Raising the EPA Radiation Limit Will Save Thousands of Lives and Billions of Dollars

Radiation limits were far lower than science justified and caused hundreds of billions of dollars of economic loss to America and the world.

FukushimaWikimedia CommonsThe EPA is raising the radiation threat level by a factor of 350. That may sound unbelievable but it is assuredly a good thing: The previous limits were far lower than science justified and caused hundreds of billions of dollars of economic loss to America and the world.

The trigger for the change was the government recognizing the ramifications of two things. The first is the reality of nuclear terrorism. The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has recently insisted that the EPA establish realistic limits in accordance with the latest science. Under the old limits, a tiny “dirty bomb” explosion in an American city would have meant evacuating hundreds of thousands of people.

The second is Fukushima. After the catastrophic meltdown at the Japanese nuclear power plant in 2011, some 130,000 people were forcibly removed from their homes in accordance with strict radiation standards. This resulted in the unnecessary and unfortunate deaths of some 1600 elderly and ill persons. Yet no residents died—or even became ill—from the radiation. Even so, Japan closed down 48 nuclear plants and Germany announced it would close all of its plants. The cost to their citizenry in higher electricity prices—and higher carbon emissions—is staggering.

The cost to U.S. citizens is staggering as well. Ultra-low limits have delayed and prevented the construction of new nuclear power plants, added billions to the cost of refurbishing old reactors and Superfund clean-up sites, scared Nevada residents into opposing the opening of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facilities, and triggered panic whenever there has been a slight increase in radiation almost anywhere for any reason. One remembers the Three Mile Island nuclear leaks, where residents were exposed to less radiation than they got from the granite building blocks at the Senate hearing room when they testified.

Fortunately, the EPA is making changes that acknowledge the shortcomings of ultra-low radiation limits. The EPA has now asked for public comment on changing its standards for nuclear power plants.  The deadline was June 4.

Further, in Florida, the EPA has given up on enforcing a very expensive radiation cleanup under the old rules. This is a tremendous move that has nevertheless come under attack from environmental extremists who promised to resist the new rules even if “health effects prove reliable.” Some 100 watchdog groups have joined the attack.

Much of the reason for the EPA’s prior low exposure fears comes from a theory in computer models that the cancer risk is directly proportional to the dose of radiation. This is untrue below the 10 REM threshold of exposure as is well detailed in a Forbes article. Yet the theory, called LNT (linear no-threshold model), has done untold damage to America. (Further explanation and links are available in my earlier article Terrorism and Radiation.) The EPA change specifically refers to one time events, although its historic 15 millirem limit barely distinguished between short and long term exposure. Nuclear workers with prolonged exposure face a different risk. The first ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection) recommended a “tolerance dose” of no more than 70 REM per year (0.2 roentgen per day), but more research needs to be done in this area, e.g. a 40 hour work week of exposure compared to continuous exposure. EPA’s limit was a maximum 5 REM over a full year.

The new nuclear limits should prompt the EPA to modify the extreme 15-25 millirem limits in other areas under its jurisdiction. Specifically, these should include allowing new nuclear electric plants to follow the same rules. Clean-up of past nuclear waste disposal sites would be another area of multi-billion dollar savings. The difference in cost is astronomical. Southern California Edison has now shut down its San Onofre nuclear plant because of the high cost of replacing steam generators. Higher radiation limits might make the repairs economically viable. The Yucca Mountain storage site costs should be recalculated from the past 15 millirem limit using the new risk numbers. However, the EPA has also specifically stated that the new guide “will not affect the agency’s Superfund authorities, existing cleanup regulations or current health and safety standards.” Currently the EPA’s Superfund clean up standards are based upon a risk factor of 1 person in 10,000 possibly developing cancer under LNT models. LNT theory does not distinguish between one-time exposure and continuous exposure.

Then there is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Using the same old EPA limits, it fanned the flames of panic in Japan by urging Americans up to 50 miles away to flee Fukushima. It should also update its risk analyses.

What’s missing now are some reliable analyses of the billions of dollars in savings that will result from using the new limits. In the nuclear weapons programs, the new limits should be analyzed and new safety rules put in place. Canadian nuclear physicist Jerry Cuttler, to whom I am indebted for much of the above information, suggests that the ALARA limits (as low as reasonably achievable) should be changed to AHARS (as high as reasonably safe).

Equally important, the EPA change brings attention to the issue that economic costs can be considered in its rulings. Historically, EPA denies this premise based upon its original mandate, which does not call on the agency to consider economic costs, it claims. The EPA has won in court with this argument. Most recently, Politico reported that “a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld EPA’s rule, known as MATS, denying challenges from states, utilities and industry groups which argued the rules came out of a flawed regulatory process and illegally imposed exorbitant costs on power producers that will force dozens of power plants to close down.” The industry argued that this decision would substantially raise electricity rates for consumers in much of the nation. EPA decisions are based on the same linear no-threshold models that any minimal exposure will cause cancer or asthma among some proportion of the population. But under this theory, even tiny amounts of sunlight are a threat to some human beings. As science advances to allow measuring parts per billion or even per trillion, EPA has proceeded to continuously tighten its limits.

Other skeleton in the EPA’s closet are environmental limits caused by its policy of “chasing the last molecule.” If EPA could be forced to modify its radiations limits, what about its other extremes? Take sulfur, for example. Its prevalence has already been reduced by 90 percent. Still, using its now discredited LNT theory, EPA is has ordered refiners to eliminate the last 10 percent. This will add between 6 and 9 cents per gallon to the cost of gasoline.

There is another major implication. Many if not most of the EPA's other limits on pollutants and carcinogens are also deduced from the faulty LNT theory. Eliminating 90 percent of some chemical or dust is often easily accomplished, however, eliminating the last 10 percent can cost billions more than the first 90 percent. For example, a Wall Street Journal report on ozone explains that new EPA limits reducing ozone from today’s 75 parts per billion to 60 to 70 ppb would cost industry some $90 billion, according to the EPA itself. These are the costs that many industries are howling about and a real reason that Americans’ standard of living has stopped increasing. Much analysis, beyond the scope of this report, needs to be researched for dozens of other excessive limits imposed by Washington, D.C.

The yearly cost of unnecessary EPA regulations is in the many hundreds of billions of dollars, reducing wages and hurting the world's standard of living. And yet these positive modifications are under severe attack from green extremists. Rather than fighting sensible and cost-saving reforms, they should help rescue the legitimate environmental movement from far-left activists whose hysterical opposition to logical standards truly threatens world prosperity.

Mr. Utley is publisher of The American Conservative. He has written widely on energy, radiation, and civil defense. He was a foreign correspondent in Latin America for Knight Ridder newspapers and, for 17 years, a contract commentator for the Voice of America.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Virginian||

    So Hillary! is trying to make the giant checks she gets from universities for speaking become less of an issue by donating the money to her own foundation.

    I mean, even the most retarded prog will see through that, right?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    The Warren supporters will certainly see through it.

  • Sevo||

    And the Shril-bots see through fauxcahontus, too, but they won't dare say anything, since they might need her later.

  • ||

    Democrat money is holy and good.

    Everyone else's money is evil and that is why the government needs to take it and contain it for detoxification.

  • Virginian||

    http://www.latimes.com/world/l.....story.html

    Notice the difference between the two sides. Anyone think those who murdered the three Israeli teens are worried about the Palestinian police arresting them?

  • Irish||

    This is such a disgusting story in general. What sort of backwards shithole has these kinds of revenge killings in 2014?

  • Virginian||

    There is a growing Jewish extremist movement in Israel, and there is a big fear that they will at some point embrace the tactics of Hamas in revenge.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What sort of backwards shithole has these kinds of revenge killings in 2014?

    A 60 plus year old warzone?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    What sort of backwards shithole has these kinds of revenge killings in 2014?

    Places with large muslim populations.

  • ||

    It might be 2014 to you, and in your immediate surroundings, but the most savage things you can imagine, and many that you can't, are perpetrated on a daily basis.

  • ||

    It doesn't matter how many times it is shown and how stark the contrast between the civilized and the barbaric, the jews will still be cast as the villains.

  • steedamike||

    *zionist jews*

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    In an administrative law class at a pretty decent law school, I made the basic economic point that, at some point, reducing the ppm of a certain substance might actually lead to an increase in overall harm. Opportunity cost and all. Multiple students in the class actually laughed out loud. Ignorance + arrogance are the defining characteristics of progressives.

  • Virginian||

    I had many similar experiences during my time in school. One of my personal favorites was during a poli sci class. We were given the task of planning what the policy would be in the event of the fall of the North Korean regime. The progtard in my group (fuck group projects) wanted to prop up a junta in order to provide "stability" and gradually transition over a period of years to a free country and reunification. I pointed out that history actually shows us that the opposite is the best course of action. She said, and I quote "What are you talking about? Nothing like this situation has happened before."

    Guess what she does now?

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    She is either a history professor or works for the State Department.

  • Virginian||

    She is either a history professor or works for the State Department.

    Congressional aide.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Oh so she's writing our laws. Great.

  • Cytotoxic||

    This is terrifying. This is why more people like us need to go into politics-to displace these derps.

  • Atanarjuat||

    Congressional aide.

    So she's the mistress of some old bastard.

  • Irish||

    The progtard in my group (fuck group projects) wanted to prop up a junta in order to provide "stability" and gradually transition over a period of years to a free country and reunification.

    AHHAHAHAHAHAHA. How did she bring that idea up?

    "You know what would be genius? Let's subsidize a military dictatorship on the ruins of the Kim dynasty and somehow this will end with freedom."

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    In her defense, that's the exact history of South Korea.

  • Irish||

    The difference is that the North Koreans have been so bludgeoned into subservience that they would never force their junta leader out of the country in the event of election fraud.

    If you propped up a military junta, you'd just end up with someone taking over the reins from the Kim family.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Of course the correct answer is "mind our own business".

  • Pope Jimbo||

    My wife is from Korea and reunification came up last summer at a BBA and 90% of the Koreans there didn't think that Norks were really "Korean" anymore.

    According to them they had been brainwashed for so many generations now that they weren't true Koreans.

    No one had any idea what to do if N Korea collapsed, they were just sure that they didn't really want them as part of Korea any more.

  • Jerryskids||

    My experience with that sort of thing was a class exercise in which we were assigned various roles to play in advising the President as to whether or not to go to war. I began my presentation as the head of a pro-war Pentagon faction by arguing that going to war would stimulate the economy and be a big political plus for him.

    Several members of the class immediately objected that war is not good for the economy and seemed to be baffled by my response that that was irrelevant - my job was to persuade the President to go to war and saying that war was good for the economy was a good argument."But that's lying!"

    So? Do you seriously think that government agents don't lie in order to further their own agendas? Apparently they did seriously think that government agents aren't lying, thieving, self-serving blackguards.

    So depressing to see so many kids with such a profound lack of cynicism.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    But GIANT SPIDERS!

    GODZILLA!

    AAIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Americans spend $1.8T a year complying with federal regulation. I wonder why the economy is in the shitter?

  • Eric Bana||

    The corporations?

  • ||

    Wait, according to Krugman, more taxes and regulation stimulate the economy. It makes .....uh....I forgot how it works...but it does!

  • craiginmass||

    Do you mean the record Dow, the largest net worth ever, the new 6.1% unemployment and headed lower.....or some other indication of how horrible things are?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Record DOW? You are an idiot.

    The DOW has averaged 5% a year over its life. With average growth since 2000, the DOW should be at almost 24000. The last 14 years have been abysmal for the market.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Yes now that you mention it we are in a terrifyingly massive unstable bubble.

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|7.6.14 @ 6:36PM|#
    "Do you mean the record Dow, the largest net worth ever, the new 6.1% unemployment and headed lower"

    Hey, assholeinmass:
    "Back in February 2009, the Obama Administration promised the American public that after their nearly trillion dollar stimulus too effect, the unemployment rate would drop down to 5.3% at the end of his first term."
    http://www.thegatewaypundit.co.....3-instead/

  • The Late P Brooks||

    So Hillary! is trying to make the giant checks she gets from universities for speaking become less of an issue by donating the money to her own foundation.

    "That money isn't in my purse, silly. It's in a little tin lock box in a drawer in my office. Totally different, see?"

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Americans spend $1.8T a year complying with federal regulation.

    Multiplizer effect. Prosperity is just around the corner.

    NEEDZ MOAR TAXES.

  • Almanian!||

    They should nuke the old regulations from orbit. Y'know, just to be sure...

  • SoyIsMurder||

    Great news! So many lefties point to Fukushima as proof that nuclear power is too risky. The real lesson is that we should be upgrading our nuclear generation capability.

    Fukushima was an outdated design (basically a scaled-up submarine reactor), which was built on the beach and hit by a tidal wave, and it killed far fewer people than a year of U.S. coal mining (which is much less deadly than most countries).

    My parents live in Colorado. If the radiation levels in the soil around their home was due to nuclear waste (instead of naturally-occurring traces of uranium), they might have been forced to move under the old EPA rules.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I just watched Pandora's Promise, which is about modern nuclear power. There is a current push by a lot of the warmies for nuclear, as they (belatedly) recognize the dangers have been massively overstated, and the large benefit (to their eyes - no CO2) not recognized.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The warmists like nuclear probably because it is another horribly uneconomic industry they get to throw money at. No, it is not uneconomic because of regulation. Even places with less regulation can't make nuclear work.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    and it killed far fewer people than a year of U.S. coal mining (which is much less deadly than most countries).

    Currently, I believe Fukushima has resulted in exactly 0 deaths.

    So, an outdated reactor got hit with a massive earthquake followed up by a tsunami, suffered a loss of coolant and the resulting hydrogen explosion, and still didn't kill anyone.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "AZ religious freedom law may get new life

    "PHOENIX — The group behind a vetoed religious freedom law intends to study last week’s Supreme Court health-care mandates as a chance to revamp and revive its proposal next year.

    "She said that was one of the key points that SB 1062 would have made, had it not been vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer."

    http://azstarnet.com/news/stat.....c094e.html

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    This should have been between the two paragraphs I quoted:

    "Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy said the 5-4 decision Monday in the Hobby Lobby case underscores her organization’s belief people do not give up their religious liberties simply because they choose to start a business."

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Even more religious freedom news!

    You may recall Reason's article about the Alabama pastor (Ricky Martin) who tried to provide homes and rehabilitation for sex offenders released from prison, and how the state legislature required the camp to be closed.

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/07.....eform-camp

    Now a state ACLU official says the recent statute may violate the Alabama Constitution, which since 1998 has incorporated the principles of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act - government can only violate religious freedom if it's the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling government interest.

    "Martin "has sincerely held religious beliefs that he's acting upon, and now you've got government prohibiting him from doing something that he considers part of his religion," [Randall] Marshall said."

    http://www.al.com/news/index.s.....ender.html

  • Irish||

    These religious fanatics had better stop with this shit. Progressives have assured me that the Hobby Lobby decision is the equivalent of Sharia and this looks even more dangerous.

  • Suicidy||

    My Marxist progtard retired CA professor aunt says the ruling is equivalent to Muslim men forcing clitorectomies on their women. What a rational observation.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    But don't worry, the ACLU still opposes phony religious-freedom claims like in Hobby Lobby.

    (from ACLU.org)

    http://bit.ly/1q8uBH7

  • Jerryskids||

    The Supreme Court ruled, in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, that business owners can use personal religious objections to take away a woman's right to contraceptive insurance coverage guaranteed to her by law.

    Just like they ruled in Citizens United that corporations can donate unlimited amounts of cash to politicians.

    They ruled that the law can't trump the Constitution and that if government can find some way to achieve its' legitimate goals without infringing First Amendment rights it must do so. The ACA work-around for religious organizations is an example of the government doing precisely this and simply by extending those same rules to cover non-religious organizations who object on religious grounds satisfies the requirements of both the law and the Constitution. How hard is that to understand?


    Ah, but maybe there's another agenda at work here.

    The outrage does make sense, of course, if what one fundamentally cares about—or at least, additionally cares about—is the symbolic speech act embedded in the compulsion itself. In other words, if the purpose of the mandate is not merely to achieve a certain practical result, but to declare the qualms of believers with religious objections so utterly underserving of respect that they may be forced to act against their convictions regardless of whether this makes any real difference to the outcome.

  • Akira||

    Oh good god, the ACLU gets my goat every time...

    "This law was designed to ensure women’s equality by eliminating the disparities in health care costs between men and women"

    Right, because the differences in health care costs between men and women are just artificial constructs. It's not like women sometimes go through some kind of major life event during which they require constant doctor visits (for roughly nine months) culminating in an extremely strenuous event that requires even more medical attention immediately afterwards... It's just a lie made up by the corporations for profitz!!!

    "... and to ensure women have the ability to make decisions about whether and when to become parents, which in turns allow them to participate equally in society."

    Yes, because if one's employer is not paying for BC pills, there's absolutely no way to prevent pregnancy! It just happens and these poor women have no choice over it! They're just hopelessly stumbling through life and randomly fall down and land on penises that cause them to get pregnant, I suppose.

  • ||

    "...hopelessly stumbling through life and randomly fall down and land on penises that cause them to get pregnant..."

    This is not far from the truth for some.

  • sticks||

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    This seems to be a call for censoring neo-Confederates.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    AND it seems to assume that if only a neo-Con (federate) tour guide passed a history test administered by the government, he'd become a flag-waving Unionist! He only holds the views he does because he isn't familiar with the conventional narrative!

    (disclaimer: I support the pro-Northern narrative more than the pro-Southern one, with reservations)

  • Virginian||

    I support the pro-Northern narrative more than the pro-Southern one, with reservations

    That's like saying that there's a pro-Japanese or pro-American narrative to the War in the Pacific.

    The biggest contribution libertarians can make to the historical study of war is that we remain neutral. The actions of the CSA government do not excuse the actions of the USA government, and vice versa.

  • Sevo||

    Anyone remember the hoax regarding the tour guides at the Grand Canyon?
    Pretty sure it was Tony who went off the edge, claiming that BUSHHHHHHHHH made the tour guides pitch young-earth creationism.
    Fail.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You know another industry that deals in "facts"? Journalism.

    LICENSE ALL THE JOURNALISTS!

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Board certified journalists (private).

  • Aloysious||

    Single Payer Journalism. The only way to be sure.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    When tour guides politicians are unregulated, facts are just a matter of opinion

    Fixed

  • Jerryskids||

    When newspaper columnists are unregulated, opinions are a matter of fact.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    So you we worried that shifting opinions in the Republican party might leave the neocons homeless? Don't fret, they have a plan.

    Of course, the neocons’ latest change in tack is not just about intellectual affinity. Their longtime home, the Republican Party, where presidents and candidates from Reagan to Senator John McCain of Arizona supported large militaries and aggressive foreign policies, may well nominate for president Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has been beating an ever louder drum against American involvement abroad.

    In response, Mark Salter, a former chief of staff to Senator McCain and a neocon fellow traveler, said that in the event of a Paul nomination, “Republican voters seriously concerned with national security would have no responsible recourse” but to support Mrs. Clinton for the presidency.

    My favorite part of this however was the very last line. Tacked on like a drifting afterthought:

    Despite the partisan battles of the early 2000s, it is remarkable how very little has changed.

  • Jerryskids||

    My favorite part was this:

    “it is clear that in administration councils she was a principled voice for a strong stand on controversial issues, whether supporting the Afghan surge or the intervention in Libya.”

    Let's take a closer look at her principles, shall we? I would suggest her priciples could best be summed up in the words of some unknown ancient author:

    I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Clinton-Cheney 2016! I want this more than I want to see a president perp-walked out of the White House, and that's an awful lot.

  • ||

    Huh. So the enemies of liberty won't hesitate to cease competing for power over the conquered and work together if the conquered appear to be throwing off their chains.

    Interesting.

  • Sevo||

    "The EPA is raising the radiation threat level by a factor of 350."

    There are people who WILL have a cow over this. There are people who favor a limit of zero measurable lead in drinking water and telling them that means that people won't have ANY water just gets a "KOCK BROS!!!!!" response.
    I am looking forward to the comments section of the Chron when this gets covered; Donald Duck will look calm in comparison.

  • Cytotoxic||

    There's good evidence that low levels of radiation are actually good for you.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    If you don't have enough the "tree of life" want grow!

  • Vulgar Madman||

    Won't

  • Suicidy||

    Without any gamma rays our Hulks are only credible. And who wants a Hulk with credibility?

  • SQRLSY One||

    Yeah, man, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC2477708/ , from Government Almighty itself! Hormesis, Dude!!!

  • craiginmass||

    I guess this guy is wrong and the Kochs and Forbes are right.

    http://www.ratical.org/radiati.....G.html#rn1

    His summary:

    "Many people think nuclear power is so complicated it requires discussion at a high level of technicality. That's pure nonsense.

    There are only two things about nuclear power that you need to know. One, why do you want nuclear power? So you can boil water. That's all it does. It boils water. And any way of boiling water will give you steam to turn turbines. That's the useful part.

    The other thing to know is, it creates a mountain of radioactivity, and I mean a mountain: astronomical quantities of strontium-90 and cesium-137 and plutonium—toxic substances that will last—strontium-90 and cesium for 300 to 600 years, plutonium for 250,000 to 500,000 years—and still be deadly toxic. And the whole thing about nuclear power is this simple: can you or can't you keep it all contained? If you can't, then you're creating a human disaster. "

    And his "libertarian" argument:

    "But once you know that your nuclear power plants are going to release radioactivity and kill a certain number of people, you are no longer committing the crime of experimentation—you are committing a higher crime. Scientists who support these nuclear plants—knowing the effects of radiation—don't deserve trials for experimentation; they deserve trials for murder. . ."

  • Brett L||

    A) He acts like boiling water is trivial, but steam turbines are non-trivial technology. Especially boiling just the right amount of water.
    B) More people died at Chappaquidick than Three Mile Island, and the analogy holds generally for cars versus nuke plants, yet he doesn't seem to think that anyone involved in the design and manufacture of cars deserve trials for murder.
    C) Plutonium? Are we talking about the stuff we don't have enough of to make good nuclear batteries for space probes because idiots like this shut down the breeder reactors?

  • Irish||

    Yeah, John Gofman is a serious intellectual who was right about everything. For example,he predicted 333 deaths from radiation exposure in the wake of Three Mile Island, which have not been observed.

    There are also tons of nuclear physicists who vehemently disagree with Gofman's assertions.

    By all means though, pick one guy who agrees with you and ignore all the other scientists who disagree with him. That's what science means, you know. Cherry picking your sources and ignoring all data outside of what John Gofman says.

    You're also ignoring the fact that most other forms of energy kill vastly more people than nuclear. Fewer people are killed by nuclear power than wind power.

    The IAEA also found that it's unclear whether or not solar power kills more people than nuclear.

    Don't mind me though! I'm just posting the actual death statistics and a study from an international nuclear power agency! Your unsourced citations of one guy are certainly more persuasive.

  • craiginmass||

    Ha Ha!

    Like you could actually FIND the deaths that occur from small doses of ionizing radiation and assign them to a particular point?

    Read a little of Gofman's experience with such "agencies" which were created almost solely as marketing departments for the nuclear power proponents.

    It's one of those things that we can do now...and usually OTHERS die later. The perfect crime!

    Right. And Kochian air pollution does not cause respiratory diseases. And processed foods and corn syrup don't cause obesity. Sure, someone believe you - because you can "prove" it...

    Those shield they put on you at the dentist? All for show. They walk out of the room....just for fun.

    You should bring back that device that x-rayed feet for shoe stores! Maybe the Koch's will invest! I'm sure you can fund some "science" which says those are perfectly safe.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....luoroscope

    "Years or decades may elapse between radiation exposure and a related occurrence of cancer"

    Funny how you guys decide you believe one international org, but when it comes to climate change....nah, that's made up! Ha Ha.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    derp

  • Cytotoxic||

    1) Post shitty hysterical article that throws around accusations of murder instead of evidence.

    2) Get called out on bullshit.

    3) Throw a snit and toss out as many non-sequitors as you can.

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|7.6.14 @ 6:42PM|#
    "Ha Ha!
    Like you could actually FIND the deaths that occur from small doses of ionizing radiation and assign them to a particular point?"

    Ha Ha! Assholein mass, like you can post a non-falsifiable claim and not be presumed to be a fucking imbecile!

  • ||

    processed foods and corn syrup don't cause obesity.

    They do if you eat to much of it and sit on your ass all day.

    Of course if you eat too much vegan, farmer's market all natural plucked from the vine by virgin snow white rhinemaidens food and sit on your ass all day you will get just as obese.

    Speaking of the Kochs how does it make you feel that that Harry Reid used his influence to move around some boundaries of nature habitat lands so they are on lands where the actual habitat that are being preserved doesn't exist so he could lease the original Federal habitat lands to a Chinese solar company in exchange for hiring his son?

  • rxc||

    When we do get over this fear, that fuel can be reprocessed to recover all the unused fuel and plutonium that can be burned again. Some of the fission products can actually be put to good use in industry, medicine and research. Since this stuff is radioactive, it is actually quite easy to keep track of it.

    And the "mountain" you talk about is pretty small. I seem to remember that all of the nuclear waste generated in US commercial nuclear plants in one year would cover a football field to a depth of about 1 meter (~3 feet).

    Some mountain.

    Oh, and nature itself (sacred mother nature that progressive greens worship) has already shown that these materials can be safeguarded for very long periods of time. Go look up the Oklo reactor, which operated (naturally) a couple of billion years ago, and the FPs stayed right there, in the ground, with no fancy containment, without the need for all sorts of hysteria and bureaucracy and environmental consultation.

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

  • craiginmass||

    Ah, so it's about cubic SIZE.
    Why not, instead, inform us about the irradiating possibilities of that waste - in addition to the mine tailings and the entire processing chain required to supply it.

    That's plain silly suggesting that physical size has much to do with it when, evenly distributed, it would take about 11 lbs of plutonium to kill every human on the earth.

    How much do those football field weigh? Remember, these are "heavy" metals.

  • Greg F||

    Craiginmass do you pride yourself in your ignorance? From the link I posted previous:

    The 2 million fatalities per pound inhaled leaves plutonium dust far from "the most toxic substance known to man." Biological agents, like botulism toxin or anthrax spores29 are many hundreds or thousands of times more toxic.

    11 lbs equates to 22 million which is a bit less than "every human on the earth".

  • Greg F||

    ...plutonium for 250,000 to 500,000 years—and still be deadly toxic.

    Yea, "this guy is wrong".

    http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~bl.....ter13.html

    Scroll down to "Plutonium Toxicity" and educate yourself.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    Yeah, you called it. That guy was wrong. Got anything else?

  • ||

    "Scientists who support........deserve trials for murder. . ."

    Not actually doing anything, but just holding the opinion, is equivalent to shooting children in the head. Thats good to know.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Fascist 1 links to fascist 2.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I guess this guy is wrong and the Kochs and Forbes are right.

    Yup. That's how it is, as usual.

  • Edwin||

    //These are the costs that many industries are howling about and a real reason that Americans’ standard of living has stopped increasing.

    What, are you kidding me? You're painting it like they're just "adding cost". No no no no, my friend. They're actually making ENTIRE INDUSTRIES basically ILLEGAL. It's become ILLEGAL to open up a new factory nowadays. ALL of our economy is based an VERY OLD and aging industrial infrastructure. Want to open up a paper plant, cement factory, petrol refinery? Sorry, it is in fact de facto illegal. And THAT'S a big part of why we have no economy anymore.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Amen!

  • Suicidy||

    Without more radiation, how can we hope to become Spidermen, Incredible Hulks, or Fantastic Foursomes? I advocate dramatically increasing access to and exposure to gamma rays, cosmic rays, and radioactive vermin as soon as possible.

  • Westmiller||

    Hmm. Sixty comments; six on the topic of the article. Strange breed, those Reason commenters.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    How bout them Yankees?

  • craiginmass||

    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

    - John Rogers

  • Mark22||

    I'd say Marxist drivel and it's derivatives are far more effective at engendering lifelong delusions in teenagers.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    No need to work for a living. Simply steal your living from those who have.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    Be nice. He thinks he's clever.

  • Sevo||

    Vulgar Madman|7.6.14 @ 8:00PM|#
    "Be nice. He thinks he's clever."

    Nope. Kick him in the nuts. Hard.
    He deserves it.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Do you intend on regurgitating every pathetic left-wing 'cleverism'?

  • Mark22||

    I don't think all the negativity about LNT is justified. LNT hasn't been disproven, nor is it an unreasonable model.

    The real reason for higher radiation limits is a cost benefit analysis. Yes, higher exposure may well cause additional preventable deaths, but other preventable deaths are cheaper to prevent so that's where we should focus our efforts. Of course, that's an argument most people don't like to hear. So instead the debate exhausts itself in histrionics over whether LNT is true or not.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Oh yes it is justified and it is pretty much disproven. A while ago some apartments housing thousands of people (in Taiwan?) were found to be contaminated with Cobalt-60, a gamma-ray emitting radioisotope. The population was bathed in low levels of gamma rays for many years. They had lower levels of cancer, stillbirth, etc. It was if anything good for them.

  • Mark22||

    That's b.s. You cannot disprove LNT based on "an apartment building" because the population is too small and there are far too many variables. In fact, there is no real-world experiment that you can use to either prove or disprove LNT conclusively.

    The rational argument against LNT-based policies is not that LNT is wrong, but that it doesn't matter whether it's right or wrong.

    The kind of b.s. claims you are making are the same kind of correlational tea leaf reading progressives engage in to come up with these stupid policies to begin with, and you are never going to win that, because for every random variation you use to justify your position, they are going to find several more to justify theirs.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Mark22, you are utterly full of pathetic shit and Cytotoxic is right on the mark! Study up on a thing called “hormesis”, ye un-studied ignoramus! Even Government Almighty Itself, Sacred SAVIOR of the pubic public, ADMITS to as much, specifically about the “accidental human experiment” done in Taiwan! Read here, ... See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC2477708/ , from Government Almighty itself! Hang yer head in apologetic shame, ignoramus!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Hey, Y’all, let’s call it a night… It being the Sacred Sabbath and all, Ah will now lead us all in Sacred Prayers…
    (GAWD = Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers, and
    SHAMM = Statist Heaven Above Mere Mortals)
    Our GAWD, Who dwells in SHAMM,
    Hallowed be Thy Name;
    Thy Taxes come in,
    Thy Bennies go out,
    All across the land,
    Powered by Thy Wrath.
    Give us more bread and circuses,
    More military crusades,
    And more stimulus funds.
    Keep us safe from earpoppers
    And lung flutes. Lead us not into
    Disobedience, but shelter us through
    Your Nannies. Forgive us
    When we are politically incorrect.
    For Yours is the Power and the Glory
    of the Pyramind Scheme, Forever and Ever,
    Amen!
    (This Worship Session brought to you by the Church of Scienfoology; see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/ )

  • Mark22||

    As I was saying, the radiation limits should be raised, and regulation based on LNT is nonsense. But the argument for that is that the effects of LNT is irrelevant and that LNT is unproven, not that it is wrong.

    Scientific illiteracy and blind ideology like yours is why we libertarians keep losing debates. Heck, you even accept the progressive and technocratic approach to politics of citing poor studies and whacky theories to support policies. You're a technocrat yourself, you simply disagree about the details of technocratic government.

  • Edwin||

    //In fact, there is no real-world experiment that you can use to either prove or disprove LNT conclusively.

    Well, there is one, it's called REAL LIFE. People are exposed to small amounts of radiation every day, and there's little data it hurts them. You eat a banana and you set off radiation detectors. Even if you claim that this concept isn't sufficient since no one is isolating for variables in everyday, droll situations, the fact of the matter is with a little work you can. You could easily isolate peoples who live in/on granite mountains, or who eat more of certain foods (which would have more radiation). Like people who eat a lot of bananas or workers on Brazil Nut plantations or something.

    Furthermore, Just because you can't diprove an idea doesn't mean it can't still be obviously fucking stupid. For example, there's still no lifetime-scale data on e-cigs, but that doesn't mean I'm 99.9% sure it doesn't cause cancer like normal tar-laden cigarettes, or that at the very least, it's many orders of magnitude less harmful (there is a small chance that repeated exposure to the mild chemicals in the vapor could accumulate and causes cancer, but still it would be a very small increased rate, and still be WAY WAY safer than normal cigs. Whereas the main thing with cigs is the accumulation of tar, which is a physical barier to normal lung function plus filled with a slew of aromatic and other organic chemicals)

  • Mark22||

    We want the same policy, namely abolition of unreasonably low radiation limits. But your "fucking stupid" arguments for that policy are hurting that cause.

    "REAL LIFE" shows you that the radiation limits should be raised, not that LNT is false.

    Technocrats like to justify policies with theories that are scientific-sounding but are untestable in practice: social, economic, and environmental policies are all based on extrapolating from small effects. LNT is just another example of that. Libertarians can't win arguments with technocats by trying to falsify unfalsifiable theories, we can only win those arguments by pointing out that the theories are unfalsifiable.

    So stop playing into the hands of people who use nonsense like LNT to justify bad policy. Recognize where the problem with LNT really is.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That apartment study I reference included over 10,000 people. I think the population is more than big enough. The results-the actual real life data-do not conform with LNT.

  • Mark22||

    The EPA regulations are about avoiding one excess death in a population of 10000. You cannot demonstrate such effects by looking at a population of only 10000 people. And the apartment study does not compare a random assignment of people, it compares a non-representative population against the population at large.

    You've fallen prey to the religion of scientism by citing bogus studies in support of policy. You're not going to win arguments with technocrats and progressives that way.

    Radiation limits should be raised. They should be raised not because LNT has been disproven (it hasn't been and it never will be), but because basing radiation limits on LNT would be bad policy even if LNT were true.

  • ||

    The basic idea of the EPA's LNT standard is that if submerging your head in 50 gallons of water for 10 minutes will kill you, then they must prevent even milliliter exposures for even a tenth of a second.

    That people DIE without water would be considered irrelevant under that standard -- all dihydrogen monoxide must go.

    Likewise, you get quite a bit of radiation exposure from sunlight on a sunny summer day. Using the LNT standard and considering that deliberately exposing people to radiation (outside of controlled medical uses) is a crime, you could be convicted of attempted murder of your children for taking them outside of the house on a sunny day.

  • atomdotgirl||

    Aw, those far-left pro-nuclear activists and their public health protection standards. There's money being left on the table, boys! We need more childhood leukemia and two-headed goats, y'all. Yeah, those wackos at EPA and their goofball cronies at the National Council on Radiation Protection, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and National Academy of Sciences. They say there is no safe level of radiation! What is up? They probably think the Earth is flat, too. In fact, the history of radiation protection is just 50 years of tightening the limits of allowable dose. You'd think maybe they'd studied human health effects or something, but really, while they spend OUR TAX DOLLARS promoting nuclear power, their whole scheme all along has been to inexorably steal profits from Southern Company and Duke Power and Exelon and them. Links to the various agencies' radiation protection standards can be found here: http://www.nuclearwatchsouth.o.....level.html

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement