Saturday, January 2, 2016

Collective Dose

You are not going to believe a concept that has guided our radiation-protection formulators for the past forty or fifty years. But, as my hero Dave Barry would say, "I am not making this up." It's called collective dose, and it works like this: If 100 aspirins are a fatal dose for an individual, then when 100 people take one aspirin each, they have had a "collective dose" of 100 aspirins - therefore one of them is going to die. This is the reason you see all these dead people scattered all over the landscape... aspirin COD (Collective Over Dose).

It is this exact concept that has governed regulators in developing the "collective dose" policy that, in tandem with the LNT theory, has contributed to the regulatory madness of the EPA and NRC.

Since I suspect you still must think I'm putting you on about "collective dose," allow me to refer to page 10 in this very large, impressive volume on my desk - The Health Physics and Radiological Health Handbook (Revised Edition) [Shielen, Bernard, ed., Scinta, Inc., Silver Spring, MD 1992.] It shows the "Global Collective Dose" of carbon-14 released by the nuclear power industry to be 18,000 "person-Sieverts" - a collective dose measurement unit. What does that mean? It tells us that of the 6 billion people on earth exposed to these airborne emissions, 4.5 of them will die from the effects of carbon-14 emitted from nuclear power plants. How have we learned about these tragic deaths? Well, we know (from collective dose theory) that 4,000 person-Sieverts causes one excess death. So somewhere, some four and a half people on our terrestrial ball are going to die from this carbon-14 released from more than 440 power reactors.

Gee, could that be what did my grandmother in?

The average exposure here is less than 0.00003 SXR - an infinitesimally small amount, equivalent to a few minutes of normal background radiation. Yet, we are told that we should have faith in this unproven and unprovable theory - and to spend millions of our tax (or utility bill) dollars to save these 4.5 unfortunates who would otherwise be keeling over from this blast of searing radiation.