16 July 2012

Linear-No Threshold Theory (LNT) - What does it take to kill it off?

The sad death this year, of Dr. Bernard L. Cohen.

A couple of tasters from a man of conviction:

In a 1989 article titled “The Myth of Plutonium Toxicity,” Cohen famously challenged activist Ralph Nader: “I offered to eat as much plutonium as he would eat of caffeine, which my paper shows is comparably dangerous, or given reasonable TV coverage, to  personally  inhale  1,000  times  as much plutonium as he says would be fatal.”
Nader did not take up the challenge.

In a 2005 interview with RSO (Radiation Safety Officer) Magazine, Cohen recommended to the scientific community: “Don’t be enslaved to the linear-no threshold theory of radiation-induced cancer; it is almost certainly not valid and over-estimates the risks from low-level radiation. … As a nation, we are wasting tens of billions of dollars cleaning up little bits of radiation. The worst thing is that we are largely giving up on nuclear energy because of this.”


  1. Again, nuclear fanatics don't seem to understand that all they demonstrate with this issue is they're own fanaticism.

    Who in they're right mind would be stupid enough to ingest plutonium, or Caffiene or cyanide in these quantities? Only a madman would propose such a thing.

    there is a world of a difference between "voluntary risk" which for example we all take and must except when, say we drive a car, or fly in a plane. And "involuntary risk", where say, a drunk driver runs you down crossing the street, or the airline fails to maintain the plane and it falls out of the sky as a result.

    Nuclear energy represents "involuntary risk" while Cohen was trying to twist it into a debate on voluntary risk. Its the moral equivalent of a drunk driver trying to argue that because he's prepared to take the risks involved with driving home steaming drunk, we should all be prepared to take the risk of him running us over.


  2. The poverty that the Green fanatics wish to force on us is also an involuntary risk. I have no objection if they voluntarily wish to experience it, however.

  3. Too bad Bernard's main point is missed, even in this discussion. Linear-No Threshold Policy (LNT)is unrealistically over conservative and this hampers our ability to reduce dependence on carbon-based fuels and increase or even consider green nuclear options. The hazards (and documented deaths) coming from dependence on carbon-based fuels are not theoretical and are undeniable. Resistance to re-evaluate the LNT policy results in more deaths every day.