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Damn, Robt, why did you spoil your excellent response by calling Balter a nukesymp? He has been clear that his intention is to help the anti-nuke movement present its case tighter. He may be re-considering the anti-nuke position, I don't know, but please stop, brother in Christ, from dropping these little turds like nukesymp, chows, and wimmen in your generally well-informed, thoughtful writing.  
You are right that there are well-informed "experts" with up-to-date accessments of the perils of nukes, but as is normal the media bypasses them and goes for the flashy folks. What else is new? should the smart guys get flashier? I dunno
Bob Ogden

--- On Tue, 8/24/10, Robert Mann <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Robert Mann <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Chernobyl Effects Could Last Centuries
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 4:13 PM


Re: Chernobyl Effects Could Last
CenturiesM. Balter wrote:


I'm not sure what Robert means by mutations resulting
in congenital effects in 10-20 generations, since at most there have only been
1-2 human generations since the Chernobyl accident in
1986.


         This
was in response to the following exchange:


MB:

there is no reason at all yet to
conclude that there is any connection between radiation and the
effects seen.  The IPS article also refers repeatedly to
increases in various effects, but does not explain why
increases  in such things as birth defects or infant
mortality should be appearing now, so long after the accident, when
radiation exposures are decreasing if anything.  Only effects
with long latency periods like cancer would be expected to
increase.





RM:       
Mutations are the longest-lasting aftereffects of ionizing radiation. 
They are expected to emerge in congenital defects during 10 - 20
generations.




You see that I'd said "during 10 - 20 generations" 
-  nothing novel or unconventional about that period during which
recessive alleles are expected to get expressed.
 But now we have an attempt to insinuate that I'd suggested
these mutations would be expressed 'in' 10 - 20 generations, as if I'd
been saying they would not be showing up yet.


I merely ask list members to examine carefully that little
exchange.  The conclusion is pretty obvious to me.




After 4 decades of antinuclear activism, I know full well that my
'side' of this wrangle ('debate' is too decorous a term for it) is
largely populated by sloppy overenthusiastic ravers  - 
the only antinukes ever acknowledged by Michael.  But can he
possibly be unaware that the core of the antinuclear forces are
nothing of that sort?  Henry Kendall, Frank von Hippel, and many
other utterly respectable scientists have, for decades now, set forth
with zero sloppiness the several arguments which are never addressed
by nukesymps like MB.  I suspect he knows full well what they
are, but for any who don't, let me list just from memory (in approx
decr order of importance  -  but of course there's much
subjectivity in any such ordering):-


the 'safeguards problem' as it's called by experts  - 
diversion of fissile material from nuclear power systems to make
nuclear weapons


reactor accident hazards


reactor (& spent-fuel pool) sabotage hazards


spent-fuel mishaps in transport & at reprocessing


other hazards at other parts of the fuel "cycle"


the sheer unrenewability of U (& Th)


huge capital costs


decommissioning costs comparable to the capital costs


very wide range of reliability, some stations being out of action
for a year or more, or dropping off the grid far more often than
fuel-fired or geothermal steam-electric stations, tending to crash the
grid


high-level waste disposal {yes, I disagree with Greepneace etc on
the ranking for this one}


diversion of sc & eng'g talent into a blind alley instead of
working on renewables


infrastructure costs foisted onto govts i.e  all
citizens




Forgive me if this list is incomplete; it's just a reminder of
what MB wishes to call "old".


As for MB's insistence on making out that the antinuclear case
consists largely of  "old arguments that are no longer
working", this 'empirical' observation is at best
only a small part of a fair assessment.  If "no longer working"
is no more than a way of saying that several govts continue to do what
the nuclear trade wants, that is unfortunately accurate.  If on
the other hand it's intended as a way of saying that the "old"
arguments have somehow lost validity, why should we agree?  Just
because little notice has yet been taken by most govts of the
impeccable Kendall (etc) arguments, how does that affect their
validity ?


This is no mere spectator sport which one can affect to observe
without taking a moral position.  It remains one of the most
important hazards in the world.




RM




But it
does seem possible that the germ line of a very young female child
alive in 1986, or of a child in utero, or even of the child's mother
(mother more likely than father) could have been subject to a mutation
due to the accident, and that mutation is only now being expressed in
higher birth defect rates now that those children are of child-bearing
age. An interesting hypothesis, subject to
testing.


btw
the birth defect levels seen in the Pediatrics study seemed high
mainly in comparison to European averages, which is not saying much;
nearly all adverse health effects are higher in the former Soviet
Union than in Western Europe.


Finally, while Phil links to many interesting articles
in the alternative press, it seems to me that those dealing with
nuclear power are the sloppiest and take the most liberty with facts.
That's why it is so easy for me to pick them apart in this way, and I
find misinformation and errors in every one I take the time to look
at, mostly just by Googling--and I usually find errors within 5
minutes or less. I'm not sure why anti-nuke articles are so sloppily
written and researched, but it could be because they rely too heavily
on old arguments that are no longer working.


MB







On Sun, Aug 22, 2010 at 12:44 AM, Robert
Mann <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

M Balter wrote:


This article is very disappointing
because it cites no real solid evidence for its contentions, and does
not mention at all the possibility of confounding factors





        Those familiar with such
epidemiology would not need to be told that.
        But the general
public do.




"The findings are "not
definitive," Wertelecki said. A limitation of the study is that
it lacked information on pregnant women's actual radiation
absorption.





        Those data would be
difficult if not impossible to acquire, at this stage. 





It also lacked data on women's diets.  This is
important because the birth defects that were elevated in Rivne can
also result from fetal alcohol exposure or, in the case of neural tube
defects, a deficiency in the B vitamin folate early in pregnancy.





        This latter is
a sidelight, but having been involved for many y in trying to get
folate fortification in bread, I add that the main period when folate
deficiency can cause neural tube defects (mainly spina bifida) is
actually shortly before  conception.  This is not
particularly relevant to the current matter, but I want to slip in
this 'BTW'  ...






"In the Ukraine," Wertelecki said, "alcohol
is also a problem.  Malnutrition is also a problem."


It is not clear to what extent alcohol, folate deficiency
and low-dose radiation exposure may each explain the findings. It's
also quite possible, Wertelecki said, that all three factors work in
combination to raise the odds of congenital defects."




In other words, there is no reason at all yet to conclude
that there is any connection between radiation and the effects seen. 
The IPS article also refers repeatedly to increases in various
effects, but does not explain why increases  in such
things as birth defects or infant mortality should be appearing now,
so long after the accident, when radiation exposures are decreasing if
anything.  Only effects with long latency periods like cancer
would be expected to increase.





        Mutations are
the longest-lasting aftereffects of ionizing radiation.  They are
expected to emerge in congenital defects during 10 - 20
generations.




 And only careful epidemiological
studies with very strict controls can establish a cause and effect
relationship between Chernobyl and health effects.





        Can any
feasible study now meet those criteria in this case?  I doubt
it.


RM



http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52548



Chernobyl Effects Could Last Centuries



By Pavol Stracansky


KIEV, Aug 20, 2010 (IPS) - Almost 25 years after the
world's worst nuclear accident a series of new scientific studies have
suggested the effects of the Chernobyl disaster have been
underestimated.