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Learning About Energy



Much of What You Know Simply Isn't So, hosted by Ted Rockwell



Updated: 2012-07-16T13:34:09-04:00

 



Unable to See the Obvious

2012-07-16T13:35:31-04:00

I don't understand why nuclear people are so concerned about claiming hormesis. The rest of the world has already pretty much accepted it. Toxicologists fight with nutritionists over how much selenium we should have. Too much can be fatal, but...

 

I don't understand why nuclear people are so concerned about claiming hormesis.  The rest of the world has already pretty much accepted it.  Toxicologists fight with nutritionists over how much selenium we should have.  Too much can be fatal, but a small amount is beneficial.  Today, for instance, I came across the following article on contaminants in food in "The Scientist":

"It should also be noted that all substances are poisons; only the dose differentiates the poison from a remedy. This concept was developed by Paracelsus, a medical doctor in Europe in the 16th century, and it is useful in evaluating risk in our daily lives by considering examples of well-known substances with low and high toxicity consumed today. For example,  water might be considered one of the least toxic substances that we commonly encounter. However, there are many reports of water toxicity in the scientific literature. Too much water can, indeed, be fatal... Even well known carcinogens, such as arsenic or nicotine, are only harmful if exposure is high enough."

So, I respectfully suggest that we stop trying to shield people from a truth that most people have already accepted:

It is possible to get too much radiation, whether sunshine or ionizing radiation, but it's a proven fact that most people would benefit from more radiation in the range of interest.

 




Protecting Us From the Truth

2012-07-15T21:32:20-04:00

A Brief History The first Environmental Impact Statement for a nuclear power plant was for Calvert Cliffs. Norm Frigerio started gathering cancer data and natural radiation background levels, as required under the law. When it became clear that the cancer... A Brief History   The first Environmental Impact Statement for a nuclear power plant was for Calvert Cliffs.  Norm Frigerio started gathering cancer data and natural radiation background levels, as required under the law.  When it became clear that the cancer rate was inversely proportional to the radiation level (more radiation, less cancer) someone decided that this information was unwelcome, and canceled Frigerio’s project.  The report was never published.  Why? In early 1997, when the Washington Post hired a new environmental reporter named Joby Warrick, I brought him over to my house and spent several hours showing him data on our radioactive, hormetic earth.  He wrote a major article, cited on page 1, describing how participants in open-air nuclear weapons test were outliving their unirradiated companions, nuclear shipyard workers had lower cancer rates than non-nuclear workers, etc.  His article received great international attention, and we planned further pieces.  But then he failed to return my calls, and started writing page-one anti-nuclear pieces, for which he ultimately won a Pulitzer prize.  Why this reversal of the truth? When Ted Quinn was outgoing ANS President and Andy Kadak was incoming, they and I and others carefully worked out a new ANS Position Statement on low-dose radiation and LNT.  After sending it in to ANS HQ to be published, strongly warning that not a word should be changed, it was canceled without explanation.  We were told merely that others had to be satisfied, but these others were never named, nor required to state their case.  What truth were we being protected from, and why? Cohen’s radon data are discounted because of generic limitations of epidemiological studies, though in practice, these concerns are not applicable to his specific case.  But, we are told that the only really reliable type of evidence is case-control studies where individuals are followed to their death.  So Otto Raabe gives us a solid population of radium dial painters whose individual body burdens of radium has been measured.  Immediately, funding to follow these individuals further is canceled.  Why is this data not welcome? Now, today, I am being told that we dare not tell people about hormesis, even though no knowledgeable scientist I know would argue against it.  Why do we try to hide this open secret?  I don’t find, in talking with people in various circumstances, that they find this concept hard to understand or hard to accept.  We can’t stop people from looking at the data, though we seem to be trying awfully hard.  Google will tell anyone who asks that natural radiation levels are high in mountain resorts, where the cancer level is low.  Radon spas brag about their high radioactivity and many governments pay for their hormetic effects.  How long can we hide such information?  Why would we want to?   Ted Rockwell         [...]



Radiation Victims are Not Black Swans

2012-07-15T17:06:07-04:00

An increasingly used anti-nuclear argument claims “it is impossible to prove the non-existence of something,” therefore we can’t be sure that low-dose radiation is harmless. Some day we may discover victims of low-dose radiation, just as we one day discovered... An increasingly used anti-nuclear argument claims “it is impossible to prove the non-existence of something,” therefore we can’t be sure that low-dose radiation is harmless.  Some day we may discover victims of low-dose radiation, just as we one day discovered the existence of black swans – lots of them (in Australia).  We may find circumstances under which irradiated people – perhaps lots of them – are injured by radiation.  So the prudent course, the argument goes, is to assume for regulatory purposes, that radiation is harmful all the way down to zero dose.   But this argument is phony.  There is no “non-existence of evidence.”  The evidence that low-dose radiation is harmless or beneficial is all around us.  James Muckerheide wrote a report with the self-explanatory title: “There Has Never Been a Time That the Beneficial Effects of Low-Dose Radiation Were Not Known.”  He documents that over a century ago, during the first decades after the discovery of x-rays, radium, and radioactivity, the beneficial effects were explicitly understood and reported.  The phenomenon of a substance or a process being harmful at high levels and beneficial at low levels is nearly universal and is called “hormesis.”  We see it with sunshine, vaccination, exercise, and other forms of challenging our bodies.  So we were taught “Moderation in all things” and we avoid extremes. In 1980 and in 1991, T.D, Luckey published two landmark volumes: “Hormesis with Ionizing Radiation,” and “Radiation Hormesis," CRC Press.  With over a thousand references each, these books struck a chord with several Japanese scientists, and they began doing experiments with mice, and then clinical work with humans, demonstrating the beneficial effects of full-body and half-body irradiation for curing cancer. Decrying the fear-mongers, Rosalyn Yalow, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, asserted: No reproducible evidence exists of harmful effects from increases in background radiation three to ten times the usual levels. There is no increase in leukemia or other cancers among American participants in nuclear testing, no increase in leukemia or thyroid cancer among medical patients receiving I-131 for diagnosis or treatment of hyperthyroidism, and no increase in lung cancer among non-smokers exposed to increased radon in the home. The association of radiation with the atomic bomb and with excessive regulatory and health physics ALARA practices has created a climate of fear about the dangers of radiation at any level. However there is no evidence that radiation exposures at the levels equivalent to medical usage are harmful. The unjustified excessive concern with radiation at any level, however, precludes beneficial uses of radiation and radioactivity in medicine, science and industry. (Mayo Clinic Proc  69:436-440, 1994) Hugh F. Henry at Oak Ridge summarized the low dose data in the Journal of the American Medical Association: (JAMA176, 27 May 1961) A significant and growing amount of experimental information indicates that the overall effects of chronic exposure (at low levels) are not harmful…The preponderance of data better supports the hypothesis that low chronic exposures result in an increased longevity… Increased vitality at low exposures to materials that are markedly toxic at high exposures is a well-recognized phenomenon.     The legendary Lauriston S. Taylor, chair of the first radiation protection societies, stated: “Today, we know about all we need to know to adequately protect ourselves from ionizing radiation... No one has been identifiably injured by radiation while working within the first numerical standards set first by the NCRP and then the ICRP in 1934 [about 35-fold higher r[...]



Some Facts About Radiation

2012-07-03T20:45:53-04:00

God’s good green earth was created out of the radioactive waste products of the great nuclear reactions that spawned the galaxies and the planets. Life arose out of, and adapted to, a much higher level of natural radiation than exists...God’s good green earth was created out of the radioactive waste products of the great nuclear reactions that spawned the galaxies and the planets. Life arose out of, and adapted to, a much higher level of natural radiation than exists today. Nuclear radiation (ionizing radiation: alpha, beta and gamma radiation) is essential to Life; without it, organisms wither and die. Despite all the radioactive material we create, this radioactivity is nowhere near enough to keep up with the decay of the earth’s natural radioactivity, which becomes inexorably smaller every day. Thus, most populations today are “under-dosed” and would benefit from more irradiation in the range of interest. The argument that humanity can only be harmed in some way by such radiation is simply untrue. There is no scientific basis for such a claim. Just as we no longer have to wait for lightning to strike a tree in order to make use of fire, we have learned to produce some types of nuclear radiation “artificially.” The claim that “human-made” radiation is somehow more harmful, or should be minimized because it can be, is also an argument without merit. Neither the organism being irradiated, nor the instrument measuring the amount of radiation, can distinguish between “natural” and “human-made” radiation. This brings us to the acronym “LNT,” which stands for “linear, no threshold.” This term was invented to describe what was intended to be a conservative model of radiation damage that could be used for regulation of radiation protection. It was observed that at high radiation levels, the damage to organisms was linear: double the radiation dose and you double the damage to the irradiated organism. So, the argument went, if we assume for regulatory purposes, that this linear relationship of radiation dose to organism damage continues all the way down to zero radiation dose, then we should have a conservative premise for radiation protection. No one claimed the LNT model represented scientific reality; in fact, its defenders called that possibility “vanishingly small.” It was merely said to be “conservative.” So we must examine what “conservative” means in this context. Consider an example: Werner Heisenberg, arguably one of the best analytical minds in human history, reportedly did a calculation in his head shortly after he learned about the discovery of nuclear fission. He concluded, conservatively, that to make a single fission bomb would require a large number of tons of pure U-235, and therefore a program like the US Manhattan Project could not be successful. That answer is not “conservative.” It is simply wrong. As a result, Nazi Germany never undertook a serious atomic bomb program. In a world in which natural radiation was a large and highly variable reality, how did phobic fear of radiation become such an overwhelming issue? That is a subject involving many overlapping stories, each with its own organizations, incentives and problems. And there are other forces at work that continue to play a part. I will touch on several of them. First, the weapon. The desire to characterize any new weapon as uniquely and unprecedentedly fearful is natural and understandable. In the A-bomb case, both sides had an additional incentive to give the Japanese, who had sworn to fight to the last man, an excuse to surrender. No mere mortal could be expected to fight bare-handed against the force that held together the very fabric of the universe. And so, the Emperor stepped in, and the idea of nuclear being uniquely fearsome was promoted. Then, MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction. The fragile peace was sustained by repeatedly scaling up the hypothetical scenarios of destruction of[...]



Nuclear Warships Prove Effective in Battle

2012-07-03T07:30:42-04:00

Nuclear Warships Prove Effective in Battle U.S. nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers have participated in many important military operations. Details of these operations are necessarily classified, but some declassified statistics reported in the 2011 Naval Reactors report demonstrate the battlefield...

Nuclear Warships Prove Effective in Battle

 

U.S. nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers have participated in many important military operations.  Details of these operations are necessarily classified, but some declassified statistics reported in the 2011 Naval Reactors report demonstrate the battlefield effectiveness of nuclear-powered ships.  The nuclear aircraft carrier Enterprise arrived within striking distance of Afghanistan within 11 hours” after getting the news of the 9/11 strike on the twin towers of New York.  In Operation Enduring Freedom, over 70% of all precision strike missions flown into landlocked Afghanistan were launched from Navy nuclear aircraft carriers and about a third of all Tomahawk precision missile strikes were launched from nuclear-powered submarines.” 

In Operation Iraqi Freedom, nuclear-powered submarines accounted for about a third of the more than 800 Tomahawk missiles launched against Saddam  Hussein's regime, and nearly 8000 combat and support sorties had been from nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.”

This is just a few examples from one report, which concluded by noting the impressive work of the nuclear carrier USS Ronald Reagan in providing support and rescue work to the people impacted by the earthquakes and tsunami in the Fukushima area of Japan.

 




China to Drop Solar & Wind to Focus on Nuclear Power

2012-04-27T00:22:36-04:00

In a government report published March 5, 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced that China will "put an end to blind expansion in industries such as solar energy and wind power in 2012." The most interesting part of the report...

In a government report published March 5, 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced that China will "put an end to blind expansion in industries such as solar energy and wind power in 2012."

The most interesting part of the report to me was the last two sentences, that deserve careful reading, in view of some of the glowing promises and predictions that have been written about solar and wind during the past several decades.  A great deal of important information is revealed in just these few words:

"The operating hours of wind power generating units plunged by 144 hours in 2011, despite an increase of 48% in on-grid wind power output."

"The operating hours of solar power generating units also declined, in spite of the tripling of installed capacity of solar PV power."

How about THAT?!

Ted Rockwell





Windpower Can Not Add to Our Energy Supply

2012-03-20T10:40:01-04:00

There is a lot of chatter about how fast windpower is growing. We're told that windpower is the fastest growing source of electricity, and that we could live on nothing but breezes and sunshine forever, if we really wanted to....

There is a lot of chatter about how fast windpower is growing.  We're told that windpower is the fastest growing source of electricity, and that we could live on nothing but breezes and sunshine forever, if we really wanted to.  
But let’s not get so involved in the various specifics as to lose the basic truth here: windpower needs spinning backup, ready to leap in at any instant.  Therefore, the only way that windpower can sell electricity is to replace a source that was already reliably doing the job, and make that reliable source less efficient.  This is true whether that reliable source is coal, gas, hydro or nuclear.  Windpower can never add to our energy supply.




DON'T CENSOR THE INTERNET!

2012-01-18T13:16:10-05:00

I'm not smart enough to figure out how to shut down my site for a day, but let me just say here: IT IS ESSENTIAL TO THE BASIC CONCEPT OF THE INTERNET THAT IT NOT BE CENSORED OR INTERFERED WITH...

I'm not smart enough to figure out how to shut down my site for a day, but let me just say here:  IT IS ESSENTIAL TO THE BASIC CONCEPT OF THE INTERNET THAT IT NOT BE CENSORED OR INTERFERED WITH BY ANY OUTSIDE AUTHORITY.  

This is the citizen's last chance to communicate freely.  It must not be abridged!

 

Ted Rockwell

The 





How Are Permissible Radiation Limits Set?

2011-11-17T21:00:01-05:00

[This is an up-date on some previous discussions we've had here] How Much Is Science, How Much “Prudence”? U.S. Regulatory Report NCRP-136 examined the question of establishing permissible radiation limits. After looking at the data, it concluded that most people...[This is an up-date on some previous discussions we've had here] How Much Is Science, How Much “Prudence”? U.S. Regulatory Report NCRP-136 examined the question of establishing  permissible radiation limits.  After looking at the data, it concluded that most people who get a small dose of nuclear radiation are not harmed by it, and in fact are benefited.  That’s what the science said:  Most people would benefit by receiving more radiation.  But curiously, the report’s final conclusion was just the opposite.  It recommended that our regulations should be based on the premise that any amount of radiation, no matter how small, should be considered harmful.  It made that recommendation just to be “conservative” or “prudent.” Let’s think about that.  Why is it prudent do just the opposite of what the science indicates?  Why is exaggerating a panicky situation considered prudent?  I’ve never seen a good answer to that question.  Whatever the reasoning, that’s where we’ve ended up. We’ve had three uncontrolled releases of radioactivity from serious malfunctions of nuclear power plants: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima.  In each of these, fear of radiation proved to be much more harmful than the effects of radiation itself.  And announcing that no amount of radiation is small enough to be harmless was certainly effective in creating and nurturing phobic fear of radiation, when none was justified by the facts. In addition, the problem is aggravated by the fact that we’ve been told for sixty years (two human generations) that nuclear terror is infinitely more dreadful than any non-nuclear threat, particularly when you blur the distinction between power plants and bombs. But what Fukushima tells us is that this abstract, academic position looks very different when you’re telling people they can’t go home – perhaps for years, because, well, it seems more prudent that way, even though radiation hasn’t actually hurt anyone there. Radiation expert Professor Wade Allison, author of “Radiation and Reason,” has cast the question in a new light.  He suggests, let’s set the permissible radiation limit the same way we set all other safety limits.  Not by asking how little radiation we can get by with, but how much can we safely permit?  There’s no intention of lowering the safety margin, and it will not be lowered.  That’s not the issue.  It’s a matter of working with the scientific data, rather than from a generic fear not supported by the science. Prof. Allison concludes that setting the permissible radiation limit, with a good margin of safety, results in an annual permissible level about 1000 times the current figure. To see a brief video of Prof. Allison’s talk to the Japanese people, click on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj8Pl1AiOuA&feature=youtu.be   Ted Rockwell [...]



A Plea for Common Sense on Fukushima

2011-11-17T14:05:12-05:00

New lessons are beginning to emerge from Fukushima. Each new concern leads to additional safety requirements. But some contradictions are beginning to raise questions: Amid tens of thousands of deaths from non-nuclear causes, not a single life-shortening radiation injury has...

 

New lessons are beginning to emerge from Fukushima.  Each new concern leads to additional safety requirements.  But some contradictions are beginning to raise questions:  Amid tens of thousands of deaths from non-nuclear causes, not a single life-shortening radiation injury has occurred.  Not one!  And while some people in the housing area are wearing cumbersome rad-con suits, filtered gas-masks, gloves and booties, there are many people living carefree in other places like Norway, Brazil, Iran, India where folks have lived normal lives for countless generations with radiation levels as much as a hundred times greater than forbidden areas of the Fukushima homes.

At Fukushima this is no abstract issue.  People are being told they cannot return home for an indeterminate period – perhaps years.  And efforts to decontaminate their home sites may require stripping off all the rich top-soil and calling it RadWaste.  People who were evacuated have been reduced to economic poverty, clinical depression, and even suicide.

There is good scientific evidence that, except for some hot spots, the radiation levels at these home-sites are not life-threatening.  The current restrictions are based on a desire to be “conservative.”  No matter how well intended, this “conservatism” is cruelly destructive.  The respected radiation authority Wade Allison, author of Radiation and Reason, has proposed that the current annual radiation dose limit be raised 1000-fold, which he says is still well below the hazard level of clinical data on which he bases his proposal.  Other radiation protectionists are beginning to feel unhappy about the harm their rules have caused and are joining in the cry for quick action as the Japanese head into winter.

It’s time that the draconian measures be revoked.  A simple declaration of the known health facts about radiation from the proper authorities would be a good first step.

      Ted Rockwell