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Radiation Limits: Atomic Science Versus Nuclear Fear

Radiation Limits

A government document called NCRP-136 took a closer look at permissible radiation limits.

The data seemed to indicate that most people who received a small dose of ionizing radiation never had any negative effects associated with it. In fact, the data suggested that nuclear radiation actually had some positive influence on those exposed to it in small dose.

Nevertheless, the final conclusion was not that people would benefit by taking in a stronger dose of radiation. It instead recommended that regulations should simply be based on the idea that all doses of radiation are harmful to some degree. The authors of NCRP-136 went so far as to insinuate that these recommendations should be based on prudence rather than good science.

Scaring people with strong words and regulations certainly isn’t a very prudent act when the actual science claims otherwise. Only three uncontrolled releases of radioisotopes from civilian power facilities have ever occurred. The incidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi caused more fear than actual injuries.

Announcing that no amount of radiation is safe cultivated a public fear of radiation that wasn’t justified when you look at the hard numbers.

Radiation Limits

Nuclear Power Plant

Part of this has to do with how the media has a tendency to confuse nuclear weapons and atomic power facilities. The media would like us to believe that the incident at Fukushima Daiichi was far worse than it actually was because it involved the emission of particles that release radioisotope decay products.

Professor Wade Allison recently suggested in a lecture in Japan that we set the permissible radiation limit the same way that we set every other type of safety limit. Rather than asking how little radiation we can expose people to, Allison says we should set a baseline not to exceed.

No one suggests that we should lower the safety margin, but Allison illustrated that the annual permissible level could actually be nearly 1,000 times the current figure without causing significant DNA damage.…

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Lessons Learned From The Fukushima Daiichi Incident

Fukushima

Scientists and engineers are now taking a second look at the Fukushima Daiichi incident. Every new concern raised tends to create new safety requirements. This ultimately creates contradictions between the rules themselves and the science that those creating the rules referenced in the first place.

Every single death during the Tōhoku-Sendai disaster was caused by something other than ionizing radiation. People comfortably live in areas where natural geological processes create far higher levels of radiation than those measured in the forbidden areas of Fukushima Prefecture.

People living there were actually told they couldn’t return to their homes for potentially many years.

Fukushima

People comfortably live in areas where natural geological processes create far higher levels of radiation.

Decontamination efforts involve stripping away soil then coating the remaining ground with a material purported to reduce the number of radioactive particles that remain. Many residents have fallen into a deep depression and a few even killed themselves out of fear. This is all in spite of the fact that scientific evidence indicates radiation levels aren’t life-threatening.

These restrictions are based on prudence rather than science, and so ironically these rules have been very destructive. Professor Wade Allison proposed that the radiation limit gets raised nearly 1,000 times for this very reason. Even this level is far below the level at which DNA damage occurs according to a myriad of clinical studies that have been collected over a long period of time.

Some radiation experts are even coming around to this way of thinking, and they’re starting to say that their restrictive rules are hurting the Japanese economy. They’ve also created widespread panic, which has been far more harmful than the radiation itself.

Revoking this draconian measures would go a long way to restoring normalcy. Simply explaining the known facts about ionizing radiation would be a step in the right direction when it comes to educating the public.…

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