Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Gary Mensurati belives that nuclear power supporters are ignorant

Gary Mensurati Responded to my original critique of his comment by again claiming that I do not know anything about the safety risks of nuclear  power.  .  He clames superior knowledge on the basis of his own prior relationship with John Gofman, who was a Manhattan Project pioneer.
Good morning Mr. Barton, thank you for responding to my comment. My concerns are based on independent studies from men of unquestionable knowledge and integrity in the negative effects nuclear power. Dr. John Gofman,MD.PhD,professer emeritus molecular/cell biology,over 100 peer reviewed journals in the fields nuclear/physical chemistry,co discovered uranium/232/233, proved the slow/fast neutron reaction fission ability of uranium 233, director Lawrence Livermore biomedical, well you get my point!Dr. Gofman ROCKS !!Sir, I suggest you do your research, as your fallacy of the safety of nuclear power is misguided at best, and ignorance at worst. Are you, Mr. Barton, implying Dr. Gofman, a man who kept company with Oppenheimer,among other notables, is wrong in his Theseus in the danger of exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation from the nuclear power plants, and his warnings of the handling, containment, transportation, storage, of nuclear waste! Sir, Sl1, three mile island,chernoble, Fukushima, 104 reactors holding 20-40years of highly radioactive waste, WIPP facility disaster,tritium tainted water Indian point,u of chicago testing 80x legal limit uranium tainted water Midwest,energy solutions nuke waste pit in Utah, St.Louis, the list goes on and on. No logical person with any regards for the future of their children, children's children, would leave such a legacy of suffering and medical cancers induced by the fraud of ( clean ) nuclear power! Best Regards
This comment completely ignores  what I have written on nuclear safety, and in effect makes John Gofman the final authority on the risks posed by nuclear power.

Much of Gofman's view can be described as speculative.  In addition Gofman appears to have known very little about reactor safety, and his views appear to have been that reactor safety problems were analogous to the safety issues involved in atmospheric nuclear testing.  In fact as theyevoved during the 20th century, reactor safety issues evolved, and the nuclear test analogy proved to be mistaken. Even the worst reactor accidents did not prove the sort of human disasters that Gofman had forcast.  

Gofman made several errors in setting forth his position.  First Gofman relied on the Liniar, no threshold Theory to makes predictions about the safety and health effects of exposure to low levels of radiation from reactors.  In fact, radiation monitoring on the boundry of reactor exclusion zones show that under almost all circumstances except for background radiation,no detectable radiation is present.  In deed no detectable radiae

In addition to the limitations of Gofman, our self styled expert advances as evidence of his superior knowledge, a reference to a Notorious publication by the New York Acadamy of Scioence.

The following is a review of the original Russian Language publication of Chernobyl: Consequences of the Disaster for the Population and the Environment review provided by M. I. Balonov, Institute of Radiation Hygiene, St. Petersburg, Russia.

ReviewChernobyl: Consequences of the Disaster for the Population and the EnvironmentYablokov AV, Nesterenko VB, and Nesterenko AVAnn NY Acad Sci 1189 (2009)
This volume of Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences is a translation of a book originally published in Russian by three scientists from Russia and Belarus, and is mainly based on publications in Russian-language journals and other sources on the consequences of the Chernobyl accident for human health and the environment. The original Russian publication was published in 2008.
In the opinion of this reviewer, the authors unfortunately did not appropriately analyze the content of the Russian-language publications, for example, to separate them into those that contain scientific evidence and those based on hasty impressions and ignorant conclusions. Therefore, the main conclusions of Yablokov, Nesterenko, and Nesterenko are the odd mixture of facts (e.g., increased thyroid cancer in children in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine) and uncorroborated statements of mass mortality in emergency and recovery workers caused by radiation, abnormalities in newborns, etc. An inexperienced reader will have difficulty in separating these conclusions, and the present review is intended to assist him/her in doing so.
The list of cited references in the translation (Yablokov et al. 2009) indicates that the authors avoided the most respectable papers of Russian-language authors, which received serious international peer review and were published in respected journals. These hundreds of journal articles by authors from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine were analyzed in detail by teams of independent international experts and became the basis for generalizations of the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR 1988, 2000, 2008) and the UN Chernobyl Forum (IAEA 2006, WHO 2006, UNDP 2002, Forum 2006). Careful analysis of already peer-reviewed publications with the final separation of “grain from the chaff” is the key to the objectivity of the findings of these international bodies. It is no wonder that the UNSCEAR reports are the most authoritative source of modern knowledge––in its own way, “the bible of radiation medicine.”
In the volume under review, Prof. Yablokov and his coauthors give extensive references to the media, commercial publications, websites of public organizations, or even unidentified ones, to justify their ideas. These are also the source for statistical data on demography, morbidity, etc., which is not considered seriously by the scientific community. Most of the references are conference proceedings, abstracts of theses, and brochures in Russian, all hitherto unknown to the world and hardly accessible even in the former Soviet Union, not to mention the rest of the world. Thus, independent verification or clarification of the data presented by the authors is virtually impossible.
The most impressive is Section 2 on the methodology of the book (written by A.V. Yablokov). It begins with the author’s reasonable reproach to the Soviet authorities on classifying the data during the first years after the accident, as well as on the unreliability of official health statistics. The authors also mark the deficit in dosimetric measurements, particularly individual ones, thus complicating reconstruction of radiation doses received by subjects of epidemiological studies. Further, the author insists on changing the current radiation-epidemiological methodology and, in fact, on the rejection of analytical studies, because they require reconstruction of individual doses, which the author does not trust.
Instead, the author proposes so-called ecological or geographic technologies, in which health indicators in areas with similar environmental, social, and economic conditions, but with different levels of radioactivity, are compared. However, international experience in radiation epidemiology has repeatedly demonstrated that this approach leads to erroneous conclusions, and the volume under our review demonstrates this once again.
The second proposal by A.V. Yablokov––to observe the changes in health indicators over time and relate them to the account of radiation––is also very popular among profanes. However, in late 1980s and especially in the 1990s, enormous socio-economic changes took place in this country and led to a serious shortage of health care system, and to increased morbidity and mortality. To identify radiogenic effects over this background is a complex scientific task that cannot be solved by simple methods of comparison of past and current health indicators.
Radiation is a relatively weak carcinogen, and its health effects in the population are identified with great difficulties and only with internationally recognized analytical techniques with individual account not only for the dose but also for other influencing factors. The only exception was the post-Chernobyl radiogenic thyroid cancer in children, because the doses from radioiodine were so high (up to tens of Gray), and the spontaneous incidence rate in children is so low (a few cases per million children per year) that the effect of radiation was detected both within analytical and ecological studies (UNSCEAR 2008).
In fact, the “Yablokov’s Manifesto” on denial of the analytical approach and unconditional trust in the ecological or geographical research methods with primitive statistical tests puts an end to the reliability of all conclusions of the medical Chapter II.
Biased selection of articles and the author’s conclusions are predetermined by his belief in a totally negative effect of any dose of radiation, and he is not embarrassed with brutal contradiction of the selected works and his own conclusions to the century-long experience in radiobiology and radiation medicine. Each section ends with conclusions about the catastrophic impact of Chernobyl radiation on human health, including increasing death rates. The value of this review is not zero, but negative, as its bias is obvious only to specialists, while inexperienced readers may well be put into deep error.
Describing the “radiogenic” mortality, the author forgets that we are all mortal, including the Chernobyl workers and the population of the contaminated areas, and attributes mortality mainly to the impact of radiation. Meanwhile, quite accurate data of the Russian national registry suggest that mortality rates of the Chernobyl workers standardized by age and sex are not higher but lower than the one for the population of Russia (Ivanov et al. 2004). Yablokov’s assessment for the mortality from Chernobyl fallout of about one million (!) before 2004 (Subsection 7.7) puts this book in a range of rather science fiction than science. It is obvious that if such a mass death of people occurred, it would not have remained unnoticed, even more because it is not so much about the population of the three countries, than about the rest of Europe and even countries outside Europe (!).
It is important to note the difference between the initial positions of epidemiology experts and of the author. Experts are seeking hardly identified indications of at least minimal provable radiation effects in the population and workers in order to clarify the radiation risk factors for radiation protection. And there are no real successes, except for the cases of thyroid cancer in children and leukaemia in the most exposed workers. There are no longer any discussions of broad-scale radiogenic morbidity and especially mortality in population and workers. Broad-scale medical and demographic research during 25 years since the accident has not revealed those, nor are they expected to be found in the future. However, A.V.Yablokov is still seeking to convince the public of mass lesions of the population with the Chernobyl radiation.
Chapter IV examines some issues of radiation protection of the population, mainly in Belarus, where two other authors, V.B. Nesterenko and A.V. Nesterenko, actively worked. In conditions of exposure to low doses, which are typical for the major part of the population of Belarus after the Chernobyl accident, the authors tested preparations of pectin and recommended them for widespread use in order to reduce radionuclide content in children (Hill et al. 2007). Here the optimization procedure for this radiation protection action is clearly lacking (ICRP 2006), with weighing the benefits of the drug (reducing radiation risk) and possible damage to health (whether this drug has been checked for chronic use?), the costs of the measure and its perception by population. At low doses of internal radiation, and even smaller doses prevented, the result of the optimization analysis is not obvious at all.
Doubtful are recommendations to eat food products rich in potassium and calcium, and drink plenty of fluids to reduce incorporation of cesium-137 and strontium-90. Inexperienced readers should be protected against these unwarranted recommendations.
The statement that internal exposure levels in the population increase since 1994 contradicts the general trend and monitoring data in Russia. On the contrary, the levels are gradually decreasing with the half-life between 10 and 20 years (IAEA 2006). In contrast to the opinions of the authors, international experts showed that the formation of americium-241 in the environment does not amount to a serious radiological problem (IAEA 2006, UNSCEAR 2008). From the standpoint of modern radiation protection, the need for countermeasures will hardly exist longer than a few decades (the authors write about centuries), and the area where they will be justified will gradually decrease.
The Chernobyl accident was indeed the major man-made disaster, which led to numerous harmful effects in the environment, public health, and public life. Professional scientific community patiently and carefully examines these implications and draw lessons from what has happened. There are no reasonable grounds to suspect the modern community of experts in concealing the facts. Conversely, professional epidemiologists are hunters for scientific facts, and a proven radiation-induced effect is the most coveted scientific production. Intervention of incompetent people, although having academic titles, in this delicate process prevents adequate public information and decision making by authorities responsible for protecting the population.
M. I. BALONOVInstitute of Radiation Hygiene, St. Petersburg, Russia
ReferencesForum 2006. Chernobyl ́s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-economic Impacts and Recommendations to the Governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The Chernobyl Forum: 2003–2005 (2006).http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Booklets/Chernobyl/chernobyl.pdfHill et al. 2007. P. Hill, M. Schläger, V. Vogel et al. Studies on the current 137Cs body burden of children in Belarus – can the dose be further reduced? Rad. Prot. Dosim., V. 125, No. 1–4, pp. 523–526 (2007).
IAEA 2006. International Atomic Energy Agency. Environmental Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident and their Remediation: Twenty Years of Experience. Report of the UN Chernobyl Forum Expert Group “Environment”. Vienna: IAEA; 2006. http://www- pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1239_web.pdfIvanov et al. 2004. Ivanov VK, Tsyb AF, Ivanov SI and Pokrovsky VV. Medical Radiological Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe in Russia. Estimation of Radiation Risks. St. Petersburg: Nauka, 338p. (2004).
UNDP 2002. United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Children’s Fund. Human Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident – A Strategy for Recovery. (2002).
UNSCEAR 1988. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. Effects and Risks of Ionizing Radiation (1988 Report to the General Assembly, with Annexes); Annexes D and G. United Nations: New York (1988).
UNSCEAR 2000. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation (2000 Report to the General Assembly, with Annexes); Annex J. New York: United Nations; Volume II: 451–566 (2000).
UNSCEAR 2008. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation (2008 Report to the General Assembly, with Annexes); Annex D: Health Effects due to Radiation from the Chernobyl Accident. United Nations: New York, Volume II (2011). http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/publications.htmlWHO 2006. World Health Organisation. Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident and Special Health Care Programmes. Geneva: WHO (2006).http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2006/9241594179_eng.pdfYablokov A.V, Nesterenko V.B, Nesterenko A.V. “Сhernobyl. Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment”, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, V. 1181 (2009). http://www.amazon.com/Chernobyl-Consequences-Catastrophe- Environment-Sciences/dp/1573317578- Hat tip to Rod Adams for this translation
It is widely believed that the publication of "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Disaster for the Population and the Environment, was sponcsored by Greenpeace, the notoriously dishonest environmentalist organization that never found a lie about nuclear power it did not like.    Unfortunately many mimbers og the Anti-nuclear community fall for poorly researched anti-nuclear propaganda, and ignore the science based case in favor of nuclear power.  The anti-nuks compound their errors by responding to the science based case for nuclear power, through expressions of contemp towards the advocates of science.  In thisa respects, anti-nuclear sp0okes persons such as Amory lovins, Ralph Nadir, and Helen caldicott, are allowed to make preposterous assertions that are not based on scientific evidence , and in many cases contradicted by well researched satudies.  When scientists report findings that contradict the beliefs of of anti-nuclear organizations, they are often derided as shills of the nuclear industry.  Intellectually the tactics of the anti-nuclear gang resembles those of climate deniers.  Organizations like Greenpeace and the so called "Friends of the Earth," are spreading anti-science propaganda just as much as Republican political organizations do.

I have in my blog, The Nuclear Green Revolution reported the views of scientists who have researched questions such as how can we make reactors not just safer but safe, and how can we turn materials now clled nuclear waste into materials that are usful, valuable and safe?  I have looked at the answers credible science has offered for turning "nuclear waste" into useful material.  The science is there for anyone who is interested in finding it.  So why is it that I consistantly and even resen5lessly relie on science, and often quote directly from scientific literature, yet I am told that I am ignorant by someone who does not know the difference between anti-nuclear propaganda, and well researched scientific writing?  Gary please explain that to me.


Andrew Jaremko said...

Charles - thanks for continuing your posts. Thank you as well for publishing your conversation with Gary Mensurati. It's a revealing look at both of your thought processes. I hope that Mensurati will continue, and broaden his reading and knowledge of nuclear subjects.

jim said...

Kudos article!

To quote my blessed folksy grandfather "if something is as bad as they say it is, then we all should've been dead long ago!"

It speaks unsung volumes that if you do the real industrial mortality stats, that you can pack all the fatalities directly incurred during normal operations AND "worst" accidents at atomic power plants WORLDWIDE since the first reactor lit in Chicago inside a single Greyhound bus, but you can't build enough ocean liners to accommodate those directly killed or maimed during fossil fuel energy production -- and that omits uncountable public health causalities. Why the nuclear community fails to or are blind to hawking such enviable stats to the mass media to save its bacon is the wonder of it all. Can you spell snatching defeat from the jaws of victory? Let's not even get into the antis' crock that nuclear waste will creep up out out of thousand foot deep sealed depositories instead of staying put for a million years (So what if it sits that long, is someone going to be building condos down there any time soon?) and crawl into one's bedroom -- and yes, a lot of the public believe such via Homer Simpson. The anti-nukers royally get over because there's ZERO mass-media FUD-busting pushback by the nuclear community. We critically need a nuclear Carl Sagan like yesterday!

James Greenidge
Queens NY


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