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EPA Mulling Relaxed Radiation Protections For Nuclear Power

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the one-new-member-of-the-x-men-per-100,000-normals dept.

Power 230

mdsolar sends this news from Forbes: Both proponents and opponents of nuclear power expect the Environmental Protection Agency in coming months to relax its rules restricting radiation emissions from reactors and other nuclear facilities. EPA officials say they have no such intention, but they are willing to reconsider the method they use to limit public exposure—and the public's level of risk.

At issue is a 1977 rule that limits the total whole-body radiation dose to any member of the public from the normal operation of the uranium fuel cycle—fuel processing, reactors, storage, reprocessing or disposal—to 0.25 millisieverts per year. (This rule, known as 40 CFR part 190, is different from other EPA regulations that restrict radionuclides in drinking water and that limit public exposure during emergencies. Those are also due for revision.) "We have not made any decisions or determined any specifics on how to move forward with any of these issues. We do, however, believe the regulation uses outdated science, and we are thinking about how to bring the regulation more in line with current thinking," said Brian Littleton, a chemical engineer with EPA's Office of Radiation and Indoor Air."

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Can't get enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491321)

About time. I just can't get enough radiation.

    -Homer Simpson

Snpp years of bribes is now paying off big time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491355)

All thanks to our ceo Mr Bruns

You know what song to sing these lyrics to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491813)

I can't get enu-uff radiation
I can't get enu-uff radiation
'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can't get no, I can't get no
When I'm glowin' in the dark
And that man comes from the EPA
And he's tellin' me more and more
About some useless regulation
Supposed to fire my imagination
I can't get enuff, oh no no no
Hey hey hey, that's what I say
I can't get enu-uff radiation
I can't get enu-uff radiation

About time (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491411)

It's good to see the EPA finally considering relaxing some of its uptight, business-hostile regulations. No wonder the US is losing ground to the developing world when for a few decades it has pushed this regulatory regime that holds industry back and has really harmed wider adoption of nuclear energy. As the case of China shows, the population is willing to accept an increase in pollution as long as the country sees strong economic growth and (something to think of after the "Obamacare" wrangling) advanced and affordable health services are available to somewhat make up for the possible decrease in life expectancy that said pollution might entail.

Re:About time (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491467)

I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt and mod your post as "Funny".

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 5 months ago | (#47491495)

As the case of China shows, the population is willing to accept an increase in pollution

It's amazing how much the population is willing to accept, provided that they have no say in the matter.

Re:About time (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 5 months ago | (#47492241)

It's amazing how much the population is willing to accept, provided that they have no say in the matter.

China is aiming to build enough nuclear capacity to beat the USA + France (#1 and #2 users of nuclear power) combined.

Re:About time (2)

linearz69 (3473163) | about 5 months ago | (#47492319)

China is aiming to build enough nuclear capacity to beat the USA + France (#1 and #2 users of nuclear power) combined.

Mr. President, we cannot allow a nuclear capacity gap!

Re:About time (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 5 months ago | (#47491805)

Well, jeez, in the case of China, the alternative is "stark poverty" so it's not really a choice. Forty years of Marxism reduced their people to equality - equally poor. The Communist Party hijacked the people's revolution onto the capitalist road and it's been all up since then. And the EPA really does have uptight, business-hostile practices. Just ask the people who work there what they think about the very idea that businesses should be allowed to exist, much less make a profit.

Re:About time (5, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | about 5 months ago | (#47492531)

It's good to see the EPA finally considering relaxing some of its uptight, business-hostile regulations. No wonder the US is losing ground to the developing world when for a few decades it has pushed this regulatory regime that holds industry back and has really harmed wider adoption of nuclear energy.

You're trying to be sarcastic, but your words are quite literally true. 0.25 mSv is [xkcd.com] :

  • 12x the radiation you get from a chest x-ray
  • 6x the radiation you get from a 5 hour airliner flight
  • 3.5x the radiation you get from living in a stone, brick, or concrete house for a year
  • about half the radiation dose from a mammogram
  • an eighth the radiation dose from a head CT scan
  • 1/28th the radiation dose from a chest CT scan

If the 0.25 mSv limit were applied consistently to other aspects of our lives, we'd ban mammograms and CT scans, limit people to a dozen chest x-rays in a year, restrict pilots and stewardesses to just 30 hours of flight time per year, and severely curtail brick, stone, and concrete as building materials. If the proposal someone made below to reduce the limit to 0.025 mSv were carried out, we'd have to ban air travel and chest x-rays altogether.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492655)

restrict pilots and stewardesses to just 30 hours of flight time per year

As a point of reference, civilian flight crews for many carriers fly about 900 hours a year.

About time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492553)

It's good to see the EPA finally considering relaxing some of its uptight, business-hostile regulations. No wonder the US is losing ground to the developing world when for a few decades it has pushed this regulatory regime that holds industry back and has really harmed wider adoption of nuclear energy. As the case of China shows, the population is willing to accept an increase in pollution as long as the country sees strong economic growth and (something to think of after the "Obamacare" wrangling) advanced and affordable health services are available to somewhat make up for the possible decrease in life expectancy that said pollution might entail.

Oh sweet, a story that actually directly relates to my job! I do environmental radiochemistry for a major nuclear utility, and am actually pretty aware of what's going on in this space.

What the EPA is trying to do isn't actually related to making things more "business friendly", it really is just attempting to make things more sane. Right now as it stands, the science behind these regulations is horrendous and based on assumptions that just have no bearing in reality as it exists today. The number referenced in particular (0.25 mSv/yr) was created with the assumption that nuclear power would become ubiquitous, and that "nuclear islands" consisting of multiple power plants and a fuel reprocessing facility would exist all across the country. The thought was that you couldn't just have a number regulating the releases from any given nuclear facility, because that didn't capture the cumulative effects of all the nuclear exposing a person to radiation. So they made a magic number to which ALL nuclear contributes for an individual, and told utilities they couldn't give a person more dose than that from ALL sources (there are lesser limits from any given nuclear facility as well). Of course that nuclear future never came, so while the guidance is up for revision (it hasn't been touched in 50 years or so) they're thinking of tossing the stupid parts all together.

Actually, the thing that the summary glosses over is the more important thing happening in EPA regulation as it pertains to nuclear: namely the regulation of ground water. Essentially, the EPA is leaning towards imposing strict limits on the amount of tritium which can exist in ground water at the nuclear site boundary, using the clean water act. This is something new, and frankly the nuclear industry isn't prepared for it and might very well not survive it.

Basically, there are varying but detectable amounts of tritium in ground water from the vast majority of nuclear facilities, due to concentrated stack washout, various pipe leaks over the years, etc. Now, tritium (Activated hydrogen, usually found replacing a single hydrogen in H2O, often written as HTO) as radionuclides go is essentially harmless: its an extremely low energy beta emitter with a very low biological half life (you pee it out fast, unlike something like strontium which incorporates into bone matter and stays forever). The levels of tritium in ground water around most nuclear facilities are typically in the 200 pCi/liter range, with a few exceptions (check your local nuclear stations annual REMP operating report to the NRC; all this info is public even if no-one ever bothers to look at it). This is two orders of magnitude below the stated drinking water limit for human consumption, and frankly is several orders of magnitude below a level that might conceivably do anyone harm... but the number is above the expected background level of zero in ground water. Unfortunately, the EPA is (by its own admission in many cases) not well educated about nuclear anything, and there seems recently to be a hostility in the organization to nuclear power.. thus it appears the EPA is getting ready to use its almost unlimited power as given by the clean water act to decree that the water at the site boundary must contain (nearly) zero tritium.

So why does this matter? Because the requirement is almost impossible for most nuclear plants. I'm not even sure how it would be done... concrete barriers and pumps maybe? The gist of it is the solutions would be cost prohibitive in a market where cheap natural gas is already pressuring the nuclear industry to stay profitable (Fukushima isn't killing nuclear, fracking is). If the ground water regulations are revised, I expect to see most remaining single unit plants to shut down almost immediately, followed by older two unit plants. At that point, the economy of scale begins to break down for the remaining bits of industry. There may yet be some hope with the recent regulatory work to allow small modular reactors to begin pilot programs, but should those falter I fully expect the nuclear industry to capsize in the next 10-20 years. The end result of course is all our eggs in the natural gas basket... which seems unwise to me (it will take decades of construction to build facilities and modify the grid to handle the more "green" sources of energy; even if you believe in wind and solar there will be decades of natural-gas only lagtime).

But what do I know, I'm just some schmuck.

headed in the wrong direction (1, Insightful)

swschrad (312009) | about 5 months ago | (#47491559)

it is the common view of medical and general science during the century-odd that we have discovered and been able to document radiation and its effects... that no amount is "generally recognized as safe" and standards need to be tightened. that radiation damage is cumulative. and that normal diagnostic x-rays and so forth approach the line of cellular damage over a lifetime.

so a comprehensive review based on science would move the decimal point to the left, at least to .025 mS/year, and perhaps .0025 mS.

certainly, radon exposure in homes has been trending that way, much to the chagrin of some homeowners who would also pass off arcwelder power panels because they haven't had a fire yet.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47491613)

it is the common view of medical and general science during the century-odd that we have discovered and been able to document radiation and its effects... that no amount is "generally recognized as safe" and standards need to be tightened.

What makes your "common view" any more valid than any other "common view"? Especially given that "generally recognized as safe" is a completely non-scientific quantity. In the end, you need evidence to back up such assertions not alleged consensus of vague groups of people.

so a comprehensive review based on science would move the decimal point to the left, at least to .025 mS/year, and perhaps .0025 mS.

Background levels are around 1 mS/year. So why advocate thresholds more than two orders of magnitude lower than what people normally get in a year? I just don't think science has much to do with your choice of thresholds.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 5 months ago | (#47491627)

When does it, versus the notion of "protecting the children" ? If you think that the government and associated puppet regulators actually have anyone's good as their goal, think again.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47491661)

If you think that the government and associated puppet regulators actually have anyone's good as their goal, think again.

"IF". I doubt the poster I was replying to qualifies as a government or a puppet regulator.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491789)

Background levels are around 1 mS/year.

Speak for yourself, background levels where I live are at 3 mS/year.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47491811)

I live at Yellowstone National Park above 7,000 feet. That altitude plus enhanced radon exposure from the volcanism probably means I'm getting a bit more than 1 mS/year too.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (3, Informative)

Uecker (1842596) | about 5 months ago | (#47491963)

I have no opinion about the threshold, but there are two things to correct in your post:

it is the common view of medical and general science during the century-odd that we have discovered and been able to document radiation and its effects... that no amount is "generally recognized as safe" and standards need to be tightened.

What makes your "common view" any more valid than any other "common view"? Especially given that "generally recognized as safe" is a completely non-scientific quantity. In the end, you need evidence to back up such assertions not alleged consensus of vague groups of people.

He is absolutely right though. It is the common view of the scientific community that no amount of ionizing radiation is safe. This is also the basis of all radiation protection regulation everywhere (ALARA principle). The reason is simple: Ionizing radiation creates DNA damage with a small probability which then causes cancer with a small probability (which has then a certain probability of killing you). So even a single particle has a very small probability of causing cancer. There is a minority of people that believe that there are other effects (e.g. radiation at low doses activates the immune system) which dominate at low doses, but this is a minority view point and the data we have does not support this. From atomic bomb survivors see a linear correspondence between dose and risk down to about 50 mSv. For example, from this it was predictated that CT scans cause cancer with a very low probability and this has recently been confirmed.

so a comprehensive review based on science would move the decimal point to the left, at least to .025 mS/year, and perhaps .0025 mS.

Background levels are around 1 mS/year. So why advocate thresholds more than two orders of magnitude lower than what people normally get in a year? I just don't think science has much to do with your choice of thresholds.

This is a fallacy. The threshold should be set on the estimated benefits of a higher threshold vs the estimated harm from the additional radiation. The background radiation has nothing to with it.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (-1, Troll)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47491985)

It is the common view of the scientific community that no amount of ionizing radiation is safe.

That is incorrect. It is one of several common views. Argument from consensus is not scientific, especially when the consensus doesn't actually exist.

This is a fallacy. The threshold should be set on the estimated benefits of a higher threshold vs the estimated harm from the additional radiation. The background radiation has nothing to with it.

I agree. But a high natural background radiation indicates that the estimated harm is likely very overstated.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (2, Informative)

Uecker (1842596) | about 5 months ago | (#47492297)

It is the common view of the scientific community that no amount of ionizing radiation is safe.

That is incorrect. It is one of several common views. Argument from consensus is not scientific, especially when the consensus doesn't actually exist.

Here is a relative new review: http://dx.doi.org/10.1259/bjr/... [doi.org]

This is a fallacy. The threshold should be set on the estimated benefits of a higher threshold vs the estimated harm from the additional radiation. The background radiation has nothing to with it.

I agree. But a high natural background radiation indicates that the estimated harm is likely very overstated.

No, you didn't get it. I will try with a car analogy: There are about 30000 fatal accidents with motor cycles per year in the US. This does not mean that the harm (16 deaths total or so) from GM's ignition key issue was overstated. The harm was huge relative to the minor cost savings. The other deaths are simply irrelevant to this consideration.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (-1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47492409)

The other deaths are simply irrelevant to this consideration.

No, they indicate that society accepts a certain level of harm from automobiles. The "minor cost savings" is capped from above before it is just not worth doing.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (3, Informative)

Uecker (1842596) | about 5 months ago | (#47492449)

The other deaths are simply irrelevant to this consideration.

No, they indicate that society accepts a certain level of harm from automobiles. The "minor cost savings" is capped from above before it is just not worth doing.

The overall harm society accepts for mobility is unrelated to the question whether a couple of lifes are worth the cost of an improved ignitation key.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (-1, Troll)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47492485)

If the cost of the improved ignition key is too high, then it is not worth doing simply because society has already accepted that level of risk.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (3, Informative)

Uecker (1842596) | about 5 months ago | (#47492589)

I see your point, but I do not agree to the idea that society, by tolerating fatalities from traffic accidents, has accepted a universal trade-off between risk of death and cost. (There are many problems with this idea: how would you quantify the total value of mobility? Also society is not one single entity but consits of many different people with different interests. Cost and risks are also not equally distributed, e.g.. why should society trade a cost to GM with a risk of death to others?). But this is also irrelevant to the original question: The natural background radiation is nothing society has voluntarily accepted.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (-1, Troll)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47492595)

The natural background radiation is nothing society has voluntarily accepted.

I didn't say "voluntarily accepted". I said "accepted".

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

Uecker (1842596) | about 5 months ago | (#47492623)

Then your argument makes even less sense.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47492765)

People accept that they aren't going to live to 1000 years. You can and do accept all sorts of things that you can't change or even for that matter conceive of changing.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47492059)

Sorry, but doing completely without ionizing radiation is a patent impossibility on this planet.

The view that "there is no safe level" is idiotic in light of this. Obviously there ARE safe levels. Or we'd have people in certain areas of the world keeling over from "massive" radiation exposure.

Granted, chances of funding to determine safe levels via human testing are completely non-existent (for good reasons), but there are areas all over the world sporting inordinately high levels of background radiation. Yet you don't see people keeling over of radiation-related causes.

And, I was waiting for you to bring up bombs. Want to put a pall over discussion of nuclear POWER? Simply mention an atom bomb.

Realistically, there should be TWO values for radiation exposure.

1: Single-instance exposure. How much you can SAFELY be exposed to in a single pass (for things like chest X-Rays, nuclear cleanup work, and the like.)
2: Exposure over-time.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

Uecker (1842596) | about 5 months ago | (#47492477)

You are equating "very low risk" with "safe". This is OK in personal life but not if you talking about a large number of affected people. If something causes an additional very low statisitical risk of death to a high enough number of people, then some of them will die because of this. And this needs to be considered. That there are other risks which are higher is irrelevant and no justification to simply ignore this.

And yes, nuclear proliferation is also a concern, although I do not really understand why you brought that up here.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (0)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47492513)

I'm not equating a damn thing.

I'm telling you, flat out, that there's no such THING as "safe". PERIOD.

Once you get over that little fantasy, then you can start having a meaningful dialog.

And, nuclear proliferation is only a concern for certain types of reactors.

With something like an LFTR reactor, your nuclear proliferation risk may not be zero, but it's a sum only slightly above zero. Unlike current, decades-old dry fuel reactors.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

Uecker (1842596) | about 5 months ago | (#47492741)

The view that "there is no safe level" is idiotic in light of this. Obviously there ARE safe levels.

I'm telling you, flat out, that there's no such THING as "safe". PERIOD.

No comment.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47492533)

Additionally, if added radiation puts a hundredth of a percent of the population at greater risk, but stops or significantly reduces global warming?

GREAT! Even if it means I'm one of that "unlucky" percentage.

Sure, 800K people MAY die sooner. MAYBE.

But having this planet melt down will likely kill us ALL.

Possible 800K vs DEFINITE 8 Billion?

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47492555)

You are equating "very low risk" with "safe".

Something can be high risk and still be rationally considered safe.

This is OK in personal life but not if you talking about a large number of affected people.

Sure, it can. We do it all the time, such as in this discussion about radiation exposure.

If something causes an additional very low statisitical risk of death to a high enough number of people, then some of them will die because of this.

Unless, of course, that doesn't actually happen to be the case.

And this needs to be considered.

Not if the cost is well below background noise.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

Uecker (1842596) | about 5 months ago | (#47492617)

If something causes an additional very low statisitical risk of death to a high enough number of people, then some of them will die because of this.

Unless, of course, that doesn't actually happen to be the case.

In other replies in this thread I pointed out the basic argument why most scientists believe that even very low doses of radiation cause a small risk of cancer and also gave a link to recent review which summarized the discussion and a study which shows an effect for patients which had CT scans. Giving you the right pointers to learn the facts is all I can do. Discussing this further is a waste of time.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47492755)

In other replies in this thread I pointed out the basic argument why most scientists believe that even very low doses of radiation cause a small risk of cancer and also gave a link to recent review which summarized the discussion and a study which shows an effect for patients which had CT scans. Giving you the right pointers to learn the facts is all I can do. Discussing this further is a waste of time.

Again, where's the evidence to support your claim? The study doesn't show what you think it shows. I get tired of people who confuse opinion and confirmation bias with evidence.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 5 months ago | (#47492101)

For example, from this it was predictated that CT scans cause cancer with a very low probability and this has recently been confirmed.

No, this is false. There are estimates of case probabilities based on the same old data that was used to determine safety limits, but although there are continued efforts to find a statistical increase in the real world, none has been observed despite a the huge number of CT scans that have been performed.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (2)

Uecker (1842596) | about 5 months ago | (#47492435)

Pearce et al., Radiation exposure from CT scans in childhood and subsequent risk of leukaemia and brain tumours: a retrospective cohort study, The Lancet 2012;380:499-505

First sentence of the discussion section: "In this retrospective cohort study, we show significant associations between the estimated radiation doses provided by CT scans to red bone marrow and brain and subsequent incidence of leukaemia and brain tumours."

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 5 months ago | (#47492911)

This is a fallacy. The threshold should be set on the estimated benefits of a higher threshold vs the estimated harm from the additional radiation. The background radiation has nothing to with it.

Bingo. Consider that the likely alternatives if you kill nuclear power are coal and natural gas. Realistically speaking you'd have to consider the harm from coal pollution for every kWh burned, which I'd easily say is going to be more. Natural Gas is far cleaner, but still has some pollution issues even without considering global warming. With this in mind, loosening nuclear power restrictions can actually save lives if you use it as an opportunity to prevent more coal or NG plants.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

linearz69 (3473163) | about 5 months ago | (#47492353)

Background levels are around 1 mS/year. So why advocate thresholds more than two orders of magnitude lower than what people normally get in a year? I just don't think science has much to do with your choice of thresholds.

Advocating a threshold based on background radiation is just as arbitrary. Nuclear disasters and atmospheric tests just raise the background in some places, at some times, beyond "safe" levels.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491673)

so a comprehensive review based on science would move the decimal point to the left, at least to .025 mS/year, and perhaps .0025 mS.

Have you actually made a comprehensive review of the science? It is a minefield and a lot of arguing still going on over the linear no threshold versus a threshold model, with a lot of data pointing either way. You wouldn't even have to cherry pick that much to find literature reviews already out there arguing for regulations to move the decimal in either direction. The result is a lot of regulations in countries currently are kind of arbitrary, not based on science, while even some large science organizations (not industry ones) are taking opposing sides on which direction science says to do.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491817)

it is the common view of medical and general science during the century-odd that we have discovered and been able to document radiation and its effects... that no amount is "generally recognized as safe" and standards need to be tightened. that radiation damage is cumulative. and that normal diagnostic x-rays and so forth approach the line of cellular damage over a lifetime.

The assumption of cumulative damage is for dosages above 100mSv/year. Below that dose no increased probability for cancer has been found.
The recommendation at 1% of documented harmful dosage is pretty arbitrary and is set differently in countries where 1mSv/year is impossible to achieve due to naturally occurring background radiation. (Pretty pointless to have a 1mSv/year limit when you have had a population of millions living in twice that for a couple of millennium without any measurable problems.)

Re:headed in the wrong direction (3, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about 5 months ago | (#47492929)

(Pretty pointless to have a 1mSv/year limit when you have had a population of millions living in twice that for a couple of millennium without any measurable problems.)

Indeed, this is even measurable. 1mSv/year is average, if variations caused significant differences in cancer rates you'd expect it to readily show in in areas like Colorado vs Mississippi.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (2, Informative)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#47491845)

Yours was actually an early, post-WW II fear about radiation effects, with the modern perception trending the other way, as TFA indicates.

If radiation really were 'cumulative' with no threshold, the constant drizzle of background radiation we all live in would have terminated human existence long before this argument even started.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (1)

gewalker (57809) | about 5 months ago | (#47491897)

According to scientist, the common view is that the linear no-threshold model is actually the flawed viewpoint. See this article [blogspot.com] for a pro-radiation view that is not commonly reported. Although most people will scoff, there is actual evidence [atomicinsights.com] that a little ionizing radiation is good for you.

Yes, I would participate in the study that installs a radioactive source in your house (at reasonably low levels) because I believe the data that I have been able to find in the past.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (4, Informative)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 5 months ago | (#47491997)

so a comprehensive review based on science would move the decimal point to the left, at least to .025 mS/year, and perhaps .0025 mS.

Quite the opposite actually. A comprehensive review based on your assumptions might, but based on science they would use real world data with real people. Even with the decades of medical data we have today, exposure from numerous CT Scans, regional radon exposures, and other sources, there is still no evidence in the real population that there are any negative effects from low dose radiation, and it is increasingly clear that the existing safety limits are ultra conservative. Those limits are based on decades old war era studies that observed effects of huge radiation doses which dropped off at lower rates to non-observable percentages. In the interest of being conservatively safe in a world where nuclear fear was at an all time high, they simply drew an almost linear correlation from the high does cases down to zero. But it is quite clear that once you get down into ranges even several times higher than safety limits, no actual increase in cancers or similar are found.

The problem is the old issue of proving the negative combined with a societal mus-perception of radiation exposure risk. There is little incentive in society to improve on the outdated basis we are using.

Re:headed in the wrong direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492429)

Obviously this article is an EPA generated troll. Assorted laws/regulations require them to update values, but since the science would force updates in the opposite direction as their ideology and masters in Moscow want, they are pre-releasing some troll bait to generate some activity among their zombie legions. All in the hopes of generating enough feigned outrage to delay the updates and stymie any progress toward the truth.

Re:headed in the wrong direction...riiight! (3, Informative)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47492015)

Never mind that, even were all nuclear power stations (and their accumulated waste waste), and the effects of every nuclear test in history to disappear from the planet TODAY, you'd STILL be living in an environment FILLED with radiation.

And how do you explain places like Guarapari Brazil, with its naturally radioactive beaches? Where the average exposure a year is 175 mS? Yet they don't have higher instances of cancer and radiation-related disease?

I'm sorry, your views of radiation, and its place in nature are uneducated, fear-driven and have no real basis in "science".

There is no "safe" amount of ionizing radiation (-1)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 5 months ago | (#47491589)

I'm sick and tired of the notion that it's OK to pollute, as long as you don't pollute "too much."

200+ chemicals found in samples of people's blood: http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/... [forbes.com]

200+ chemicals found in newborn's umbilical core blood: http://www.scientificamerican.... [scientificamerican.com]

http://www.cdc.gov/exposurerep... [cdc.gov]

These chemicals by and large don't go away...and time after time, we find chemicals that were thought to be "safe"...aren't. When are we going to learn that? When are we going to require chemicals be considered dangerous until proven otherwise, instead of the present situation, where chemicals are only later shown to be dangerous once scientists and environmental groups collect a mountain of evidence?

Re:There is no "safe" amount of ionizing radiation (4, Informative)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47491635)

I'm sick and tired of the notion that it's OK to pollute, as long as you don't pollute "too much."

It's pretty straightforward actually. We do valuable things and sometimes they cause pollution, sometimes minor sometimes massive. Instead of being "sick and tired" about the non problem of minute pollution (especially given that there is actual large scale, heavy, life-threatening pollution out there), do a cost/benefits analysis instead.

Re:There is no "safe" amount of ionizing radiation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491751)

...do a cost/benefits analysis instead.

Yep, I think we can all agree that it's worth a few punkin' headed babies and/or a couple of deaths so the rest of us can have brighter colors and whiter whites.

Re:There is no "safe" amount of ionizing radiation (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47491773)

Yep, I think we can all agree that it's worth a few punkin' headed babies and/or a couple of deaths so the rest of us can have brighter colors and whiter whites.

I know you're trying to be sarcastic, but yes, that is right. A small or even non-existent harm for vast benefit to many people justifies the harm. Given that we know there are far more serious problems, not just environmental, but of the human condition, this is a strong indication that we should be bothering with those big problems rather than obsessing over the small or non-existent ones.

Re: There is no "safe" amount of ionizing radiatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491977)

People like you are the reason people like your parent poster old the view they hold, Mr. Burns.

Re: There is no "safe" amount of ionizing radiatio (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47492039)

So merely having an opinion can make other people total tools and idiots? Yea right. Save the amateur psychology for someone who cares.

Re:There is no "safe" amount of ionizing radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491887)

The poster you replied to said nothing of what costs to use in the cost benefit analysis, so that doesn't imply that it would be necessarily allowing deaths or mutations, etc. You can easily apply a very high price to death or whatever abomination you want. You're going to still end up with situations where you are choosing between two different sources of death (well, allowing this might kill someone, but the result of it might also save lives...). And if you put a high enough price on it, you end up with laws that are like a computer trying to follow Asimov's laws, suggesting that everyone be not allowed to leave their home.

Re:There is no "safe" amount of ionizing radiation (5, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47492077)

Sorry, but YES.

This isn't about "brighter colors" and "whiter whites".

It's about providing for the world's energy needs WITHOUT massive greenhouse gas pollution, whose effects could kill off significant chunks of life on this planet.

Unless YOU want to be one of the unlucky 99% who is volunteering to go shiver and starve in a cave someplace.

Re:There is no "safe" amount of ionizing radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491663)

I'm sick and tired of the notion that it's OK to pollute, as long as you don't pollute "too much."

Except many things in pollution are already in nature (a lot aren't, obviously though), and there are others that do not accumulate and show no signs of damage at low enough levels. At low enough levels, everything is safe unless you subscribe to homeopathy. That doesn't mean current regulations are close to ideal or right, and there are plenty of reasons to argue for tougher restrictions on what can be found in pollution. But if you want to turn the argument into "no amount is ok," you can end up poisoning the argument for tougher regulations, making it easier to disregard as an extreme position.

Re:There is no "safe" amount of ionizing radiation (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 5 months ago | (#47492033)

I'm sick and tired of the notion that it's OK to pollute, as long as you don't pollute "too much."

Agreed in principal, although I am sure even you pollute. Thankfully we have had nuclear plants that don't pollute the air or emit contaminants that wind up in anyone's blood. Too bad that damn sun is beaming us with radiation all the time, while almost nobody except those that enter reactor buildings gets any comparatively measurable exposure to radiation from the plant itself.

Re:There is no "safe" amount of ionizing radiation (4, Insightful)

bidule (173941) | about 5 months ago | (#47492259)

I'm sick and tired of the notion that it's OK to pollute, as long as you don't pollute "too much."

If it isn't "too much", it isn't pollution.

In a sense, breathing and pissing are polluting but as long as the ecosystem can handle it you are in a sustainable pattern.

Re: There is no "safe" amount of ionizing radiatio (1)

poptix (78287) | about 5 months ago | (#47492379)

Holy shit, CHEMICALS! RUN FOR THE HILLS! The dihydrogen monoxide is going to kill you!

Hopefully it will make sense this time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491645)

Cleanup regs require local radiation to be BELOW natural average flux.

Re:Hopefully it will make sense this time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491671)

Cleanup regs require local radiation to be BELOW natural average flux.

Could go higher than that. Have the regulations work so that a nuclear plant can give up to as much radiation as a coal plant, and then there will be no problem. Nuclear is cleaner than coal in radiation levels as well as the more obvious carbon footprint.

Re:Hopefully it will make sense this time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491723)

I once toured a facility that used to be used for a fusion experiment years ago, and since the experiment produced quite a few neutrons, a lot of structural iron near the experiment got slightly activated. Apparently they have to keep it on hand until they can no longer detect radiation from it, despite the fact it is less radioactive than new steel since steel production tends to accumulate trace amounts of Co-60 from the air. I found out about this because you would see a bunch of workers using the old girders as a big bench and table for eating lunch together, even though it was labeled as radioactive waste.

It will help save on bills! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491679)

Cities won't need as many lights once citizens start glowing in the dark.

Fossil fuel plants get to radiate us all they want (5, Interesting)

blindseer (891256) | about 5 months ago | (#47491717)

While the EPA is thinking about raising limits on how much radioactive material nuclear power plants can release into the environment there are no limits on what coal plants can release. The radioactive material in coal is considered "naturally occurring" since it was dug out of the ground. However thorium is not naturally occurring radioactive material because it is... also dug out of the ground.

The federal regulations on radioactive materials and pollution have little relation to reason. This nonsense is holding up research in nuclear power. If our "carbon footprint" is an issue then it does not look to me like the government cares a whole lot. They'll toss money at coal powered "electric" cars but not allow a nuclear power plant to get built in four decades.

What happens to our carbon footprint with all those electric cars powered from coal and natural gas? Oh, we power our cars from wind and solar? That's laughable. No one has yet made a solar panel that can make a profit. Wind power might make a profit but it relies on natural gas turbines to make up for when the wind does not blow. Wind power actually increases carbon output because instead of using efficient boilers they have to use inefficient turbines.

Getting back to the radiation aspect the burning of natural gas releases radon into the air. Is there any regulations on that? No, because that is "naturally occurring", as if because it's "natural" radiation it does us no harm. What we need to do is hold up fossil fuels to the same standard as nuclear power. We'd switch over to nuclear power on that aspect alone.

All power sources release radiation into the environment. We're disturbing the earth as we dig for coal, uranium, silicon, or hydro electric basins. Even bio-fuels release radiation because we dig up the earth to plant the crops.

Nuclear power has the lowest carbon footprint of any power source we know of. Solar and wind cannot even compete because of all the concrete needed to hold up the structures. I'd suspect that if anyone did an honest assessment of the radiation released then it'd probably do better than the rest there as well.

Re:Fossil fuel plants get to radiate us all they w (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47491867)

I am not impressed with the state of coal fired emissions regulation (sulfur compounds are down; but fly ash certainly isn't something that cures what ails you, and the general 'Eh, old stuff just gets grandfathered because we can't fight the incumbents' model of regulation is broken); but your snarking about the poor reactors being treated as unnatural is rather flawed.

The further your coal gets from being pure carbon, the more dire some of the potential aerosolized-and-spread-hither-and-yon materials are; but the process is just conventional chemistry, you aren't going to emit anything you didn't dig up(except the added oxygen). A nuclear reactor; shockingly enough, is not subject to this limitation, and fairly aggressively shoves assorted fissionables down the decay chain.

Aside from the one (known) incident at Oklo, the crust isn't seeing much in the way of activity above background decay rates, and it follows that anything with a short half life is going to be extremely scarce. Something that's been dug up, concentrated, and carefully stewed in its own neutrons, by contrast, will have a very different collection of isotopes, some remarkably scarce anywhere else.

This doesn't mean that coal power is good for you, or restricted in what it contributes to our air supply; because that is very unlikely; but it's just silly to pretend that reactor products are isotopically similar to what you'll find in the ground; the 'power' in 'nuclear power' is only there because they aren't.

Re:Fossil fuel plants get to radiate us all they w (1)

blindseer (891256) | about 5 months ago | (#47491973)

Yes, all kinds of interesting things can come from nuclear fission. Some of them very valuable precisely because of their interesting radioactive properties.

What's happening here is that the EPA is considering lifting some of the restrictions on some of the radioactive gasses that are difficult to contain and have half lives that are too short or too long to radiate humans in any statistically significant manner. They are not considering changes to the radioactive solids, the stuff that can affect human health.

Calling radiation that has been released from human activity as "natural" does not follow. That radon or other radioactive material from mining would not be in the atmosphere it it was not disturbed. It would have decayed underground where no human would have been exposed. Now that the gasses have been released by mining people have been exposed to increased radiation. But the EPA ignores it because they feel like it.

Point is that nothing exists in a vacuum, and there is no such thing as a free lunch. We can develop nuclear power and reap the rewards it offers, we can keep digging up coal, or we can revert to a nearly cave man existence of wind and solar power. Humans lived on wind, solar, and bio fuels for thousands of years. Much of that supported by slavery. I suspect if we abandon nuclear and fossil power we will revert to things like slavery. We didn't escape from such poverty until we found fossil fuels and made carbon our slave. Unless something better comes along we have a choice, nuclear power, fossil fuels, or Little House on the Prairie.

Re:Fossil fuel plants get to radiate us all they w (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491933)

Some of your points are not quite right, but,

No, because that is "naturally occurring", as if because it's "natural" radiation it does us no harm. What we need to do is hold up fossil fuels to the same standard as nuclear power. We'd switch over to nuclear power on that aspect alone.

That's spot on. If you held up fossil fuels to same standard as nuclear power for radioactive emissions, they would have to shut them all down.

Coal is 2-3 ppm uranium and 4-5 ppm thorium. Since world burns 7,000 million tons of coal a year, we are talking about release into the atmosphere of 15,000,000 kg of uranium and 30,000,000 kg of thorium. And yes, that is more quite a bit of uranium considering

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U... [wikipedia.org]

uranium demand is about 100,000,000 kg per year. So you can supply 15% of entire world uranium from just the coal emissions. And no, scrubbers don't remove uranium from coal emissions.

Re:Fossil fuel plants get to radiate us all they w (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492045)

Stop just ranting how nuclear is treated unfairly. Nuclear fanboyism doesnt contribute to the discussion. Want to change things? Give evidence. Stay on topic. I was going to mod you down but you seem to have some valid points in there amid the frothing politics.

Re:Fossil fuel plants get to radiate us all they w (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 5 months ago | (#47492247)

While the EPA is thinking about raising limits on how much radioactive material nuclear power plants can release into the environment there are no limits on what coal plants can release.

"But Teacher! Billy is punching people, so why can't I punch people?!?"

If you have empirical data to present on the risk of the current levels of radiation exposure measured in QALYs [wikipedia.org] , and an argument for adjusting the current regulated level, present it. But saying that we should ease our regulation on this form of harm, merely because you assert that another form of harm is insufficiently regulated, is manipulative and irrational.

Re:Fossil fuel plants get to radiate us all they w (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492387)

Hormesis [wikipedia.org]

How stupid (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 5 months ago | (#47492381)

Coal ash is old soil. It screens radiation just as much as soil. There is no increase in radiation. In fact, dilution of carbon-14 in the atmosphere (and thus food) leads to reduced radiation exposure as a result of fossil fuel use.

Re:How stupid (1)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47492673)

Howsabout a few facts to support that assumption.

Re:Fossil fuel plants get to radiate us all they w (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492597)

> No one has yet made a solar panel that can make a profit.

What does that even mean?

Great news for all (-1, Troll)

MrKaos (858439) | about 5 months ago | (#47491731)

All this "NIMBY" greenpeace anti nuke fags really just don't know what they are taking about, anyone who knows about nuclear reactors will tell you that they are really great, super reliable and that the only reason that we have to pay for electricity is because it's waaay too cheap to meter it from a nuclear reactor and the utilities had to pay for meters.

I've often thought, "I would like some strontium 90 on my breakfast cereal" because it is tasty and good for you, plus you will win every fart contest. Recently it was conclusively *proven* that not only can you get a great suntan from the core of a reactor, but that radioisotopes have Vitamin C in it, so my advice to people would be if you are feeling a bit of a sniffle coming on, get yourself to a local nuclear reactor and ask to cuddle up to a couple of fuel rods and get toasty.

Chernobyl and Fukushima proved how safe Nuclear power is and we should all want one near us. Whilst evacuations of these areas have occurred Bruce Willis proved that you won't die at all from fallout from a nuclear reactor in "A good day to die hard". He lived and was stronger so we should move people back there so they grow up to be just like Bruce Willis.

Nuclear is perfectly safe and we can all have a nuclear future, in our back yards, today!

Re: Great news for all (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491857)

You fucking nazi nigger faggot.

Re: Great news for all (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 5 months ago | (#47492285)

Wow, you haters really have got to hate.

Fukushima, Baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47491737)

No doubt you're going to go over any safe limit anyway, let's add more fuel to that fire, baby, new clear fire, baby.
It's only frackin fucktonium, baby.

Re:Fukushima, Baby (2, Insightful)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#47491905)

The Fukushima exclusion zone will shrink with time as the site is cleaned up. Meanwhile, the German Greens have replaced nuclear with the world's largest strip mine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garzweiler_surface_mine), which is about to be supplemented by a pit twice its size (Tagebau Hambach). Who can't love the smell of smoldering lignite in the morning!

Re:Fukushima, Baby (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 5 months ago | (#47492063)

Not to mention, most of the exclusion zone is perfectly safe right now, just precautionary and logistics reasons are keeping much of that area in the zone.

Banquiao, baby. 230,000 killed by hydroelectric da (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 5 months ago | (#47491917)

Fukishima killed 1,000 people, which is really sad. 230,000 were killed by the Banquiao hydroelectric dam disaster. Even if the worst nuclear accident in history happened EVERY YEAR, it would still be safer than hydroelectric.

  Let's look at US safety standards. The one accident at a US nuclear utility which some find concerning occurred in 1979, at Three Mile Island. Fatalities linked to the Three Mile Island incident total zero, as shown by Hatch, Beyea, Nieves, and Susser (1990) and many other studies. The same year, in 1979, 1,800 people were killed in the Morvi hydroelectric plant failure (Noorani 1984). Also the same year, 130 people were killed in coal mining accidents as shown by Mine Safety and Health Administration reports (2010). This shows that even in the worst year for US nuclear power, the alternatives were infinitely more hazardous. Internationally, Fukushima and Chernobyl later grabbed headlines. While the failure of the old Russian reactor at Chernobyl did kill an estimated 4,000 people (Sovacool 2008), this pales in comparison to the 230,000 killed in the Banqiao hydroelectric disaster (Pisaniello 2009). Fukushima caused the loss of 1,000 lives (von Hippel 2011), yet more were killed in Jesse oil pipeline explosion (Sovacool 2008). Sovacool calculates that in total, energy accidents killed 182,156 people from 1907-2007 and all nuclear accidents in history represent just 2% of those fatalities. Nothing is perfectly safe, but energy must come from somewhere and nuclear has proven to be far safer than the alternatives for large-scale power production.

You forgot about Chernobyl (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 5 months ago | (#47491967)

230,000 were killed by the Banquiao hydroelectric dam disaster.

Not quite. 20,000 were killed in the immediate flooding. The rest were killed in the epidemics, famines, etc that followed.

Even if the worst nuclear accident in history happened EVERY YEAR, it would still be safer than hydroelectric.

If you're going to claim indirect deaths as you did above, then I'm going to claim indirect deaths too.

http://www.who.int/ionizing_ra... [who.int]

Chernobyl didn't kill that many people directly/immediately, but it has impacted the health of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. It will continue to do so, for generations. Nuclear disasters never go away.

Where X is 10-100 times larger than Y: Increasing the cancer risks for X people isn't 'better' than immediately wiping Y people off the map.

Re:You forgot about Chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492057)

^ Right. Or a very simple non-disaster example - smoking cigarettes.
Lighting up a smoke, or even smoking a pack, isn't going to kill you (or most likely not, barring some pre-existing condition).
Smoking two packs a day for 40 years might well wind up with you dying from lung cancer or other related medical issues.
Most people would consider someone that died at age 50 from lung cancer, after 30+ years of smoking "like a chimney", of having "died from smoking" - statistically if they hadn't been a smoker they might well have lived another 20+yrs (barring the obvious car crashes and other potential hazards of life, accidents).

Sure, maybe a small number of people died immediately (or within a few months) of Chernobyl, from massive radiation poisoning, but that doesn't count the number of people who died several years later from other complications, increased radioactivity in their food, etc. If statistically the average lifespan of someone in the Chernobyl area was, say, 70yrs, and suddenly "post-accident" life expectancy drops to 55yrs from an above normal incidence of cancers say, then statistically the radiation from Chernobyl 'killed them' (shortened their lifespan rather dramatically).

Re:You forgot about Chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492117)

Chernobyl didn't kill that many people directly/immediately, but it has impacted the health of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. It will continue to do so, for generations. Nuclear disasters never go away.

Where X is 10-100 times larger than Y: Increasing the cancer risks for X people isn't 'better' than immediately wiping Y people off the map.

You seem to be using a rather loose meaning of "impact the health" if interpreting it as giving a chance of condition instead of actually giving the condition. The number of excess thyroid cases over 20-30 years has been thousands, with a ~95% survival rate (still really sucks to get it even if you survive though). The incident rates are already seen to be dropping too, so this isn't like it is going to go on as is for generations. Incidence of other types of cancer has changed so little as to be lost in noise and difficult for researchers to determine if there are any excesses at all. Almost as much impact resulted from psychological damage, where there was an excess of thousands of abortions over part of that time period, linked to people scared of having children afterwards.

The X and Y in your last line end up being about the same size, if taking Y to be deaths from immediate flooding, and X to be anyone who got thyroid cancer from Chernobyl, previous and future (can even through the abortions in there too).

Re:You forgot about Chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492217)

It will continue to do so, for generations. Nuclear disasters never go away.

The only increased incidence that can be seen with any statistical significance in the general population (as opposed to the workers that cleaned up the area after the accident) is thyroid cancer. This would be due to exposure to I-131 after the accident. Since that has an 8 day half-life, it is effectively gone now, and there is no seen increase in thyroid cancer rates in people born after the accident. The damage is done, and it is just a matter of which people in that group will get thyroid cancer before they get die from another cause (and most will survive that cancer at least). That won't be a generations effect, but is quite explicitly a single generation effect that will be gone when everyone who was alive during the accident has died.

Re:Banquiao, baby. 230,000 killed by hydroelectric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492043)

Fukishima killed 1,000 people

Huh?

Re:Banquiao, baby. 230,000 killed by hydroelectric (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 5 months ago | (#47492055)

Fukishima killed 1,000 people, which is really sad.

Nobody was killed from the nuclear accident at Fukushima. Some were killed by the Tsunami, of course. Workers have been injured from construction type activities, but it is nowhere near 1,000.

Re:Banquiao, baby. 230,000 killed by hydroelectric (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47492165)

I've heard of two workers killed in industrial accidents on the Fukushima site after the accident started. But that does seem a rather smaller number than 1,000. Maybe this was a really big value of 2?

Re:Banquiao, baby. 230,000 killed by hydroelectric (0)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47492109)

Fukishima killed 1,000 people, which is really sad.

Uh. Actually, Fukushima killed NOBODY.

The earthquake and the tsunami killed people, sure. But not the reactor meltdown.

NO short-term radiation exposure fatalities were reported.
There were 37 physical injuries and 2 people taken to the hospital with radiation burns.

But no deaths.

So sure, if Fukushima happened once a year, we'd wind up with a lot of earthquake and Tsunami victims at first.
Then we'd build structures that can withstand those conditions, and even be able to stop the meltdowns. Either through better engineering or by switching to safer nuclear technology (oh yeah, and not trusting those ass-covering cock-mongers at TEPCO).

Re:Fukushima, Baby (0)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47492087)

Or we could move over to inherently safer nuclear technologies like LFTR.

time line calculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492009)

The effects of radiation are cumulative so one can adjust the consequences of radiation arbitrarily to fit any conclusion. For example, suppose you want to claim that a million people will die of cancer at a given level of radiation. All you have to do is lengthen the calculated time span and sure enough there will be a million cancers in the period. Its works the other way, if you want to reduce consequences just shorten the time span. What that means in practice is that practically any level of exposure to radiation that doesn't kill in a week or so can be make acceptable and conversely any level of radiation above zero can be shown to cause unacceptable injuries in the long term.

You fail statistics forever. Science too! (2)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47492691)

There's no such thing as "zero" radiation.

You'd DIE in a zero-radiation environment, as your body and its symbionts are accustomed to certain levels of naturally occurring radiation in the background.

Also, contrary to your assertion, there's no such thing as a linear progression of exposure levels to cancer.

Average background radiation is usually between 1-3 mS. But there are places like Guarapari, Brazil, where the background radiation is something in excess of 175 mS.

But you do NOT find 175x the instances of cancer there.

Try again.

This is nuts (0)

neiras (723124) | about 5 months ago | (#47492041)

Beyond the sick-fuckery involved in permanently deafening marine life after just one exposure to the signal, it really pisses me off that the gathered data remains a secret between the government and the oil companies.

This shit is just disgusting all around.

Relaxed vs Stressed Out (1)

grep -v '.*' * (780312) | about 5 months ago | (#47492265)

Relaxed Radiation? Good. I don't want ANYthing stressed out around nuclear power -- the pipes, the operators, OR the radiation.

Anything that keeps them all mellow and not blowing up to bits ;-) is fine with me.

Some studies on Tritium (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 5 months ago | (#47492267)

These scientific studies are on the effects of tritium on living beings.

Some of them show that Triated water's effect is biologically mutagenic *because* it's a low energy emitter and it's characteristics makes readily absorbed by surrounding cells. The available evidence from studies conducted journal a list of effects. From those works;

Tritium can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through skin. Eating food containing 3H can be even more damaging than drinking 3H bound in water. Consequently, an estimated radiation dose based only on ingestion of tritiated water may underestimate the health effects if the person has also consumed food contaminated with tritium. (Komatsu)

Studies indicate that lower doses of tritium can cause more cell death (Dobson, 1976), mutations (Ito) and chromosome damage (Hori) per dose than higher tritium doses. Tritium can impart damage which is two or more times greater per dose than either x-rays or gamma rays.

(Straume) (Dobson, 1976) There is no evidence of a threshold for damage from 3H exposure; even the smallest amount of tritium can have negative health impacts. (Dobson, 1974) Organically bound tritium (tritium bound in animal or plant tissue) can stay in the body for 10 years or more.

It's often said "of all the elements in nuclear waste tritium is one of the more harmless ones" and while it's more benign than most other radioactive effluents it's toxicity should not be under-estimated.

Tritium can cause mutations, tumors and cell death. (Rytomaa) Tritiated water is associated with significantly decreased weight of brain and genital tract organs in mice (Torok) and can cause irreversible loss of female germ cells in both mice and monkeys even at low concentrations. (Dobson, 1979) (Laskey) Tritium from tritiated water can become incorporated into DNA, the molecular basis of heredity for living organisms. DNA is especially sensitive to radiation. (Hori) A cell's exposure to tritium bound in DNA can be even more toxic than its exposure to tritium in water. (Straume)(Carr)

First, as an isotope of hydrogen (the cell's most ubiquitous element), tritium can be incorporated into essentially all portions of the living machinery; and it is not innocuous -- deaths have occurred in industry from occupational overexposure. R. Lowry Dobson, MD, PhD. (1979)

References;

Komatsu, K and Okumura, Y. Radiation Dose to Mouse Liver Cells from Ingestion of Tritiated Food or Water. Health Physics. 58. 5:625-629. 1990.

Dobson, RL. The Toxicity of Tritium. International Atomic Energy Agency symposium, Vienna: Biological Implications of Radionuclides Released from Nuclear Industries v. 1: 203. 1979.

Hori, TA and Nakai, S. Unusual Dose-Response of Chromosome Aberrations Induced in Human Lymphocytes by Very Low Dose Exposures to Tritium. Mutation Research. 50: 101-110. 1978.

Straume, T and Carsten, AL.Tritium Radiobiology and Relative Biological Effectiveness. Health Physics. 65 (6) :657-672; 1993. [This special issue of Health Physics is entirely devoted to Tritium]

Laskey, JW, et al. Some Effects of Lifetime Parental Exposure to Low Levels of Tritium on the F2 Generation. Radiation Research.56:171-179. 1973.

Rytomaa, T, et al. Radiotoxicity of Tritium-Labelled Molecules. International Atomic Energy Agency symposium,Vienna: Biological Implications of Radionuclides Released from Nuclear Industries v. 1: 339. 1979.

Re:Some studies on Tritium (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 months ago | (#47492621)

The main thrust of relaxing is for Japan.
Then you have the sites in the USA that have got new paper work to run for decades more.
The "unusual event" reports on early warning alarm shuts downs at sites makes the US news over the past few years.
Then you have the US storage site clean ups.
Best to change national standards, stop funding quality US epidemiology, stop the tiny gov grants for books and books chapters on cancer clusters.
Then over time the next generations of top medical staff will be very tame :) Great in the ER but none of that messy long term pathology study work that finds 'facts' over decades.
Another trick is to only talk of basic external exposure issues. Never ever mention ingestion, lungs. Thats a great talking point and can really fool the wider public.
i.e. that filter has to work 100% of the time as a worker goes about their daily tasks over a life of the site, plant every year :)
So there is huge effort to get the talking points out about safe new numbers and lessen the mention of what is in the air.

Re:Some studies on Tritium (1)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47492709)

Great. That's Tritium (Hydrogen 3). When combined with oxygen it produces so-called "heavy water" T2O. Which means your body treats it like water. And it can pretty much go anywhere good old H2O can in your system. So yeah, with that kind of intimate exposure in your system, it can do lots and lots of potential damage.

Radiation makes you stupid (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 5 months ago | (#47492361)

"Johns Hopkins scientists report that rats exposed to high-energy particles, simulating conditions astronauts would face on a long-term deep space mission, show lapses in attention and slower reaction times, even when the radiation exposure is in extremely low dose ranges. The cognitive impairments — which affected a large subset, but far from all, of the animals — appear to be linked to protein changes in the brain, the scientists say." http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org... [hopkinsmedicine.org]

Idea which has to do with prisons and radiaton (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492455)

Put prisons nears reactors and reactor dumping grounds. The cons get shorter lives and can't reproduce and the boffins can study the effects of exposure the proper way. Win! Win!

I notice.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47492925)

...that this story carefully avoids the two fairly recent experiments which are critical to the understanding of the effects of low-dose radiation. These are:

  Smith, Geoffrey Battle; Grof, Yair; Navarrette, Adrianne; Guilmette, Raymond A. (2011). "Exploring Biological Effects of Low Level Radiation from the Other Side of Background". Health Physics 100 (3): 263Ã"5. doi:10.1097/HP.0b013e318208cd44. PMID 21595063.

Capece, D.; Fratini, E. (2012). "The use of pKZ1 mouse chromosomal inversion assay to study biological effects of environmental background radiation". The European Physical Journal Plus 127 (4): 37. Bibcode:2012EPJP..127...37C. doi:10.1140/epjp/i2012-12037-7.

Everyone is well aware that the hysteria about radiation dose -so regularly stoked up by the green activists - depends on the adoption of a linear no-threshold model. This assumes that there is NO level of radiation which is not harmful, and ignores the fact that people in high natural radiation spots do not exhibit increased levels of radiation damage which the LNTM predicts.

Both the referenced papers above describe experiments where cells were exposed to environments where ionising radiation had been carefully excluded, in underground Ultra-low Radiation labs. In all cases the cells became unhealthy and growth-inhibited.

Don't just keep reinforcing green prejudice. Read them.

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