extracts from The Dangers of Low Level Radiation
Charles Sutcliffe: Avebury Press 1987
ISBN 0 566 05482 5
The references in the text are not reproduced here.
The ultimate in government repression of information was the secrecy over the world's most serious nuclear accident, which occurred in the Russian Urals in 1957-58. It is clear from recently released U.S. government documents that they knew of this accident by 1958, and yet it was not publicly disclosed until Dr. Medvedev, a Russian biochemist, did so in 1976. The accident is discussed in detail in chapter 10.
Scientists who are known to oppose current safety standards because they claim them to be too lax may not be permitted to speak at academic conferences. Bross (1981, page 216) reports that Dr. Karl Morgan, the father of health physics, was stopped from presenting his findings to an international scientific meeting just before he was to speak. Shutdown (1979, page 161) states that in 1971 Dr. Morgan travelled to Germany to present a paper on radiation health only to find that ORNL had wired the German authorities instructing them to destroy all 200 copies of the paper before they could be given out.
Dr. Caldicott (1980, page 87) was invited to speak to the nuclear submarine workers at the Portsmouth navel dockyard in the U.S., but only four men appeared; the workers had been threatened by the U.S. navy with the loss of their jobs if they attended the meeting.
Major reviews of the scientific evidence on the dangers of low level radiation may just ignore studies critical of the current standards, Dross (1981, page 159).
According to Bross (1981, page 168) there are a number of scientists, such as Dr. Charles Land, who make a point of criticising studies showing that the current safety standards are too lax. Bross refers to such scientists as `professional hatchet men' and says of Land `if there is any positive report that he has not attacked, then it has not come to my attention (or his)'. It is possible to criticise almost any study along the lines that it does not prove causality, it has nor controlled for all possible factors, the sample size is not large enough, an alternative statistical technique could have been used, etc., see chapter 4.
Dr. Rosalie Bertell (1982) reports that when she and Dr. Irwin Bross published results using the Tri-State Leukaemia Survey (see chapter 6), the US government obtained copies of the data and hired Michael Ginevan of the Argonne National Weapons Laboratory to re-analyse the data. She implies that the purpose was to disprove her results.
Such practices also occur in the UK, and Peter Taylor has written that "it is our considered opinion that in Britain dissenting scientists are subject to a mixture of ostracism and depreciating pronouncements which, for whatever motivation, severely restrict their status in decision making" Taylor (1982, page 9).
An example of the low level of debate to which some scientists have descended occurred at an academic conference in California in 1971.