Wade Allison, Professor of Physics at Oxford University, argues that this public apprehension of anything nuclear, which was fostered during the Cold War, is not justifiable and, with the onset of climate change, nuclear radiation needs to be assessed in more realistic terms when difficult choices between power sources have to be made.
Professor Allison said: ‘Current environmental regulations that attempt to keep variations in radiation exposure to a fraction of the natural level are over-cautions by a factor of about 500 to 1000. This factor is unnecessary and unaffordable. In no other field is such a safety factor applied.’
In his lecture, ‘How dangerous is ionising radiation?’ given on 24 November 2006 as part of the mainstream Colloquium series in the Oxford Physics Department, he shows that in fact there is good evidence to demonstrate that life has evolved immunity to the dangers of radiation up to a certain threshold. Below this, any damage is completely repaired.
A value for this threshold may be determined from the health records of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for example. The existence of this threshold, or non-linearity as he describes it, is supported by data on the acute victims of Chernobyl, on laboratory experiments, on radon in homes, on the recovery of patients receiving radiotherapy – indeed, without this non-linearity, current radiotherapy treatment would not be effective.
Professor Allison argues that this threshold behaviour is the norm, describing, for example, how people recover completely from minor cuts and bruises, loss of blood, body temperature excursions and so on, up to a certain threshold. Nuclear radiation, or ionising radiation as he more correctly describes it, occurs naturally in the environment, and mankind has adapted to deal with it by developing repair mechanisms that prevent long-term damage.
Professor Allison said: ‘Members of the public tolerate radiation exposures for their own health which are 1000 times higher per day than those that are currently deemed barely acceptable in the environment per year. A far greater tolerance to radiation in the environment is needed if the health of the planet is to be treated with the same respect and judgment as personal health.’
Barbara Hott | alfa
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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