|The Week That Was
February 14, 2004
1. New on the Web: HEALTH EFFECTS OF LOW-LEVEL RADIATION ARE IGNORED - as documented by John Cameron
2. WHY LNT (LINEAR NO-THRESHOLD) CONTINUES TO DOMINATE RADIATION HEALTH PHYSICS
3. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HORMESIS?
4. EU CATFIGHT OVER KYOTO
7. CAN HYDRO BACK UP WIND POWER?
8. WIND POWER WINDED -IN DENMARK
9. FREE-MARKET MEDICINE - BY VOLTAIRE
2. LNT Hypothesis should not dominate radiation health physics
From Feb 12 testimony of Theodore Rockwell to National Research Council
SCIENCE PUBLISHED ONLY 3 LETTERS COMMENTING ON OUR EARLIER ARTICLE (SCIENCE.297:1997-99, 20 SEPT. 2002), WHICH DISCUSSED HEALTH HAZARDS FROM NUCLEAR RELEASES. ONE AGREED THAT THE INDIVIDUAL RADIATION DOSES [FROM A NUCLEAR RELEASE] WOULD BE SMALL, BUT ARGUED THAT THESE RISKS MUST BE MULTIPLIED BY THE LARGE EXPOSED POPULATION TO GET A DEATH TOTAL. BUT POPULATIONS DON'T GET CANCERS; ONLY INDIVIDUALS DO. IF NO INDIVIDUAL IS HARMED, THEN THE POPULATION IS NOT HARMED.
SEPP COMMENT: IF 1000 PEOPLE TAKE ONE ASPIRIN EACH, YOU DON'T GET ONE DEATH -EVEN THOUGH A PERSON SWALLOWING 1000 ASPIRINS WOUD PROBABLY DIE.
THIS LAST POINT IS CRUCIAL. THERE WOULD BE NO MEGADEATH PREDICTIONS WITHOUT
THIS PREMISE. IT IS INVALID FOR TWO REASONS:
Question: "UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) and others seem to be trying very hard to link thyroid cancer to I-131 radiation. Why?"
A response from inside DOE:
Worse, thousands of government employees who now enforce the LNT, promote
the ALARA ("as low as reasonably achievable") programs, force
design of new construction to limit doses to 100 mrem (500 to the rad
workers) would lose their jobs. This means more design effort, more concrete,
more rebar, thicker walls and floors, tremendous HVAC systems and huge
3. Whatever happened to Hormesis?
Among the first to take the Health Physics Society to the woodshed in my view was Marshall Brucer's 1990 "A Chronology of Nuclear Medicine". He was the first president of the Society of Nuclear Medicine. Brucer bewildered some in the HPS, but little was done in the way of self-reflection and analyses. It's a tough read but full of goodies.
It includes such facts as:
SEPP Comment: Wherehave we heard this story before? Climate scientists
and Global Warming?
4. EU catfight
Loyola de Palacio, the Spanish EU commissioner, responsible for energy
issues, has begun to throw doubts about the viability of the Kyoto Protocol
if Russia refuses to ratify.
Environment commissioner Margot Wallstroem has chastised her for this comment. "It is not helpful if colleagues start questioning [Kyoto]," she said.
EU Business, 30 January 2004
5. Climate stability control by CO2
6. Oil reserves at all-time high
According to the Club of Rome and Limits to Growth, we should have run
out of oil and most metals by now, with even coal in short supply. But
last year, oil reserves increased by 4% to 172 billion tons. [1 metric
tonne = 7.33 US barrels of oil] The new record stems from a re-evaluation
of Iranian reserves, which rose by 40% to 17.2 billion tons.
7. BPA launching service to back up wind power
In the new program, Bonneville Power Administration customers receive wind as if it were firm because BPA provides back-up hydropower when wind turbines are not generating. As an incentive for wind development, BPA allows customers to subtract the wind energy that BPA integrates from the total amount of energy the customers had contracted to buy from BPA.
In a move that could boost development of wind farms by private companies, the BPA said it would use the flexibility of its hydro system to back up wind power for its customers. The program is needed because wind resources are available only 30% of the time on average, which presents problems for utilities.
BPA expects the program to be self-funding. BPA will charge participating utilities a $4.50/MWh fee for all wind energy integrated into its system. A fee is necessary in part because BPA must hold sufficient generating capacity of its own to fully back up the wind resource.
In another option, BPA would offer a storage and shaping service for
utilities and other entities outside of its control area that buy wind
from a developer but do not want to manage the hour-to-hour variability
associated with wind output. BPA will take the wind power into its system
as it is produced and store it for a week. It will redeliver the wind
to the power purchaser a week later in flat peak and off-peak blocks at
a cost of $6/MWh.
8. Wind Power Winded -in Denmark
News from Denmark, the world's largest producer of wind turbines, informs that the government there is withdrawing the subsidies it had previously given to wind power. The new Danish government are in favour of cancelling 3 planned sea-based wind farms at a total value of 5 billion Danish Kroner. [1 $ ~ 6 Dkr]. Cancelling the sea-based wind farms, will save the Danish taxpayers 900 million Dkr per year.
The numerous wind turbines in Denmark have distorted the market for electricity and raised Danish electricity prices to one of the highest in the world. The minister of Business and industry, Bent Bendsen, is concerned about the social and industrial consequences if Denmark keeps building wind turbines as they have far exceeded the safety margin for such intermittent energy supplies. (This was brought home to Californians last year when their wind power investment proved unable to protect them from extensive power cuts).
The Danish producers of wind turbines are complaining it will seriously damage their exports due to the loss of economies of scale. Since the sea based wind farms will not receive subsidies, no more will be built. There are unconfirmed rumours that planned and existing land-based mills will also lose their subsidies within the year. Without those subsidies many mill owners could end up in financial difficulty. All these facts and rumours are having an adverse effect on the market for wind turbines. The shares for Vestas, the world's biggest manufacturer of wind turbines have been falling since last year, by more than 60%.
The basic problem with the wind turbine industry is that it is dependent on taxpayer subsidies, in other words - politics. Without political patronage, wind power could not justify itself in strictly economic terms. The industry has ridden the wave of that patronage for several years, the Danish company Vestas being the biggest beneficiary, but now reality is finally setting in - wind power is unreliable, very expensive, badly scars the landscape, and is only useful as a small supplementary source of power, nothing more. Vestas has sold turbines into Australia, but the sales were only made possible by the political actions of governments to appease the environmental lobby, not by natural market forces. (Investment analysis here <http://www.hemscott.co.uk/hstoday/eurofile/backgrounders/vestas_301001.htm> )
Judging by the slide in share prices, investors seem to have woken up from the Green daydream and taken a more realistic assessment of the potential - or lack of - of wind power. It may be a repeat of the dot.com phenomenon, share prices driven to unrealistic levels by political hype - only to fall sharply once investors took a reality check."
(Source: - J. van Tiggelen and Jyllandsposten, Denmark's leading
9. Free-market medicine?
The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures thedisease. (Voltaire)