks which could escalate into major conventional or nuclear wars.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New book by Sanders on low level radiation risks

Nuclear weapons hysteria was promoted during the Cold War by scare films like Colossus - The Forbin Project (1970):




Above: film of the Effects of Nuclear Weapons, beginning by debunking the radiation myths of Hiroshima. The 1977 edition of the Effects of Nuclear Weapons book, by Glasstone and Dolan, gives further data showing that there is evidence for "threshold" doses below which no negative effects occur:

"From the earlier studies of radiation-induced mutations, made with fruitflies [by Nobel Laureate Hermann J. Muller and other geneticists who worked on plants, who falsely hyped their insect and plant data as valid for mammals like humans during the June 1957 U.S. Congressional Hearings on fallout effects], it appeared that the number (or frequency) of mutations in a given population ... is proportional to the total dose ... More recent experiments with mice, however, have shown that these conclusions need to be revised, at least for mammals. [Mammals are biologically closer to humans, in respect to DNA repair mechanisms, than short-lived insects whose life cycles are too small to have forced the evolutionary development of advanced DNA repair mechanisms, unlike mammals that need to survive for decades before reproducing.] When exposed to X-rays or gamma rays, the mutation frequency in these animals has been found to be dependent on the exposure (or dose) rate ...

"At an exposure rate of 0.009 roentgen per minute [0.54 R/hour], the total mutation frequency in female mice is indistinguishable from the spontaneous frequency. [Emphasis added.] There thus seems to be an exposure-rate threshold below which radiation-induced mutations are absent ... with adult female mice ... a delay of at least seven weeks between exposure to a substantial dose of radiation, either neutrons or gamma rays, and conception causes the mutation frequency in the offspring to drop almost to zero. ... recovery in the female members of the population would bring about a substantial reduction in the 'load' of mutations in subsequent generations."

- Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 3rd ed., 1977, pp. 611-3.

This 1977 revision should be contrasted to the "politically-correct" no-threshold dogma on the genetic effects of radiation (based on maize and fruit flies which lack the protein P53 DNA repair enzyme of long-lived mammals like humans, which repairs damage and was only discovered in the 1970s once the "no threshold" dogma was well entrenched and all evidence to the contrary had been dismissed as "immoral" heresy), 20 years earlier in the same book, i.e. the June 1957 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, page 496:

"There is apparently no amount of radiation, however small, that does not cause some increase in the normal mutation frequency. The dose rate of the radiation exposure or its duration have little influence; it is the total accumulated dose to the gonads that is the important quantity."


Page 618 of the 1964 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons explains that genetic effects were exaggerated by the linear no-threshold theory:

"Although genetic damage is cumulative, it is now recognized that the rate at which changes result from exposure to radiation is womewhat dependent on the dose rate. Prompt, high dose rate exposures (greater than 25 rads per minute) may be at least four times as effective as are continuous exposures at low dose rates (1 rad or less per minute), for the same total dose. Thus, the protracted exposure that could result from a low-dose fallout field would presumably not carry the same threat of genetic change as would exposure to a single high-intensity dose, e.g., from the initial nuclear radiation, although the total dose delivered may be the same in both cases."


So in the three editions of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 1957, 1964, and 1977, we see the evolution from the "linear, no-threshold" theory of the genetic dose-effects relationship based on simple insects (fruit flies) and plants (maize), to a non-linear relationship where higher dose rates cause more damage than low dose rates, and finally in 1977 there is the admission that for the DNA repair mechanisms in female mice there is evidence for a threshold of 0.54 R per hour, below which no increase in the natural mutation rate can be produced by low-LET radiation like fallout gamma rays, regardless of how large the total dose of radiation is. In other words, the female mouse can repair DNA damage to its eggs at a rate equivalent to the rate at which DNA is broken by 0.54 R/hour.


Above: Tom Bethell's Politically Incorrect Guide to Science has a chapter on radiation lies, but more interesting is this critique of the journalist who fears the backlash from condemning expert dogma and abject speculations. The scientist is viewed as a fascist dictator who critics condemn at their peril, objectivity notwithstanding, bringing to mind the Nazi regime's organized attacks by scientists against Einstein, such as the book 100 Authors Against Einstein. The fear stems from the way the journalist and the politican work, which is a world where consensus of opinion and therefore fashion overrides everything: the journalist must never, ever, ever go against fashions or the journal will lose popularity and readership or viewers and he will be fire; he may only try to set new fashions without effectively condemning what is already popular (ineffective attacks on popular fashions, which are brief and easily ignored or treated as a joke, are of course permitted).



Above: T. D. Luckey's Radiation Hormesis (CRC Press, 1991) is on sale at the price of £228.00 on Amazon; no wonder that virtually nobody has read it.




Radiation Hormesis and the Linear-No-Threshold Assumption (Hardcover)
Dr Charles L. Sanders (Author)

Price: £136.80
Hardcover: 217 pages
Publisher: Springer; 1 edition (11 Nov 2009)

Product Description

Current radiation protection standards are based upon the application of the linear no-threshold (LNT) assumption, which considers that even very low doses of ionizing radiation can cause cancer. The radiation hormesis hypothesis, by contrast, proposes that low-dose ionizing radiation is beneficial. In this book, the author examines all facets of radiation hormesis in detail, including the history of the concept and mechanisms, and presents comprehensive, up-to-date reviews for major cancer types. It is explained how low-dose radiation can in fact decrease all-cause and all-cancer mortality and help to control metastatic cancer. Attention is also drawn to biases in epidemiological research when using the LNT assumption. The author shows how proponents of the LNT assumption consistently reject, manipulate, and deliberately ignore an overwhelming abundance of published data and falsely claim that no reliable data are available at doses of less than 100 mSv.


I have little more to say on this subject than I've already written in the earlier blog post on RERF lying and cover-ups (linked here). The experience of the radium dial painters (bone cancer threshold of well over 10 Gy for low dose rates spread over 25 years, with no enhanced leukemia risk) and the irradiated survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (cancer threshold of approximately 4 cGy for high dose rates, received from the rising fireball over a time of only about 20 seconds), proves the importance of the dose rate on the effects.

X-rays flashes and other high dose rate medical radiation exposure is very much more hazardous than the same dose spread over a long period from natural background radiation or from relatively low level, long-term residual contamination from a nuclear explosion, and this fact is currently being covered up by liars at RERF and other politically "correct" (actually lying) research foundations which fear a loss of funding if they tell the facts correctly.

There is also a groupthink mentality involved, where the entire group prefers to believe in delusions for the sake of funding. The delusion is that dose controls effects, when in fact dose rate defines effects.

A safe dose of aspirin spread over a year will cause fatal stomach haemorrhage if taken in one go: it is well known in medicine that doses have little relevance if the time factor is neglected; what matters is the dose rate, not the total dose. DNA is a double helix. If you get a full double-strand break, you have two loose ends which a DNA repair enzyme such as protein P53 can repair over a period of a minute or so, provided that is all it has to do. If you get a lot of breaks, the DNA is shot into lots of little bits, which can rotate and intermingle before they are "rejoined" in the wrong order, causing a mutant DNA molecule which may cause cancer. So low dose rates allow proper repair, while high dose rates (even for small doses) don't.


The graphs below demonstrate experimental data from sheep showing how the effects depend on the dose rate, not just the total dose, and there is plenty of experimental evidence (discussed in previous posts on this blog) that the same DNA damage effects apply to short term as to long term effects (source: David C. L. Jones and John S. Krebs, Radiobiology of Large Animals, Stanford Research Institute, report AD752049, August 1972, figures 1 and 2):




Moreover, the 22% death rate from cancer in the U.S.A. would fall for moderate radiation doses at low dose rates (although many times natural background), because of the radiation induced stimulation of repair enzymes like protein P53 to repair damage faster (mostly natural, non-radiation DNA damage due to factors such as the thermal instability of DNA from brownian motion at body temperature). The higher the radiation exposure, the greater the use of the body's energy by the repair enzymes for preventing cancer. As I explained in the previous posts on the subject, this means that the overall cancer response to radiation is of the form:

total lifetime cancer risk, r = 0.22e-aR + bR,

where 0.22 is the natural risk for natural background radiation, R is the radiation dose above natural background, the constant e = 2.718281828... (i.e. the base of natural logs), while the factors a and b are dependent on the dose rate. Thus, for low to moderate doses, the overall risk falls, but then it rises at very high doses where the exponential term becomes effectively zero and the effect is then (at high doses) linearly dependent upon the dose. The constant b is the same as in the LNT theory, so there is only one new constant in this theory, which determines both the hormesis (benefit, i.e. the net reduction in natural cancer risks) and the "threshold" (the second point at which the risk equals the natural .22 risk):

Relevant extracts from previous posts:




Above: the theory of the experimentally observed threshold doses for the radium dial painters and for the Hiroshima survivors.



In 1996, half a century after the nuclear detonations, data on cancers from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors was published by D. A. Pierce et al. of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, RERF (Radiation Research vol. 146 pp. 1-27; Science vol. 272, pp. 632-3) for 86,572 survivors, of whom 60% had received bomb doses of over 5 mSv (or 500 millirem in old units) suffering 4,741 cancers of which only 420 were due to radiation, consisting of 85 leukemias and 335 solid cancers.




Above: how to lie with statistics, applied by the 'Radiation Effects Research Foundation' (RERF) in its deceiving propaganda online guide, A Brief Description (6 MB) which is U.S. Department of Energy part-funded; you lump together all the low dose-end Hiroshima and Nagasaki lifespan study (LSS) data until you get enough higher dose survivors in the group so that the overall excess risk for that disproportionately large group becomes positive, to cover up the truth.

They are covering up the data at low doses to obfuscate statistical evidence of benefits and threshold for injury (for low doses the dosimetry is most accurate as we shall see, due to the little shielding that the average survivor had; the shielding calculations for large shielding factors at high doses are the major source of dosimetry error as indicated by the temporary epilation dose-response curve).

RERF are also lumping together Hiroshima data (where neutron doses were relatively high) with Nagasaki data (where the hydrogen nuclei - protons - in the implosion TNT shell around the plutonium core substantially slowed down the neutrons that escaped, reducing the neutron doses in Nagasaki to below those from the gun-type assembly Hiroshima bomb). Threshold and beneficial effects of gamma radiation should show up most strongly in the Nagasaki data, where neutron doses were smallest (gamma rays at Nagasaki usually just knocked out electrons from atoms by the Compton effect, but at Hiroshima, the higher contribution of neutrons knocked whole protons out of hydrogen nuclei, which caused more irrepairable DNA damage and probably prevented low dose benefits or threshold response, and this effect is not corrected by simply assigning a relative biological effectiveness of 20 or so to neutron doses).

Thus, lumping the data from both cities together tragically obscures the beneficial effects of gamma radiation at low doses in the resulting statistics; the Nagasaki data is vitally important for fallout decontamination in civil defence.

Additionally, the RERF must publish a full analysis of the effects of average dose rate at Hiroshima and Nagasaki upon the effects of particular dose intervals. Dose rates did vary because the time interval (up to tens of seconds for most of the gamma radiation from the buoyantly rising fireball) over which the initial nuclear radiation was emitted was only a weak function of distance, whereas the doses were a strong function of distance. Because single strands of DNA in each body cell are naturally broken about twice a second in each cell and are naturally repaired, the dose rate variations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have been enough to have had some effect on cancer induction. In any case, knowledge of the averaged dose rates are vital for comparison with other human cancer induction data where the dose rate was different.

See the earlier post, linked here, and also the post here on the history of the low-level effects exaggeration. The linear non-threshold (LNT) anti-civil defence dogma results from ignoring the vitally important effects of the dose rate on cancer induction, which have been known and published in papers by Mole and a book by Loutit for about 50 years; the current dogma which is falsely based on merely the total dose, thus ignoring the time-dependent ability of protein P53 and other to cancer-prevention mechanisms to repair broken DNA segments. This is particularly the case for double strand breaks (which form about 4% of radiation induced DNA breaks, and 0.007% of spontaneous breaks at body temperature, i.e. typically 15 natural double strand breaks per cell per day), where the whole double helix gets broken; the repair of single strand breaks is less time-dependent because there is no risk of the broken single strand being joined to the wrong end of a broken DNA segment. Repair is only successful in preventing cancer if the broken ends are rapaired correctly before too many unrepaired breaks have accumulated in a short time; if too many double strand breaks occur quickly, segments can be incorrectly 'repaired' with double strand breaks being miss-matched to the wrong segments ends, possibly inducing cancer if the resulting somatic cell can then undergo division successfully without apoptosis. In these earlier posts, we saw how the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) website was covering up the scientific effects on radiation and presenting false information as propaganda to exaggerate the effects of nuclear weapons and thus devalue civil defence. Now they have removed some of the offensive material and put up some facts (however notice that they omit error-bars from their data points, so they are still not following strictly scientific protocol):



Above: the new graph on the Radiation Effects Research Foundation website (note that the unit 1 Gy = Gray = 1 Joule/kilogram of deposited radiation energy in the target material = 100 cGy = 100 rads), showing the non-linear radiation effects of leukemia, the biggest radiation cancer problem (but notice that this curve only applies to one age group and one year after exposure, and is just a carefully selected subset of the data they now have which we will examine later; notice also how they literally cover-up the latest 2002 DS02 dosimetry data points for low doses, with irrelevant obsolete data points from the superseded 1986 DS86 dosimetry report!):

'As of the year 2000, there were 204 leukemia deaths among 49,204 Life Span Study survivors with a bone marrow dose of at least 0.005 Gy, an excess of 94 cases (46%) attributable to A-bomb radiation. In contrast to dose-response patterns for other cancers [which are generally more survivable and show far less radiation effects response anyway], that for leukemia appears to be nonlinear; low doses may be less effective than would be predicted by a simple linear dose response.'




Above: graph using earlier 1982 data, demonstrating why leukemia is so important: it shows a greater dose-effects response than other cancers. Solid cancers tend to respond better to treatment than leukemia. Notice the log-log scales (with marked discontinuity to linear scale where zero dose is indicated, since of course zero does not appear on a logarithmic axis): this log-log scale is needed to clearly show the effects at low doses, where the results are more accurate due to more people being exposed to lower doses than higher doses. The new presentation tries to cover-up the effects of low doses by using linear (not logarithmic) graph axes! It is very important to emphasise the two essential reasons why the data for low doses is more accurate:

(1) the dosimetry is more accurate for lower doses (the average shielding of survivor is less at low doses, for obvious reasons, making dosimetry far more accurate), and
(2) the sample size of exposed people is bigger than at high doses.

There is evidence that the dosimetry is inaccurate for high doses from the curve of temporary epilation (hair loss) versus dose, which we will discuss later. The problem with dosimetry at the high doses, near ground zero, is that the relatively few survivors at high doses tended to have substantial radiation protection by buildings, so the shielding calculations (which were not checked against atmospheric nuclear test data like the free-field dose data) were very important for survivors with high doses, but were not important for survivors with lower doses (where many people survived despite being outdoors and relatively unprotected). The larger number of people exposed to lower doses also makes the effects curve more accurate at lower doses than at higher doses, because statistically the larger sample at low doses is less likely to be in error due to mistakes in the locations of survivors than the smaller sample for higher doses. These facts would make the lower dose data more accurate, and is why there should be error bars on the data points to show which parts of the data are the most accurate: but the RERF is omitting error bars from data points!

The illustrated ABC Dose/Dose Rate Model that predicts the beneficial effects of radiation and the threshold is described in its formative stages in an earliest post (linked here): this model includes constants A, B and C, and dose or dose rate D, and predicts beneficial effects from low doses or low dose rates by a natural exponential term (beneficial effect = A*e-BD where A is the cancer risk at zero dose or dose rate D, and B is a constant) which, when summed with the usual linear no-threshold curve for high doses/rates, produces:

(A) the observed small benefit of very low doses/rates,
(B) the threshold dose/rate, and then
(C) the linear response at high doses/rates, which is why it can be called an ABC Dose Model (obviously the linear response curve must break down at very high doses because the risk of 1 person getting cancer can never exceed 100%).


There should be two versions of the model, one for acute doses and one for dose rates (chronic exposure). The dose rates involved for initial nuclear radiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were very high, since most of the radiation was received within a minute. Similar doses received at lower dose rates would not overwork DNA repair mechanisms so much, so they should allow greater repair of DNA and greater beneficial effects by stimulation of the repair mechanisms (like regular workouts at a gym; building up strength).

This model is based on the review, in 2005, of the mechanism behind the Hiroshima and Nagasaki data at low doses, by L. E. Feinendegen in his paper, 'Evidence for beneficial low level radiation effects and radiation hormesis' in the British Journal of Radiology, vol. 78, pp. 3-7:

'Low doses in the mGy range [1 mGy = 0.1 rad, since 1 Gray = 1 Joule/kg = 100 rads] cause a dual effect on cellular DNA. One is a relatively low probability of DNA damage per energy deposition event and increases in proportion to the dose. At background exposures this damage to DNA is orders of magnitude lower than that from endogenous sources, such as reactive oxygen species. The other effect at comparable doses is adaptive protection against DNA damage from many, mainly endogenous, sources, depending on cell type, species and metabolism. Adaptive protection causes DNA damage prevention and repair and immune stimulation. It develops with a delay of hours, may last for days to months, decreases steadily at doses above about 100 mGy to 200 mGy and is not observed any more after acute exposures of more than about 500 mGy. Radiation-induced apoptosis and terminal cell differentiation also occur at higher doses and add to protection by reducing genomic instability and the number of mutated cells in tissues. At low doses reduction of damage from endogenous sources by adaptive protection maybe equal to or outweigh radiogenic damage induction. Thus, the linear-no-threshold (LNT) hypothesis for cancer risk is scientifically unfounded and appears to be invalid in favour of a threshold or hormesis. This is consistent with data both from animal studies and human epidemiological observations on low-dose induced cancer. The LNT hypothesis should be abandoned and be replaced by a hypothesis that is scientifically justified and causes less unreasonable fear and unnecessary expenditure.'




Above: non-cancerous effects of radiation show low dose benefits and threshold evidence.

Notice how in their leukemia effects curve, RERF deliberately cover-up the new DS02 data points using old obsolete and irrelevant DS86 data points! But since they're abusing the earlier DS86 data, let's look at some facts in that DS86 data that they want to hush up:



Above: Y. Shimizu, et al., Life Span Study Report II, Part 2, Cancer Mortality in the Years 1950-1985 Based on the Recently Revised Doses (DS86), Radiation Effects Research Foundation, RERF-TR-5-88. You can see that small doses up to 5 rads have no effect either way on the leukemia risk, while 6-9 rads in this data seems to cause a reduction in normal leukemia risk from 0.17% to 0.12%. Doses which exceed this are harmful: the P53 repair mechanism was saturated and could not repair radiation induced damage to DNA due to the rate it occurred at the higher doses.

DS86 and DS02 in the RERF curve above refer to the 1986 and 2002 dosimetry systems, which are nuclear radiation transport codes developed originally for predicting the effects of nuclear weapons. The 2002 dosimetry system for Hiroshima and Nagasaki was validated against the measured radiation doses from the 500 kt pure fission IVY-KING nuclear air burst at Eniwetok Atoll, as well as against the early Nevada tests of heavy implosion devices, very similar in design to the Nagasaki bomb: RANGER-FOX, BUSTER JANGLE-CHARLIE, and BUSTER JANGLE-DOG. (Reference: DS02 dosimetry report, pages 167-8.) It was also accurately validated for neutrons by comparing neutron induced residual radioactivity measurements in various impurities in structural steel and other materials in the cities at various distances with the amounts of neutron induced activity predicted by the computer code, and for gamma radiation doses the model was accurately validated by thermoluminescence of crystalline materials in roof tiles and such like (gamma radiation exposure causes electron displacements in crystals, and thus rearranges the crystal structure; this trapped energy can subsequently be emitted as light when the crystal is heated years later, allowing many crystalline materials to behave as accurate gamma dosimeters after correction for background radiation by correlation with similar materials which were at distances that did not receive bomb radiation).



Above: 'Sex and Civil Defense' unhelpfully tries to use humour to discredit lying propaganda hype on the genetic effects of radiation, published in the February 1983 issue of the Journal of Civil Defense page 10, linked here. However, there is no humour to be found in the sad facts about lying radiation propaganda and its effects on the world. Because the scientific community were unable to communicate the facts efficiently against pseudo-scientific propaganda, over 100,000 human lives were lost by abortions after Chernobyl: in 1995, environmentalist Michael Allaby stated on pages 191-7 of his book Facing the Future: the Case for Science (Bloomsbury, London):

'The clear aim of the anti-nuclear movement is to silence all opposition ... theirs are now the only voices heard ... In the Gomel district ... which was one of the most heavily contaminated [after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986], the death rate per thousand newborn babies was 16.3 in 1985, 13.4 in 1986, and 13.1 in 1987; in Kiev region the figures ... were, respectively, 15.5, 12.2, and 12.1.'


The International Atomic Energy Authority has reported that over 100,000 excess abortions were performed throughout Western Europe after the Chernobyl accident (reference: L. E. Ketchum, Lessons of Chernobyl: SNM members try to decontaminate world threatened by fallout, Part I [Newsline], J. Nucl. Med., vol. 28, 1987, pp. 413-22).

Therefore, unjustified fear of radiation promoted by people with axes to grind is not 'harmless scare-mongering quackery for promoting terrorism by communist or other groups of dictatorial thugs', but it has been proved by experience to be nefarious; costing many, many human lives. We rightly denounce the pseudoscience of Nazi eugenics for the Holocaust and we denounce the flawed Marxist utopian ideology which needs to be fostered on people by Stalinism for killing more innocent human beings than the Holocaust in the purges, so scientifically we must place the lethal effects of pseudoscience on low level radiation for political purposes into the same category of fanatical dogma and groupthink that murdered so many people. The lesson? Pseudoscience, when widely promoted and made into mainstream dogma, can result in evil consequences.

‘Today we have a population of 2,383 [radium dial painter] cases for whom we have reliable body content measurements. . . . All 64 bone sarcoma [cancer] cases occurred in the 264 cases with more than 10 Gy [1,000 rads], while no sarcomas appeared in the 2,119 radium cases with less than 10 Gy.’


- Dr Robert Rowland, Director of the Center for Human Radiobiology, Bone Sarcoma in Humans Induced by Radium: A Threshold Response?, Proceedings of the 27th Annual Meeting, European Society for Radiation Biology, Radioprotection colloquies, Vol. 32CI (1997), pp. 331-8.



Dr Philip Abelson, Editor Emeritus of Science journal, in an editorial on 'Risk Assessments of Low-Level Exposures' published in Science, vol. 265, 9 September 1994 issue, p. 1507, wrote:

'The current mode of extrapolating high-dose to low-dose effects is erroneous for both chemicals and radiation. Safe levels of exposure exist. The public has been needlessly frightened and deceived, and hundreds of billions of dollars wasted. A hard-headed, rapid examination of phenomena occurring at low exposures should have a high priority.'


J. Strzelczyk, W. Potter and Z. Zdrojewicz state in their paper, 'Rad-By-Rad (Bit-By-Bit): Triumph of Evidence Over Activities Fostering Fear of Radiogenic Cancers at Low Doses', Dose Response, vol. 5 (2007), issue 4, pp. 275-283:

'Large segments of Western populations hold sciences in low esteem. This trend became particularly pervasive in the field of radiation sciences in recent decades. The resulting lack of knowledge, easily filled with fear that feeds on itself, makes people susceptible to prevailing dogmas. Decades-long moratorium on nuclear power in the US, resentment of "anything nuclear", and delay/refusal to obtain medical radiation procedures are some of the societal consequences. The problem has been exacerbated by promulgation of the linear-no-threshold (LNT) dose response model by advisory bodies such as the ICRP, NCRP and others. This model assumes no safe level of radiation and implies that response is the same per unit dose regardless of the total dose. The most recent (June 2005) report from the National Research Council, BEIR VII (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) continues this approach and quantifies potential cancer risks at low doses by linear extrapolation of risk values obtained from epidemiological observations of populations exposed to high doses, 0.2 Sv to 3 Sv. It minimizes the significance of a lack of evidence for adverse effects in populations exposed to low doses, and discounts documented beneficial effects of low dose exposures on the human immune system. The LNT doctrine is in direct conflict with current findings of radiobiology and important features of modern radiation oncology.

'Fortunately, these aspects are addressed in-depth in another major report—issued jointly in March 2005 by two French Academies, of Sciences and of Medicine. The latter report is much less publicized, and thus it is a responsibility of radiation professionals, physicists, nuclear engineers, and physicians to become familiar with its content and relevant studies, and to widely disseminate this information. To counteract biased media, we need to be creative in developing means of sharing good news about radiation with co-workers, patients, and the general public.'



W. L. Chen, Y. C. Luan, M. C. Shieh, S. T. Chen, H. T. Kung, K. L. Soong, Y. C. Yeh, T. S. Chou, S. H. Mong, J. T. Wu, C. P. Sun, W. P. Deng, M. F. Wu, and M. L. Shen, ‘Is Chronic Radiation an Effective Prophylaxis Against Cancer?’, published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 2004, page 6, available in PDF format here:


‘An extraordinary incident occurred 20 years ago in Taiwan. Recycled steel, accidentally contaminated with cobalt-60 ([low dose rate, gamma radiation emitter] half-life: 5.3 y), was formed into construction steel for more than 180 buildings, which 10,000 persons occupied for 9 to 20 years. They unknowingly received radiation doses that averaged 0.4 Sv, a collective dose of 4,000 person-Sv. Based on the observed seven cancer deaths, the cancer mortality rate for this population was assessed to be 3.5 per 100,000 person-years. Three children were born with congenital heart malformations, indicating a prevalence rate of 1.5 cases per 1,000 children under age 19.


‘The average spontaneous cancer death rate in the general population of Taiwan over these 20 years is 116 persons per 100,000 person-years. Based upon partial official statistics and hospital experience, the prevalence rate of congenital malformation is 23 cases per 1,000 children. Assuming the age and income distributions of these persons are the same as for the general population, it appears that significant beneficial health effects may be associated with this chronic radiation exposure. ...’





Above: the harmful effects of radiation are approximately linear but there is another effect which also needs to be incorporated into the overall dose-effects curve for radiation, even where the dose rate is high as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki initial nuclear exposure lasting under a minute. This extra effect is the increased stimulation of DNA repair and self-destruction enzymes, which work faster when they detect the free radicals and hydrogen peroxide formed by radiation hitting cellular water, preventing the usual cancer incidence occurring at low doses. This beneficial effect is similar to the hormesis effect that most vitamins and certain minerals have on us: too much sodium kills you, but too little sodium kills you because it’s needed for electrolyte balance. There is a range over which the dose has a benefit: outside that range, it is bad. The radiation hormesis effect exponentially reduces the natural cancer incidence as dose increases, while the harmful component of the overall effect of the dose is more simple and rises linearly. The net result is a curve that dips into negative effects (i.e. benefits of reduced risk, not harmful effects) for a while at low doses, before hitting a threshold equal to the zero dose incidence, and then rising at higher doses into harmful overall results.

Zbigniew Jaworowski, 'Radiation Risk and Ethics: Health Hazards, Prevention Costs, and Radiophobia', Physics Today, April 2000, pp. 89-90:


‘... it is important to note that, given the effects of a few seconds of irradiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, a threshold near 200 mSv may be expected for leukemia and some solid tumors. [Sources: UNSCEAR, Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation, New York, 1994; W. F. Heidenreich, et al., Radiat. Environ. Biophys., vol. 36 (1999), p. 205; and B. L. Cohen, Radiat. Res., vol. 149 (1998), p. 525.] For a protracted lifetime natural exposure, a threshold may be set at a level of several thousand millisieverts for malignancies, of 10 grays for radium-226 in bones, and probably about 1.5-2.0 Gy for lung cancer after x-ray and gamma irradiation. [Sources: G. Jaikrishan, et al., Radiation Research, vol. 152 (1999), p. S149 (for natural exposure); R. D. Evans, Health Physics, vol. 27 (1974), p. 497 (for radium-226); H. H. Rossi and M. Zaider, Radiat. Environ. Biophys., vol. 36 (1997), p. 85 (for radiogenic lung cancer).] The hormetic effects, such as a decreased cancer incidence at low doses and increased longevity, may be used as a guide for estimating practical thresholds and for setting standards. ...


‘Though about a hundred of the million daily spontaneous DNA damages per cell remain unrepaired or misrepaired, apoptosis, differentiation, necrosis, cell cycle regulation, intercellular interactions, and the immune system remove about 99% of the altered cells. [Source: R. D. Stewart, Radiation Research, vol. 152 (1999), p. 101.] ...


‘[Due to the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986] as of 1998 (according to UNSCEAR), a total of 1,791 thyroid cancers in children had been registered. About 93% of the youngsters have a prospect of full recovery. [Source: C. R. Moir and R. L. Telander, Seminars in Pediatric Surgery, vol. 3 (1994), p. 182.] ... The highest average thyroid doses in children (177 mGy) were accumulated in the Gomel region of Belarus. The highest incidence of thyroid cancer (17.9 cases per 100,000 children) occurred there in 1995, which means that the rate had increased by a factor of about 25 since 1987.


‘This rate increase was probably a result of improved screening [not radiation!]. Even then, the incidence rate for occult thyroid cancers was still a thousand times lower than it was for occult thyroid cancers in nonexposed populations (in the US, for example, the rate is 13,000 per 100,000 persons, and in Finland it is 35,600 per 100,000 persons). Thus, given the prospect of improved diagnostics, there is an enormous potential for detecting yet more [fictitious] "excess" thyroid cancers. In a study in the US that was performed during the period of active screening in 1974-79, it was determined that the incidence rate of malignant and other thyroid nodules was greater by 21-fold than it had been in the pre-1974 period. [Source: Z. Jaworowski, 21st Century Science and Technology, vol. 11 (1998), issue 1, p. 14.]’



Here is a brief explanation from the December 2002 issue of Discover magazine article Is radiation good for you? by Will Hively:

‘Any idiot should be able to poison a plant. That's what Edward Calabrese thought in 1966 as a junior at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts. He was in a plant physiology class at the time, and his lab group had been told to dose some peppermint with an herbicide called Phosfon. ... the lesson backfired. Instead of shriveling, the crop grew green and luxuriant. "Either you treated the plants with the wrong chemical, or you mislabeled them," the professor said. "God forbid, you discovered something new."

‘When Calabrese next tried to repeat the experiment, the peppermint shriveled as expected. But the professor had been right: Calabrese had discovered something new. When he sprayed the plants with a diluted dose of the poison, as he had done mistakenly the first time, the plants thrived. By every measure—height, weight, root length—they did about 40 percent better than those that did not get Phosfon. ...

‘Poisons that injure or kill at high doses can have the opposite effect at low doses, he says, and the paradox holds true for every conceivable measure of health—growth, fertility, life span, and immune and mental function. The effect is known as hormesis, from the Greek word for excite. "The implications," he says, "are enormous."

‘During the past decade, Calabrese has combed through tens of thousands of studies for examples of the effect, and he has found them in impressive numbers. Worms exposed to excessive heat, rats given a little dioxin, mice and humans exposed to low-level radiation—all have lived longer, in controlled experiments, than they would have without the toxins. ...

‘It also becomes scary. Using toxins to improve health sounds both irresponsible and suspiciously convenient for polluters. If a little dioxin is good for you, why bother to clean up the Hudson River? If a touch of arsenic can fend off cancer, why lower the allowable amount in drinking water, as the Environmental Protection Agency has urged? "This is one of the major awakenings we are going through," Calabrese says. "We really don't see any exceptions, and that's hard for people to deal with. But I have so much data—this is so overwhelmingly convincing—that I don't think anyone rational could deny that hormesis exists." ... Paracelsus, a 16th-century Swiss-German pharmacologist ... declared: "All things are poison and nothing is without poison. It is the dose that makes a thing a poison." This was common sense of a sort: We all know that even essential nutrients like sodium become toxic in high doses. ...

‘Poisons, the psychiatrist Rudolf Arndt and the pharmacologist Hugo Schulz declared, simply have a lower threshold of toxicity than other substances; taken in the right quantity, they can do good. As the Arndt-Schulz law put it: Poisons are stimulants in small doses. Arndt based his conclusions on animal experiments, Schulz on studies of yeast fermentation. ...

‘Soon after the discovery of X rays in 1895, researchers began publishing reports of radiation hormesis, claiming, for example, that low doses stimulated plants. At the same time, some quacks began touting radioactive patent medicines for every conceivable human ailment. It's not clear how many people exposed themselves to such elixirs, but the fad came to an abrupt halt with several well-publicized poisonings. In 1932, for instance, industrialist Eben Byers died from bone cancer presumably caused by his regular intake of radium supplements. Meanwhile, other researchers had shown that radiation causes chromosome damage in fruit flies—the higher the dose, the more mutations.

‘After World War II, physicists and others unhappy with the spread of nuclear weapons fanned the fear of radiation. By the time Calabrese's generation went to school, all mention of hormesis had dropped out of textbooks. ...

‘The general principle behind hormesis ... is homeostasis: the tendency of an organism to keep itself on an even keel. We respond to a rise in temperature by sweating. We respond to invading microbes by cranking up the immune system. Hormesis occurs when our bodies overcompensate, reaching a new and healthier equilibrium. When the immune system "remembers" foreign proteins, for instance, it can gear up quicker to cope with similar challenges, and the organism becomes more resistant to disease. Friedrich Nietzsche wasn't far off the mark, hormesis researchers say: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Some would even cite weightlifting, running, and character-building experiences as examples of stresses that produce hormesis. ...

‘Drugs typically lock onto receptors that signal the body to produce more of some needed chemical—a hormone, say—or to remove it from circulation. If low doses of poisons act just like medicines, then they should affect the same pathways. Calabrese and Baldwin have identified about 30 types of receptors that drugmakers target. They regulate important functions such as cell division, immune responses, and nerve signals, and they seem likely places where toxins would act. ...

‘As for immune-system stimulants, the best example may be radiation. While most scientists dismissed radiation treatments as quackery after World War II, a handful continued to test it as a way to prevent metastasis in cancer patients. In 1976 and 1979, two small clinical trials at Harvard found that low-dose radiation boosted four-year metastatic cancer survival rates from 40 to 70 percent and from 52 to 74 percent. Five years ago, a study at Tohoku University in Japan reported that patients who received low-dose radiation had an 84 percent chance of surviving for 12 years; those who didn't receive it had only a 50 percent chance of surviving nine years. ...

‘Myron Pollycove ... finds that low-level radiation benefits the body in at least two ways: It stimulates the immune system in the constant search-and-destroy mission against cancerous cells, and it stimulates DNA repair. ... all radiation causes damage, even at low doses, but ... the stimulation it provides more than compensates [at low doses] for the damage. For cancer therapy, they recommend the Japanese procedure, in which patients first get conventional high-dose radiation and/or chemotherapy to kill off tumors, then follow it up with low-dose treatments to stimulate hormesis and fight metastasis.’


THE FACTS ABOUT DNA REPAIR MECHANISMS AND LOW LEVEL RADIATION

The structure of DNA was of course discovered using DNA in a solid crystalline form by X-ray diffraction (Crick and Watson, 1953). However, in the human body DNA is not in that form but is immersed in water at 37 oC and is therefore continually being buffeted by Brownian motion from other molecules. The DNA strands in every single cell on the human body are naturally broken (single strand breaks) 200,000 times every single day, or 2.3 times per second! About 4% of the total number of radiation-induced DNA breaks are double strand breaks (the DNA molecule is a double helix, with two strands in it), and 0.007% of spontaneous DNA breaks are double strand breaks. To prevent every cell rapidly turning cancerous, the human body dedicates a great deal of effort to repairing the damage occurring all the time.

It is well known that the rate at which mammals breathe is depends in part upon the concentration of harmful carbon dioxide in the air. Similarly, the rate at which DNA damage is repaired depends partly upon the rate at which damage is done to DNA.

In the late 1970s, proteins like P53, involved in the repair of the broken DNA strands, were discovered. In the 1960s, French studies were carried out on the effect of background radiation upon protozoans shielded from the natural background radiation by 5 and 10 cm of lead: they grew at 60% and 40%, respectively, of the natural growth rates for normal background radiation! This was the first solid evidence that indicated that background gamma radiation is actually beneficial to life, like vitamins in small doses (vitamins are harmful in excessive doses, but essential in small doses). Soon there was evidence from mice which confirmed this, but obviously human evidence was needed, because DNA repair mechanisms may differ between species:




In 1993, Dr Sohei Kondo's book Health Effects of Low-Level Radiation (Kinki University Press, Osaka) reported two Chinese studies, over 10 years, comparing cancer rates in 74,000 people exposed to 3.5 times the normal background radiation for 16 generations, with a control group of 77,000 people who were exposed to normal background radiation. The group exposed to 3.5 times normal background radiation had the lowest overall cancer rate.

Then, in 1995, James Muckerheide's report 'The Health Effects of Low-Level Radiation: Science, Data, and Corrective Action', was published in Nuclear News, vol. 38, pp. 26-34. Muckerheide presented smaller sample sizes than the Chinese study (12,918 people in Kerala, India, exposed to 4 times normal background, and a control group of 5,938 exposed to normal background), but at least confirmed that there was no rise in cancer rates in the more highly exposed group. Muckerheide has further interesting reports here, here, here, and here. (However, see the concluding notice to this blog post about the harmful effects of high-LET radiation like alpha particles from radon gas which deposit their energy over such a short distance in tissue they overload DNA repair mechanisms and probably have no threshold; some advocates of beneficial effects of radiation do not have reliable data. The beneficial effects of low-LET gamma radiation described in this post do not necessarily apply to internal emitters of high-LET radiation like alpha and beta particles; although we will discuss the evidence from the radium dial painters which shows that there were no bone cancers or leukemias below a threshold alpha emitting radium intake, which was accurately determined from the radioactivity of bone samples after death.)

We shall now discuss the effects documented in the new online effects summary (PDF document). First of all, DS02 reassesses the Hiroshima yield and burst altitude to be 16 kt at 600 metres above ground zero (the 'hypocenter'). For Nagasaki, DS02 uses 21 kt yield at 503 metres burst altitude. We'll discuss the new dose-versus-distance and dose-shielding data later on, after discussing the key effects data as a function of the latest DS02 dose data.

ACUTE RADIATION EFFECTS: HAIR LOSS (EPILATION) AND THE SYNERGISTIC LD50 DOSE FOR ALREADY UNDERNOURISHED, THERMAL FLASH BURNED, BLAST DEBRIS LACERATED NUCLEAR WEAPON CASUALTIES



The summary document states on page 11: ‘Early estimates from survivor interviews measured the LD50 in terms of the distance from the hypocenter at which 50% of people survived: 1,000 to 1,200 meters in Hiroshima and 1,000 to 1,300 meters in Nagasaki. Dose estimation was not possible at that time because of insufficient shielding information. Later analyses of extensive records at RERF were able to make estimates of shielding and to calculate that a bone marrow dose of 2.7 to 3.1 Gy caused 50% mortality within 60 days (with the new DS02 dosimetry system, the corresponding doses would be 2.9 to 3.3 Gy). The data came from about 7,600 survivors in 2,500 households exposed inside Japanese houses located within 1,600 meters of the hypocenter in Hiroshima. Survivors inside Japanese houses received special scrutiny because the homogeneity of such housing structures allowed better estimation of individual radiation doses. The closer one was to the hypocenter, however, the higher the radiation dose received and the more severe the effects of blast and heat in terms of destruction of houses and subsequent fires. It was thus impossible to classify deaths that occurred within a few weeks after the bombings as due to radiation, injuries, or burns.’

Hence, the DS02 measured LD50/60 (lethal dose for 50% for acute radiation syndrome effects occurring within 60 days of exposure) for thermal flash burned, blast debris lacerated nuclear weapon casualties who are suffering from malnutrition due to severe food rationing before exposure, is 290-330 cGy.

Page 11 adds that using this data, 'together with other information from cases involving exposure to accidental radiation or radiation therapy, the United Nations’ Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation has estimated the bone marrow LD50/60 at around 2.5 Gy when little or no medical assistance is available and at 5 Gy or more with extensive medical care.'


This is important: these LD50/60 estimates are based on data from radiation exposure to people malnourished with thermal flash burns and blast debris laceration trauma (in the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki casualties), and very ill cancer patients in the case of whole-body gamma radiotherapy data. This is why the figures are so low. In addition, note that the bone marrow dose is only a fraction of the free-in-air dose, because bone marrow is substantially shielded against radiation by the human body (by the soft tissue and also of course by the bone which surrounds the marrow). These two factors account for why the LD50/60 doses reported are relatively low compared to those for healthy people where the exposure is measured in air (by radiation meters) and not caclulated for the shielded bone marrow.

LONG-TERM CANCER EFFECTS



Above: the non-linear dose-response leukemia effects curve published for DS02 data. Page 11 of the summary reports that cataracts also may show a non-linear or theshold dose-effect response: ‘It is unclear how frequently radiation cataracts advance to severe visual impairment, although we have documented in a recent study about a 20–30% excess at 1 Gy of cataracts that prompted cataract surgery. A low-dose threshold may exist below which radiation cataract does not arise, although our recent analyses suggest that there may not be a threshold, or if one exists, it is somewhere in the range of 0 to 0.8 Gy.’



Above: effects of age at time of exposure, and also age attained in the years after exposure, on the leukemia risk for a dose of 100 cGy (1 Gy). Because the immune systems of very young people are still in the process of development, they are relatively vulnerable to cancer and infections.



Above: cynical cover-up (which we have highlighted with a red box) in the table of data published: what they have done is cover-up the threshold or beneficial immune system boosting by low doses, by lumping together all the 0.005-0.1 Gy (0.5-10 cGy or 'rads') dose effects data, instead of breaking it down as they previously did! This is a cynical cover-up of low-dose effects data from the largest irradiated survivor group (30,387 survivors)! By lumping the results together, they manage to get an excess leukemia of just 4 survivors, making their statistics fit fashionable prejudice. If they hadn't lumped together the statistics for that group of 30,387 survivors but had broken down the doses within it, the results would have shown - like earlier results - a 'politically incorrect' threshold and beneficial effects from low doses. So it is a case of the abuse of science. This criticism also applies to the lumping of solid cancer data into the same dose range. Page 17 of the summary states:

‘Excess leukemia was the earliest delayed effect of radiation exposure seen in A-bomb survivors. Japanese physician Takuso Yamawaki in Hiroshima first noted an increase of leukemia cases in his clinical practice in the late 1940s. This led to the establishment of a registry of leukemia and related disorders and to the initial reports on elevated leukemia risks published in the early 1950s. Risks for radiation-induced leukemia differ in two major respects from those for most solid cancers. First, radiation causes a larger percent increase in leukemia rates (but a smaller number of cases since leukemia is relatively rare, even in heavily exposed survivors), and second, the increase appears sooner after exposure, especially in children. The excess leukemias began appearing about two years after radiation exposure, and the excess peaked at about 6–8 years after exposure. Today, little if any excess of leukemia is occurring. Because the LSS cohort was based on the 1950 national census, quantitative descriptions of leukemia risks in A-bomb survivors have been based on cases diagnosed from that year on. As of the year 2000, there were 204 leukemia deaths among 49,204 LSS survivors with a bone marrow dose of at least 0.005 Gy, an excess of 94 cases (46%) attributable to A-bomb radiation (Table 4). In contrast to dose-response patterns for other cancers, that for leukemia appears to be nonlinear; low doses may be less effective than would be predicted by a simple linear dose response. Even for doses in the 0.2 to 0.5 Gy range, however, risk is elevated (Figure 7).’

What they are still doing is for political expediency reasons, deliberately ignoring the effects below 0.2 Gy (20 cGy), which they should be studying closely: this is where the threshold and non-linear response is to be found, and this is where the data is most reliable since there were a vast number of survivors exposed to low doses, contrasted to few survivors from very high doses! Dose estimates at low doses are more reliable (see the suggested dose error at high doses in the graph of epilation effects, above) than at high doses. So the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, which is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, is still issuing propaganda.

Page 19 states: ‘In an unexposed Japanese population, the lifetime risk of leukemia is about seven cases per 1,000 people. For typical survivors in the LSS, who received 0.005 Gy or greater (a mean dose of about 0.2 Gy), the lifetime leukemia risk increases to about 10 cases per 1,000 (or the relative risk is nearly 1.5).’

NO GENETIC EFFECTS WERE OBSERVED

Page 30 of the summary states: ‘While high doses in experimental animals can cause various disorders in offspring (birth defects, chromosome aberrations, etc.), no evidence of clinical or subclinical effects has yet been seen in children of A-bomb survivors.’

Page 46 of the summary adds: ‘One of the earliest concerns in the aftermath of the atomic bombings was how radiation might affect the children of survivors. Efforts to detect genetic effects began in the late 1940s and continue. Thus far, no evidence of increased genetic effects has been found.’

Next, examine the errors and cover-ups in the scare mongering on low-level radiation by geneticists at the May-June 1957 U.S. Congressional Hearings before the Special Subcommittee on Radiation of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, The Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man. In a nutshell, the whole error is summarized on page 1264 of those hearings by Dr Ralph E. Lapp:

(a) the radium dial painters of the first World War (who licked their brushes for a fine point when applying glowing radium-zinc sulphide paint to watches and aircraft instrument dials, ingesting radium which was deposited in their bones rather like calcium or strontium-90) were exposed to massive doses at a very low dose rate and did not get leukemia, but did get bone changes above and a risk of bone cancer at massive doses exceeding a threshold dose of 1000 R or more, spread over two decades. This led to the concept of permissible or safe doses based on the threshold.

(b) Dr Alice Stewart discovered that an increase in childhood leukemia could be produced by just 3-5 R for unborn children who were X-rayed at a very high dose rate, i.e. doses received over a matter of seconds or less, in the last two months of pregnancy (when cells are dividing rapidly).

Dr Lapp failed to point out the difference in the dose rates, which affect the threshold dose required, and claimed that Stewart's finding discredited the threshold concept altogether. DNA recovery from radiation by human DNA repair enzymes like protein P53 has been shown to be efficient at low dose rates, but overwhelmed and inefficient at high dose rates. Therefore, the dose rate determines the threshold dose for cancer induction. This was not made clear at the 1957 hearings. Doses from strontium-90 fallout in bone were received at a very low dose rate over decades, so the radium dial painter threshold dose applied, not the lower threshold from high dose rate exposure to initial nuclear radiation over a few seconds at Hiroshima or to medical X-ray doses received over a few seconds.



Above: already in the 1964 edition of Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons, it was experimentally indicated that for mammals (unlike fruitflies which only have a lifespan of around 30-40 days, and hence have no evolutionary pressure towards developing a sophisticated DNA repair mechanism, which is only important for mammals which need to survive the natural background ionizing radiation exposure, thermal instability of DNA at body temperature, and solar ultraviolet radiation over a period of decades), there is a DNA recovery mechanism that operates even from the genetic effects from radiation damage, so that high dose rates (which saturate and overwhelm the repair mechanisms) are more dagerous than lower dose rates! Page 618 of the 1964 edition explains why genetic effects were exaggerated by the linear no-threshold theory:

"Although genetic damage is cumulative, it is now recognized that the rate at which changes result from exposure to radiation is womewhat dependent on the dose rate. Prompt, high dose rate exposures (greater than 25 rads per minute) may be at least four times as effective as are continuous exposures at low dose rates (1 rad or less per minute), for the same total dose. Thus, the protracted exposure that could result from a low-dose fallout field would presumably not carry the same threat of genetic change as would exposure to a single high-intensity dose, e.g., from the initial nuclear radiation, although the total dose delivered may be the same in both cases."

The 1977 edition of the same book, by Glasstone and Dolan, gives further data showing that there is evidence for "threshold" doses below which no negative effects occur:

"From the earlier studies of radiation-induced mutations, made with fruitflies [by Nobel Laureate Hermann J. Muller and other geneticists who worked on plants, who falsely hyped their insect and plant data as valid for mammals like humans during the June 1957 U.S. Congressional Hearings on fallout effects], it appeared that the number (or frequency) of mutations in a given population ... is proportional to the total dose ... More recent experiments with mice, however, have shown that these conclusions need to be revised, at least for mammals. [Mammals are biologically closer to humans, in respect to DNA repair mechanisms, than short-lived insects whose life cycles are too small to have forced the evolutionary development of advanced DNA repair mechanisms, unlike mammals that need to survive for decades before reproducing.] When exposed to X-rays or gamma rays, the mutation frequency in these animals has been found to be dependent on the exposure (or dose) rate ...

"At an exposure rate of 0.009 roentgen per minute [0.54 R/hour], the total mutation frequency in female mice is indistinguishable from the spontaneous frequency. [Emphasis added.] There thus seems to be an exposure-rate threshold below which radiation-induced mutations are absent ... with adult female mice ... a delay of at least seven weeks between exposure to a substantial dose of radiation, either neutrons or gamma rays, and conception causes the mutation frequency in the offspring to drop almost to zero. ... recovery in the female members of the population would bring about a substantial reduction in the 'load' of mutations in subsequent generations."

- Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 3rd ed., 1977, pp. 611-3.




"... we know through [inappropriate fruitfly and maize] experiments in genetics that the frequency of these [DNA] breaks, like the frequency of the mutations of the genes, is linearly proportional to the dose of radiation used, no matter how small ... It is true that at high dose rates of radiation you sometimes have two chromosomal [DNA] breaks near together and then you can get entanglement [i.e. repair incorrectly done to the broken ends of DNA strands where two breaks occur nearby] which would not happen if you have low dose rates. At low dose rates you therefore expect [if you are ignoring DNA repair mechanisms like the enzyme protein P53, only discovered in the late 1970s] the effect to be proportional but at the high dose rates to go up even more steeply. ... there was a less than linear apparent effect at very high doses, owing, as we judged, to the fact that the cells that had been worse hit were killed off more so that we lost the cases. But I do not see any way of getting a fundamentally nonlinear effect, especially at low doses. If the process takes place in any way like what we think it does, that is. [It doesn't, since in 1957 Muller and the other geneticists were ignorant of the DNA repair mechanisms discovered in the late 1970s!]"

- Nobel Laureate Hermann J. Muller's deceptive testimony to the Hearings before the Special Subcommittee on Radiation of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Congress of the Unites States, The Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man, June 1957, vol. 2, pages 1054 and 1138.



Above: numbers have become more accurate over the past half century, but the data on massive threshold radiation doses required for chronic exposure (low dose rates for 20 years exposure, as opposed to acute exposure over a few seconds for Hiroshima initial radiation which is more likely to saturate DNA strand breakage repair mechanisms like enzyme P53) to produce bone cancers in radium dial painters, was submitted to Congressional hearings on fallout in 1957 (which we discussed in connection with fallout research on the earlier post linked here) in a paper called Potential Hazards of World-Wide Sr-90 Fallout from Weapons Tests by Drs. Wright H. Langham and Ernest C. Anderson of Los Alamos. The solid data for the radium dial painter threshold evidence was simply ignored by Professor Edward Lewis, who instead fabricated false "evidence" for a linear, non-threshold theory from nuclear explosions in Japan, by means of ignoring statistics from Japan which did not fit his theory.

The U.S. National Bureau of Standards reported in 1941 that seven people with 0.02-0.5 micrograms of radium in their bodies for periods of 7-25 years had no effects, while bone cancer and death had resulted from 1.2 micrograms of radium: this finding historically resulted in the conservative setting of a maximum permissible safe concentration of 0.1 micrograms for radium in the body (which means that a greater quantity can be ingested, because most ingested radium is rapidly eliminated from the body and does not enter the bones: even for injected radium, the mean amounts remaining in the bodies of 19 patients after 6 months, 12 months and 20 years were just 4.7%, 2.2% and 0.8% respectively as reported on page 1162 of the 1957 fallout hearings). (A curie or 3.7×1010 Bq or decays per second, is equivalent to about 1 gram of radium.)

By the time of the June 1957 Congressional hearings on fallout effects, the group of internally contaminated radium workers and patients whose dosimetry had been established by careful whole body radiation measurements and excretion measurements, had grown to 78 people with an average exposure period of 25 years, of whom 15 developed malignant tumors; all of the tumors occurred in those people with the highest contamination, 0.5-10 micrograms of radium in their bodies. However, as pages 1155-6 of the testimony points out, the patient with 0.5 micrograms of radium apparently also had thorium contamination which increased the total dose received. Pages 1147-72 of the 1957 fallout hearings consists of detailed testimony of the research on this group up to that time. The radium dial painters licked their brushes to get a fine point to apply the luminous radium/zinc sulphide paint to the numerals and hands of watches; the patients were given radium contaminated water to drink as a health remedy. After presenting these data, Dr William B. Looney (b. 1922) testified (page 1157 of the hearings):

"I am saying that the minimal carcinogenic dose that we have reported for tumors to be produced in man is in the order of 2,000 rads. ... Ten microcuries of strontium deposited in the skeleton for 70 years would give an estimated dose of about 2,000 rads. This is the minimum radiation dose recorded which has produced a bone tumor in man. This should give some idea of the magnitude of strontium levels which may produce a bone tumor in man. You will notice that 6,000 rads is the estimated amount of radiation known to produce most tumors. The amount of strontium 90 which would deliver 6,000 rads to the skeleton over a life span of 70 years would be in the order of 30 microcuries. ... The patient with the smallest total body radium known to induce tumor formation ... died from a bone tumor in 1952 ... the patient would have received a total accumulated dose of about 1,800 rads during the 25-year period."

Since 1957, the group of radium contaminated workers and patients for which there is accurate dosimetry by measurements has increased from 78 to 2,383, and of these 2,383 cases: "All 64 bone sarcoma [cancer] cases occurred in the 264 cases with more than 10 Gy [1,000 rads], while no sarcomas appeared in the 2,119 radium cases with less than 10 Gy." [Dr Robert Rowland, Director of the Center for Human Radiobiology, "Bone Sarcoma in Humans Induced by Radium: A Threshold Response?", Proceedings of the 27th Annual Meeting, European Society for Radiation Biology, Radioprotection colloquies, Vol. 32CI (1997), pp. 331-8.]

On May 27, 28, 29 and June 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, 1957, the Hearings before the Special Subcommittee on Radiation of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Congress of the United States, Eighty-Fifth Congress, First Session on The Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man, were held openly under the Chairmanship of Representative Chet Holifield of California, with media attendance. The published hearings are 2,216 pages in length, printed in three separate volumes (part 1 is pages 1-1,008, part 2 contains pages 1,009-2,065, and part 3 contains pages 2,067-2,216). During the debates between experts in these hearings, the "threshold dose" concept for long term effects was falsely killed off, in favour of Edward Lewis's linear non-threshold dose-effects "law" using non-scientific arguments and fears.



Above: this is the graph Professor Edward Lewis used on page 956 of the 1957 fallout hearings to attack the threshold dose evidence: for this purpose it relies on one allegedly solid data point for leukemia induction below 200 rem (numbers below data points are the excess numbers of leukemias over the natural number expected). This smallest dose data point is from the data from Hiroshima and Nagasaki available in 1957: there were 10 cases of leukemia out of 23,000 survivors at 1.5-2 km from ground zero in both cities, and from the unexposed control group only 4 would have been expected to have leukemia. Hence, the average radiation dose to those 23,000 survivors - assumed to be 25 rem using the very crude and inaccurate dosimetry which was available in 1957 - gave an excess cancer rate of 10 - 4 = 6 cases per 23,000 survivors. This is statistically insignificant, as testified by Dr Shields Warren on page 980. Moreover, Lewis ignored data from nuclear bomb survivors who received low doses and had a reduced leukemia risk as a consequence: page 1887 gives a table of leukemia results from Hiroshima available in 1957 which shows that there were 8 leukemia cases in the control group of 50,500 people beyond 2.5 km from ground zero (i.e. a rate of 0.016%), and only 2 cases in the 17,200 survivors who received low doses of radiation at 2-2.5 km (i.e. a rate of 0.012%). Hence, that table (from a U.S. National Academy of Sciences report, Pathologic Effects of Atomic Radiation, submitted as testimony) showed even in 1957 that low doses of radiation appeared to have a beneficial effect in reducing the natural cancer incidence below the rate in the control group. Lewis simply ignored this data which did not fit into his dogmatic linear non-threshold theory. Later data from Hiroshima and Nagasaki has far better, accurate and verified (against nuclear test data from the Pacific and Nevada) dosimetry as well as leukemia and solid cancer (tumor) data spanning over six decades: it confirms that threshold and beneficial effects exist but is suppressed and censored by the Japanese-American funded Radiation Effects Research Foundation to keep Lewis's false linear non-threshold dogma alive for political expediency.

‘Professor Edward Lewis used data from four independent populations exposed to radiation to demonstrate that the incidence of leukemia was linearly related to the accumulated dose of radiation. ... Outspoken scientists, including Linus Pauling, used Lewis’s risk estimate to inform the public about the danger of nuclear fallout by estimating the number of leukemia deaths that would be caused by the test detonations. In May of 1957 Lewis’s analysis of the radiation-induced human leukemia data was published as a lead article in Science magazine [E. B. Lewis, 'Leukemia and Ionizing Radiation', Science, v. 125, pp. 965-972, 17 May 1957]. In June he presented it before the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy of the US Congress.’ – Abstract of thesis by Jennifer Caron, Edward Lewis and Radioactive Fallout: the Impact of Caltech Biologists Over Nuclear Weapons Testing in the 1950s and 60s, Caltech, January 2003.

Lewis's pseudo-scientific linear non-threshold deception in testimony to Congress led to Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling using the data to estimate that strontium-90 in nuclear weapons testing would cause 1,000 leukemia deaths for each fission megaton of air bursts, by giving a very tiny increase in background radiation to the bones of billions of people around the world. However, radium is deposited in the bone and by analogy to strontium-90 the data for 2,383 radium dial painters who ingested radium licking their brushes to a fine point shows that bone cancer induction requires a threshold of 1,000 rads, and there was no excess of leukemias. Nobody has ever received 1,000 rads from strontium-90 ingestion from a nuclear bomb (not even the Rongelapese who drank contaminated rainwater for two days 115 miles downwind from the 15 megaton BRAVO test in 1954). Both leukemia and thyroid cancer have traditionally had diagnosis problems. The rates reported in different communities, or the same communities at different times in history, vary widely due to the rate of diagnosis rather than the true incidence. For example, before the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the reported thyroid tumor rates in the Gomel region of Belarus (mean thyroid dose to kids = 17.7 rads) were under 1 case per 100,000; in the US it was 13,000 (13% of the population) and in Finland 35,600 (35.6%). The Gomel region started to diagnose thyroid problems properly only after Chernobyl and reported a peak of 17.9 cases per 100,000 children (0.0179%) in 1995. This statistic can be used both for and against radiation:

(1) The 1995 peak of 0.0179% of Gomel people with occult thyroid cancers after 17.7 rads to the thyroid from Chernobyl's iodine-131 shows a 25-fold increase over the incidence in 1987. Hence, radiation is terrible, and the iodine-131 from Nevada testing probably caused many cancers!

(2) The 1995 peak of 0.0179% of Gomel people with occult thyroid cancers after 17.7 rads to the thyroid from Chernobyl's iodine-131 shows a 726-fold reduction from the normal rate in the U.S. and a 2,000-fold reduction from the normal rate in Finland. Hence, radiation is great, and the iodine-131 from Nevada testing probably saved many people getting cancer!

This conflict of interpretation is typical of the quackery of "ecological" studies of cancer rates due to radiation: having a proper control group is essential to getting meaningful information because it's the only way to determine statistical significance and to calibrate diagnosis rates properly. Improved diagnosis led to a rise in the reported crude mortality rate for leukemia in the U.S. from 42 per million per year in 1940 to 68 in 1954. Unless you know the diagnosis efficiency, reported cancer rates are useless. A lot of the data that Lewis used is this kind of statistical noise, lacking proper control groups to determine if errors exist.

Dr Gordon M. Dunning, chief Health Physicist for at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission for fallout safety during nuclear weapons tests, wrote in the June 1964 edition of Health Aspects of Nuclear Weapons Testing, page 13:

"In describing the therapeutic use of iodine 131 in the treatment of hyperthyroidism, the [U.S. National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, Pathological Effects of Thyroid Irradiation, A Report of a Panel of Experts from the Committees on Biological Effects of Radiation, July 1962; revised version date December 1966 is AD0651181, which notes that for a given dose the thyroid damage due to X-rays is more severe than that due to iodine-131 because the X-rays are received at a higher dose rate in a matter of seconds, while the dose from iodine-131 is received at a lower rate, spread over several weeks] report stated: '... There is no evidence at hand, except for one doubtful case in a child, that any of the treatments for hyperthyroidism has produced a thyroid cancer, although doses have ranged from a few thousand rad (roentgens) upward ...'."

After that was published, there was an argument between Dr Dunning and an anti-nuclear information group, published in the September 1964 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, pages 29-30. Dunning, who had been in charge of public safety and iodine-131 monitoring during the 1950s, pointed out that a medical study that found that "one in 286 children exposed to 100 rads of throid radiation may develop thyroid cancer" and a 1961 Federal Radiation Council report that 150 rads "significantly increasd cancer rates" applied to therapeutic X-ray irradiation delivered at very high dose rates (X-rays over a period of seconds, unlike iodine-131 doses delivered spread over a period of weeks) which (quoting from U.S. National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, Pathological Effects of Thyroid Irradiation, A Report of a Panel of Experts from the Committees on Biological Effects of Radiation, July 1962) "appear to be 5 to 15 times as effective as iodine 131 ... There is no evidence at hand, except for one doubtful case in a child, that any of the treatments for hyperthyroidism has produced a thyroid cancer, although doses have ranged from a few thousand rad upward. ..."

Dr Dunning added in his letter to the September 1964 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, pages 29 that (because iodine-131 is of course highly volatile and doesn't condense quickly on fast-falling large fallout particles, so it is fractionated i.e. severely depleted from local fallout near the test site, but enriched in the distant fallout far downwind): "... the highest annual levels of iodine-131 in milk ever reported by the U.S. Public Health Service Milk Monitoring Network were at Palmer, Alaska (October 1961 through September 1962) ... The iodine-131 fallout in Alaska was largely the result of the USSR tests i.e., not local fallout. Incidentally, the Russian tests also were the principal source of the cesium 137 fallout in Alaska ..."

The thyroid damage to the people of Rongelap 115 miles downwind of the 14.8 megatons CASTLE-BRAVO nuclear test in March 1954 was due to their consumption of water from a fallout contaminated open cistern which collected rainwater (and fallout). They took no precautions and as a result received massive doses (from not just iodine-131 but also the other shorter lived iodine nuclides) according to the dosimetry based on iodine-131 excretion in the report by Dr Edward T. Lessard, et al., Thyroid Absorbed Dose for People at Rongelap, Utirik, and Sifo on March 1, 1954, BNL-5188. The people on Rongelap received mean thyroid doses from ingested water of 2,100 rads, those at Sifo received 670 rads, and those at Utirik received 280 rads. Therefore, the fact that some of the people did get thyroid nodules from their massive thyroid doses was to be expected, and does not prove the existence of a risk below the observed thresholds for the relevant dose rates.

(We discussed the civil defense countermeasures against iodine-131 and the other short half-life iodine nuclides in fallout in detail in the earlier post linked here. The main hazard is to young children with small thyroid glands that concentrate iodine (a small thyroid gland size implies a large dose, because the radiation "dose" is defined as the energy deposited per unit mass of tissue, i.e. 1 centigray = 0.01 J/kg) who drink much fresh milk from cattle grazing on fallout contaminated pasture. Iodine is volatile so it fractionates strongly in fallout, with little of it condensing on to large fallout particles which descend quickly near the detonation, and most of it condensing slowly on small particles which remain at high altitudes for long periods, where most of the activity safely decays before deposition. The small fraction of volatile iodine nuclides which manage to descend to the ground before decaying into safe non-radioactive products are chemically attached to particles and are purely an ingestion hazard due to drinking milk from cattle ingesting fallout or drinking water from shallow open cisterns which do not dilute the activity much. Human experiments at the July 1962 104 kt Nevada nuclear test SEDAN showed that the integrated inhalation dose from iodine-131 to a person standing outside in the fallout area without protection was trivial compared to the gamma dose received. Hence the pathway for significant iodine doses is ingestion of contaminated milk and water, not inhalation. In the Nevada SEDAN test, a man who was exposed in the open to the base surge without any protection received a thyroid gland dose due only slightly higher than his external gamma exposure. Three air samplers determined that no more than 10% of the iodine in the Sedan fallout was present as a vapour during the cloud passage; i.e., 90% or more of the iodine was fixed in the silicate Sedan fallout and was unable to evaporate from the fallout particles to give a soluble vapour. For the very different, humid conditions of the Marshall islands, this conclusion was also confirmed by data (BNL-5188) on the iodine contamination of drinking water consumed by the Rongelap islanders and their measured iodine excretion of iodine; ingestion of iodine was the exposure route, not inhalation. The peak iodine-131 contamination of milk occurs 2-3 days after fallout deposition due to the conbination of the 8-days physical half-life and the metabolism of cattle. Ingestion of iodine can be prevented by many methods: avoiding consumption of fallout contaminated milk and water for a month after the detonation; passing water and milk through any simple ion-exchange absorber to decontaminate them before drinking; drinking contaminated milk/water and simply taking potassium iodate tablets daily to saturate the thyroid with non-radioactive iodine and thus block iodine uptake for the first month; using dried milk or UHT treated milk in place of fresh milk for a month; drinking water from deep water sources where the iodine contaminated has been diluted substantially; keeping dairy cattle under cover and on uncontaminated winter fodder for a month after detonation; using contaminated milk to make long-life products like milk powder, UHT milk, cheese, etc., which can be consumed later after the 8-day half life iodine contamination has safely decayed. See also the discussion of general fallout predictions and countermeasures on the earlier posts here and here.)

Dr John F. Loutit of the Medical Research Council, Harwell, England, in 1962 wrote a book called Irradiation of Mice and Men (University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London), discrediting the pseudo-science from geneticist Edward Lewis on pages 61, and 78-79:

‘... Mole [R. H. Mole, Brit. J. Radiol., v32, p497, 1959] gave different groups of mice an integrated total of 1,000 r of X-rays over a period of 4 weeks. But the dose-rate - and therefore the radiation-free time between fractions - was varied from 81 r/hour intermittently to 1.3 r/hour continuously. The incidence of leukemia varied from 40 per cent (within 15 months of the start of irradiation) in the first group to 5 per cent in the last compared with 2 per cent incidence in irradiated controls. ...

‘What Lewis did, and which I have not copied, was to include in his table another group - spontaneous incidence of leukemia (Brooklyn, N.Y.) - who are taken to have received only natural background radiation throughout life at the very low dose-rate of 0.1-0.2 rad per year: the best estimate is listed as 2 x 10-6 like the others in the table. But the value of 2 x 10-6 was not calculated from the data as for the other groups; it was merely adopted. By its adoption and multiplication with the average age in years of Brooklyners - 33.7 years and radiation dose per year of 0.1-0.2 rad - a mortality rate of 7 to 13 cases per million per year due to background radiation was deduced, or some 10-20 per cent of the observed rate of 65 cases per million per year. ...

‘All these points are very much against the basic hypothesis of Lewis of a linear relation of dose to leukemic effect irrespective of time. Unhappily it is not possible to claim for Lewis’s work as others have done, “It is now possible to calculate - within narrow limits - how many deaths from leukemia will result in any population from an increase in fall-out or other source of radiation” [Leading article in Science, vol. 125, p. 963, 1957]. This is just wishful journalese.

‘The burning questions to me are not what are the numbers of leukemia to be expected from atom bombs or radiotherapy, but what is to be expected from natural background .... Furthermore, to obtain estimates of these, I believe it is wrong to go to [1950s inaccurate, dose rate effect ignoring, data from] atom bombs, where the radiations are qualitatively different [i.e., including effects from neutrons] and, more important, the dose-rate outstandingly different.’

This is supported by the following statements in the British Medical Research Council report of June 1956, The Hazards to Man of Nuclear and Allied Radiations, which is reprinted in the 1957 congressional hearings, pp. 1539-1614:

"[Page 1548] Repair processes. [Paragraph 27] ... Repair processes within the individual cell are little understood and still largely a matter of speculation [in 1956], but they must play an important part after low doses. ...

"[Page 1612] [Paragraph 303] A study of the pitchblende miners of Schneeberg and Joachimsthal suggests strongly that inhalation of the radioactive gas radon may lead to cancer of the lung. The latent period has been put at 17 years and the dosage to the lungs over that period at about 1000 r and in some parts of the lung much higher."

"[Page 1613] [Paragraph 309] Delayed effects of radiation on the skin extend from a temporary loss of hair after local dosages of 300-400 r to severe and permanent damage after a local exposure to single doses of 1500 r or more, or to repeated doses totalling 4000 r or more in a number of weeks. It is in the skin damaged by these higher doses of radiation that tumours, when they occur, are most likely to develop."

Professor Edward Lewis's 1957 congressional fallout testimony on page 956 contradicts his testimony on page 959. He starts on page 956 stating that leukemia data is "rather good":

"... the reason that I am stressing leukemia today is that we have rather good data and rather good evidence on leukemia as compared to data on other effects on man from ionizing radiation ..."

Then on page 959 he admits that the leukemia data is not good at low doses:

"In the low-dose region here, there is a dashed line, and there are only six individuals on which to say anything. The point here, however, is that in the absence of any other information it seems to me - this is my personal opinion - that the only prudent course is to assume that a straight-line relationship holds here as well as elsewhere in the higher dose region.

"It may be that there is a threshold - that is, a dose below which leukemia will not develop. However, we can say safely, I think, that if there is a threshold dose it must be below 100 r. The reason for saying that is that in the region below 100 r, you would not expect to have gotten the 6 cases of leukemia as a result of chance more than 1 in 50 times."

Lewis simply ignores the effect of dose rate on cancer induction! The whole reason why the radium dial painters had a massive threshold of 1,000 rads for cancer, as opposed to a cancer threshold on the order of 5 rads at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is the dose rate. The radium dial painters received massive doses of radiation at low dose rates over a period of decades so that DNA repair mechanisms could repair many of the DNA breaks and reduce the cancer risk, while the doses at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were spread over just a matter of seconds at a very high dose rate, which was more liable to overload the DNA repair mechanism by causing breaks faster than they could be repaired, so that loose ends of DNA are "rejoined" to the wrong segment ends (this is unlikely at low dose rates because there is plenty of time for repair after each break before the next break occurs).

What happened in thise 1957 hearings was that geneticists like Lewis and also Nobel laureate Hermann Muller dogmatically believed from their fruit fly genetic data (totally inappropriate to humans) that radiation effects were a linear, non-threshold response to dose. Fruit flies and even mice are inappropriate because they are all short-lived and have evolved without the highly efficient DNA repair enzyme mechanisms used by long-lived human beings. (DNA is naturally being damaged all the time. This is a benefit to relatively short-lived bacteria, flies and mice because it allows them to evolve faster to changing environmental conditions, but it is a danger to humans because without efficient DNA repair, everyone would get cancer and die before the reproductive age of 20-40. Therefore, humans and other long-lived animals have evolved complex DNA repair systems which are effective at preventing both natural and radiation induced cancer up to a certain threshold dose rate; the data prove that only severe exposure overloads the DNA repair mechanisms and can cause cancer.)

Against these dogmatic crusading geneticists, the radiation cancer researchers testified cautiously in favour of a threshold dose for cancer induction using observational data. E.g., on pages 1147-1194 it is testified that there is a threshold dose of thousands of rads to the bones from radium required before any radium dial painter (who regularly licked the brush to get a fine point while working) received bone cancer many years later. On page 1558 it is shown that lung cancers to uranium mine workers who inhaled radon gas required lung doses of about 1,000-10,000 rads over a mean latent period of 17 years, while on page 1887 the data from Hiroshima showed that the small radiation doses at 2-2.5 km from the bombs caused a reduction in the leukemia incidence (0.012%) to slightly below the natural incidence (0.016%) that occurred in the control group beyond 2.5 km, although the numbers of cases were so few at that time that this particular evidence was not statistically significant (unlike the data available today, and indeed since about 1979). There was also weaker evidence from Dr Willard F. Libby on page 1517 that the leukemia incidence in the high-altitude city of Denver which is exposed to nearly double the cosmic radiation of San Francisco has only 62% of that in San Francisco (which is at sea level). On page 980, testimony is given that the background radiation dose over 30 years at sea level is 3.1 rads, but it is 5.5 rads in Denver due to the altitude and thus the increased cosmic radiation.

This kind of evidence for low level radiation benefits is "ecological" because it's not a properly controlled study: you have to apply hundreds of slightly uncertain correction factors to allow for the differences between the population of Denver to that of San Francisco - differences in smoking, drinking, age, diet, exercise and so on - so that the uncertainties in the hundreds of correction factors accumulate to generally make the overall result statistically insignificant. (The underlying reason why threshold evidence is ignored is simply that the critics of the linear non-threshold theory so far tend to promote very weak or quack evidence such as ecological studies which are just as much junk science as Ernest Sternglass's crackpottery, where he claims that the decrease in infant mortality due to medical improvements was somehow a natural exponential law which should have continued forever, and that the fact that it levelled off is thus to be considered proof of harm due to radiation from nuclear testing! Until all such propaganda and quackery, both pro- and anti-radiation, is removed from the scene, the facts will remain submerged by endless, unfruitful controversy.)

The case for a threshold was testified by the President for the American Association for Cancer Research, Dr Jacob Furth (who in 1928 was the first to discover that radiation can induce cancer in mice), and the United States representative to the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, pioneering radiation pathologist Dr Shields Warren (1898-1980) of the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston. Dr Furth's statement on pages 978-9 gives the threshold dose-effects response the following scientific support:

"The complex mammalian host is capable of compensating for subtle damage. It has been shown that partial body irradiation is not conducive to leukemia development; the unexposed parts powerfully protect the exposed part. Thus, if direct hits cause mutation, humoral substances either counteract or reverse their actions. ... The early radiologists who got such cancers had severe radiation burns with chronic ulcers in which the tumors arose. ... It deserves emphasis that cancer did not arise on the hands of tens of thousands of people receiving huge quantities in small doses [allowing recovery between exposures] over long periods [an analogy here is ultraviolet radiation ionization to the skin from natural sun bathing; if you spread out your exposure and get a little each day, there is evidence that the risk of skin cancer is lower than if you get the same dose all in one brief exposure to a similar spectrum of radiation but received at an extremely high intensity on a sun bed which burns your skin badly, or while outdoors for many hours without any protection]. ... The very idea that leukemia and cancers result from a direct hit mutation was never solidly proven ... Newer evidence unquestionably indicates that some indirect factor [discovered decades later to be human DNA repair enzymes like protein P53, which are stimulated to can repair radiation induced DNA breaks in humans at low doses but of course become overloaded if the dose rate is too high and causes DNA strands to break repeatedly before they can be repaired correctly] plays a determining role in the development of leukemias or tumors."

Dr Shields Warren added on page 980: "I would like to point out that the results at the lower end of the scale that has been used by Dr Lewis [to try to defend the linear non-threshold theory] are not considered as actually statistically significant."

He added on page 981: "With acute or chronic radiation there is what is called a threshold effect in body cells. In other words, because many cells can continue to function even though irradiated and many cells in the body can be repaired even though damaged, we find that at low levels of radiation there is no observable effect."

More crucially, Dr Warren invoked the radium dial painters threshold dose data for the strontium-90 fallout leukemia propaganda on page 987:

"It is striking that in those persons who have had radium deposited in their bones there has been no evidence of leukemia, even though [after receiving massive doses of several thousands of rads] they have developed bone sarcoma [tumours]."

On page 1006, Dr Warren testified:

"I have favored the concept of a threshold for most carcinogenic agents for a number of reasons. First, that in our experiments with carcinogenic hydrocarbons, which are known to be derived from such substances as coal tar, we find that a threshold exists for them. We find that, with many of the medicines that are commonly used for one or another effect on cells, there is a threshold effect to those medicines. ... I like to think of this reparative force, these agents and others which Dr Furth mentioned, as being things which counteract the effect of very low level radiation."

Dr H. L. Friedell, Director of the Atomic Energy Medical Research Project in the School of Medicine at Western Reserve University, testified on page 1001, showing how statistical correlations of death rates in radiologists to the unexposed population can give totally false results unless there is an effort to understand the mechanism for radiation damage in detail:

"I think it is important to show that the activity of radiology itself does not attract into it people who are likely to have a higher death rate, especially at the higher ages, because very early in radiology an individual who had one sort of illness or another was often given the advice to enter radiology, because it appeared to be a sedentary occupation. ... It is difficult trying to make this decision from the statistics alone.

"An example of how this might occur is something that was presented by George Bernard Shaw ... Statistics were presented to him to show that as immunization increased, various communicable diseases decreased in England. He hired somebody to count up the telegraph poles erected in various years ... and it turned out that telegraph poles were being increased in number. He said, 'Therefore, this is clear evidence that the way to eliminate communicable diseases is to build a lot more telegraph poles'.

"All I would like to say here is that the important point is that if you really want to understand it, you have to look at the mechanism of the occurrence. I think this is where the emphasis should lie."

Dr Austin M. Brues, MD (born 1906, Director of the Biological and Medical Research Division of Argonne National Laboratory) added the following comments on page 1001 in support of the threshold:

"If you have two experiments with the same kind of mice treated in the same way, you will expect the second one to come out the same way the first one did. You take a prediction of that sort as simply representing honesty on the part of the investigator. That is why the experiment was repeated in which the irradiated mice lived a little longer because it was difficult to believe, and needed to be confirmed. I think perhaps a lot of our experiments that come out the 'right' way should be repeated too." [Emphasis added.]

On page 1007, Dr Ernest Pollard of Yale University's biophysics department agreed with Dr Friedell's remarks on the need to substantiate mere statistical studies with investigations on the biological mechanism for the radiation damage repair at low doses, but argued that in the meantime, to be "conservative", the linear non-threshold theory should be "assumed":

"... the conservative thing to do in obtaining that knowledge is to assume linearity and therefore no threshold."

The problem here is that once you dogmatically "assume" something in science, you can't later shift it when scientific data arises that challenges the dogma, because it becomes an ingrained foundation of the textbooks, the teaching courses, the "beliefs" of students studying radiology and health physics, researchers, and so on. E.g., dogmatically assuming that the earth is the centre of the universe seemed sensible at one time based on the available evidence, but it was later used to fend off evidence that the earth rotates daily and actually orbits the sun annually. The reason why the new evidence was censored was because the old dogmatic assumption had become an ingrained foundation of science. It is hard to shift foundations because foundations are assumed to be solid building blocks so that mainstream widely-believed theories are built upon them (e.g., Ptolemy's epicycle method of predicting planetary positions in the earth-centred universe model), and facts are endlessly arranged around them. Once a student had invested years learning Ptolemy's epicycle prediction method based on the foundation of the sun orbiting the earth, the student developed loyality to that model and an irrational belief in the foundations to that model, as well as a subject loyality. Criticism of dogmatic foundations was falsely dismissed by educated epicycle students as being "ignorant" or "anti-science".

On page 1143, Dr James F. Crow, professor of genetics and zoology at Wisconsin University, testified:

"I believe most geneticists are convinced that at least some of the somatic [cell division such as related to cancer; not inherited genetic] effects of radiation are of a linear non-threshold sort. I don't think anybody would be so dogmatic as to state that all such effects are or even what the fraction is."

Geneticist and Nobel laureate Dr Muller then stated on page 1143:

"My opinion is ... that the most important effects ... are in all probability linear without a threshold."

On page 1144, Senator Anderson commented favourably on the groupthink advocacy of the linear, non-threshold theory by all the geneticists who had testified:

"I am just wondering if geneticists had a union, guild or gang, or something that teaches you to hang together? This is ... certainly the most agreed group I have seen. I commend you of the fact that you have been able to hang together as long as you have through a rather long day."

Dr Crow then stated in response on page 1144 that their scientific dogma is firm, but not their quantitative facts that supposedly confirm the dogma:

"I think the conclusion that any effect of radiation is harmful is about as firm a scientific conclusion ever is. Of course, the quantitative figures are much less firm."

In other words, Dr Crow was advocating a religious type belief system, a pseudo-scientific dogma justified by majority opinion and the mere consensus of geneticists about cancer induction by radiation. As Feynman repeatedly spelled out, this dogmatic consensus of ignorant opinion is the opposite of science:

‘Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.’ - Richard Feynman in Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics, Houghton-Mifflin, 2006, p. 307.

Dr Friedell testified on pages 902-3:

"In effect, what I am saying is large doses produce tumors and leukemia, and by 'large doses', I am talking about thousands of roentgens, many hundreds of roentgens. If you set yourself up with a model in which you show that these doses will produce tumors and leukemia, and then extrapolate down to low levels ... how good are these extrapolations - is this conjecture? Is this soundly conceived?

"I wish I could offer an authoritative statement right now to end all of this discussion, but unfortunately I cannot. However, I would like to say this: That I am concerned about the fact that there are no [statistically significant, June 1957] data at the very low levels. It is just nonexistent. Much below a hundred roentgens, or 25 roentgens in the case of mutations, we have no data. ... One of the reasons we are using large doses [in animal experiments] is that you have to have some kind of statistical security in looking at the information. To discover an effect which would occur once in 10,000 times, you would require an inordinate number of biological specimens ... for this reason we do not have really secure data."

On pages 904-6, Dr Friedell argued that cells must have some kind of DNA repair mechanism simply because most of the DNA damage due to radiation does not cause cancer; there is an immense amount of natural non-cancer causing cellular ionization caused by natural background radiation, which is so much more intense than global nuclear testing fallout from the hundreds megatons of thermonuclear tests during the 1950s:

"If you are interested in numbers, each one of us are receiving or having about 3,000 to 5,000 ionizing events per cubic centimeter per second ... We are living in a sea of radiation ... This, of course, is concerned with the whole concept of whether the effects will be occurring at low levels in the same rate that they are occurring at high levels, and whether there is such a thing as a threshold. In other words, is there some level below which nothing will happen?

"Again, this is very difficult to establish. The evidence, as I see it, is inconclusive in this direction, and if I had to choose, if I had to make a decision now, if I were compelled to make a decision, I would hesitate to accept this [Edward Lewis] concept that a threshold does not exist. ...

"I would say, from the point of view of production of tumors, and leukemias, I would hesitate to accept the concept that a threshold does not exist. From a point of view of genetics ... I would like to point out the data on mutations and genetic effects do not exist below 25 roentgens. ...

"I think probably the most important thing is to look at the basic aspects of what occurs in biological systems, so that we can understand the mechanism, so that we can see whether once we understand this mechanism it fits in with the data which we already have. And here I feel is where the greatest possibility for really learning something about it exists. I would like to see this emphasized over and above the efforts to perhaps use 10 million mice [whose DNA repair mechanisms differ significantly to humans, due to their short lifespan and hence lack of the evolutionary human need to survive to a reproductive age of decades without cancer] at very low levels. I would think that basic studies of biochemical [DNA repair] effects, the possible way in which these things occur, would contribute more than doing such statistical studies [on mice]. ... I do not feel we have yet really looked at this in an unbiased and nonemotional manner."

Dr Friedell's written testimony on pages 908-10 states:

"At the lower dose levels there is rapid recovery. At the higher dose levels recovery is markedly impaired ... Protraction and fractionation of the radiation delivered markedly reduces the total somatic biological effect. ... Generally, radiation delivered over a long period of time gives some of the tissues an opportunity to recover (a process which is poorly understood) and, therefore, increases survival. ... With respect to the genetic effects, which have been extensively studied by biologists, there are sufficient uncertainties even in these data that it is not possible to accept them as entirely unassailable. These include the fact that data at low levels do not exist, that data are confined at present to Drosophila [fruit flies] and a few small mammals such as mice, that the mutation rate due to ultraviolet radiation appears to be nonlinear, and there is reason to believe that some of the energy transfer with ionizing radiation is in part of the same character as that with ultraviolet radiation."

Against this was extensive political-type, non-scientific testimony from Dr Ralph E. Lapp (1917-2004), who had written a series of articles in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists about civil defense against fallout after the 1954 BRAVO test fallout, and in 1957 he had been to Japan to interview the fallout contaminated crew of the Lucky Dragon for a book he was researching. (We have discussed the Lucky Dragon incident and the communist propaganda concerning the death of one of the crew due to an unnecessary and infected blood transfusion on the earlier blog post linked here.) In fact, Lapp cut short his trip to Japan to testify at the Congressional Hearings on fallout.



We have discussed Lapp's influence on radiation hysteria briefly in a previous post. In 2002, he wrote a damning letter published in the Washington Post (Thursday, November 21, 2002; Page A40), in which he complained about too much fear of radiation:

'Radiation Risk Realities. The Nov. 11 front-page story on "dirty bomb" risks, "Hunting a Deadly Soviet Legacy," needed to put the threat in perspective. The release of radioactive cesium into the atmosphere from the Chernobyl plant in 1986 was 1,000 times as great as the release in the "dirty bomb" scenario. In assessing radiation risk, it is essential to understand the basic facts about data accumulated during half a century of medical studies. Among a half-million Hiroshima survivors, for example, fewer than 1 percent of the observed cancer deaths were the result of the A-bomb radiation. How many Americans know that?'

But in his 1957 testimony to Congress, which spans pages 1241-84 of the published Hearings, he doom-mongered to the extent of trying to turn the Hearings into a witch hunt naming as "reckless" the honest Atomic Energy Commission health physicists Drs Merril Eisenbud (the author of Environmental Radioactivity and An Environmental Odyssey), Willard Libby (who won the Nobel Prize for discovering how to use naturally radioactive carbon-14 to date things) and Richard Doan, who had all stated the fact in public that the radiation dose from low-dose rate strontium-90 test fallout was tens of thousands to millions of times lower than the threshold minimum dose observed for cancer induction in the radium dial painters. On page 1279, Lapp quoted all their statements which he falsely deemed "reckless":

Reckless or nonsubstantiated statements do a disservice to the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] and to the Nation.

Example: Dr Eisenbud is quoted in an article titled "Man Who Measures A-Fallout Belittles Danger" (Sunday News, New York, March 20, 1955) as follows: "The total fallout to date from all tests would have to be multiplied by a million to produce visible, deleterious effects except in areas close to the explosion, itself."

Example: Dr Libby in a speech dated June 3, 1955, stated: "However, as far as immediate or somatic damage to the health is concerned, the fallout dosage rate as of January 1 of this year in the United States could be increased 15,000 times without hazard."

Example: Dr Richard Dean while in Tokyo on May 13, 1957 stated that the bomb tests would not have "the slightest possible effect" on humans.

I do not label Dr Libby's statement as reckless but interpose it to illustrate the spectrum of opinion being given to the public.


In fact, Dr Eisenbud's statement that a million times more fallout would be required to exceed the observed threshold dose for cancer was merely summarizing calculations in Appendix E to Glasstone's 1950 Effects of Atomic Weapons (which found that 400,000,000 bomb tests of nominal 20 kt yield i.e. 8,000,000 megatons would be required to cause a threshold hazard from plutonium-239 ingestion and 755,000 nominal bomb tests i.e. 15,100 megatons would be required to create a minimal external radiation hazard) and the fallout hazard situation had actually improved since 1950 with regard to the discovery that strontium is discriminated against by plants and animals, reducing human uptake substantially (for the situation before this strontium discrimination by the food chain was known, see Worldwide Effects of Atomic Weapons: Project Sunshine, RAND Corp. report R-251-AEC, August 6, 1953). Dr Lapp was well aware of this, but chose to gain publicity by joining the alarmist low-level radiation scare-mongering bandwaggon. Then in his 2002 letter to the Washington Post complains about lying radiation hysteria! It was too late to change prejudices he helped sow back in 1957.

Dr Lapp also wrote an article attacking relatively clean nuclear weapons, 'The "Humanitarian" H-Bomb', Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 1956, V. XII, No. 7, pp. 261-264. There, his main complaint is that lithium deuteride costs more than depleted uranium, although he at least explains fission product fractionation in fallout very clearly. As we explained in the previous post, the clean thermonuclear weapon became a stockpiled reality in the form of the neutron bomb, which averts fallout due to low fission yield and a burst altitude to avoid dirt being sucked into the fireball. This eliminates collateral fallout damage, while retaining a credible, fearful deterrence.

"It is not contended that there is no risk however minute. But all life, and every minute of our day and night, is measured in terms of risk - 40,000 highway deaths each year in this country, accidents in the home, etc. We make our choice: How much risk are we willing to take as payment for our pleasures (swimming at the seashore, for example), our comfort or our material progress? Here our choice seems much clearer. Are we willing to take this very small and rigidly controlled risk, or would we prefer to run the risk of annihilation which might result if we surrendered the weapons which are so essential to our freedom and our actual survival."

- Dr Willard F. Libby, page 1519 of the 1957 congressional hearings on fallout.

In 1996, half a century after the nuclear detonations, data on cancers from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors was published by D. A. Pierce et al. of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, RERF (Radiation Research vol. 146 pp. 1-27; Science vol. 272, pp. 632-3) for 86,572 survivors, of whom 60% had received bomb doses of over 5 mSv (or 500 millirem in old units) suffering 4,741 cancers of which only 420 were due to radiation, consisting of 85 leukemias and 335 solid cancers.


‘Today we have a population of 2,383 [radium dial painter] cases for whom we have reliable body content measurements. . . . All 64 bone sarcoma [cancer] cases occurred in the 264 cases with more than 10 Gy [1,000 rads], while no sarcomas appeared in the 2,119 radium cases with less than 10 Gy.’


- Dr Robert Rowland, Director of the Center for Human Radiobiology, Bone Sarcoma in Humans Induced by Radium: A Threshold Response?, Proceedings of the 27th Annual Meeting, European Society for Radiation Biology, Radioprotection colloquies, Vol. 32CI (1997), pp. 331-8.


Zbigniew Jaworowski, 'Radiation Risk and Ethics: Health Hazards, Prevention Costs, and Radiophobia', Physics Today, April 2000, pp. 89-90:


‘... it is important to note that, given the effects of a few seconds of irradiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, a threshold near 200 mSv may be expected for leukemia and some solid tumors. [Sources: UNSCEAR, Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation, New York, 1994; W. F. Heidenreich, et al., Radiat. Environ. Biophys., vol. 36 (1999), p. 205; and B. L. Cohen, Radiat. Res., vol. 149 (1998), p. 525.] For a protracted lifetime natural exposure, a threshold may be set at a level of several thousand millisieverts for malignancies, of 10 grays for radium-226 in bones, and probably about 1.5-2.0 Gy for lung cancer after x-ray and gamma irradiation. [Sources: G. Jaikrishan, et al., Radiation Research, vol. 152 (1999), p. S149 (for natural exposure); R. D. Evans, Health Physics, vol. 27 (1974), p. 497 (for radium-226); H. H. Rossi and M. Zaider, Radiat. Environ. Biophys., vol. 36 (1997), p. 85 (for radiogenic lung cancer).] The hormetic effects, such as a decreased cancer incidence at low doses and increased longevity, may be used as a guide for estimating practical thresholds and for setting standards. ...


‘Though about a hundred of the million daily spontaneous DNA damages per cell remain unrepaired or misrepaired, apoptosis, differentiation, necrosis, cell cycle regulation, intercellular interactions, and the immune system remove about 99% of the altered cells. [Source: R. D. Stewart, Radiation Research, vol. 152 (1999), p. 101.] ...


‘[Due to the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986] as of 1998 (according to UNSCEAR), a total of 1,791 thyroid cancers in children had been registered. About 93% of the youngsters have a prospect of full recovery. [Source: C. R. Moir and R. L. Telander, Seminars in Pediatric Surgery, vol. 3 (1994), p. 182.] ... The highest average thyroid doses in children (177 mGy) were accumulated in the Gomel region of Belarus. The highest incidence of thyroid cancer (17.9 cases per 100,000 children) occurred there in 1995, which means that the rate had increased by a factor of about 25 since 1987.


‘This rate increase was probably a result of improved screening [not radiation!]. Even then, the incidence rate for occult thyroid cancers was still a thousand times lower than it was for occult thyroid cancers in nonexposed populations (in the US, for example, the rate is 13,000 per 100,000 persons, and in Finland it is 35,600 per 100,000 persons). Thus, given the prospect of improved diagnostics, there is an enormous potential for detecting yet more [fictitious] "excess" thyroid cancers. In a study in the US that was performed during the period of active screening in 1974-79, it was determined that the incidence rate of malignant and other thyroid nodules was greater by 21-fold than it had been in the pre-1974 period. [Source: Z. Jaworowski, 21st Century Science and Technology, vol. 11 (1998), issue 1, p. 14.]’


W. L. Chen, Y. C. Luan, M. C. Shieh, S. T. Chen, H. T. Kung, K. L. Soong, Y. C. Yeh, T. S. Chou, S. H. Mong, J. T. Wu, C. P. Sun, W. P. Deng, M. F. Wu, and M. L. Shen, ‘Is Chronic Radiation an Effective Prophylaxis Against Cancer?’, published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 2004, page 6, available in PDF format here:


‘An extraordinary incident occurred 20 years ago in Taiwan. Recycled steel, accidentally contaminated with cobalt-60 ([low dose rate, gamma radiation emitter] half-life: 5.3 y), was formed into construction steel for more than 180 buildings, which 10,000 persons occupied for 9 to 20 years. They unknowingly received radiation doses that averaged 0.4 Sv, a collective dose of 4,000 person-Sv. Based on the observed seven cancer deaths, the cancer mortality rate for this population was assessed to be 3.5 per 100,000 person-years. Three children were born with congenital heart malformations, indicating a prevalence rate of 1.5 cases per 1,000 children under age 19.


‘The average spontaneous cancer death rate in the general population of Taiwan over these 20 years is 116 persons per 100,000 person-years. Based upon partial official statistics and hospital experience, the prevalence rate of congenital malformation is 23 cases per 1,000 children. Assuming the age and income distributions of these persons are the same as for the general population, it appears that significant beneficial health effects may be associated with this chronic radiation exposure. ...’


‘Professor Edward Lewis used data from four independent populations exposed to radiation to demonstrate that the incidence of leukemia was linearly related to the accumulated dose of radiation. ... Outspoken scientists, including Linus Pauling, used Lewis’s risk estimate to inform the public about the danger of nuclear fallout by estimating the number of leukemia deaths that would be caused by the test detonations. In May of 1957 Lewis’s analysis of the radiation-induced human leukemia data was published as a lead article in Science magazine. In June he presented it before the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy of the US Congress.’ – Abstract of thesis by Jennifer Caron, Edward Lewis and Radioactive Fallout: the Impact of Caltech Biologists Over Nuclear Weapons Testing in the 1950s and 60s, Caltech, January 2003.


Dr John F. Loutit of the Medical Research Council, Harwell, England, in 1962 wrote a book called Irradiation of Mice and Men (University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London), discrediting the pseudo-science from geneticist Edward Lewis on pages 61, and 78-79:


‘... Mole [R. H. Mole, Brit. J. Radiol., v32, p497, 1959] gave different groups of mice an integrated total of 1,000 r of X-rays over a period of 4 weeks. But the dose-rate - and therefore the radiation-free time between fractions - was varied from 81 r/hour intermittently to 1.3 r/hour continuously. The incidence of leukemia varied from 40 per cent (within 15 months of the start of irradiation) in the first group to 5 per cent in the last compared with 2 per cent incidence in irradiated controls. …


‘What Lewis did, and which I have not copied, was to include in his table another group - spontaneous incidence of leukemia (Brooklyn, N.Y.) - who are taken to have received only natural background radiation throughout life at the very low dose-rate of 0.1-0.2 rad per year: the best estimate is listed as 2 x 10-6 like the others in the table. But the value of 2 x 10-6 was not calculated from the data as for the other groups; it was merely adopted. By its adoption and multiplication with the average age in years of Brooklyners - 33.7 years and radiation dose per year of 0.1-0.2 rad - a mortality rate of 7 to 13 cases per million per year due to background radiation was deduced, or some 10-20 per cent of the observed rate of 65 cases per million per year. ...


‘All these points are very much against the basic hypothesis of Lewis of a linear relation of dose to leukemic effect irrespective of time. Unhappily it is not possible to claim for Lewis’s work as others have done, “It is now possible to calculate - within narrow limits - how many deaths from leukemia will result in any population from an increase in fall-out or other source of radiation” [Leading article in Science, vol. 125, p. 963, 1957]. This is just wishful journalese.


‘The burning questions to me are not what are the numbers of leukemia to be expected from atom bombs or radiotherapy, but what is to be expected from natural background .... Furthermore, to obtain estimates of these, I believe it is wrong to go to [1950s inaccurate, dose rate effect ignoring, data from] atom bombs, where the radiations are qualitatively different [i.e., including effects from neutrons] and, more important, the dose-rate outstandingly different.’


Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 3rd ed., 1977, pp. 611-3:


‘From the earlier studies of radiation-induced mutations, made with fruitflies [by Nobel Laureate Hermann J. Muller and other geneticists who worked on plants, who falsely hyped their insect and plant data as valid for mammals like humans during the June 1957 U.S. Congressional Hearings on fallout effects], it appeared that the number (or frequency) of mutations in a given population ... is proportional to the total dose ... More recent experiments with mice, however, have shown that these conclusions need to be revised, at least for mammals. [Mammals are biologically closer to humans, in respect to DNA repair mechanisms, than short-lived insects whose life cycles are too small to have forced the evolutionary development of advanced DNA repair mechanisms, unlike mammals that need to survive for decades before reproducing.] When exposed to X-rays or gamma rays, the mutation frequency in these animals has been found to be dependent on the exposure (or dose) rate ...


At an exposure rate of 0.009 roentgen per minute [0.54 R/hour], the total mutation frequency in female mice is indistinguishable from the spontaneous frequency. [Emphasis added.] There thus seems to be an exposure-rate threshold below which radiation-induced mutations are absent ... with adult female mice ... a delay of at least seven weeks between exposure to a substantial dose of radiation, either neutrons or gamma rays, and conception causes the mutation frequency in the offspring to drop almost to zero. ... recovery in the female members of the population would bring about a substantial reduction in the 'load' of mutations in subsequent generations.’


George Bernard Shaw cynically explains groupthink brainwashing bias:


‘We cannot help it because we are so constituted that we always believe finally what we wish to believe. The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it and become blind to the arguments against it. The moment we want to disbelieve anything we have previously believed, we suddenly discover not only that there is a mass of evidence against, but that this evidence was staring us in the face all the time.’


From the essay titled ‘What is Science?’ by Professor Richard P. Feynman, presented at the fifteenth annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, 1966 in New York City, and published in The Physics Teacher, vol. 7, issue 6, 1968, pp. 313-20:


‘... great religions are dissipated by following form without remembering the direct content of the teaching of the great leaders. In the same way, it is possible to follow form and call it science, but that is pseudo-science. In this way, we all suffer from the kind of tyranny we have today in the many institutions that have come under the influence of pseudoscientific advisers.


‘We have many studies in teaching, for example, in which people make observations, make lists, do statistics, and so on, but these do not thereby become established science, established knowledge. They are merely an imitative form of science analogous to the South Sea Islanders’ airfields - radio towers, etc., made out of wood. The islanders expect a great airplane to arrive. They even build wooden airplanes of the same shape as they see in the foreigners' airfields around them, but strangely enough, their wood planes do not fly. The result of this pseudoscientific imitation is to produce experts, which many of you are. ... you teachers, who are really teaching children at the bottom of the heap, can maybe doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.’


Richard P. Feynman, ‘This Unscientific Age’, in The Meaning of It All, Penguin Books, London, 1998, pages 106-9:


‘Now, I say if a man is absolutely honest and wants to protect the populace from the effects of radioactivity, which is what our scientific friends often say they are trying to do, then he should work on the biggest number, not on the smallest number, and he should try to point out that the [natural cosmic] radioactivity which is absorbed by living in the city of Denver is so much more serious [than the smaller doses from fallout pollution] ... that all the people of Denver ought to move to lower altitudes.'


Feynman is not making a point about low level radiation effects, but about the politics of ignoring the massive natural background radiation dose, while provoking hysteria over much smaller measured fallout pollution radiation doses. Why is the anti-nuclear lobby so concerned about banning nuclear energy - which is not possible even in principle since most of our nuclear radiation is from the sun and from supernova debris contaminating the Earth from the explosion that created the solar system circa 4,540 million years ago - when they could cause much bigger radiation dose reductions to the population by concentrating on the bigger radiation source, natural background radiation. It is possible to shield natural background radiation by the air, e.g. by moving the population of high altitude cities to lower altitudes where there is more air between the people and outer space, or banning the use of high-altitude jet aircraft. The anti-nuclear lobby, as Feynman stated back in the 1960s, didn't crusade to reduce the bigger dose from background radiation. Instead they chose to argue against the much smaller doses from fallout pollution. Feynman's argument is still today falsely interpreted as a political statement, when it is actually exposing pseudo-science and countering political propaganda. It is still ignored by the media. It has been pointed out by Senator Hickenlooper on page 1060 of the May-June 1957 U.S. Congressional Hearings before the Special Subcommittee on Radiation of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, The Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man:


‘I presume all of us would earnestly hope that we never had to test atomic weapons ... but by the same token I presume that we want to save thousands of lives in this country every year and we could just abolish the manufacture of [road accident causing] automobiles ...’


Dihydrogen monoxide is a potentially very dangerous chemical containing hydrogen and oxygen which has caused numerous severe burns by scalding and deaths by drowning, contributes to the greenhouse effect, accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals, and contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape: 'Dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year. Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.'


From the site for the petition against dihydrogen monoxide: ‘Please sign this petition and help stop This Invisible Killer. Get the government to do something now. ... Contamination Is Reaching Epidemic Proportions! Quantities of dihydrogen monoxide have been found in almost every stream, lake, and reservoir in America today. But the pollution is global, and the contaminant has even been found in Antarctic ice. DHMO has caused millions of dollars of property damage in the Midwest, and recently California.’


A recent example of the pseudoscientific radiation 'education' masquerading as science that Feynman (quoted above) objected to in the 1960s was published in 2009 in an article called 'The proportion of childhood leukaemia incidence in Great Britain that may be caused by natural background ionizing radiation' in Leukemia, vol. 23 (2009), pp. 770–776, which falsely asserts - in contradiction to the evidence that the no-threshold model is contrary to Hiroshima and Nagasaki data: 'Risk models based primarily on studies of the Japanese atomic bomb survivors imply that low-level exposure to ionizing radiation, including ubiquitous natural background radiation, also raises the risk of childhood leukaemia. Using two sets of recently published leukaemia risk models and estimates of natural background radiation red-bone-marrow doses received by children, about 20% of the cases of childhood leukaemia in Great Britain are predicted to be attributable to this source.' The authors of this pseudoscience which is the opposite of the facts are R. Wakeford (Dalton Nuclear Institute, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK), G. M. Kendall (Childhood Cancer Research Group, Oxford, UK), and M. P. Little (Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Imperial College, London, UK). It is disgusting and sinful that the facts about childhood leukemia are being lied on so blatantly for non-scientific purposes, and it is to be hoped that these leukemia investigators will either correct their errors or alternatively be banned from using scientific literature to promote false dogma for deception until they mend the error of their ways and repent their sins in this matter.


Protein P53, discovered only in 1979, is encoded by gene TP53, which occurs on human chromosome 17. P53 also occurs in other mammals including mice, rats and dogs. P53 is one of the proteins which continually repairs breaks in DNA, which easily breaks at body temperature: the DNA in each cell of the human body suffers at least two single strand breaks every second, and one double strand (i.e. complete double helix) DNA break occurs at least once every 2 hours (5% of radiation-induced DNA breaks are double strand breaks, while 0.007% of spontaneous DNA breaks at body temperature are double strand breaks)! Cancer occurs when several breaks in DNA happen to occur by chance at nearly the same time, giving several loose strand ends at once, which repair proteins like P53 then repair incorrectly, causing a mutation which can be proliferated somatically. This cannot occur when only one break occurs, because only two loose ends are produced, and P53 will reattach them correctly. But if low-LET ionising radiation levels are increased to a certain extent, causing more single strand breaks, P53 works faster and is able deal with faster breaks as they occur, so that multiple broken strand ends do not arise. This prevents DNA strands being repaired incorrectly, and prevents cancer - a result of mutation caused by faults in DNA - from arising. Too much radiation of course overloads the P53 repair mechanism, and then it cannot repair breaks as they occur, so multiple breaks begin to appear and loose ends of DNA are wrongly connected by P53, causing an increased cancer risk.


1. DNA-damaging free radicals are equivalent to a source of sparks which is always present naturally.


2. Cancer is equivalent the fire you get if the sparks are allowed to ignite the gasoline, i.e. if the free radicals are allowed to damage DNA without the damage being repaired.


3. Protein P53 is equivalent to a fire suppression system which is constantly damping out the sparks, or repairing the damaged DNA so that cancer doesn’t occur.


In this way of thinking, the ‘cause’ of cancer will be down to a failure of a DNA repairing enzyme like protein P53 to repair the damage.


Dr Jane Orient, 'Homeland Security for Physicians', Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, vol. 11, number 3, Fall 2006, pp. 75-9:


'In the 1960s, a group of activist physicians called Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) undertook to "educate the medical profession and the world about the dangers of nuclear weapons," beginning with a series of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine. [Note that journal was publishing information for anti-civil defense propaganda back in 1949, e.g. the article in volume 241, pp. 647-53 of New England Journal of Medicine which falsely suggests that civil defense in nuclear war would be hopeless because a single burned patient in 1947 with 40% body area burns required 42 oxygen tanks, 36 pints of plasma, 40 pints of whole blood, 104 pints of fluids, 4,300 m of gauze, 3 nurses and 2 doctors. First, only unclothed persons in direct line of sight without shadowing can get 40% body area burns from thermal radiation, second, duck and cover offers protection in a nuclear attack warning, and G. V. LeRoy had already published, two years earlier, in J.A.M.A., volume 134, 1947, pp. 1143-8, that less than 5% of burns in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were caused by building and debris fires. In medicine it is always possible to expend vast resources on patients who are fatally injured. In a mass casualty situation, doctors should not give up just because they don't have unlimited resources; as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they would need to do their best with what they have.] On its website, www.psr.org, the group boasts that it "led the campaign to end atmospheric nuclear testing." With this campaign, the linear no-threshold (LNT) theory of radiation carcinogenesis became entrenched. It enabled activists to calculate enormous numbers of potential casualties by taking a tiny risk and multiplying it by the population of the earth. As an enduring consequence, the perceived risks of radiation are far out of proportion to actual risks, causing tremendous damage to the American nuclear industry. ... Efforts to save lives were not only futile, but unethical: Any suggestion that nuclear war could be survivable increased its likelihood and was thus tantamount to warmongering, PSR spokesmen warned. ...


'For the mindset that engendered and enables this situation, which jeopardizes the existence of the United States as a nation as well as the lives of millions of its citizens, some American physicians and certain prestigious medical organizations bear a heavy responsibility.


'Ethical physicians should stand ready to help patients to the best of their ability, and not advocate sacrificing them in the name of a political agenda. Even very basic knowledge, especially combined with simple, inexpensive advance preparations, could save countless lives.'


Dr Theodore B. Taylor, Proceedings of the Second Interdisciplinary Conference on Selected Effects of a General War, DASIAC Special Report 95, July 1969, vol. 2, DASA-2019-2, AD0696959, page 298 (also linked here):


'I must just say that as far as I'm concerned I have had some doubts about whether we should have had a civil defense program in the past. I have no doubt whatsoever now, for this reason, that I've seen ways in which the deterrent forces can fail to hold things off, so that no matter what our national leaders do, criminal organizations, what have you, groups of people over which we have no control whatsoever, can threaten other groups of people.'


This point of Taylor is the key fact on the morality. Suppose we disarm and abandon nuclear power. That won't stop fallout from a war, terrorists, or a foreign reactor blast from coming. Civil defence knowledge is needed. Even when America has ABM, it will be vulnerable to wind carried fallout. No quantity of pacifist hot air will protect people against radiation.


Charles J. Hitch and Roland B. McKean of the RAND Corporation in their 1960 book The Economics of Defense in the Nuclear Age, Harvard University Press, Massachusetts, pp. 310-57:


‘With each side possessing only a small striking force, a small amount of cheating would give one side dominance over the other, and the incentive to cheat and prepare a preventative attack would be strong … With each side possessing, say, several thousand missiles, a vast amount of cheating would be necessary to give one side the ability to wipe out the other’s striking capability. … the more extensive a disarmament agreement is, the smaller the force that a violator would have to hide in order to achieve complete domination. Most obviously, “the abolition of the weapons necessary in a general or ‘unlimited’ war” would offer the most insuperable obstacles to an inspection plan, since the violator could gain an overwhelming advantage from the concealment of even a few weapons.’


Disarmament after World War I caused the following problem which led to World War II (reported by Winston S. Churchill in the London Daily Express newspaper of November 1, 1934):


‘Germany is arming secretly, illegally and rapidly. A reign of terror exists in Germany to keep secret the feverish and terrible preparations they are making.’


British Prime Minister Thatcher's address to the United Nations General Assembly on disarmament on 23 June 1982, where she pointed out that in the years since the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 10 million people had been killed by 140 non-nuclear conflicts:


‘The fundamental risk to peace is not the existence of weapons of particular types. It is the disposition on the part of some states to impose change on others by resorting to force against other nations ... Aggressors do not start wars because an adversary has built up his own strength. They start wars because they believe they can gain more by going to war than by remaining at peace.’


J. D. Culshaw, the then Director of the U.K. Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch, stated in his article in the Scientific Advisory Branch journal Fission Fragments, September 1972 (issue No. 19), classified 'Restricted':


'Apart from those who don't want to know or can't be bothered, there seem to be three major schools of thought about the nature of a possible Third World War ...


'- The first group think of something like World War II but a little worse ...


'- ... the second of World War II but very much worse ...


'- and the third group think in terms of a catastrophe ...


'When the Armageddon concept is in favour, the suggestion that such problems exist leads to "way out" research on these phenomena, and it is sufficient to mention a new catastrophic threat [e.g., 10 years later this was done by Sagan with "nuclear winter" hype, which turned out to be fake because modern concrete cities can't produce firestorms like 1940s wooden-built areas of Hamburg, Dresden and Hiroshima] to stimulate research into the possibilities of it arising. The underlying appeal of this concept is that if one could show that the execution of all out nuclear, biological or chemical warfare would precipitate the end of the world, no one but a mad man would be prepared to initiate such a war. [However, as history proves, exaggerating weapons in the 1930s played into Hitler’s hands, leading to war.]'


House of Lords debate Nuclear Weapons: Destructive Power, published in Hansard, 14 June 1988:


Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone: ‘My Lords, if we are going into the question of lethality of weapons and seek thereby to isolate the nuclear as distinct from the so-called conventional range, is there not a danger that the public may think that Vimy, Passchendaele and Dresden were all right—sort of tea parties—and that nuclear war is something which in itself is unacceptable?’


Lord Trefgarne: ‘My Lords, the policy of making Europe, or the rest of the world, safe for conventional war is not one that I support.’


House of Commons debate Civil Defence published in Hansard, 26 October 1983:


Mr. Bill Walker (Tayside, North): ‘I remind the House that more people died at Stalingrad than at Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Yet people talk about fighting a conventional war in Europe as if it were acceptable. One rarely sees demonstrations by the so-called peace movement against a conventional war in Europe, but it could be nothing but ghastly and horrendous. The casualties would certainly exceed those at Stalingrad, and that cannot be acceptable to anyone who wants peace’


On 29 October 1982, Thatcher stated of the Berlin Wall: ‘In every decade since the war the Soviet leaders have been reminded that their pitiless ideology only survives because it is maintained by force. But the day comes when the anger and frustration of the people is so great that force cannot contain it. Then the edifice cracks: the mortar crumbles ... one day, liberty will dawn on the other side of the wall.’


On 22 November 1990, she said: ‘Today, we have a Europe ... where the threat to our security from the overwhelming conventional forces of the Warsaw Pact has been removed; where the Berlin Wall has been torn down and the Cold War is at an end. These immense changes did not come about by chance. They have been achieved by strength and resolution in defence, and by a refusal ever to be intimidated.’


'The case for civil defence stands regardless of whether a nuclear deterrent is necessary or not. ... Even if the U.K. were not itself at war, we would be as powerless to prevent fallout from a nuclear explosion crossing the sea as was King Canute to stop the tide.' - U.K. Home Office leaflet, Civil Defence, 1982.


‘... peace cannot be guaranteed absolutely. Nobody can be certain, no matter what policies this or any other Government were to adopt, that the United Kingdom would never again be attacked. Also we cannot tell what form such an attack might take. Current strategic thinking suggests that if war were to break out it would start with a period of conventional hostilities of uncertain duration which might or might not escalate to nuclear conflict. ... while nuclear weapons exist there must always be a chance, however small, that they will be used against us [like gas bombs in World War II]. ... as a consequence of war between other nations in which we were not involved fall out from nuclear explosions could fall on a neutral Britain. ... conventional war is not the soft option that is sometimes suggested. It is also too easily forgotten that in World War II some 50 million people died and that conventional weapons have gone on killing people ever since 1945 without respite.’ - The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Lord Gray of Contin), House of Lords debate on Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations, Hansard, vol. 444, cc. 523-49, 1 November 1983.


‘All of us are living in the light and warmth of a huge hydrogen bomb, 860,000 miles across and 93 million miles away, which is in a state of continuous explosion.’ - Dr Isaac Asimov.

‘Dr Edward Teller remarked recently that the origin of the earth was somewhat like the explosion of the atomic bomb...’ – Dr Harold C. Urey, The Planets: Their Origin and Development, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1952, p. ix.


‘But compared with a supernova a hydrogen bomb is the merest trifle. For a supernova is equal in violence to about a million million million million hydrogen bombs all going off at the same time.’ – Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001), The Nature of the Universe, Pelican Books, London, 1963, p. 75.


‘In fact, physicists find plenty of interesting and novel physics in the environment of a nuclear explosion. Some of the physical phenomena are valuable objects of research, and promise to provide further understanding of nature.’ – Dr Harold L. Brode, The RAND Corporation, ‘Review of Nuclear Weapons Effects,’ Annual Review of Nuclear Science, Volume 18, 1968, pp. 153-202.


‘It seems that similarities do exist between the processes of formation of single particles from nuclear explosions and formation of the solar system from the debris of a [4 x 1028 megatons of TNT equivalent, type Ia] supernova explosion. We may be able to learn much more about the origin of the earth, by further investigating the process of radioactive fallout from the nuclear weapons tests.’ – Dr Paul K. Kuroda (1917-2001), University of Arkansas, ‘Radioactive Fallout in Astronomical Settings: Plutonium-244 in the Early Environment of the Solar System,’ pages 83-96 of Radionuclides in the Environment: A Symposium Sponsored By the Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology At the 155th Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, California, April 1-3, 1968, edited by Symposium Chairman Dr Edward C. Freiling (1922-2000) of the U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, Advances in Chemistry Series No. 93, American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C., 1970.


Dr Paul K. Kuroda (1917-2001) in 1956 correctly predicted the existence of water-moderated natural nuclear reactors in flooded uranium ore seams, which were discovered in 1972 by French physicist Francis Perrin in three ore deposits at Oklo in Gabon, where sixteen sites operated as natural nuclear reactors with self-sustaining nuclear fission 2,000 million years ago, each lasting several hundred thousand years, averaging 100 kW. The radioactive waste they generated remained in situ for a period of 2,000,000,000 years without escaping. They were discovered during investigations into why the U-235 content of the uranium in the ore was only 0.7171% instead of the normal 0.7202%. Some of the ore, in the middle of the natural reactors, had a U-235 isotopic abundance of just 0.440%. Kuroda's brilliant paper is entitled, 'On the Nuclear Physical Stability of the Uranium Minerals', published in the Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 25 (1956), pp. 781–782 and 1295–1296.


A type Ia supernova explosion, which always yield about 4 x 1028 megatons of TNT equivalent, result from the critical mass effect of the collapse of a white dwarf when its mass just exceeds 1.4 solar masses due to matter falling in from a companion star. The degenerate electron gas in the white dwarf is then no longer able to support the pressure from the weight of gas, which collapses, thereby releasing enough gravitational potential energy as heat and pressure to cause the fusion of carbon and oxygen into heavy elements, creating massive amounts of radioactive nuclides, particularly intensely radioactive nickel-56, but half of all other nuclides (including uranium and heavier) are also produced by the 'R' (rapid) process of successive neutron captures by fusion products in supernovae explosions. Type Ia supernovae occur typically every 400 years in the Milky Way galaxy. On 4 July 1054, Chinese astronomers observed in the sky (without optical instruments) the bright supernova in the constellation Taurus which today is still visible as the Crab Nebula through telescopes. The Crab Nebula debris has a diameter now of 7 light years and is still expanding at 800 miles/second. The supernova debris shock wave triggers star formation when it encounters hydrogen gas in space by compressing it and seeding it with debris; bright stars are observed in the Orion Halo, the 300 light year diameter remains of a supernova. It is estimated that when the solar system was forming 4,540 million years ago, a supernova occurred around 100 light years away, and the heavy radioactive debris shock wave expanded at 1,000 miles/second. Most of the heavy elements including iron, silicon and calcium in the Earth and people are the stable end products of originally radioactive decay chains from the space burst fallout of a 4 x 1028 megatons thermonuclear explosion, created by fusion and successive neutron captures after the implosion of a white dwarf; a supernova explosion.


‘The expression of dissenting views may not seem like much of a threat to a powerful organization, yet sometimes it triggers an amazingly hostile response. The reason is that a single dissenter can puncture an illusion of unanimity. ... Among those suppressed have been the engineers who tried to point out problems with the Challenger space shuttle that caused it to blow up. More fundamentally, suppression is a denial of the open dialogue and debate that are the foundation of a free society. Even worse than the silencing of dissidents is the chilling effect such practices have on others. For every individual who speaks out, numerous others decide to play it safe and keep quiet. More serious than external censorship is the problem of self-censorship.’


— Professor Brian Martin, University of Wollongong, 'Stamping Out Dissent', Newsweek, 26 April 1993, pp. 49-50


In 1896, Sir James Mackenzie-Davidson asked Wilhelm Röntgen, who discovered X-rays in 1895: ‘What did you think?’ Röntgen replied: ‘I did not think, I investigated.’ The reason? Cathode ray expert J. J. Thomson in 1894 saw glass fluorescence far from a tube, but due to prejudice (expert opinion) he avoided investigating that X-ray evidence! ‘Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.’ - Richard Feynman, in Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics, Houghton-Mifflin, 2006, p. 307.


From 1945-62, America tested 216 nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, totalling 154 megatons, with a mean yield of 713 kilotons


From 1949-62, Russia tested 214 nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, totalling 281 megatons, with a mean yield of 1.31 megatons


From 1952-8, Britain tested 21 nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, totalling 10.8 megatons, with a mean yield of 514 kilotons


From 1960-74, France tested 46 nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, totalling 11.4 megatons, with a mean yield of 248 kilotons


From 1964-80, China tested 23 nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, totalling 21.5 megatons, with a mean yield of 935 kilotons


In summary, from 1945-80, America, Russia, Britain, France and China tested 520 nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, totalling 478.7 megatons, with a mean yield of 921 kilotons


Mean yield of the 5,192 nuclear warheads and bombs in the deployed Russian nuclear stockpile as of January 2009: 0.317 Mt. Total yield: 1,646 Mt.


Mean yield of the 4,552 nuclear warheads and bombs in the deployed U.S. nuclear stockpile as of January 2007: 0.257 Mt. Total yield: 1,172 Mt.


For diffraction damage where damage areas scale as the two-thirds power of explosive yield, this stockpile's area damage potential can be compared to the 20,000,000 conventional bombs of 100 kg size (2 megatons of TNT equivalent total energy) dropped on Germany during World War II: (Total nuclear bomb blast diffraction damaged ground area)/(Total conventional blast diffraction damaged ground area to Germany during World War II) = [4,552*(0.257 Mt)2/3]/[20,000,000*(0.0000001 Mt)2/3] = 1,840/431 = 4.3. Thus, although the entire U.S. stockpile has a TNT energy equivalent to 586 times that of the 2 megatons of conventional bombs dropped on Germany in World War II, it is only capable of causing 4.3 times as much diffraction type damage area, because any given amount of explosive energy is far more efficient when distributed over many small explosions than in a single large explosion! Large explosions are inefficient because they cause unintended collateral damage, wasting energy off the target area and injuring or damaging unintended targets!


In a controlled sample of 36,500 survivors, 89 people got leukemia over a 40 year period, above the number in the unexposed control group. (Data: Radiation Research, volume 146, 1996, pages 1-27.) Over 40 years, in 36,500 survivors monitored, there were 176 leukemia deaths which is 89 more than the control (unexposed) group got naturally. There were 4,687 other cancer deaths, but that was merely 339 above the number in the control (unexposed) group, so this is statistically a much smaller rise than the leukemia result. Natural leukemia rates, which are very low in any case, were increased by 51% in the irradiated survivors, but other cancers were merely increased by just 7%. Adding all the cancers together, the total was 4,863 cancers (virtually all natural cancer, nothing whatsoever to do with radiation), which is just 428 more than the unexposed control group. Hence, the total increase over the natural cancer rate due to bomb exposure was only 9%, spread over a period of 40 years. There was no increase whatsoever in genetic malformations.


The earth's atmosphere is a radiation shield equivalent to being protected behind a layer of water 10 metres thick. This reduces the cosmic background radiation by about a factor of 100 of what it would be without the earth's atmosphere. Away from the largely uninhabited poles, the Earth's magnetic field also protects us against charged cosmic radiations, which are deflected and end up spiralling around the magnetic field at high altitude, in the Van Allen trapped radiation belts. On the Moon, for example, there is no atmosphere or significant magnetic field so the natural background radiation exposure rate at solar minimum is 1 milliRoentgen per hour (about 10 microSieverts/hour) some 100 times that on the Earth (0.010 milliRoentgen per hour or about 0.10 microSieverts/hour). The Apollo astronauts visiting the Moon wore dosimeters and they received an average of 275 milliRoentgens (about 2.75 milliSieverts) of radiation (well over a year's exposure to natural background at sea level) in over just 19.5 days. It is a lot more than that during a solar flare, which is one of the concerns for astronauts to avoid (micrometeorites are another concern in a soft spacesuit).




The higher up you are above sea level, the less of the atmosphere there is between you and space, so the less shielding you have to protect you from the intense cosmic space radiations (emitted by thermonuclear reactors we call 'stars', as well as distant supernovae explosions). At sea level, the air above you constitutes a radiation shield of 10 tons per square metre or the equivalent of having a 10 metres thick water shield between you and outer space. As you go up a mountain or up in an aircraft, the amount of atmosphere between you and space decreases, thus radiation levels increase with altitude because there is less shielding. The normal background radiation exposure rate shoots up by a factor of 20, from 0.010 to 0.20 milliRoentgens per hour, when any airplane ascends from sea level to 36,000 feet cruising altitude. (The now obsolete British Concorde supersonic transport used to maintain radiation-monitoring equipment so that it could drop to lower-altitude flight routes if excessive cosmic radiation due to solar storms were detected.) Flight aircrew get more radiation exposure than many nuclear industry workers at nuclear power plants. Residents of the high altitude city of Denver get 100 milliRoentgens (about 1 milliSievert) more annual exposure than a resident of Washington, D.C., but the mainstream anti-radiation cranks don't campaign for the city to be shut to save kids radiation exposure, for mountain climbing to be banned, etc.!


1994 revised Introduction to Kearny’s Nuclear War Survival Skills, by Dr Edward Teller, January 14, 1994:


‘If defense is neglected these weapons of attack become effective. They become available and desirable in the eyes of an imperialist dictator, even if his means are limited. Weapons of mass destruction could become equalizers between nations big and small, highly developed and primitive, if defense is neglected. If defense is developed and if it is made available for general prevention of war, weapons of aggression will become less desirable. Thus defense makes war itself less probable. ... One psychological defense mechanism against danger is to forget about it. This attitude is as common as it is disastrous. It may turn a limited danger into a fatal difficulty.’


Advice of Robert Watson-Watt (Chief Scientist on the World War II British Radar Project, defending Britain against enemy attacks): ‘Give them the third best to go on with, the second best comes too late, the best never comes.’


From Wikipedia (a source of groupthink): ‘Groupthink is a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. Individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking are lost in the pursuit of group cohesiveness, as are the advantages of reasonable balance in choice and thought that might normally be obtained by making decisions as a group. During groupthink, members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking. A variety of motives for this may exist such as a desire to avoid being seen as foolish, or a desire to avoid embarrassing or angering other members of the group. Groupthink may cause groups to make hasty, irrational decisions, where individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance.’