‘No safe levels’ of radiation in Japan, Al Jazeera 5 April 11, Experts warn that any detectable level of radiation is “too much”. “…..water that is vastly more radioactive continues to gush into the ocean through a large crack in a six-foot deep pit at the nuclear plant. Over the weekend, workers at the plant used sawdust, shredded newspaper and diaper chemicals in a desperate attempt to plug the area, which failed. Water leaking from the pit is about 10,000 times more radioactive than water normally found at a nuclear plant
Thus, radiation from a meltdown in the reactor core of reactor No. 2 is leaking out into the water and soil, with other reactors continuing to experience problems.
Yet scientists and activists question these government and nuclear industry “safe” limits of radiation exposure.
“The U.S. Department of Energy has testified that there is no level of radiation that is so low that it is without health risks,” Jacqueline Cabasso, the Executive Director of the Western States Legal Foundation, told Al Jazeera.
Her foundation monitors and analyzes U.S. nuclear weapons programs and policies and related high technology energy, with a focus on the national nuclear weapons laboratories.
Cabasso explained that natural background radiation exists, “But more than 2,000 nuclear tests have enhanced this background radiation level, so we are already living in an artificially radiated environment due to all the nuclear tests.”
“Karl Morgan, who worked on the Manhattan project, later came out against the nuclear industry when he understood the danger of low levels of ionizing radiation-and he said there is no safe dose of radiation exposure,” Cabasso continued, “That means all this talk about what a worker or the public can withstand on a yearly basis is bogus. There is no safe level of radiation exposure. These so-called safe levels are coming from within the nuclear establishment.”
Risk at low doses
Karl Morgan was an American physicist who was a founder of the field of radiation health physics. After a long career in the Manhattan Project and at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, he became a critic of nuclear power and weapons. Morgan, who died in 1999, began to offer court testimony for people who said they had been harmed by the nuclear power industry.
“Nobody is talking about the fact that there is no safe dose of radiation,” Cabasso added, “One of the reasons Morgan said this is because doses are cumulative in the body.”
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) published a report in 2006 titled Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) report, VII Phase 2. NAS BEIR VII was an expert panel who reviewed available peer reviewed literature and wrote, “the committee concludes that the preponderance of information indicates that there will be some risk, even at low doses.”
The concluding statement of the report reads, “The committee concludes that the current scientific evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that there is a linear, no-threshold dose-response relationship between exposure to ionizing radiation and the development of cancer in humans.”
This means that the sum of several very small exposures to radiation has the same effect as one large exposure, since the effects of radiation are cumulative…..
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