Japan Needs to Avoid Russia's Mistake on Chernobyl
TUCSON, Ariz., June 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Japan's already reeling economy could be crushed by over-reaction to the Fukushima disaster, warns radiation scientist T.D. Luckey in the summer 2011 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. www.jpands.org/vol16no2/luckey.pdf
Japan should not repeat the mistake that Russia made in the tremendous unwarranted expense of its reaction to Chernobyl. As Mikhail Gorbachev understood too late, "The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl 20 years ago…was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later."
Japan should not act on the false presumption, shared by most of the world's press, that all radiation is harmful, Luckey states. Although high-dose radiation is clearly lethal, and excess doses (>200 mSv over an extremely short time, as from the atomic bomb blasts) can induce cancer, thousands of scientific papers show actual benefits from low doses, including the prevention of cancer and birth defects.
We live with chronic radiation deficiency, Luckey believes. The worldwide background dose of about 3 mSv per year is much less than the optimum dose of around 100 mSv per year; this is 100 times lower than the dose that divides healthful from harmful effects of excess radiation.
Chronic exposure of around 50 mSv per year for two decades in accidentally contaminated apartments in Taiwan was associated with only 3.5 cancer deaths per 1,000, compared with the 116 per 1,000 "normally" expected.
Cancer mortality in 7,430 survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who received between 10 and 19 mSv was significantly lower than that of controls.
At Fukushima there have been no cases of radiation sickness, and no deaths from radiation exposure. The feared cancer deaths are all theoretical ones, predicted for years in the future. Based on past experience, there will probably be fewer cancer deaths than "normal," Luckey concludes.
Japan should not imitate Russia in squandering billions of dollars to "protect" people from radiation that is actually beneficial. It should instead base its response on sound scientific data rather than unjustified fear.
SOURCE Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)