alpha, Alzeheimer's, beta, EPA, gamma, half-life, high LET, ICRP, lifespan, longevity, Low LET Radiation, Martin Luther King, morbidity, mortality, NRC, nuclear energy, nuclear industry, nuclear power, Peace, Radiation protection, risk, US EPA, US NRC, weighting factors
If you don’t agree and you live in, or are a citizen of the USA, you better take notice and start preparing your comment to the EPA, deadline August 3rd. http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0689-0001
(We intend to provide additional info over the next 2 weeks. The NRC will announce possible updates soon, as well, for legal radioactive leakage and nuclear waste dumps. These are the opening rounds.)
In 2009, when he was 100 years old, Hans Erni’s Peace Mural was unveiled in Geneva. He was still going strong and painting from sunrise to sunset, in February 2014, at age 105. He was spunkier than ever, when last interviewed at the end of May. Should he have died at age 65 or 70, as ICRP radiation “protection” assumes, when giving a standard of 0.1 mSv? Should he have died even younger, with a less protective standard, as the nuclear lobby apparently wants? He was black-listed by the Swiss government from age 36 to 57. Imagine then if he had died at age 68? Or age 57? Should he have lost more years? Should the world not have benefitted from an additional thirty-seven plus years of his work? His sister only recently died at age 107. 
Those of us who have seen many people, like Hans Erni, who have continued to live happy, healthy lives and who are often more sane than younger people, will feel ripped off if we do not see our 100 years. R.I.P. We find assumptions by the radiation “protection” industry that people should or will die between age 65 and 70, utterly shocking. Many people, like Grandma Moses, are only getting started in their 70s and 80s.
Grandma Moses (1860-1961) at age 93. She started painting in her 70s, and lived to be 101 years old: She was very famous in her 90s: “During the 1950s, Grandma Moses’s exhibitions were so popular that they broke attendance records all over the world.” Had she died at age 65 or 70, there would have been no Grandma Moses paintings at all! 
The latest ICRP, 2007, which may be used for updating US Nuclear safety regulations expects everyone’s lifespan (including yours) to be about 65 to 70 years. It is important to note that with this in mind, they have standards which are comparatively protective. Although their total recommended maximum exposure is 1 mSv per year, for prolonged offsite exposures to long-lived radionuclides, such as occur with nuclear energy and related nuclear facilities, the recommended exposure rate is 0.1 mSv per year. The current US “standard” seems to sit someplace between 0.25 mSv and 1 mSv per year, depending on interpretation of the strangely written US law, which allows individual bodily organs more radiation than the body itself, and which allows for “variance”.
This ICRP lifespan assumption appears based on the world-wide average life-expectancy, but certainly not the average for the so-called more developed countries, which have nuclear power! Even in the poorer, “less-developed” countries, true lifespan seems to be masked by high infant and childhood mortality rate (and more recently AIDs). And, mortality rates are also connected to lack of sanitation. Epidemiology tells us that any improvements in longevity are mostly from plumbing, hygiene, and good nutrition, rather than medicine. In short, from public health. 123 countries in the world, have a higher life expectancy than age 70! Using this number of 65 to 70 years life expectancy for the US is farce. US life expectancy is indeed declining, but not yet this low! A self-fulfilling prophecy? Is this acceptable? Potential life expectancy and life span are also not necessarily the same! The oldest person, documented, in recent times was 122 years old ,or almost twice what the radiology experts want to give us! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_life_span
The ICRP’s 2007 standard states: “The Commission continues to recommend that, for compliance with dose limits and management of staff, the committed dose is assigned to the year in which the intake occurred… For workers, the committed dose is normally evaluated over the 50-year period following the intake. The commitment period of 50 years is a rounded value considered by the Commission to be the life expectancy of a young person entering the workforce. The committed effective dose from intakes is also used in prospective dose estimates for members of the public. In these cases a commitment period of 50 years is considered for adults. For infants and children the dose is evaluated to age 70 years (ICRP, 1996c)“. (ICRP, 2007, p. 303, Emphasis added).
However, with the nuclear industry in charge of the world, I personally hope not to live much longer, and see what is to come. It’s not all about longevity, as Martin Luther King observed the evening before his death at age 39, when speaking to the Memphis Sanitation workers, who were on strike for safer working conditions: “Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I’ve_Been_to_the_Mountaintop
Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964
Hans Erni was 20 years old when Dr. King was born! Grandma Moses was 69 when Dr. King was born – hadn’t even started painting, and yet died only 7 years before he did. Someone chose to shorten King’s life for him, as the nuclear lobby would like to do for us all!
Cropped from photo by Sjkorea81, CC-By-SA via wikimedia, original here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tombstone_for_Martin_Luther_King_%26_Coretta_Scott_King_at_MLK_Historic_Site_in_Atlanta.JPG
As advocates of peace and social justice, and opponents to the nuclear bombs, which are what made nuclear power plants necessary, Hans Erni and Dr. King had more in common than might be expected. And, their respective governments frowned upon them both.
It is not necessary to become sick and helpless in old age, as Hans Erni and many others show. Who will care for all of the sick and dying brought to us by the nuclear industry? Unless nuclear is stopped, the future looks grim indeed.
With nuclear power, the issue is not death alone (mortality) but an issue of morbidity (illness); of quality of life. Ionizing radiation is believed to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease-dementia, as well as other diseases – Who will care for these people? This a major social problem, not factored into the cost of nuclear energy. The cost of this risk will be socialized, through the taxpayer, and family caregivers. But, if there is another Chernobyl or Fukushima; and as radionuclides continue to accumulate in the environment, at some point, as in all great plagues there may not be enough caregivers or taxpayers. On Alzheimer’s and ionizing radiation see: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/alzheimers-disease-and-ionizing-radiation/
Although it turns out that the new ICRP standards are comparatively protective – for actually the individual recommended exposure is not really the “limit” of 1 mSv, but for ongoing offsite “chronic” exposures, it is at 0.3mSv per person, per year, and when the ongoing exposure involves long-lived radionuclides,”prolonged component from long-lived nuclides” (ICRP, 2007, p. 116), as is the case for nuclear facilities, then the recommended exposure is 0.1 mSv.
Within this 0.1 mSv are hidden weighting factors, which are generally less protective in the ICRP recommendations from 2007, compared to the ICRP from 1977. There are also weighting factors for whether it is low-LET radiation, such as gamma and beta, where there is generally conceded to be a linear non-threshold (LNT) risk – increasing exposure is increasing risk, or whether it is the even more dangerous high-LET alpha or neutron radiation, where the damage is more densely spaced and harder to repair. In short, more extreme. In fact, Hande et. al. (2005) have found that it is possible to identify the chromosomal damage from alpha radiation, as opposed to damage from gamma radiation: “Complex Chromosome Aberrations Persist in Individuals Many Years After Occupational Exposure to Densely Ionizing Radiation: An mFISH Study“, By M. Prakash Hande,Tamara V. Azizova, Ludmilla E. Burak, Valentin F. Khokhryakov, Charles R. Geard, and David J. Brenner, “Genes, Chromosomes & Cancer“, 44:1–9 (2005) http://www.columbia.edu/~djb3/papers/gcc1.pdf
This is the position of the National Academy of Sciences (BEIR) and of the ICRP (2007):
“In the preceding discussion and computations it has been assumed that, at low doses and at low dose rates, site-specific cancer risk from low-LET radiation is proportional to radiation dose, consistent with the LNT model. Thus, the possibility that there might be a threshold dose, below which there would be no radiation-related cancer risk, has been ignored. The LNT model is not universally accepted as biological truth, but rather, because we do not actually know what level of risk is associated with very-low-dose exposure, it is considered to be a prudent judgement for public policy aimed at avoiding unnecessary risk from exposure” (ICRP, 2007, p. 197, emphasis added) Regarding high LET, induced by alpha and neutron radiation: “Tissue and organ reactions resulting from exposure to high LET irradiation are similar to those from low LET exposure, but their frequency and severity are greater per unit absorbed dose of high LET irradiation. These differences are ex-pressed in terms of the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) for the effect under consideration. The RBE of high versus low LET radiation is defined as the ratio of absorbed doses of the reference low LET radiation and the high LET radiation that result in the same level of biological effect.” (ICRP, 2007, p. 167; emphasis our own)
Radioisotopes used in medicine tend to be as extremely short lived both within the body and the environment, as those by the nuclear industry are long-lived. Plutonium and Americium have half-lives in the body of 20 to 50 years, which means that it will take between 320 and 800 years to excrete most of that which bioaccumulates. That is the half-life for bodily excretion, and not for the element itself! That would be a long lifespan indeed! 800 years. This is said to exceed the life-span of humans, outside of some Biblical characters like Methusalah: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methuselah The number of years to reach 0.0015% of the original quantity is Half Life x 16.
References and Notes:
 R.I.P.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rest_in_peace
Hans Erni at 105: 105 and still going. Hans Erni is still working daily from sunrise to sunset. Article, including video. Although it is in (Swiss) German, in the video you can see how lively he still was in February, when he turned 105. http://www.srf.ch/unterhaltung/people/schweiz/hans-erni-wird-105
Amnesty International Interview with Hans Erni at age 104, where he discusses his life, beliefs and how his treatment by Switzerland is still painful to him. He notes that he was never a “party member”, because that inhibits the ability to think freely on one’s own. He maintains that the health of a society should not depend on “the money-making business”. He calls himself an Eidgenoss patriot. http://www.amnesty.ch/de/aktuell/magazin/2013-3/kultur_malerei-ich-war-nie-ein-parteigaenger Indeed he is an Eidgenoss – child of the original democratic Cantons, one of the earliest democracies, ca 1291, and of William Tell, a culture which contrasts sharply with the historically imperialist, banking cantons. It is hard to find information on his having been black-listed. It is also uncertain if Switzerland changed, or if Hans Erni changed, after the invasion of Hungary by Russia in 1956, made him see the true nature of the Russian Soviet regime. Though it took an additional 10 years for his “rehabilitation”, the Swiss are notoriously slow. The Swiss are oh so proud to claim Hans Erni now, just as they want to claim the peace-loving Amish and Mennonites, without mentioning that many Amish-Mennonites are the descendants of Swiss forced to flee Switzerland and who eventually arrived in the USA and Canada due to their religious beliefs, often after passing through Germany, the Netherlands, London and/or Ireland. Switzerland was known for its mercenary soldiers, the remnants of which are the Vatican’s Swiss Guards. Swiss industry made a killing arming Hitler, and the Banks faired very well, laundering gold for him into clean Swiss francs.
Interview a few years ago of Hans Erni in English http://youtu.be/B4tydVSIGHg
Other interviews can be found online in French and English, including at the link above for his 105 years in February 2014. There is an even more recent German article from the end of May 2014. In the English interview they fail to mention the many wars between cantons and that certain cities were very aggressive in conquering both their hinterlands and other cantons (e.g. Zurich and Berne). See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battles_of_the_Old_Swiss_Confederacy There was a short civil war in 1847. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonderbund_War The best example of peaceful Switzerland was Appenzell peacefully dividing into a Catholic (Appenzell Innerrhoden) and Protestant (Appenzell Ausserrhoden) half.
Erni is actually a name for the Native Irish, as well as the name for someone collecting alms in the Irish Catholic Church. Irish missionaries, such as St. Gall, were very important in Switzerland. Also, many Irish fled to the continent during various periods of English subjugation. So, the chances are good that either Hans Erni’s ancestors collected alms for the Catholic Church or that he is of Native Irish ancestry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaels
 “Grandma Moses, cropped from photo of “Grandma Moses donating her painting “Battle of Bennington” to Mrs. George Kuhner who accepts it for DAR.” 1953 Source Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c15888 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Grandma_Moses_NYWTS.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandma_Moses
 Source Library of Congress. New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c26559
“This photograph is a work for hire created prior to 1968 by a staff photographer at New York World-Telegram & Sun. It is part of a collection donated to the Library of Congress. Per the deed of gift, New York World-Telegram & Sun dedicated to the public all rights it held for the photographs in this collection upon its donation to the Library. Thus, there are no known restrictions on the usage of this photograph.” http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Martin_Luther_King_Jr_NYWTS.jpg
 “Diagnostic treatment involving technetium-99m will result in radiation exposure to technicians, patients, and passers-by. Typical quantities of technetium administered for immunoscintigraphy tests, such as SPECT tests, range from 400 to 1,100 MBq (11 to 30 mCi) (millicurie or mCi; and Mega-Becquerel or MBq) for adults. These doses result in radiation exposures to the patient around 10 mSv (1000 mrem), the equivalent of about 500 chest X-ray exposures. This level of radiation exposure carries a 1 in 1000 lifetime risk of developing a solid cancer or leukemia in the patient. The risk is higher in younger patients, and lower in older ones. Unlike a chest x-ray, the radiation source is inside the patient and will be carried around for a few days, exposing others to second-hand radiation. A spouse who stays constantly by the side of the patient through this time might receive one thousandth of patient’s radiation dose this way.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technetium-99m
As you see, ionizing radiation used in the medicine is also a problem. Although, in theory, some benefits should accrue to the patient, which is not the case for the nuclear power industry, in reality, with sophisticated ultrasound and MRI and other newer technologies, there is no real reason for the use of ionizing radiation in medicine, except, perhaps, for broken bones. Use of radionuclides in medicine today is largely unnecessary and criminal.