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By George! The anti-nuclear lobby are making it all up!!
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mobbsey



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:11 am    Post subject: By George! The anti-nuclear lobby are making it all up!! Reply with quote

Today's Guardian --
What George is parroting is that the "consensus" models do not predict a significant number of cancer deaths after Chernobyl. However, there's now a large body of evidence that the observed incidence of cancer doesn't correlate to what the model predicts, indicating that the model is flawed. In 2009 the ICRP's head of science, in charge of the "consensus" dose model, resigned because he no longer believe that the model represented observed reality.

To quote George back at himself, "I've discovered that when the facts don't suit them, [George] resorts to the follies of cover-up they usually denounce". The only way of rationalising George's argument is:
# that the IPCC is a bunch of UN-sponsored scientists;
# UNSCEAR/ICRP is a bunch of UN-backed scientists;
# if he casts doubt on the validity of the ICRP/UNSCEAR he casts doubt on the IPCC;
# if he accepts minority science on radiation he therefore has to accept the minority science on climate.

If that's his reasoning, it's absurd! It's certainly not science! His argument is that it's peer review that is at the heart of science, not the correlation between models and observation. Ultimately he's corrupting his own argument by hedging against future criticism from the climate sceptics, it's not about an open evaluation of radiation risks.

George claims there is no peer reviewed evidence on the risks from low level radiation. What about Martin Tondell's 'peer reviewed' paper in the Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health (2004; 58(12): 10111016) which showed a correlation between Chernobyl fallout in northern Sweden and a rise in cancer rates since the accident?

I think George should stop digging a hole for himself before he hits a coal seam Wink


P.



Quote:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/05/anti-nuclear-lobby-misled-world

The unpalatable truth is that the anti-nuclear lobby has misled us all

I've discovered that when the facts don't suit them, the movement resorts to the follies of cover-up they usually denounce

George Monbiot, The Guardian, Tuesday 5 April 2011


Over the last fortnight I've made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged, and wildly wrong. We have done other people, and ourselves, a terrible disservice.

I began to see the extent of the problem after a debate last week with Helen Caldicott. Dr Caldicott is the world's foremost anti-nuclear campaigner. She has received 21 honorary degrees and scores of awards, and was nominated for a Nobel peace prize. Like other greens, I was in awe of her. In the debate she made some striking statements about the dangers of radiation. So I did what anyone faced with questionable scientific claims should do: I asked for the sources. Caldicott's response has profoundly shaken me.
{snip}
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Aurora



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:15 am    Post subject: Re: By George! The anti-nuclear lobby are making it all up!! Reply with quote

mobbsey wrote:

I think George should stop digging a hole for himself before he hits a coal seam Wink

Laughing Laughing Laughing ..... or to put it another way:

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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If that's his reasoning, it's absurd!


Equally, if that's your presumption, it's absurd.
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mobbsey



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
Equally, if that's your presumption, it's absurd.


OK, can you think of a better one?
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

See my earlier response to your 985,000 deaths claim.

Many authorities are now reviewing the Chernobyl disaster death rate and the validity of the LNT model. As long ago as the 70s I can remember a swell of scepticism that the LNT model was too pessimistic but that there was insufficient evidence to adopt that thinking as the basis of any policy on radiological protection. Some of the claimed death rates (yours included) are so huge that they are easily dissmissed simply by considering the evidence; 985,000 deaths is 20 % of the population of Kiev.

Monbiot has it right on this issue and you don't.
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mobbsey



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
985,000 deaths is 20 % of the population of Kiev.


Err, wrong! Do you have a copy of the Yablokov book? Goto page 210, and it lays out the figures (cutting and pasting the relevant sentences below):
Quote:
# The overall number of Chernobyl-related deaths up until 2004 in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia was estimated to be 237,500.

# Assuming that 10 million people in Europe, outside the Former Soviet Union, live in territories with a Cs-137 ground contamination higher than 40 kBq/m2... we can expect an additional 170,000 deaths in Europe outside the Former Soviet Union owing to Chernobyl.

# Let us further assume that for the other 150 million Europeans living in territories with a Cs-137 ground contamination below 40 kBq/m2... 255,000 more deaths in the rest of Europe.

# Assuming that 20% of the radionuclides released from the Chernobyl reactor were deposited outside Europe we could have expected an additional 323,000 cancer deaths outside Europe until 2004.


So, not the population of Kiev, or Ukraine. Taking the population as just the 900 million in Europe and the FSU, that's about 0.1% of the population.


An Inspector Calls wrote:
Monbiot has it right on this issue and you don't.


No, your assumptions in analysis are as equally invalid as his -- but I will concede that he's probably the more culpable since he's s'posed to have a top class education.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mobbsey wrote:

No, your assumptions in analysis are as equally invalid as his -- but I will concede that he's probably the more culpable since he's s'posed to have a top class education.
And he writes for an influential newspaper rather than an obscure corner of cyberspace.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've looked at the Yablokov book to determine that there's no need to buy a copy.

Are you aware of what you're repeating? Take for example:
"Assuming that 10 million people in Europe, outside the Former Soviet Union, live in territories with a Cs-137 ground contamination higher than 40 kBq/m2... we can expect an additional 170,000 deaths in Europe outside the Former Soviet Union owing to Chernobyl."

That's not an observation, it's a theory. Based on what model? The LNT model? So we have what looks like a possible circular argument. People in Europe received high radiation doses (quite correct, they did). LNT is right. The LNT model says x deaths. Therefore the model is right. It's piffle.

The various UNSCEAR reports contain far better analyses than Yablokov. There are studies to determine dose rates throughout Europe far more detailed than Yablokov. Yablokov seems to be taking grossly pessimistic figures (because it suits his purpose?) and then applying LNT without any consideration of what actually happened.

The crux is to look at reported deaths. The LNT model doesn't work at low doses. We know that from other events than Chernobyl such as exposure of airline crew. The Chernobyl Forum and UNSCEAR looked for evidence and attribution of deaths: for most of the population affected they can't make any reliable attribution to the Chernobyl disaster. Only in those groups with severe exposure are any deaths accurately attributable.

It's a pity the BBC Horizon programme is not available on iplayer.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5173310.stm



"but I will concede that he's probably the more culpable since he's s'posed to have a top class education."
How does that support your argument?
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Bandidoz
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
It's a pity the BBC Horizon programme is not available on iplayer.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5173310.stm

The National Geographic article from a few years ago is online:
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2006/04/inside-chernobyl/stone-text
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mobbsey



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
That's not an observation, it's a theory. Based on what model? The LNT model?

It's the meta-analysis that's the result of Yablokov et. al.'s work on those 5,000-odd papers, which are mostly based upon ecological/biological, epidemiological or medical observation. If you didn't get that from looking through the book, I suggest that you look at it again. And you have no excuse that it's an "expensive book" as you'll find copies all over the place -- e.g. http://www.strahlentelex.de/Yablokov%20Chernobyl%20book.pdf

In any case, what about other recent research -- for example, Tondell's 'peer reviewed' paper in the Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health that I mentioned earlier -- here's their take on it...
Quote:
Conclusions: Unless attributable to chance or remaining uncontrolled confounding, a slight exposure related increase in total cancer incidence has occurred in northern Sweden after the Chernobyl accident.

...and if you delve into the paper you find...
Quote:
Unless simply representing a chance phenomenon, the findings in our study are somewhat unexpected indicating a possible cancer effect of the Chernobyl fallout in north Sweden despite a short latency period and low degree of exposure. This would also be the first study suggesting a possible increase in total cancer incidence after the Chernobyl accident outside the former Soviet Union, let alone only a marginally increased risk.


That finding was "unexpected" because it shows that the present LNT dose model, that's the basis of the IAEA/UNSCEAR projections for the total impacts of Chernobyl, or the present prognostication on there being no significant hazard from the Fukushima accident, is "wrong" because it can't explain the observed effects at low dose. If you look at the various stuidies of this phenomena that are available -- Yablokov's book, or the ECRR 2010 report, or you contrast the evidence presented in the official and minority reports of the CERRIE committee -- research suggest that it's "wrong" by a factor of 100 to 300 at very low doses.

But, let's say this here and now -- personally, I think that radiation is not the over-riding factor with whether there is a case for nuclear power, it's merely one of a basket of variables we need to consider. Governments around the world already permit activities that, from driving and horse-riding to smoking, have a risk of death and serious injury that are in excess of the risk of operating a nuclear power plant; for that reason, if you were consistent, if you didn't allow nuclear on the grounds of risk you'd have to ban a few other everyday activities too.

Nuclear power does not work because --

1. Of its economic case, as there are cheaper alternatives to achieve lower carbon emissions or eliminate the need for energy use;

2. It's primarily a power source, so it's only effective at dealing with a fifth of energy consumption, and the concept of mass electrification fails because of the practical and resource restrictions involved;

3. Nuclear power is subject to the same depletion problems as oil, gas and coal, and alternative fuel cycles would not solve this problem as the technology is (for the foreseeable future) beyond our ability to develop on a commercial basis and safely operate; and

4. It's not a "solution" -- as in, the root problem that faces us today is not simply that we're short of low carbon power, we've got far more serious problems (looking over a time frame of the next 100 years) related to water supply, food supply, population imbalances, the depletion of essential raw materials, and most importantly the drive towards more affluent lifestyles across a greater population that driving all these trends; nuclear doesn't address these issues, it makes them worse by artificially extending the present "bubble" of human development and, when that cycle reaches its downside, leaving us with an intractable toxic legacy that we will have neither the finance nor resources to manage.

I stopped working on nuclear 10 years ago primarily because it always descends into a discussion about "how many angels can you fit on the head of a pin" (i.e., risk); I find that a fatuous debate when there are far more determinate effects we can study -- and in fact I think governments/the industry encourage the debate in this fashion (e.g., Monbiot's recent outpourings) for precisely that reason that it prevents any meaningful discussion.

We have to take a far broader systemic, or ecological viewpoint and on the purpose for using the power from nuclear, not just the factors related to the nuclear fuel cycle itself -- and on that basis there's a far strong case against nuclear for a variety of reasons.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if it's the peer-review cosh time, don't reach for Yablokov, as Monbiot points out.

Tondell's work - which paper are you citing. Here's part of one of his papers:
Quote:
Main results: Taking age and population density as confounding factors, and lung cancer incidence in 19881996 and total cancer incidence in 19861987 by municipality as proxy confounders for smoking and time trends, respectively, the adjusted relative risks for the deposition categories were 1.00 (reference <3 kiloBecquerel/m2), 1.05, 1.03, 1.08, 1.10, and 1.21. The excess relative risk was 0.11 per 100 kiloBecquerel/m2 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.20). Considering the secular trend, directly age standardised cancer incidence rate differences per 100 000 person years between 1988 to 1996 and the reference period 19861987, were 30.3 (indicating a time trend in the reference category), 36.8, 42.0, 45.8, 50.1, and 56.4. No clear excess occurred for leukaemia or thyroid cancer.
Conclusions: Unless attributable to chance or remaining uncontrolled confounding, a slight exposure related increase in total cancer incidence has occurred in northern Sweden after the Chernobyl accident.

This suggests a cancer rate lower than any LNT model prediction. And note the nil response for thyroid cancers.

And how do you explain the complete lack of any effect in groups such as airline crew, populations with high exposure due to high altitude or radioactive rocks, the population of Ramsar, Iran?

I've searched for the relevant CERRIE stuff - all I can find in their findings is work suggesting that the LNT model is flawed and it overestimates the dangers that arise from various radiological treatments and examinations.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
And how do you explain the complete lack of any effect in groups such as airline crew, populations with high exposure due to high altitude or radioactive rocks, the population of Ramsar, Iran?

There is a difference between exposure from external sources of radiation, and from inhalation/ingestion of radioactive particles.
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mobbsey



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
And how do you explain the complete lack of any effect in groups such as airline crew, populations with high exposure due to high altitude or radioactive rocks, the population of Ramsar, Iran


That's the difference between external dose and internal emitters. Aircraft crews, astronauts and even workers in the nuclear industry (because of the use of air filtration and protective clothing) are taking most of their dose externally, much of it from gamma/cosmic rays.

People living in areas of nuclear contamination are ingesting a broad spectrum of radionuclides, both natural and man-made -- and that effect is enhanced by the consumption of locally produced food. LNT takes a value for ingested radionuclides and converts it to a value for absorbed dose -- then applies a blanket quality factor for the type of radiation concerned. In reality the take-up of radionuclides is governed by their chemistry, and so the different bonding mechanisms within tissues means that their effects are not ubiquitous, but target certain tissue types more than others. One of the more likely explanations as to why LNT can't approximate this effect is because it doesn't give sufficient weight to the internal emitters, and especially certain radionuclides and their propensity to bond to certain tissues which enhance the level of dose and biochemical disruption within and between cells.

Speaking in relation to Ramsar, which, from memory, has the highest natural background radiation of any settlement on the planet, I s'pose you're going to ask why it is that the population there do not demonstrate the same chromosomal abnormalities that would be expected from comparable in vitro experiments. That's simple -- adaptation. In the same way that Hymalayan Sherpas or the indigenous population of the Andean Altiplano have evolved subtle changes to their vascular and capillary density, humans can adapt to higher radiation levels. However, such adaptations might take 10 generations, and in any case I think you'll find it's the present generation of the "living" that objects to this concept, not the ones who'll be living here in 200 years time.

In any case, Ramsar is a peculiarity; it's predominantly an exposure to one radionuclide, radium from the nearby hot springs, not a more complex cocktail of different radionuclides that affect tissues in a variety of ways.

In fact you could equally talk about my home town in North Oxfordshire where the ironstone -- with its associated content of uranium and thorium -- gives rise to much higher radiation levels than the rest of the UK (although not as good as Cornwall or Aberdeen). When I built my first Geiger counter in the mid-80s it didn't seem to work properly because the readings were too high; I took it down to the south of the county, near Harwell, and it gave the expected readings (well, except for those the contaminated waste transport flasks I found illegally dumped in a gravel pit, oh, and the leaks at Harwell's tank farm). A few weeks of experimentation in friends homes and cellars around the town eventually found the cause of the discrepancy.

When I gave this data to a friend in the local Environmental Health department they promptly shat themselves and called in the NRPB. But all is well it seems -- precisely because humans have, to a certain extent, adapted to living with radon. However, when you add fission products, because they bind to different tissues and have a different biochemistry (e.g. radon is a gas and is highly mobile; caesium isn't) the effects are not comparable -- precisely because the biochemical mechanisms involved are so different.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandidoz wrote:
An Inspector Calls wrote:
And how do you explain the complete lack of any effect in groups such as airline crew, populations with high exposure due to high altitude or radioactive rocks, the population of Ramsar, Iran?

There is a difference between exposure from external sources of radiation, and from inhalation/ingestion of radioactive particles.


Well how does that align with the fact that the second highest cause of lung cancer in the UK, after smoking, is exposure to radon?

But OK, worth considering. So which of us here is the expert on that subject; I'm not?

And if you and Mobbsey want to summon the concept of adaptability, as far as I can see from the studies of Chernobyl where extensive genetic resistance to radiation has been observed in animals, it requires no adaptation in the sense of genetic development, merely the 'awakening' of an existing genetic ability.

But then, where are the observed mass occurences of cancer? Where are the bodies on the ground? In short, where's the observed evidence that strangely UNSCEAR and the Chernobyl Forum and Tondell couldn't find?
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mobbsey



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
But then, where are the observed mass occurences of cancer? Where are the bodies on the ground? In short, where's the observed evidence that strangely UNSCEAR and the Chernobyl Forum and Tondell couldn't find?

Your literal interpretations (err, distortions?) don't fit within the conceptual basis of epidemiology.

We're talking about averages across a population; you can't point at one death and stamp a radiation symbol on a coffin. And in any case, you're missing the point about the science involved in this.

It doesn't matter what the alternative models for dose impacts state; what matters is that our "leaders and betters" are representing a theoretical model that no longer correlates to observed reality. And on the basis of that they're intent on blowing a very large sum of our money (again!) to build a "nuclear renaissance" which will do little to solve our problems but which -- because of the clear problems in the model -- may generate yet more.

There was a really good article, Radioecology: relevance to the problems of the new millennium, in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity (2000; vol.50, pp.173-178) that highlighted this issue:
Quote:
I feel that there are many cases, however, where the degree of uncertainty in model predictions is sufficient to cast doubt on the credibility of the risk assessment process for making important decisions. This can, and I think occasionally does, lead to decisions that are unduly influenced by sometimes misguided popular opinion, special economic interests, and political expediency, rather than by scientific quests for the truth.


And as I said, adaptability is a demonstrable biological mechanism, in time -- but I think you'll find the people living today, whose money the government want to spend on new nuclear power plant, might have other opinions on their personal expendability.
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