Disinformation by nuclear proponents tries to confuse public about effects of external and internal radiation

Published: April 25th, 2011 at 2:35 pm ET


Nuclear apologists play shoot the messenger on radiation, Helen Caldicott for The Age (Australia), April 26, 2011:

[Emphasis Added]

[…] Their [proponents of nuclear power] first piece of disinformation is to confuse the effects of external and internal radiation. The former is what populations were exposed to when atomic bombs were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Internal radiation, by contrast, emanates from radioactive elements that enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. Hazardous radioactive elements being released in the sea and air around Fukushima accumulate at each step of various food chains (for example, into algae, crustaceans, small fish, bigger fish, then humans; or soil, grass, cow’s meat and milk, then humans). Entering the body, these elements – called internal emitters – migrate to specific organs such as the thyroid, liver, bone, and brain, continuously irradiating small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years often induce cancer.

Further, many remain radioactive in the environment for long periods, posing danger for future generations.

The grave effects of internal emitters are of the most profound concern at Fukushima – as indeed they continue to be at Chernobyl. It is erroneous and misleading to use the term ”acceptable levels of external radiation” in assessing internal radiation doses. To do so is to propagate inaccuracies and to mislead the public worldwide and journalists who are seeking the truth about radiation’s hazards. […]

Read the article here.

Published: April 25th, 2011 at 2:35 pm ET


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15 comments to Disinformation by nuclear proponents tries to confuse public about effects of external and internal radiation

  • blue jay way

    as if using highly dangerous and radioactive subtances is safe to begin with.

    yes disinformation comes in a dizzying array of all shapes and sizes.

    how anybody can compare eating a banana to ingesting and/or coming into contact with dangerous radionuclides is beyond me.

  • tony wilson

    the wage bills of this nuclear industry has to be the biggest in the world..
    which clearly include bribes kick backs retainer consultancy fees etc.
    on bbc radio just had a very eminent scientist say well the problem with chernobyl was very complicated but we believe around 4000 deaths can be directly attributed to the accident.
    these people are money grasping psychopaths.




  • Percy

    UC Berkeley scientists are reporting as “effective” dose, which takes internal exposure into account. That is apparently the gold standard in the scientific literature. I haven’t found any hard data on the risks of “internal emitters” with regard to Fukushima. Admittedly, I haven’t looked very hard, but it seems as if there were hard data, Dr. Caldicott would be making reference to them. Has anyone else found any such data?

    • Arizonan

      There is a lot of information on calculating ‘effective dose’ (internal) from any radionuclide. See: http://www.llrc.org

    • mothra

      There are a lot of “effective dose” measures and just as many limits.
      DDE + CEDE = TEDE
      For example: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/radiation/radmat/tede7.pdf

      The EPA, FDA, DOE, ICRP, radiologists etc etc all have a limit. They’re all set to a morbidly high threshold of fatal cancer, as if all other well-documented ailments don’t count? It depends on whose limits and equivocations you choose. Personally, I’d like as close to zero as possible. I’d prefer my CEDE from ingested radionuclide contaminants not be compared to DDE like airline flights and bananas or suntans. We’re already at epidemic rates from other sources without Fuku. It’s prudent to say a lot of unsafe safety announcements were very premature. The latency period is 2-60 years after all and the situ is ongoing. Chernobyl is still experiencing their latency period – so are we here in the US. Here’s Chris Busby from ECRR to explain further:
      “I attach my “don’t panic” paper. However, since then I have re-thought this advice as the thing is still fissioning and releasing 10 to the fourteen becquerels a day. This will mean that Sr-90 [strontium 90] and Uranium and particulates will be building up in the USA and Europe. I will assess this later but for now I think it prudent to stop drinking milk. I also attach the particulates note.”

    • FYI

      Dr. Chivers from Berkeley discussed “effective dose” here:


      (Scroll down 2/3 of the page)

  • Northern Exposure

    The disinformation campaign of nuclear apologists comparing naturally occurring radionuclide external emitters vs. manmade radionuclide accumulated internal emitters is an absolute crime against humanity.

    Congratulations to Dr. Helen Caldicott for biting back with full force.

    You go girl !

  • Noah

    Sad News from Japan

    The toll of the 311 event hits home.

    We sadly received news last week that our friend who is married to a Japanese National, lost his baby to miscarriage. His wife had returned to Japan prior to 311 and lived with her family within the fallout zone as the baby developed.

    Among our circle of friends it is believed that the fallout bio-accumulating within the food chain as well as contaminated drinking water contributed to the death of the child.
    We have no autopsy or radiological data to confirm this belief.

    I support Dr. Helen Caldicotts position on internal emitters as quoted above.

    Internal Emitters/Ingestion has been the central focus of my concerns from day one of 311 and continues to be so.

    Comparative risk analysis used by the nuclear industry to justify its existence is based on the presumption of the existence of choice.

    What choice did my friends child have as radioactive particles accumulated in it’s tiny body?

  • xdrfox

    Take a moment to see this, We may not be here at our 25th year !

    Chornobyl widows mourn as bell tolls 25 times
    Victims claim neglect on 25th anniversary of world’s worst nuclear accident.

    Alexandra Prokopenko, 9, sits with her father Vitaly in Gromel, Belarus. She has hydrocephaly as a result of the Chornobyl nuclear accident.


  • mark V

    greenpeace.org is offline. Wouldn’t surprise if they come back censored…

  • xdrfox

    Scary stuff here : What you are not being told

    Why We Should Think Twice About Getting A CT Scan

  • Jack

    Thanx for posting this important type of info, Dr. Fox…
    I had to get a TSA irradiation at LAX last month…
    wonder how bad I got fried??