The risks of nuclear energy are not exaggerated
Evidence of a 10,000-fold error in official radiation risk estimates

In answer to the Guardian's biased report that radiation risk has probably been over-estimated (see what we said about it) Dr. Ian Fairlie has written that "Most scientists in this field agree that there is danger even in small doses of radiation." [1]

Like Professor Dillwyn Williams before him [2] , he appears to defend the conventional Linear No Threshold (LNT) radiation risk model but goes on to discuss the studies on which LNT crucially depends - the "Life Span" studies (LSS) of the atom bombs the Americans dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With ample justification, Williams and Fairlie criticised LSS and each cited disease reports which lie outside conventional risk estimates. Fairlie added observations on the epigenetic effects known as genomic instability and the bystander effect which also lie outside the LNT risk paradigm.

Anyone could see that Williams and Fairlie are both disagreeing with the Guardian reporting that risks are over-estimated, and that both are suggesting LNT might be an understatement. But readers might reasonably ask How big an understatement?
The answer is known. Fairlie referred specifically to a careful and robust investigation known as "KiKK" which found increased leukaemia in children near the nuclear power stations in Germany. The German state Commission on Radiological Protection (SSK) said in 2008 that

radioactive emissions from nuclear power plants are too low, by several orders of magnitude, to explain the risks observed in the KiKK Study.
Since policy dictates that nuclear power must be exonerated, the subtext is "well then, these extra cases must be caused by something else", though all competent authorities agree that the KiKK leukaemias are statistically significant and no confounding factors can be found.
But SSK is saying, if radioactive pollution were the cause, the implied error in ICRP's risk estimates would be between 1000-fold and 10,000-fold. Here are some examples for comparison:
  • Leukaemia cases in the notorious cluster at Seascale, near filthy Sellafield. COMARE says, "on the basis of current knowledge of the relationship between radiation and leukaemia", any conceivable radiation doses were 300 times too small to have caused it;
  • Excess cancers after Chernobyl in northern Sweden represent an error in ICRP of some hundreds;
  • Excess prostate cancer in internally contaminated nuclear industry workers. UKAEA calculated the implied error in ICRP's risk estimates would be more than 1000-fold.
The range of these figures is not great, bearing in mind the different kinds and amounts of radioactive pollution involved, and the variations in the populations. There are many studies which confirm similar discrepancies between what is seen and what is expected on the basis of the flawed and discredited ICRP risk model. The routine response of the authorities is to deny causation by referring to the risk model itself.

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