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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Oops...Wade Did It Yet Again

Yup, Wade Allison yet again with his latest anti-science (which seems to be fueled by an anti-government bias) hyperbole, Appreciate Nuclear And Its Safety.

First, geology takes a hit.  He gets the age of the Earth wrong.  It's closer to 4,500 million years old than 6,000 million years old.  And why not use the term "billion"?

Next, cosmology takes a hit.  He gets solar fusion wrong...if two nuclei fused every few thousand million years as he stated, it would be pretty cold on Earth.  In fact, there are on the order of  600 million tons of hydrogen fused per second generating about 596 million tons of helium, the difference being converted to energy.

Of course, health physics takes a hit.  He states, once again, that the Fukushima radioactivity will not cause any deaths in the years to come.  Well, time will tell, but if people hadn't evacuated and just went about their business as usual, their doses would be much higher.  That would make their risk of getting cancer even higher.

He acknowledges that DNA is capable of repairing most of the damage it gets.  But what about that damage which isn't repaired or is misrepaired?  He ignores it.  How convenient for him, biology takes a hit.

Doesn't Allison realize that people get cancer?  H..E..L..L..O..???  Even without any excess radiation exposure, people have been getting cancer.  It was described by Imhotep in 2625 BC!  Even history takes a hit!

People who breathe in more radon have higher cancer incidence, people who get more CT scans will have a higher cancer incidence.  Yes, organs typically survive radiation therapy because of dose planning.  The doses are planned to maximize the dose to the tumor while minimizing the dose to healthy tissue.  If we didn't do that, the organs would be damaged.  Epidemiology, health physics, and medical physics are taking hits.

Allison acts like there has been no excess cancer risk from Chernobyl, which isn't true.

He says the chances are that there will be no health impact to workers or residents from Fukushima even over 50 years.  Based on what we've learned from the A-bomb survivors, it is unlikely the health impact would be statistically significant, because of the safety measures people have and will take.  That is different than no health impact.  And Fukushima isn't even over.  Reality takes a hit.

He gets quite slimy when he mentions Queen Elizabeth handling some plutonium and look, she's enjoying a long life.  Now honesty has taken a hit.  Plutonium is an alpha emitter, it's only hazardous when taken into the body.

He says, that oxygen is arguably the most dangerous material on Earth.  I think a vast majority of rational people would argue that one.  Try living where there isn't any oxygen.  Please, Wade, try it...take the hit.

Allison states that because we don't regulate individuals' sun exposure we shouldn't regulate the nuclear industry. We don't regulate individuals' natural radioactivity exposure either.   That's because one party isn't profiting at the expense of others in those cases.  But any industry that could profit by socializing its costs has to be regulated, and the regulations should reflect the science.  Ethics has taken a hit.

Wade, you're not that innocent.

Music please, Maestro:


  1. Here is a review of Allison's book, written for The Lancet (but somehow it never appeared there):