Low Level Radiation Campaign response to Nuclear Monitor #650
and Nuclear Monitor's apology
Nuclear Monitor #650, published by the World Information Service on Energy (WISE) and Nuclear Resource and Information Service (NIRS), has published an article by Henk van der Keur1, which attacks Chris Busby and Dai Williams, authors of the papers2, 3 on Weapons Derived Uranium (WDU) in the Lebanon in 2006.References
The attack is personal and largely restates the position assumed by the author and, apparently, LAKA — that is,
It is far from clear why this opinion piece was written or why WISE published it. It contains no scientific analysis concerning the Enriched Uranium found in Lebanon; van der Keur seems to be ignorant of the problems inherent in trying to find low concentrations of Uranium with Geiger Counters (calibrated or not) and he is simply wrong about the sensitivity of laboratory tests for Uranium. The labs Green Audit employed to examine the Lebanon samples included those which had scored most highly in tests conducted by the UK MoD's Depleted Uranium Oversight Board; the tests revealed the labs' ability to distinguish Uranium isotope ratios at concentrations 10,000 times lower than found in the Lebanon samples.
- that it was unlikely that the Israeli Defence Force would have used weapons containing Uranium,
- and that it has to be said that [UNEP] are experienced and have a good reputation in accuracy and scholarship concerning their field work and laboratory analyses on DU. A highly detailed alternative view of UNEP is contained in our critiques of their methods in Lebanon and in Kosovo.
We do not intend to waste much more time on refuting these false arguments. However, the WISE article recycles old arguments about Busby's 2006 paper on the mobility of WDU from Iraq). In a paragraph devoted to this, van der Keur cites Franz Schoenhofer4, who is or was an official at the Austrian Radiation Protection Department and a long-time collaborator with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Most of the sniping has already been refuted — see here, for example — but Dr. Schoenhofer also attacks the status of the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR). As might be expected from someone with his background, he says agencies like IAEA and his own department have certain powers or at least (moral) authority. ECRR has neither. Our position is that ECRR has exactly the same status as the ICRP and contains more eminent scientists.
Dr. Schoenhofer also
- criticises the Winds from Iraq paper for not showing error bars on the data for Uranium in the English air filters. We say the error bars at Aldermaston were too small to be worth including in the trend graph.
- He consistently suggests that the paper was claiming to show depleted Uranium, which it did not. We have said this before (at the top of the page linked here).
- Dr. Schoenhofer claims that if the filters around Aldermaston contained Uranium from Iraq then other locations would have found the same thing since Europe is tightly dotted with aerosol sampling and measurement stations. Schoenhofer does not know of any reports of elevated uranium […] concentrations. He conjectures that the authors have not tried to find out. Obviously he isn't in a position to say this. Green Audit did try and, subsequently, so has LLRC. (Harwell data showed the same as Aldermaston.) There are also High Volume Air Samplers in north-west England but they are swamped with Uranium from the Irish Sea — any peaks from Iraq would not have been detectable against such a high background. We are issuing a challenge to Dr. Schoenhofer to show whether any other sites in Europe were measuring Uranium with appropriate equipment over a long enough period either side of Gulf War 2 to show credible data.
Dr. Schoenhofer has not responded (as at 15th January 2007).
On 15th January 2007 we received printed copy of Nuclear Monitor carrying the following apology:Apology in Nuclear Monitor #651 (January 12, 2007)
In Nuclear Monitor issue #650, December 15, 2006, the article "Did Israel use experimental bombs with (enriched) uranium in Lebanon?" slipped through our editing process with some personal characterizations about Dr. Chris Busby and Dai Williams that were inappropriate.
We regret that the article was published without our usual editorial diligence and we have taken steps to ensure that it will not happen again.
For their critiques of our article please visit: http://www.llrc.org/
1Did Israel use Experimental Bombs with (Enriched Uranium in Lebanon? Nuclear Monitor published 15th December 2006 (link here).
2 Evidence of Enriched Uranium in guided weapons employed by the Israeli Military in Lebanon in July 2006 Preliminary Note Chris Busby, Dai Williams: Green Audit Research Note 6/2006 Oct 20th 2006 (on this site).
3 Further Evidence of Enriched Uranium in guided weapons employed by the Israeli Military in Lebanon in July 2006 Ambulance Air Filter AnalysisChris Busby, Dai Williams: Green Audit Research Note 7/2006 Nov 3rd 2006 (on this site).
4 Schoenhofer, F Report on DU blown from Iraq to the UK another DU fantasy
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