Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WSJ: "There's no evidence that low doses of radiation are harmful"

Or so Mr. William Tucker writing for Wall Street Journal on March 6, 2012 assures us.

The last I checked, there is no evidence that low doses of radiation aren't harmful. But what am I to say anything against "experts", pro- or anti-nuke? Mr. Tucker had assured the world very early on in the nuclear crisis (March 14, 2011 to be exact) that Fukushima was no Chernobyl.

Mr. Tucker starts his piece by citing the famous cobalt-60 contamination of an apartment building in Taiwan in the early 1980s. See, they were better off with added radiation!

Other familiar refrains include:

  • No one has died in the Fukushima accident;

  • There are other locations in the world with much higher natural background;

  • All the health damage from radiation is in the "head";

  • Low-level radiation is good for health.

There is no banana though. Thank goodness.

From Wall Street Journal (3/6/2012; emphasis is mine):

Fukushima and the Future of Nuclear Power

There's no evidence that low doses of radiation are harmful and no reason to paralyze our economy out of fear of nuclear power.


In the early 1980s, a Taiwan steel company accidentally mixed some highly radioactive cobalt-60 into a batch of steel rebar. The radioactive rods were then used in the construction of 1,700 apartments. As a result, people living in these buildings were subject to radiation up to 30 times the normal amount received from the natural background.

When dismayed officials discovered this enormous error 15 years later, they surveyed past and present apartment dwellers expecting to find an epidemic of cancer. Normal incidence would have predicted 160 cancers among the 10,000 residents. To their astonishment, the researchers discovered only five cases of cancer—97% lower than the anticipated amount. Birth defects were also 94% below the anticipated rate. These findings were published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons in 2004. As one researcher phrased it, exposure to high levels of background radiation had apparently bestowed upon residents "an effective immunity from cancer."

The incident illustrates the enormous gap that has grown between radiation science and the popular perception of the dangers of nuclear power. One year after Japan's Fukushima accident, much of the world is running away from nuclear energy on the grounds that its risks are too great for a modern society to bear.

Germany has reinstituted plans to close down all its reactors by 2022, even if it means importing huge quantities of natural gas from Russia and nuclear-generated electricity from France and the Czech Republic. Japan has taken all of its 54 reactors out of service with the possibility that they may never run again. The result has been a complete reversal of Japan's trade balance from 20 years of surpluses to a record $18 billion deficit. Oil and liquid natural gas imports have increased dramatically while factories have slowed because of power shortages.

In the United States, the reaction so far has been less severe. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has increased its vigilance and is under tremendous pressure to close down aging reactors such as Vermont Yankee in southeastern Vermont and Indian Point north of New York City. But the NRC did issue its first new license in 30 years for two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at the Vogtle plant in eastern Georgia. Construction is expected to begin soon. Still, it's a far cry from the 30 to 100 new reactors that were being touted a year ago as part of America's "nuclear renaissance."

Meanwhile, 100 coal plants have been shut down in the U.S. over concerns about mercury and carbon emissions while the "renewables," solar and wind, that are supposed to take their place are proving to be much more intractable and land-consuming than previously imagined. With so much economic damage in the wake of Fukushima, it might behoove the world to ponder what the dangers of nuclear energy really are.

All 54 of Japan's reactors absorbed an earthquake of 9.0 on the Richter scale—the biggest in Japan's recorded history. Though the shock exceeded design specifications, the steel reactor vessels and concrete containment structures remained intact. The problem occurred when the subsequent 50-foot tsunami wiped out the backup generators at Fukushima, crippling the cooling system and causing the four operating reactors to overheat.

The core of three reactors melted down, but that in itself is not a public catastrophe as long as the reactor vessel and containment structure hold. All the radiation releases have come from contaminated cooling water and steam vented or escaping into the environment. Other releases came from the spent fuel pools, which also lost some of their coolant and proved to be a greater danger.

Nuclear engineers have long recognized these vulnerabilities. The AP1000 being built in Georgia is specifically designed with a "passive" cooling system that relies on natural convection currents rather than electric pumps so the reactors can cool themselves for several days while waiting for power to be restored. Spent fuel rods at existing reactors will be moved inside the containment structure wherever possible or into dry casks where they do not require cooling. All this takes time and expense but will be a necessary step toward improving nuclear safety.

The real problem, however, may be in the public's overestimation of the danger posed by small exposures to radiation. In order to avoid any possible charge of negligence, regulatory bodies around the world have adopted what is called a "linear-no-threshold" or "no safe dose" standard for radiation safety.

This says, quite simply, that because huge doses of radiation—the kind you might get from standing in the same room with a spent fuel rod—can cause illness or cancer, we must assume that even the smallest doses will have the same effect on a smaller scale. It's exactly the same as saying that because jumping off a 10-story building will break every bone in your body, stepping off a one-foot curb will also cause some minor damage.

So far there have been zero fatalities or adverse health effects from radiation exposure at Fukushima. All the damage has been from depression, despair and even suicide among the 100,000 people who have been evacuated from their homes within a 12-mile radius.

Some of these people are even being shunned in their new locales under the bizarre supposition that they constitute a radioactive danger. Yet as Ted Rockwell, one of the most notable veterans of the Manhattan Project, points out, people around the world live with radiation levels much higher than is present in the evacuation zone without showing any ill effects. The residents of the Taiwan apartments experienced 10 times the level of radiation as is prevalent in the evacuation zone.

The etiology of radiation-related disease is well-known. Radiation can cause DNA damage but the body has repair mechanisms to deal with it. Last December scientists at Berkeley made microscopic videotapes of these cellular repair sites in action. "Our data show that at lower doses of ionizing radiation, DNA repair mechanisms work much better than at higher doses," wrote Mina Bissell, a world-renowned breast cancer researcher who co-authored the report. "This non-linear DNA damage response casts doubt on the general assumption that any amount of ionizing radiation is harmful and additive."

Other researchers speculate that low radiation doses may immunize the body against cancer and birth defects by stimulating these repair mechanisms into greater responsiveness, just as vaccines stimulate the immune system. That would explain the low cancer rates in Taiwan.

As long as government agencies around the world continue to operate under the premise that even the smallest exposures to ionizing radiation can be harmful, Germany and Japan will go on dismembering their economies while countries such as the U.S. attempt to straddle the widening gap between outlawed coal and a renewables future whose promise now appears greatly exaggerated.

Taking a clear-eyed look at the actual dangers of nuclear energy seems like a much more sensible course.

Mr. Tucker is author of "Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Power Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey" (Bartleby Press, 2010).

"Power shortage"? What power shortage? There was an unnecessary rolling blackout to scare people into asking for more nuke plants.

"The steel reactor vessels and concrete containment structures remained intact" after the quake? How did I miss that good news?

"People around the world live with radiation levels much higher than is present in the evacuation zone without showing any ill effects"? The radiation level in Ottozawa in Okuma-machi inside the evacuation zone is 70 microsieverts/hour or higher. I'd love to know which people on this planet live in such a place.

"Other researchers speculate". Exactly. Speculate. Is a government supposed to form its nuclear safety policies on speculation that radiation is good for the residents?

Radiation hormesis. That's one grand experiment going on in Japan right now, probably unintended, and resulting from the sheer incompetence of the governments of all levels. (Or so I hope.) There are even some experts who suggest that the radioactive debris, food, and building materials mixed with incinerated ashes and slag, etc. be evenly distributed throughout Japan to see if there is any effect over time on the residents.


Chibaguy said...

All 54 reactors received a mag 9 shake? Me thinks this author doesn't even understand earthquakes and GSA. I will tell people down south that they felt a 9.0 quake but just did not realize it.

Anonymous said...

This argument smells very much like big tobacco's arguments in the early days of the smoking-causes-lung-cancer research. People closest to the research knew clearly that there was a causal connection. Proving the causal relationship to scientific standards would take time however, so in the meantime, tobacco industry spokesmen complained that there was no evidence that tobacco was harmful. This went on for years while the researchers built their case with more and more studies and evidence. Eventually now I think we all agree that there is a link between smoking tobacco and cancer. (Although I would be curious about Mr. Tucker's opinion).

Arguments by the nuclear industry that low dose radiation hasn't been proven to be dangerous simply speak to the state of the research. Competent researchers do see a health connection (and it's not a positive one). Further research will likely wrap this case up in a neat package like the lung cancer research did to tobacco.

In any case, it's clear that experts disagree on this point. But here, the stakes are much greater than they ever were with tobacco smoking. With radiation we're talking about contaminating the land for generations and mutating the genetic code of our species. With so much at stake, why take a chance by spreading low-grade radioactive waste around Japan in the debris sharing project? If you're going to burn it Japan, burn it in place instead of taking the risk of contaminating a wider area. If you're going to grow your own rice, grow it in regions that the radiation did not affect. If you're going to raise children, it would be best to move away from the Fukushima hot zone.

Anonymous said...

And his family lives WHERE? In the 20 km zone of Fukushima? With elevated radiation levels? If not, they should move there for the "health benefits". Too often we get research results with lots of comments -- but the researchers do not face any censor for errors in their theories. So let's help them, they can add their families to the numbers. Then if problems occur, it will be immediately seen by the research scientists in their family members. If the scientists are not comfortable with this suggestion, ask "WHY? isn't it safe??" and " There should be no danger to your family..right?"Everyone can participate..

Anonymous said...

Mr. Tucker, if you're reading, please seek spiritual advice and guidance today. I am concerned for your soul.

Man was created in the image of God. Nuclear accidents, created by man, mutate our genetic code. How could this be the right path for mankind?

Not religious? Well, our very civilization depends on farmers. Rain waters our crops, and soil nurtures the seeds we plant. When an activity of man so totally perverts nature that rain becomes poison to contaminate for generations the soil we need for our farming, what would you call this? A farmer I know calls this EVIL.

As a proponent of the nuclear power that my farmer friend labels "evil" I do think that you could use some spiritual guidance. Go back to the church of your parents or grandparents; I'm sure your family had a religion at some point in the past. Talk to a priest, rabbi, minister or imam about your views and ask for their help. Although I suspect that an exorcism may be needed; seek professional advice. In any case, they will pray for you. Certainly someone should.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, a whiff of rancid propaganda. Say, didn't Murdoch Jr. get sent to the colonies, specifically to the WSJ, to lay low until the scandal in Britain blows over?

Anonymous said...

In case anyone cites case of the irradiated but "healthy" Taiwanese, see:
Estimates of Relative Risks for Cancers in a Population after Prolonged Low-Dose-Rate Radiation Exposure: A Follow-up Assessment from 1983 to 2005
"...The results further strengthen the association between protracted low-dose radiation and cancer risks, especially for breast cancers and leukemia, in this unique cohort population."

Anonymous said...

I've heard similar pro-nuke arguments from other people who are geographically distant from the problems caused by Fukushima. They still don't get it. They don't appreciate the magnitude and the heart-wrenching effects of nuclear accidents. Mr. Tucker should actually spend a few weeks in Fukushima prefecture with the people affected by the triple meltdown before he ever writes again about how wonderful nuclear power it. Now that exercise might be good for his soul.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the nonsensical statements in the article already pointed out by laprimavera and posters here in the comment section, I'd like to add this: any "journalistic" piece only backing up one side of an argument (examples for "beneficial" or at least nonharmful radiation exposure) without providing the same for the opposite view is nothing but propaganda and not to be taken serious.

One sentence got (and always does get) to me. After describing what went wrong at Fukushima: "Nuclear engineers have long recognized these vulnerabilities." Well, then the pro-nuke people DO admit that it all isn't as safe as we are led to believe? And why was nothing done about it? And most importantly, why on earth would we now believe them that the next generation of plants really is safe(er)?

At this point, all these questions really are nothing but rethorical. The answers are all too clear.

Anonymous said...

During World War II the Japanese military had a very strong propaganda campaign that convinced Saipan and Okinawa civilians that the American conquerers would rape their women and eat their children. Of course this was nonsense as we know now, but the propaganda campaigns led these innocent people to make decisions to needlessly kill their children and commit suicide. You've probably seen the videos of women and children dying this way at Suicide Cliff on Saipan.

What the advertising agencies like Hakuhodo are doing today is just as bad, and perhaps far worse. Because today the propaganda they are spewing can not only kill some people in the current generation, but it also threatens the very genetic code of our species and the natural environment that supports our very lives.

I have heard that the advertising agencies read these blogs to help educate themselves on the anti-nuclear arguments that are out there. I am writing this comment for those readers.

Hakuhodo readers: If you are intelligent, you know already from your reading that there is no scientific merit in the pro-nuclear positions that your company is promoting. You know that the anti-nuke arguments are solid, and getting stronger with every TEPCO-related news release. You know which side is correct.

You know that nuclear power donates to politicians. Politicians make the laws and decide how to spend government money. You know that the government is paying you to do the nuclear industry's bidding.

From your reading you know already that low dose radiation IS harmful, or at least that competent experts disagree on its safety. You know that the Japanese government, supported by propaganda that your agency creates, is (at best) gambling with the lives and futures or us all and (at worst) it is putting profits in front of health and safety.

Just like the propagandists of World War II, if you live long enough, you too will greatly regret your involvement with this propaganda campaign. You are on the wrong side of history, and the work you are doing is truly harmful to people.

What can you do? I know it is difficult to walk away from a job in Japan. It will be hard to find another one as prestigous as the one you have. Personally, that would not stop me from walking out, but I understand the fear you might have.

But that does not mean Hakuhodo owns you, or your soul. Until you decide you've had enough of the 16 hour work days, 2 hour commutes, and the mind-numbing assignments, you can use your position inside Hakuhodo to help others there understand that the propaganda campaign is wrong.

You might also use your position to blow the whistle on shady dealings of your superiors. Are they doing something the police or the public should know about? Make it public.

You can write anonymously on blogs about your true feelings on this important issue. You could even anonymously write and publish a book exposing the entire propaganda campaign. And you'd even get paid for that.

The point is, you know what the company is doing is wrong. As an intelligent human being with a conscience, you have to do something. If you don't act, you will regret it forever.

Think about what you can do to change Japan and the world for the better. Think of what you can do to deflate the propaganda and instead promote the truth. Think about what YOU can do, and ACT.

Start today.

James said...

Who ever this guy is, he is not in my books a 'scientist'. I'd rather listen to someone like Martin Tondel from Linköping University:

Swedes still dying from Chernobyl radiation

Tondel's team's epidemiological studies are backed by an excellent universal public health system, which allows for more accurate data collection, and better control for confounding factors.

His papers were also written in a relatively neutral political environment under a government which at the time had already decided to phase out nuclear power (although the new Govt have since reversed the decision).

American healthcare research operates less like a public service and more like an arm of the pharmaceutical industry. And these noisily pro-nuclear activist writers like Tucker who seemingly pop up out of nowhere are just plain suspect.

Anonymous said...

"Any exposure to radiation may cause cell damage that could lead to cancer, according to a June 2005 report from the National Research Council. The risk noted by the report, though small, is a third higher than the risk of 8.46 cancers per 10,000 people exposed to 1 rem (or 10 millisieverts [mSv]) currently used by U.S. regulators."
"Richard Monson, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and chair of the group that conducted the study, says, “We judged that the most reasonable shape is a line through the origin.” Simply put, this means any low-LET ionizing radiation may increase the risk of a cell becoming cancerous—there is no threshold below which there is no risk—and as exposure increases, so does the health risk. Researchers refer to this straight line as the linear-no-threshold model."
The BEIR VII Is the United State's state-of-the-art research so it's not just popular opinion. Consider that dentists ask patients to sign a medical release before subjecting them to tiny, momentary doses of external radiation. Why? Because research indicates that all exposure contributes SOME level of risk - even if it is small risk there is an increase for small exposure. Now - internal exposure is WORSE. And no one knows how much TOTAL exposure the Japanese are receiving. We read about Cesium in the yard but not other isotopes from Fukushima also deposited in the yard. We don't read about the isotopes consumed in food/water and breathed into the lungs IN ADDITION to external exposure (the yard).

Anonymous said...

I have looked at the research for Kuala Lumpur (one of those places where people are said to live happily in contaminated zones). This is a pathetic comparison. FIrst - the radiation source in that 'highest natural radiation levels found in the world' is radon in hot springs. The body has a natural limit to how much radon it will take in and so the primary exposure with radon is external and limited to those who get close enough to radon sources to actually breath it in. The 'data' for that study did not track how much exposure participants actually acquired. That study used a sample size that was too small to be statistically significant and limited study participants to males around 30 to 50 years of age (the least sensitive members of a community in regards to radiation) and then the study lasted for too short a time period (something like 5 years or so). Every time I follow the 'research' that people cite to prove that radiation exposure is falsely perceived as dangerous ,I find vague 'urban legend' type fake research.

So the BEIR VII data is ignored, although it is far higher quality by design, in favor of rumors or flat out lies about how well people tolerate radiation in other parts of the world or how it makes them healthier. All the while - these shills ignore the cold, hard, suffering data in the Chernobyl region. Tell me those downwind of Chernobyl have benefitted from this exposure. The 400 plus page report generated by scientists from the region detailing the catastrophic effects of exposure to Chernobyl fallout is ignored!? Chernobyl continues to kill and maim people to this day and shills have the gall to suggest that radiation exposure is falsely portrayed as harmful? The assertion that 'fear of radiation' is more damaging than radiation should be good news to those suffering from lukemia, cancer, early dementia etc. this very day in the Ukraine. Here's the research - hot off the press detailing how Chernobyl is inflicting astonishing degrees of suffering and debility on people living today:

And here's a wiki page detailing the report:

Oh the research there is current and can be verified by traveling to the Ukraine. I'd love to see shills debate the physicians who treat patients suffering from the results of Chernobyl. Can you imagine:
Shill: The fear of radiation is more harmful than the exposure to radiation...
Physician: But the children keep dying or being born with birth defects and live with what is known as 'Chernobyl AIDS' which is expressed as depressed immune systems unable to fight normal childhood see their bodies are constantly trying to repair themselves from exposure to radiation so the immune system is too weak to fight other illnesses.....

Anonymous said...

Tucker is an idiot. Radiation hormesis is junk science. I am surprised the WSJ let him go on such a nonsense filled tirade..well no i'm really not. FORBES and some other well known media outlets seem to be for sale. They will hand over a page in their papers to these shills to produce completely unsubstantiated garbage. What Tucker is saying is the same as handing someone a bottle of radium solution and telling them to drink up.

LMSchmitt said...

I. All reactors are not shut down. 1 still operates right now.

II. According to TEPCO reports, before the 11/3/11 tsunami arrived, there was increased radiation near Reactor No. 1. A worker sent to operate a valve/cover manually retreated a the door. Thus, these reactors could /not/ handle a mag 6 earthquake at that site.

III. According to TEPCO reports, the fuel melted through the Reactor Pressure Steel Vessel and sits inside the concrete ~60 cm from the ground underneath.

IV. Stewardesses have an increased risk of breast cancer. Flying at high altitude yields "low" level radiation of ~3mcSv/h gamma.

Anonymous said...

Bill Tucker is a well-known pro-nuke guy who believes that nuclear power is the (one and only) solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. No surprise that he is writing such an article. Check out the following websites and you'll find his name:

Another guy who is basically has the same opinion is Leslie Corrice. See his blog below.

Well, everybody is entitled to express his/her opinion, but I am surprised that WSJ is publishing such an article.

Steve From Virginia said...

Writer's statements about the containments are lies regarding all the reactors in Dai-ichi along with several others in the earthquake zone:

There are four zones of containment:

- The fuel pellets themselves (sintered ceramic) within the fuel rods;
- The fuel rod casing (Zircalloy) within the pressure vessels;
- The pressure vessel and related valve systems and emergency cooling within the containment buildings;
- The containment building including pressurization, inert gas atmosphere, concrete and steel drywell and wetwell structures.

- The spent fuel is submerged in open pools or tanks that are outside the containment buildings: all the spent fuel pools in all of Japan's (and the rest of the world's reactors) are outside effective containment. For spent, uncasked fuel there are only three levels of containment.

- Fuel rods within reactors have been damaged and fuel pellets have been melted with isotopes released. This is evidenced isotope ratios measured outside the containments and by extreme radiation within the reactor structures. Hydrogen -- explosions and gas detected -- is evidence the fuel rod cladding has been compromised by overheating and steam oxidation.

- Fuel has been found outside the reactor complex which is evidence of pellet destruction, fuel rod damage and breach of both pressure vessel(s) and containment buildings.

- No reactor containment or pressure vessel holds pressure.

- Water to cool the reactors leaks out of the containments as fast as it is pumped in +10 tons per hour per reactor at times.

- Hydrogen formation in reactor containments indicates ongoing chain reactions as hydrogen radiolysis is energy intensive. All the above is evidence the containments in all damaged reactors are breached.

- According to Tepco summaries, radioisotopes and high levels of radiation were detected at the plant gate after the earthquake and before the tsunami. This means the rods, the pressure vessels and containment building of at least one reactor was breached by the earthquake.

If low doses of radiation are not dangerous, how about the high doses measured within 50km of the reactor complex? Why would the radiation levels remain low? The reactors are continually emitting high levels of radioactive isotopes and will continue to do so until the cores material is either removed or sealed from the environment. This might be never.

Deterioration to the reactor buildings themselves also releases radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere as the building structures are contaminated. Left to themselves these buildings will be critically hazardous, emitting radiation which accumulates for decades if not centuries. A fire or building collapse due to an earthquake or system failure and the outcome would be unimaginable.

The same thing is true of Chernobyl, which is as dangerous today as it was in 1986. Chernobyl 4 core is exposed radiologic waste in uncertain condition in a dilapidated structure that could collapse any time.

Add nuclear facilities on the edge in Hanford, Washington, New York State, Vermont, the Midwest USA, Armenia, Russia, and Japan the issue is when -- not will -- the next catastrophe will occur.

Anonymous said...

There's no evidence that William Tucker isn't full of shit.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

Is Google automatically deleting posts that contain more than 3 links to other websites? I posted links to websites that show that Bill Tucker is a well-known pro-nuke guy, but this post (7:40pm) has been deleted. I don't think that the admin is deleting posts unless they are offensive.

Atomfritz said...

According to Wikipedia, the Murdoch WSJ is known to publish articles "presented as news, but effectively advertising.".
It's like with the German "Handelsblatt", which is also a pro-nuclear shill not ashamed to outright lie in favor to the nuclear industry. (The physicsforums mentioned so often also belongs to the Handelsblatt group...) has some interesting insights about nuclear industry controlling MSM.

@ LMSchmitt

Regarding II., this detail is intentionally overlooked and I am sure Tepco does its best to distract people not looking into that, as it would bust some nuclear industry's myths.

And indeed the Japanese govt seems to be eager to continue the "hormesis experiment", as Kyodo news report: "Noda decides to ask Fukui Pref. on Sun. to accept [Ooi] reactor reactivation",

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I'm not deleting anything. I just fished out your posts.

Google's algo that no one bothers to maintain does tend to SPAM anything with links. Then, it lets in posts like Las Vegas Moving Company and SPAM me, along with many of you.

Atomfritz said...

@ Steve from Virginia

Please allow me to make some small corrections.

Hydrolysis doesn't need neutron radiation to occur.
It is caused by alpha and gamma radiation, too.
At normal (intact) wet spent fuel storage alpha-radiation-induced hydrolysis is prevented by the intact cladding.
However, in the reactors the plutonium is in direct contact with water and this produces high rate of alpha-induced hydrolysis in addition to the gamma hydrolysis.

And, the high radiation spots at the plant don't necessarily indicate that fuel popped out of the reactors, It could as well be some fuel sloshed out of the spent fuel pools or other contaminated stuff.

kintaman said...

William Tucker of the Wall Street Journal please back up your claims by moving you and your family to the Tohoku area of Japan. Please then also support the Tohoku area farmers by feeding your family their deliciously contaminated produce.

What, you refuse? Then you sir need to STFU with your mindless propaganda. Put your money where your mouth is or STFU.

LMSchmitt said...

About low level radiation.
The following was in yesterday's news with English translation but completely disappeared after the newscast (in no paper, no blog, not NHK-site):
(a) Chiba: bamboo sprouts for eating not sold due to 120 Bq/kg (found again on the net)
(b) Some non-Fukushima location: mushrooms (shiitake) ~300 Bq/kg not sold (disappeared)
The government thinks about forbidding selling the respective food items from those locations, instead of leaving it with the current voluntary restrictions by the producers. (written from memory: numbers/locations may be subject to correction)

Anonymous said...

And I have a merry-go round for sale in Pripyat I'm sure Mr. Tucker would find a great bargain...

SkyeMartyn said...

So, when they injected low level Plutonium into Beagles and they couldn't find a dose low enough to allow even one of the dogs to survive.....all the dogs actually died of stress! Nothing to do with the man made isotope named after the god of hell they just injected.

The fact giving an abdominal X-Ray to a pregnant women doubles the risk of Leukemia to the unborn that down to stress as well. Mind games in the little foetuses head. It should really know better!

William, if this radiation stuff is so safe, why spend billions containing the reactor cores, isotopes and gasses? After all, if they are so safe then just put the cores in any old concrete box and let the stuff leak out - cos it does no harm according to you! Of course, it isn't safe, and those are facts.

But, I guess William must also think the abnormalities and deformities in plants are also down to stress. Interesting......

Why does anyone fall for this rubbish. He's a nobody that writes for a paper that traditionally supports nuclear power. So, of course he will try to insist everything nuclear is actually a good thing, just like the tobacco and asbestos industries did before him.

I prefer to listen to people like Helen Caldicott - a physician of many years, and Arnie Gunderson, someone who is not anti nuclear but fully understands the very real dangerous from the technology he worked with for decades. The people are qualified to talk on the subject, respected, unlike Mr Wills of the WSJ.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from Rupert Murdoch - the truth?

Anonymous said...

what keeps getting bulldozed over is the fact that radiation not only changes / mutates humans but the very thing that emits it.
though we can die from carbon-monoxide inhalation or cyanide, radiation is not the same.
simplified: we are machines made from (stable) lego blocks from the periodic table.
carbon-monoxide and cyanide are also stable lego blocks from the periodic table and when they kill, one can compare it to throwing a wrench into a complex machine.
but with radiation, nothing is stable. imagine lego-blocks changing their chemical properties at a whim. how do you want to predict or cope with a world that is constantly DECAYING around you?
so with radiation, it's not a wrench in the gear, but a UNCERTAIN WORLD where a lego-block is once a gas, then *puff* a solid, then *puff* a liquid ... and no way to control it because OUR body is based on stable lego-blocks and doesn't know who to deal with CHEATING lego blocks.
fortunately the unstable lego-blocks do give a hint when they change -> radiation.
strangely 'nuff, some complex assorted bunch of (stable) legos endowed with life merrily goes about creating situation where lego blocks become unstable.
rotten : (

Anonymous said...

William Tucker is in the same league as Joseph Oehmen---embarrassing disinformation retard. Throw in George Monboit too. These guys have no shame.

Anonymous said...


The Taiwanese study quoted was exposed as outright fraud years ago and the author of the article must know that. Straight out lies. A simple google search instantly reveals that. Really blatant fraud paid for by industry that has cost many, many lives in Taiwan.

The idea that Taiwanese residents exposed to contaminated steel in their apartments had lower cancer rates than normal turned out to be outright fraud. A simple internet search (and its even in wikipedia) reveals that.

When the apartments were found to be contaminated the Taiwanese Atomic Energy Commission sent in "investigators" who blamed a local dentists X-ray machine and covered it up. Some time later a resident with a geiger counter discovered there was a problem and the Taiwan AEC committed a second fraud. The commissioned a Health Study which claimed the people in the apartments were in unusually good health and had vastly less cancer than normal. The study claimed to show that the extra low level background radiation was good for people!!!!

But when people get sick just now and again an independent investigator can be found to take a look. An independent scientist investigated (and was threatened by the Taiwan AEC for doing so, threatened that his career would be finished). The result was that residents under 30 had higher incidences of cancer, all residents showed genetic damage (which will be passed on to future generations and as with Chernobyl, residents had higher instances of all kinds of health problems. Cancer in that sense is a side issue.

Wikipedia article mentioning the fraud - search for Taiwan on this page

The Taipei times describes the 5 year study showing the original finding that "low level radiation is good for you" was outright fraud paid for by the Taiwan Atomic Energy Commission

There are many examples of this type of fraud being promoted as science long after it has been exposed as fraud. It beggars belief that the WSJ is not aware of that fraud. The Author must know it but chooses to mislead. Chris Busby's very useful low level radiation site exposes many examples of this. Fraud is rife through the nuclear industry.

Anonymous said...

Tucker writes: "solar and wind, that are supposed to take their place are proving to be much more intractable and land-consuming than previously imagined"

SP: Let's count how many sections of land have become dead zones in Japan from the radioactive fallout. Quite a large chunk of land. When a windmill falls over it doesn't contaminate the land for a million years.

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

Tucker's article is a master piece of trickery and deception. If you notice he never really details if he speaking of ionizing or non-ionizing radiation, half lives or any science other than one study and one study is not enough to substantiate his position. You can’t blame the WSJ for not having scientists as editors but it is a good lesson for their editor and staff that had better consultant some for review before publishing this failed grade of work again in the future.

Anonymous said...

a lot of evidence that low doses of radiation are harmful

Anonymous said...

evidence that low doses of radiation are harmful
[1] Rare cancers (neuroblastom) among infants after Chernobyl with a rate proportional to the contamination of the soil in Germany after Chernobyl. Result of genetic damage to eggs and sperms of the parents. (p. 54)
[2] 50% more Leukemia among children born between 1986/Jul/1 and 1987/Dec/31 compared to the previous 1980s. (p. 55)
REF: J. Michaelis et. Al., Fall-Kontrollstudie zum Anstieg der Neuroblastom-Inzidenz für im Jahr 1988 geborene Kinder; Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie 76/1993. Strahlentelex, 166-167/1993, S. 4, Dr. Hayo Dieckmann, Tschernobylfolgen auch in Deutschland messbar.
REF: Günter Henze, 30.10.91, FU Berlin. Zit. in Strahlentelex, 122-123/1992, S. 8, Vermehrt Neuroblastome bei Säuglingen in Süddeutschland.
REF: J. Michaelis, U. Kaletsch, W. Burkart, B. Grosche, Infant leukaemia after the Chernobyl accident, Nature, Vol. 387, 15 May 1997, S. 246. J. Michaelis, Mainz, Pressemitteilung vom 11.06.1997. Strahlentelex, 252-253, S. 1 f., Kinderleukämien, Nach dem Tschernobyl-Unfall erkrankten mehr Säuglinge in Deutschland an Blutkrebs.

Anonymous said...

evidence that low doses of radiation are harmful
Germany: Death of Babies (premature birth >500g until 7 days after birth):
1987 an increase of about 5% = 300 deaths. P. 26 in the paper below.
H. Scherb & E. Weigelt, GSF-Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit, Neuherberg, 1987
-) A. Körblein, H. Küchenhoff: Perinatal Mortality in Germany following the Chernobyl accident. Radiat Environ Biophys 1997; 36(1): 3-7.
-) H. Scherb, E. Weigelt: Zunahme der Perinatalsterblichkeit, Totgeburten und Fehlbildungen in Deutschland, Europa und in hoch belasteten Gebieten deutschen und europäischen Regionen nach dem Reaktorunfall von Tschernobyl im April 1986. Bericht Nr. 24/2003 des Otto Hug Strahleninstituts, S. 35-75.
-) Strahlentelex 108-109/1991, S. 4, Die Säuglingssterblichkeit war in Süddeutschland erhöht.
-) A. Körblein: Säuglingssterblichkeit nach Tschernobyl. Bericht Nr. 24/2003 des Otto Hug Strahleninstituts, S. 6-34.

Anonymous said...

-) Stefan Mürbeth, Milena Rousarova, Hagen Scherb, Edmund Lengfelder: Thyroid cancer has increased in the adult populations of countries moderately affected by Chernobyl fallout. Med Sci Monit, 2004; 10(7): CR300-306.
-) Z. Szybinski, P. Olko, E. Przybylik-Mazurek, M. Burzynski: Ionizing radiation as a risk factor for thyroid cancer in Krakow and Nowy Sacz regions. Wiad Lek, 2001, 54(Suppl. 1): 151-156 (Polish).
-) S.J. Cotterill, M.S. Pearce, L. Parker: Thyroid cancer in children and young adults in the North of England. Is increasing incidence related to the Chernobyl accident? Eur J Cancer, 2001, 37(8): 1020-1026.

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