The ten biggest nuclear weapons tests (from 50 megatons down to 10.4 megatons yield), and Project Orion - the nuclear explosion powered spacecraft
Above: on 30 October 1961, the 50 Mt RDS-220 or Tsar Bomba, the world's highest yield nuclear weapon test, 8.0 m long, 2.1 m diameter and weighing 26 tons, was dropped with parachute retarded fall from a Tu-95 Bear bomber flying at an altitude of 10.5 km. (These precise bomb size details were published in: V. N. Mikhailov, et al., USSR Nuclear Tests, vol. 2, Technology of Nuclear Tests, Begell-Atom, 1999, pp. 82–84.) It exploded at an altitude of 3.9 km some 188 seconds after being dropped, at 73.85 degrees north, 54.50 degrees east.
In the film you can see the fireball expanding spherically until the shock wave bounces off the ground and back up into the fireball, flattening the bottom of the fireball and pushing it upwards ahead of the usual slow development of buoyant toroidal rise. Windows were partially broken (cracked) by the high altitude refraction and focussing of the shock wave out to distances of 900 km. When the detonation was triggered at the correct altitude, the white-painted Tu-95 and accompanying Tu-16 photographic aircraft were both 45 kilometres from the bomb.
The film stills above show the laboratory work in putting together TSAR BOMBA. You can see the boosted fission primary sits in the nose: fission of the material in the primary gave a total yield of about 1 megaton, with the other 49 megatons coming from clean nuclear fusion. The lithium deuteride fusion capsules were encased in lead instead of natural uranium, to keep the fission yield low. X-rays were channeled from the boosted fission primary to the fusion capsules inside the thick casing. Notice that you can see how thick the casing is from some photos of the nose cone of the bomb being fitted over the boosted fission primary.
The usual claims about retina eye burns and 3rd degree skin burns occurring out to vast distances for a 50 or 100 Mt bomb is a massive exaggeration, neglecting both the attenuation due to the atmosphere and the fact that the very long thermal pulse for a large weapon is very ineffective in causing burns (you have many, many seconds to take evasive action, and anyway even if you don't, a lot more thermal radiation is needed to cause a specific burn than for a low yield weapon, because the temperature rise in the skin is reduced due to the increased duration that the energy is distributed over, which allows cooling mechanisms like reradiation and blood circulation to deeper tissues, to mitigate damage).
(1) 50 Mt*, 30 Oct 1961 USSR clean 2-3 % fission air burst at 3,900 m altitude over Novaya Zemlya. (100 Mt design with U-238 pusher replaced by lead to reduce fission yield from 50% to 2.5% and total yield from 100 Mt to 50 Mt.)
(2) 24.2 Mt, 24 Dec 1962 USSR air burst at 3,750 m altitude dropped from Tu-95 (carried externally) over Novaya Zemlya. (50 Mt design with U-238 pusher replaced by lead to reduce fission yield from 50% to 2.5% and total yield from 50 Mt to 24 Mt.)
(3) 21.1 Mt, 5 Aug 1962 USSR air burst at 3,600 m altitude over Novaya Zemlya
(4) 20 Mt, 27 Sep 1962 USSR air burst at 3,900 m altitude over Novaya Zemlya
(5) 19.1 Mt, 25 Sep 1962 USSR air burst at 4,090 m altitude over Novaya Zemlya
(6) 14.8 Mt, 28 Feb 1954 US Castle-Bravo 67 % fission reef surface burst on the northern reef at Bikini Atoll
(7) 13.5 Mt, 4 May 1954 US Castle-Yankee 52 % fission water surface burst on barge over Bikini Lagoon
(8) 12.5 Mt, 23 Oct 1961 USSR air burst at 3,500 m altitude over Novaya Zemlya
(9) 11 Mt, 26 Mar 1954 US Castle-Romeo 64 % fission water surface burst on barge in Bikini Lagoon
(10) 10.4 Mt, 31 Oct 1952 US Ivy-Mike Elugelab Island surface burst, Eniwetok Atoll**. Mike was an 82 ton liquid deuterium device, the first full scale test of the Teller-Ulam staged radiation implosion principle, using a boosted fission primary bomb and a physically separate fusion stage (a Dewar vacuum flash filled with deuterium and surrounded by a 5-ton natural uranium pusher). The outer steel casing was 2 metres wide and 6.1 metres high, with walls 30 cm thick. The inside surface of the casing was lined with lead and polyethylene, forming a conduit from the primary to the secondary.
Above: IVY-MIKE fireball to cloud transition photo sequence (30 seconds, 2 minutes, 10 minutes and 20 minutes).
Above: ‘Operation Ivy’, produced by the U.S. Air Force Lookout Mountain Laboratory, Hollywood, California for the U.S. Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, and presented very impressively by Western cowboy film star Reed Radley: ‘You have a grand stand seat here to one of the most momentous events in the history of science. In less than a minute you will see the most powerful explosion ever witnessed by human eyes. The blast will come up on the horizon just about there, and this is the significance of the moment: this is the first full-scale test of a hydrogen device. If the reaction goes, we’re in the thermonuclear era. For the sake of all of us, and for the sake of our country, I know you’ll join me in wishing this expedition well.’
* Close-in Russian data gave a yield of 50 Mt. Long-range Western micro-barographs suggested 56 and 58 Mt based on the peak overpressure and duration of the distant blast wave, when it had become a gravity wave-type disturbance in the atmosphere, but no burst altitude data was available, and close-in data are more accurate.
Information from Wikipedia relating to clean weapons and their eventual deployment for low yield tactical 'neutron bombs': In 1956, President Eisenhower announced the testing of a 95% 'clean' (2-stage) fusion weapon, later identified to have been the 11 July Navajo test at Bikini Atoll during Operation Redwing. This weapon had a 4.5 megatons yield. Previous 'dirty' weapons had fission proportions of 50-77%, due to the use of uranium-238 as a 'pusher' around the lithium deuteride (secondary) stage. (The fusion neutrons have energies of up to 14.1 MeV, well exceeding the 1.1 MeV 'fission threshold' for U-238.) The 1956 'clean' tests used a lead pusher, while in 1958 a tungsten carbide pusher was employed. Hans A. Bethe supported clean nuclear weapons in 1958 as Chairman of a Presidential science advisory group on nuclear testing:
'... certain hard targets require ground bursts, such as airfield runways if it is desired to make a crater, railroad yards if severe destruction of tracks is to be accomplished... The use of clean weapons in strategic situations may be indicated in order to protect the local population.' (Dr Hans Bethe, 27 March 1958 Top Secret - Restricted Data Report to the NSC Ad Hoc Working Group on the Technical Feasibility of a Cessation of Nuclear Testing (Bethe was the Working Group Chairman, page 9).
In consequence of Bethe's recommendations, on 12 July 1958, the Hardtack-Poplar shot on a barge in the lagoon yielded 9.3 megatons, of which only 4.8% was fission. It was 95.2% clean. It was the clean Mk-41C warhead. Cohen in 1958 investigated a low-yield 'clean' nuclear weapon and discovered that the 'clean' bomb case thickness scales as the cube-root of yield. So a larger percentage of neutrons escapes from a small detonation, due to the thinner case required to reflect back X-rays during the secondard stage (fusion) ignition. For example, a 1-kiloton bomb would need to have a case only 1/10th the thickness of that for 1-megaton. This means that although most of the neutrons are absorbed by the outer casing in a 1-megaton bomb, in a 1-kiloton bomb they would mostly escape. A neutron bomb is only feasible if the yield is sufficiently high that efficient fusion stage ignition is possible, and if the yield is low enough that the case thickness will not absorb too many neutrons. This means that neutron bombs have a yield range of 1-10 kilotons, with fission proportion varying from 50% at 1-kiloton to 25% at 10-kilotons (all of which comes from the primary stage). The neutron output per kiloton is then approximately 10-15 times greater than for a pure fission implosion weapon or a standard (high yield) strategic warhead like a W87 or W88.
In 1981, the Christian Science Monitor reported that there "are 19,500 tanks in the Soviet-controlled forces of the Warsaw Pact aimed at Western Europe. Of these, 12,500 are Soviet tanks in Soviet units. NATO has 7,000 tanks on its side facing the 19,500." (Joseph C. Harsch, 'Neutron Bomb: Why It Worries The Russians,' Christian Science Monitor, August 14, 1981, p. 1.)
Cohen's neutron bomb is not mentioned in the unclassified manual by Glasstone and Dolan, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons 1957-77, but is included as an 'enhanced neutron weapon' in chapter 5 of the declassified (formerly secret) manual edited by Philip J. Dolan, Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, U.S. Department of Defense, effects manual DNA-EM-1, updated 1981 (U.S. Freedom of Information Act).
Provided that the weapon was not used in a thunderstorm, no fallout effects would occur from the use of a neutron bomb according to that manual, as the combination of 500 m burst altitude and low yield prevents fallout in addition to significant thermal and blast effects. The reduction in damage outside the target area is a major advantage of such a weapon to deter massed tank invasions. An aggressor would thus be forced to disperse tanks, which would make them easier to destroy by simple hand-held anti-tank missile launchers.
** http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/nuclear/tests/multimegtests.html states this test had a fission yield of 60 % whereas http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Ivy.html states it was 77 %. I can add some comments to this issue. In the published U.S. Congressional Hearings of June 22-26, 1959, tables of data were presented showing the fission yields from all American and British tests, which the Americans had monitored (for Russian tests, the tables did not present fission yields but merely assumed 50 % of the total yield was from fission). Those tables showed that America detonated 15 Mt of fission in land surface bursts from 1952-54, i.e., the fission yield of Ivy-Mike and Castle-Bravo together was 15 Mt. Plenty of reports show that the fission yield of Castle-Bravo was known by 1956 to be 10 Mt, hence you can deduce a fission yield for Ivy-Mike of 5 Mt, or 48 %. However, other declassified data, for example the measured upwind fallout pattern for Ivy-Mike, suggests that the 77 % fission yield may be correct.
http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Russia/TsarBomba.html wrongly states that the 57 Mt yield estimate was based on Western fallout analyses, which is false (although fallout analysis did imply a 2-3 % fission yield, i.e. the bomb was 97-98% clean). The total yield 57 Mt estimate came from rough measurements using micro-barographs to see the long range pressure and its duration, which are not as accurate as the Russian close-in blast data which indicated a yield of 50 Mt.
Above: TSAR BOMBA replica, photo credit Wikipedia.
Above: American toroidal fireball nuclear test films.
Above: British toroidal fireball nuclear test films (Christmas and Malden Islands, Pacific).
Above: Professor Freeman Dyson and Sir Arthur C. Clarke supporting the nuclear bomb powered spacecraft, Project Orion, the only economic practical way for human beings to holiday on Mars. (Excerpt from BBC's To Mars by A-Bomb (2003), with footage of the tests and comments by Arthur Clarke and Freeman Dyson.) The Orion spacecraft has a large thick steel pusher plate connected via hydraulic dampers to the crew accommodation. A series of nuclear explosions is detonated below the pusher plate, which shields the crew from nuclear radiation and recoils upwards when ablated by X-rays. The impulses from nuclear weapon explosions efficiently accelerate the spacecraft to high speed. It would have been launched to Mars from the Nevada nuclear test site, using relatively clean low fission yield detonations for the first few minutes (to minimise the EMP, air blast and fallout effects on Earth), and then larger detonations when a safe distance away. Project Orion was headed by Los Alamos nuclear weapons designer Dr Theodore Taylor, who developed many nuclear weapons (Scorpion, Wasp, Bee, Hornet Nevada tests, and the 500 kt pure fission implosion bomb tested as the IVY-KING shot in 1952). (The idea of utilizing explosions for work is not so crazy as it sounds, when you remember that the internal combustion engine doesn't 'burn' gasoline, it explodes it in a controlled way within the cylinder after mixing fuel with air and compressing the resulting mixture, and the engine converts the impulsive force of the explosion into useful work energy done against the piston to produce motion. Maybe a massive version of such a piston-in-cylinder engine could utilize recoil forces caused by thermonuclear explosions, which are more cost-efficient for releasing energy than the operation of a nuclear reactor to generate steam to power turbines.)
There were several other nuclear rocket systems as alternatives to Orion, although Orion is by far the best. One alternative was Project Thunderwell, the steam accelerated Jules Verne capsule, which was suggested by the speed of at least 6 times earth's escape velocity, achieved by the 10-cm thick, 1.2 m diameter steel cover blown off the top of the 152 m shaft of the 0.3 kt Plumbbob-Pascal B underground Nevada test on 27 August 1957. In that test, a 1.5 m thick 2 ton concrete plug immediately over the bomb was pushed up the shaft by the detonation, knocking the welded steel lid upward. This was a preliminary experiment by Dr Robert Brownlee which ultimately aimed to launch spacecraft using the steam pressure from deep shafts filled with water, with a nuclear explosion at the bottom; an improvement of Jules Verne's cannon-fired projectile described in De la Terre à la Lune, 1865, where steam pressure would give a more survivable gentle acceleration than Verne's direct impulse from an explosion. Some 90% of the radioactivity would be trapped underground. Like Project Orion, Project Thunderwell was cancelled for pseudoscientific (political) reasons after the nuclear test ban treaty was signed.
Another nuclear rocket system was simply to use a bare, uncluttered nuclear reactor core to directly heat hydrogen gas to high temperature and then expel it from an exhaust nozzle in lieu of burning it with oxygen. This was NASA's Kiwi rocket, which was extensively tested (producing a lot of radioactivity in the atmosphere) but, you guessed it, never deployed! The advantage of it is that you need to carry less fuel, because you're not burning hydrogen, you're just ejecting it to get a recoil by Newton's 3rd law of motion, and by ejecting it at high speed (fast hydrogen molecules) due to nuclear reactor heating, it can be more efficient than a conventional rocket engine.
There should be a note here about how unnatural radioactive pollution is (not) in space: the earth's atmosphere is a radiation shield equivalent to being protected behind a layer of water 10 metres thick. This reduces the cosmic background radiation by a factor of 100 of what it would be without the earth's atmosphere. Away from the largely uninhabited poles, the Earth's magnetic field also protects us against charged cosmic radiations, which are deflected and end up spiralling around the magnetic field at high altitude, in the Van Allen trapped radiation belts. On the Moon, for example, there is no atmosphere or significant magnetic field so the natural background radiation exposure rate at solar minimum is 1 milliRoentgen per hour (about 10 microSieverts/hour) some 100 times that on the Earth (0.010 milliRoentgen per hour or about 0.10 microSieverts/hour). The Apollo astronauts visiting the Moon wore dosimeters and they received an average of 275 milliRoentgens (about 2.75 milliSieverts) of radiation (well over a year's exposure to natural background at sea level) in over just 19.5 days. It is a lot more than that during a solar flare, which is one of the concerns for astronauts to avoid (micrometeorites are another concern in a soft spacesuit).
The higher up you are above sea level, the less of the atmosphere there is between you and space, so the less shielding you have to protect you from the intense cosmic space radiations (emitted by thermonuclear reactors we call 'stars', as well as distant supernovae explosions). At sea level, the air above you constitutes a radiation shield of 10 tons per square metre or the equivalent of having a 10 metres thick water shield between you and outer space. As you go up a mountain or up in an aircraft, the amount of atmosphere between you and space decreases, thus radiation levels increase with altitude because there is less shielding. The normal background radiation exposure rate shoots up by a factor of 20, from 0.010 to 0.20 milliRoentgens per hour, when any airplane ascends from sea level to 36,000 feet cruising altitude. (The now obsolete British Concorde supersonic transport used to maintain radiation-monitoring equipment so that it could drop to lower-altitude flight routes if excessive cosmic radiation due to solar storms were detected.) Flight aircrew get more radiation exposure than many nuclear industry workers at nuclear power plants. Residents of the high altitude city of Denver get 100 milliRoentgens (about 1 milliSievert) more annual exposure than a resident of Washington, D.C., but the mainstream anti-radiation cranks don't campaign for the city to be shut to save kids radiation exposure, for mountain climbing to be banned, etc.!
The point I'm making here, for the Green Warriors, is that a nuclear-powered rocket won't be a horrible unnatural thing polluting nice pristine non-radioactive 'clean' outer space with horrible human produced radioactive waste: the universe is full of nuclear reactors (called stars purely for reasons of political expediency) and unending nuclear explosions (called supernovae purely for reasons of political expediency). Live with it!
Above: Carl Sagan talking about Project Orion, which could be built today with existing technology if there was not insane groupthink about nuclear test effects. Dr Theodore Taylor gives the full technical details in John McPhee's book The Curve of Binding Energy, 1974. Cosmic radiation is 100 times higher in space than on the Earth's surface. The EMP and fallout effects could be suppressed by clean weapons designs with thick casings to absorb prompt gamma radiations (see blog posts here, here, here, and here).
Summary of Project Orion from Dr Taylor:
Project Orion began in 1958 when nuclear weapons designer Dr Theodore B. Taylor moved to General Atomic to design a nuclear bomb powered spaceship, sponsored by the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency. It would travel directly (in a straight line!) and quickly to Mars using 2,000 nuclear bombs, carrying 150 people and attaining a top speed of 45 km/second. The travel time would be 3 months for the minimum distance to Mars of 56 million km and 6 months for the maximum Mars-Earth distance of 101 million km. In 1959 the stability of the entire system was completely proved in a scaled-down demonstration test which impressed Dr von Braun so much that he supported Project Orion after seeing the demonstration film.
Above: blueprints for the nuclear rockets from R. S. Cooper, "Nuclear propulsion for space vehicles", Annual Review of Nuclear Science, v18, 1968, pp. 203-228. To resist the high temperatures, metals like tungsten (which has a very high melting point) are preferred to steel for the surface of the pusher. Graphite in a thin layer of droplets can be sprayed on to the pusher plate by retractable jet nozzle located within the central hole in the pusher plate. More advanced designs use a concave shaped pusher which detonates the bomb at the focus, to utilize a larger fraction of the case shock and X-ray ablative recoil energy. Project Orion was first proposed by Dr Stanislaw Ulam, of Teller-Ulam fame. It was developed by Dr Theodore Taylor at General Atomic.
Dr Taylor says in The Curve of Binding Energy (by McPhee) that the idea stemmed from the 15.2 kt REDWING-INCA nuclear test on June 26, 1956, where 30 cm diameter carbon-coated steel balls were placed 9 metres from the bomb by researcher Lew Allen, and were undamaged with only a loss of 0.1 mm of surface graphite! This gave rise to the design of the 75 ton, 41 metre diameter carbon-coated steel base pusher plate in the 76 metres high Project Orion spacecraft, where the base pusher plate is connected by hydraulic shock absorbers to the crew compartment. The steel plate acts as a radiation shield as well as ablative recoil mechanism to get propulsion: after each bomb was fired, oil would be sprayed on the plate to give it a carbon coating. The dynamics of X-ray ablation are well established in nuclear weapons design because this mechanism is what is used to cause the fusion stage in a bomb to explode: X-rays from the fission stage are channelled to the fusion stage, ablating the surface which causes a compression by recoil (Newton's 3rd law).
The nuclear test fireball experiments of Project 5.4 during Operation TEAPOT in Nevada, 1955, Project 5.9 of Operation REDWING at Bikini Atoll and Eniwetok Atoll in 1956, and then Project 8.3b of Operation PLUMBBOB in Nevada, 1957 proved that objects like steel spheres in the fireball only suffered a tiny amount of surface scarring because the thermal pulse just ablates a microscopic thickness of the surface, causing a recoil force. Actually, this kind of thin layer ablation had first been noted back on the TRINITY test of July 16, 1945:
‘The measured total radiation at [9.1-km] from the centre was 0.29 calories/cm2 ... Examination of the specimen exposed at [975 m] shows ... the charred layer does not appear to be thicker than 1/10 millimetre.... scorching of the fir lumber used to support signal wires extended out to about [1.9 km] ... the risk of fire due to the radiation ... is likely to be much less than the risk of fire from causes existing in the buildings at the time of explosion.’
– W. G. Marley and F. Reines, July 16th Nuclear Explosion: Incendiary Effects of Radiation, Los Alamos report LA-364, October 1945, originally Secret, pp. 5-6.
Dr Taylor explained that the first nuclear bomb to start ascent would only need to be 0.1 kt, the next a second later would be 0.2 kt, and so on up to bomb number 50 which would be 20 kt, by which time a total of 200 kt would have been detonated, and the spacecraft would then be in space without having caused any significant EMP or fallout damaging effects on the Earth compared to natural background radiation. There would be no radioactive trail left in space behind such a nuclear pulse rocket because the debris expands at a rate faster than the excape velocity of the solar system. The pusher plate would not be severely heated or damaged because of the 10 nanosecond duration of the ablative X-ray impulse from a nuclear explosion 60 metres away, which only ablates the surface layer (such as the layer of carbon rick grease sprayed on the pusher plate automatically after each detonation). Remember that in an automobile engine, the temperature attained by the exploding gasoline and air mixture is much higher than the melting point of the steel pistons and cylinders, but the latter don't melt because the duration of each explosion is too brief to heat up the material to that temperature, so the residual heat after expansion doesn't penetrate and destroy the piston and cylinder, but rapidly cools and ends up as warm exhaust gas!
“Observations of the remains of towers and shielding material after detonation at several ground zeros indicate that large masses of material are not vaporized. Observations of the residue of the Smoky tower [44 kt bomb atop a 700 foot high steel tower] indicated that a very significant portion of that tower remained, including the upper 200 feet of steel. Another example similar to Shot Smoky was Shot Apple II [29 kt atop a 500 ft steel tower], Teapot Series. Even though the total yield of Shot Apple II was about [29 kt], the floor of the cab [housing the nuclear bomb itself, at the top of the tower] and the main tower support columns remained intact. The results of the Shot Fizeau [11 kt atop a 500 ft steel tower] tower melt studies (W. K. Dolen and A. D. Thornborough, Fitzeau Tower Melt Studies, Sandia report SC-4185, 1958, Secret) show that about 85 percent of tower material was accounted for after the detonation and that only the upper 50 feet of tower was vaporized. No melting occurred beyond 175 feet from the top of the tower although the fireball theoretically engulfed more than 400 feet of the tower.”
- Dr Kermit H. Larson, et al., Distribution, Characteristics, and Biotic Availability of Fallout, Operation Plumbbob, weapon test report WT-1488, ADA077509, July 1966, page 59.
J. E. Kester and R. B. Ferguson report in Operation Teapot, Project 5.4, Evaluation of Fireball Lethality Using Basic Missile Structures, WT-1134 (originally Secret – Restricted Data), AD0340137, that within the 23 kt Teapot-Met (Nevada, 15 April 1955, 400 ft steel bomb tower) although the bomb test steel tower was blown down, it was not vaporized and much survived despite having been engulfed by the fireball itself, as stated on page 30:
“... nearly 225 feet of the main support members of the shot tower were still intact and laid out radially from their original position.”
Page 116 of WT-1134 states that after the 2 kt Moth shot atop a 300 foot triangular tower on 22 February 1955: “The three tower legs were laid out approximately radially from their pre-shot positions. The longest tower leg found was about 200 ft long. The other two legs appeared to be about 150 ft long. All three guy cables were still attached ... A few large pieces of the tower, about 20 to 30-ft long, were strewn to ranges of about 200 feet.” It adds that after the 7 kt Tesla shot atop a 300 ft square tower on 1 March 1955: “the four tower legs ... were laid out radially from their original position ... The tower legs remained intact to lengths of about 125 feet. All four guy cables were still attached ...” The 43 kt Turk nuclear test was fired atop a 500 ft square tower, leaving 100 ft lengths of tower lengths on the ground (page 118). The 8 kt Bee shot atop a 500 ft tower failed to even knock down most of the tower (pages 120-1): “A large portion of this tower was still standing after the shot. ... It is estimated that at least 150 feet of the tower was essentially undamaged and standing erect with an additional 50 to 75 feet of the tower slightly melted and drooped over at the top.” The 14 kt Apple 1 shot atop a 500 ft square tower results (page 121): “The main support members of the shot tower still remained to lengths of about 150 feet with the top 25 to 50 feet being crushed and split ... Some of the legs remained attached to the base.” The 23 kt Met shot was atop a 400 ft square tower (pages 123-4): “About 225 feet of the tower legs were still intact with the top 25 to 50 feet being crushed, split and slightly melted ....”
Above: color photo shows the lower 200 feet surviving from the 300 ft steel tower of the 0.2 kt Ruth nuclear test in Nevada on 31 March 1953. The black and white photographs are from the 23 kt Teapot-Met nuclear explosion (Nevada, 15 April 1955) ablation tests by J. E. Kester and R. B. Ferguson, Operation Teapot, Project 5.4, Evaluation of Fireball Lethality Using Basic Missile Structures, WT-1134 (Secret – Restricted Data), AD0340137, which showed that at just 80 feet only the outer 0.4 inch of steel balls was ablated by the fireball.
The error in the popular myth that everything is vaporized in the fireball is that the cooling rate of the fireball is so great that there is literally not enough time for the heat to penetrate more than a thin surface layer before the temperature drops below melting point. Good heat conductors like steel are protected by ablation. A very thin surface layer of the material is vaporized, protecting the underlying material, just as occurs with thermal radiation striking wooden houses (Glasstone and Dolan, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons):
J. C. Nance, 'Nuclear Pulse Propulsion', IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, February 1965, p. 177.
T. W. Reynolds, 'Effective Specific Impulse of External Nuclear Pulse Propulsion Systems', Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, October 1973, p. 629.
‘The President put his name on the plaque Armstrong and Aldrin left on the moon and he telephoned them while they were there, but he cut America’s space budget to the smallest total since John Glenn orbited the Earth. The Vice-President says on to Mars by 1985, but we won’t make it by “stretching out” our effort. Perhaps NASA was too successful with Apollo. It violated the “Catt Concept”, enunciated by Britisher Ivor Catt. According to Catt, the most secure project is the unsuccessful one, because it lasts the longest.’
- Robert P. Crossley, Editorial, Popular Mechanics, Vol. 133, No. 5, May 1970, p. 14.
E.g., compare the Apollo project with the Vietnam war for price, length and success. Both were initially backed by Kennedy and Johnson as challenges to Communist space technology and subversion, respectively. The Vietnam war – the unsuccessful project – sucked in the cash for longer, which closed down the successful space exploration project!
Above: neutron bomb supporter Dr Edward Teller of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory stated in the San Francisco KQED-TV television Fallout and Disarmament debate with Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling on 20 February 1958:
“I believe that the second world war was brought on by a race in disarmament. The peace-loving nations disarmed, and when the Hitler tyranny armed inertia was too great ... he got away with his army and he almost conquered the world. ... If there is war, if the terrible catastrophe befalls us, then next we must try to keep that war as small as possible, and at the same time we must try to be sure that no more people will unwillingly be subjected to the Russian yoke. ... If such should happen, then it would be of great importance that these weapons should do as little damage in human life as possible. If a war of this kind has to be fought, then the danger from radioactivity will be very great indeed. ... there should not be unnecessary, uncontrollable radioactive dust – radioactive contamination, which would kill friend and foe alike. ... It is even possible, to my mind, that there is no damage; and there is the possibility, furthermore that very small amounts of radioactivity are helpful. ...
“Here is a recent quotation from Nature - the British publication. This says that due to our wearing tight clothes, and due to the increased temperature of the sperm plasm, to the organs which make our sperm, there will be an increase in mutations. Then it goes on to say that since our modes of dress have been predominant for several centuries, it might explain almost half the present load of spontaneous mutations. So we see how modes of dress, based chiefly on sexual taboos, might present genetic hazards one hundred to one thousand times greater that those estimated from different sources of radiation. ... even in the terrible event of war, I believe that in this war, if it were fought with the highly flexible and highly mobile nuclear weapons, it would not be necessary to take so many young people away from their homes. I do not believe, if we can localize wars, that the casualties need be very great.”
Now should the public be informed about positive research reports on radiation such as the following report? Or do we suppress it? Do we cover-up evidence which doesn't fit the popular media "radiation is bad" ideology?
W. L. Chen, Y. C. Luan, M. C. Shieh, S. T. Chen, H. T. Kung, K. L. Soong, Y. C. Yeh, T. S. Chou, S. H. Mong, J. T. Wu, C. P. Sun, W. P. Deng, M. F. Wu, and M. L. Shen, ‘Is Chronic Radiation an Effective Prophylaxis Against Cancer?’, published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 2004, pp. 6-10:
"An extraordinary incident occurred 20 years ago in Taiwan. Recycled steel, accidentally contaminated with cobalt-60 ([low dose rate, gamma radiation emitter] half-life: 5.3 y), was formed into construction steel for more than 180 buildings, which 10,000 persons occupied for 9 to 20 years. They unknowingly received radiation doses that averaged 0.4 Sv, a collective dose of 4,000 person-Sv. Based on the observed seven cancer deaths, the cancer mortality rate for this population was assessed to be 3.5 per 100,000 person-years. Three children were born with congenital heart malformations, indicating a prevalence rate of 1.5 cases per 1,000 children under age 19. The average spontaneous cancer death rate in the general population of Taiwan over these 20 years is 116 persons per 100,000 person-years. Based upon partial official statistics and hospital experience, the prevalence rate of congenital malformation is 23 cases per 1,000 children. Assuming the age and income distributions of these persons are the same as for the general population, it appears that significant beneficial health effects may be associated with this chronic radiation exposure."
Thus, a dose rate of roughly 0.4 Sv per 9-20 years, i.e. a dose rate of 2.3-5.1 microGrays per hour (0.23-0.51 millirads per hour) or 23-51 times normal background causes the benefit of a fall in normal cancer rates by a factor of 116/3.5 = 33, and a fall in congenital heart malformations by a factor of 23/1.5 = 15. These are big numbers!
Let me repeat the facts again just clarify this very important point, Chen and thirteen other physicians investigated the apparent benefits of low level radiation in Taiwan, "Is Chronic Radiation an Effective Prophylaxis Against Cancer?", Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, v9 n1 2004. After a radioactive source was accidentally mixed into industrial steel and used to build apartments in Taiwan, 10,000 persons were unknowingly exposed to low-level radiation in Taiwan for periods of 9-20 years, and in this group cancer rates were lower than those in the general population by a factor of 33 (a reduction from 116 to just 3.5 per 100,000 person-years); while genetic defects fell by a factor of 15 (from 23 cases per 1,000 children to just 1.5). These are such enormous benefits that you would expect that all donor and publically funded "Cancer Research" institutes would be studying these benefits from dose rates of radiation a few hundred times background, which can apparently slash cancer risks and genetic defect rates to such an extent.
The statistics in the paper by Chen and others has been alleged to apply to a younger age group than the general population, affecting the significance of the data, although in other ways the data are more valid than Hiroshima and Nagasaki data extrapolations to low doses. For instance, the radiation cancer scare mongering of survivors of high doses in Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been prejudiced in the sense of preventing a blind to avoid “anti-placebo” effect, e.g. increased fear, psychological stress and worry about the long term effects of radiation, and associated behaviour. The 1958 book about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, “Formula for Death”, makes the point that highly irradiated survivors often smoked more, in the belief that they were doomed to die from radiation induced cancer anyway. Therefore, the fear culture of the irradiated survivors would statistically be expected to result in a deviancy from normal behaviour, in some cases increasing the cancer risks above those due purely to radiation exposure.
For up-to-date data and literature discussions on the effects of DNA repair enzymes on preventing cancers from low-dose rate radiation, please see
There is also evidence for low dose radiation benefits from Hiroshima and Nagasaki's joint American-Japanese Radiation Effects Research Institute (RERF) which is being covered up by the statistical fiddle of "lumping together" the majority of the survivors into one large dose interval group, and only taking small dose intervals at high doses, which is a fiddle that falsely omits the benefits from the boosting of the P53 DNA repair enzyme by low radiation doses in those cities (the statistical bias in the table below from the RERF Brief Guide is in every sense a classic example of the biased presentation of data; remember that at high doses the cancer data are least reliable because the average amount of radiation shielding by buildings needed to survive the initial effects and get cancer years later was very high, and estimates of the exact shielding factors are one of the greatest uncertainties continuing in the DS02 dosimetry, as shown for example by the inconsistent curve of percentage temporary epilation versus dose in the same publication - the dosimetry is more accurate at lower doses because the average radiation shielding of survivors is much smaller at those lower doses):
Radiation delivered over long periods at a few hundred times the natural background dose rates stimulates the use of body resources to produce more of the natural DNA repair enzyme, protein P53, thus utilizing more of the energy resources of the body for repairing DNA breaks than is usually allocated, and this reduces the natural cancer and genetic risks. This effect is in some sense like working out at the gym regularly: you end up after regular exercise not generally more tired, but generally fitter and more muscular, because the body responds in the long run by using more resources to adapt by strengthening itself and maintaining hormesis (an effect well known in chemotherapy: "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger").
In the West, freedom of speech allows politically incorrect facts to be censored by the fashionable media. If you want to see why this censorship of the benefits of low level radiation is continuing, see the relatively vague and unconvincing (apart from a quotation from Dr Robert Rowland) article by James Muckerheide in the year 2000, "It’s Time to Tell the Truth About the Health Benefits of Low-Dose Radiation", and see also weak graphical correlations shown in Dr T. D. Luckey's 2008 paper, "The Health Effects of Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation" in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, v13, n2, pp. 39-42, which does at least summarize the 2004 Chen paper in the same journal concisely:
"In 1982-1983, several apartments in Taipei City, Taiwan, were built with structural steel contaminated with cobalt-60. Chen et al. noted the total cancer death rates for radiation-exposed adult occupants and controls in the city were comparable when the apartments were first occupied. As both groups aged, the cancer mortality rate in the radiation-exposed group decreased while the cancer mortality rate of controls increased. The cancer mortality rate of those who had lived 9–20 years in these buildings was only 3% that of the general adult population."
Of course, it's always been known since the work (mentioned above) of French radiologists that radiation is more effective at killing rapidly dividing cancer cells than normal cells (because cells are more vulnerable during cell nucleus fission than at other times, and more rapidly diving cells spend a greater percentage of the time in this vulnerable state than healthy cells do). But this discovery that low dose rates of radiation can produce a health benefit by preventing cancer in the first place is new.
What is happening here is the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" effect: dose rates of 20-50 times normal background over a period of 1-2 decades stimulates a stronger DNA repair enzyme system. The body simply devotes more energy from food into building more DNA repair enzymes, and it over-compensates, thereby reducing natural cancer rates. This positive benefit from radiation would occur up to the threshold for cancer seen in the radium dial painters, 57 microGrays per hour (5.7 millirads per hour) or 570 times normal background. Only if the dose rate becomes too high does the rate of damage overwhelm natural DNA repair mechanisms and cause cancer:
‘... it is important to note that, given the effects of a few seconds of irradiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, a threshold near 200 mSv may be expected for leukemia and some solid tumors. [Sources: UNSCEAR, Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation, New York, 1994; W. F. Heidenreich, et al., Radiat. Environ. Biophys., vol. 36 (1999), p. 205; and B. L. Cohen, Radiat. Res., vol. 149 (1998), p. 525.] For a protracted lifetime natural exposure, a threshold may be set at a level of several thousand millisieverts for malignancies, of 10 grays for radium-226 in bones, and probably about 1.5-2.0 Gy for lung cancer after x-ray and gamma irradiation. [Sources: G. Jaikrishan, et al., Radiation Research, vol. 152 (1999), p. S149 (for natural exposure); R. D. Evans, Health Physics, vol. 27 (1974), p. 497 (for radium-226); H. H. Rossi and M. Zaider, Radiat. Environ. Biophys., vol. 36 (1997), p. 85 (for radiogenic lung cancer).] The hormetic effects, such as a decreased cancer incidence at low doses and increased longevity, may be used as a guide for estimating practical thresholds and for setting standards. ...
‘Though about a hundred of the million daily spontaneous DNA damages per cell remain unrepaired or misrepaired, apoptosis, differentiation, necrosis, cell cycle regulation, intercellular interactions, and the immune system remove about 99% of the altered cells. [Source: R. D. Stewart, Radiation Research, vol. 152 (1999), p. 101.] ...
‘[Due to the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986] as of 1998 (according to UNSCEAR), a total of 1,791 thyroid cancers in children had been registered. About 93% of the youngsters have a prospect of full recovery. [Source: C. R. Moir and R. L. Telander, Seminars in Pediatric Surgery, vol. 3 (1994), p. 182.] ... The highest average thyroid doses in children (177 mGy) were accumulated in the Gomel region of Belarus. The highest incidence of thyroid cancer (17.9 cases per 100,000 children) occurred there in 1995, which means that the rate had increased by a factor of about 25 since 1987.
‘This rate increase was probably a result of improved screening [not radiation!]. Even then, the incidence rate for occult thyroid cancers was still a thousand times lower than it was for occult thyroid cancers in nonexposed populations (in the US, for example, the rate is 13,000 per 100,000 persons, and in Finland it is 35,600 per 100,000 persons). Thus, given the prospect of improved diagnostics, there is an enormous potential for detecting yet more [fictitious] "excess" thyroid cancers. In a study in the US that was performed during the period of active screening in 1974-79, it was determined that the incidence rate of malignant and other thyroid nodules was greater by 21-fold than it had been in the pre-1974 period. [Source: Z. Jaworowski, 21st Century Science and Technology, vol. 11 (1998), issue 1, p. 14.]’
- Zbigniew Jaworowski, 'Radiation Risk and Ethics: Health Hazards, Prevention Costs, and Radiophobia', Physics Today, April 2000, pp. 89-90.
Protein P53, discovered only in 1979, is encoded by gene TP53, which occurs on human chromosome 17. P53 also occurs in other mammals including mice, rats and dogs. P53 is one of the proteins which continually repairs breaks in DNA, which easily breaks at body temperature: the DNA in each cell of the human body suffers at least two single strand breaks every second, and one double strand (i.e. complete double helix) DNA break occurs at least once every 2 hours (5% of radiation-induced DNA breaks are double strand breaks, while 0.007% of spontaneous DNA breaks at body temperature are double strand breaks)! Cancer occurs when several breaks in DNA happen to occur by chance at nearly the same time, giving several loose strand ends at once, which repair proteins like P53 then repair incorrectly, causing a mutation which can be proliferated somatically. This cannot occur when only one break occurs, because only two loose ends are produced, and P53 will reattach them correctly. But if low-LET ionising radiation levels are increased to a certain extent, causing more single strand breaks, P53 works faster and is able deal with faster breaks as they occur, so that multiple broken strand ends do not arise. This prevents DNA strands being repaired incorrectly, and prevents cancer - a result of mutation caused by faults in DNA - from arising. Too much radiation of course overloads the P53 repair mechanism, and then it cannot repair breaks as they occur, so multiple breaks begin to appear and loose ends of DNA are wrongly connected by P53, causing an increased cancer risk:
In another post, we examine in detail the May-June 1957 Hearings Before the Special Subcommittee on Radiation of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, U.S. Congress, The Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man, where the false dose-threshold (not dose rate-threshold) theory was publically killed off (in a political-journalism scrum sense, not a scientific evidence sense) by a consortium of loud-mouthed and physically ignorant fruitfly and maize geneticists (headed by Nobel Laureates Muller and Lewis), with only an incompetent and quiet defense for the scientific data from cancer radiotherapy experts with experience that high dose rates cause more damage than low dose rates. The argument they made was that genetic effects of radiation on fruitflies and maize showed no signs of dose rate effects or dose threshold effects. They they extrapolated from flies and maize to predict the same for human beings, and they also claimed that this genetic result should apply to all normal cell division (somatic) radiation effects not just genetic effects! Glasstone summarized this linear-no threshold theory on page 496 of the 1957 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons:
"There is apparently no amount of radiation, however small, that does not cause some increase in the normal mutation frequency. The dose rate of the radiation exposure or its duration have little influence; it is the total accumulated dose to the gonads that is the important quantity."
Flies and seasonal plants don't need DNA repair enzymes, which is why they show no dose rate dependence: they simply don't live long enough to get a serious cancer risk caused by DNA copying errors during cell fissions. This is not so in humans, and even mice. Glasstone and Dolan write in the 1977 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, pages 611-612 (paragraphs 12.209-12.211):
"From the earlier studies of radiation-induced mutations, made with fruitflies, ... The mutation frequency appeared to be independent of the rate at which the radiation dose was received. ... More recent experiments with mice, however, have shown that these conclusions must be revised, at least for mammals.
"... in male mice ... For exposure rates from 90 down to 0.8 roentgen per minute ... the mutation frequency per roentgen decreases as the exposure rate is decreased.
"... in female mice ... The radiation-induced mutation frequency per roentgen decreases continuously with the exposure rate from 90 roentgens per minute downward. At an exposure rate of 0.009 roentgen per minute [0.54 roentgen/hour], the total mutation frequency in female mice is indistinguishable from the spontaneous frequency. There thus seems to be an exposure-rate threshold below which radiation-induced mutations are absent or negligible, no matter how large the total (accumulated) exposure to the female gonads, at least up to 400 roentgens."
The Oak Ridge Megamouse Radiation Exposure Project
Reference: W. L, ”Reminiscences of a Mouse Specific-Locus Test Addict”, Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, Supplement, v14 (1989), issue 16, pp. 16–22.
The source of Glasstone and Dolan’s dose-rate genetic effects threshold data (replacing the fruitfly insect and maize plant data of Muller, Lewis and other 1950s geneticists who falsely extrapolated directly from insects and plants to humans) is the Oak Ridge National Laboratory “megamouse project” by Liane and William Russell. This project exposed seven million mice to a variety of radiation situations to obtain statistically significant mammal data showing the effects of dose rate upon the DNA mutation risk (which in somatic cells can cause cancer). Seven different locus mutations were used, which showed a time-dependence on genetic risk from different dose rates, which could only be explained by DNA repair processes. This contradicted insect and plant response, which showed no dose rate effect on the dose-effects response. With the results of this enormous mammal radiation exposure project, observed human effects of high dose rates and high doses could be accurately extrapolated to humans, without using the false linear, no-threshold model that applies to insects and plants that lack the advanced DNA repair enzymes like P53 in mammals:
“As Hollaender remembers it: ‘Muller and Wright were the only two geneticists who backed the mouse genetics study. The rest of the geneticists thought we were wasting our time and money!’”
- Karen A. Rader, “Alexander Hollaender’s Postwar Vision for Biology: Oak Ridge and Beyond”, Journal of the History of Biology, v39 (2006), pp. 685–706.
For an interesting discussion of the way that the radiation controversy led to a change in thinking about DNA, from being a fixed chemical structure (as believed in 1957, after the structure DNA was discovered in its misleadingly non-cellular solid crystal form, which was required for X-ray diffraction analysis) to today’s far more dynamic picture of DNA in the cell nucleus as a delicate strand that is repeatedly being broken (several times a minute) by normal water molecular Brownian motion bombardment at body temperature, and being repaired by DNA repair enzymes like protein P53, see the article by Doogab Yi, “The coming of reversibility: The discovery of DNA repair between the atomic age and the information age”, Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences, v37 (2007), Supplement, pp. 35–72:
“This paper examines the contested ‘biological’ meaning of the genetic effects of radiation amid nuclear fear during the 1950s and 1960s. In particular, I explore how the question of irreversibility, a question that eventually led to the discovery of DNA repair, took shape in the context of postwar concerns of atomic energy. Yale biophysicists who opposed nuclear weapons testing later ironically played a central role in the discovery of DNA excision repair, or "error-correcting codes" that suggested the reversibility of the genetic effects of radiation. At Yale and elsewhere, continuing anticipation of medical applications from radiation therapy contributed to the discovery of DNA repair. The story of the discovery of DNA repair illustrates how the gene was studied in the atomic age and illuminates its legacy for the postwar life sciences. I argue that it was through the investigation of the irreversibility of the biological effects of radiation that biologists departed from an inert view of genetic stability and began to appreciate the dynamic stability of the gene. Moreover, the reformulation of DNA repair around notions of information and error-correction helped radiobiologists to expand the relevance of DNA repair research beyond radiobiology, even after the public concerns on nuclear fallout faded in the mid-1960s.”
In fact, the “safe dose rate” concept has always existed (most recently dressed up with health physics sophistry like ALARA, “As Low As Reasonably Achievable”) in the way that radiation safety guides have formulated as a maximum dose per unit time interval. For example, on page 102 of the 1957 Congressional Hearings The Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man, nuclear testing scientific director Dr Alvin C. Graves testifies:
“I have forgotten the title, but I think it is the American Commission for Radiation Protection, or something of that sort, originally stated that the workers in radioactivity could take one tenth of a roentgen per day forever without suffering injury. [This is 36.5 R/year or 1095 R over 30 years, roughly the minimum dose needed for bone changes in the radium dial painters.]”
Dr Jane Orient, 'Homeland Security for Physicians', Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, vol. 11, number 3, Fall 2006, pp. 75-9:
'In the 1960s, a group of activist physicians called Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) undertook to "educate the medical profession and the world about the dangers of nuclear weapons," beginning with a series of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine. [Note that journal was publishing information for anti-civil defense propaganda back in 1949, e.g. the article in volume 241, pp. 647-53 of New England Journal of Medicine which falsely suggests that civil defense in nuclear war would be hopeless because a single burned patient in 1947 with 40% body area burns required 42 oxygen tanks, 36 pints of plasma, 40 pints of whole blood, 104 pints of fluids, 4,300 m of gauze, 3 nurses and 2 doctors. First, only unclothed persons in direct line of sight without shadowing can get 40% body area burns from thermal radiation, second, duck and cover offers protection in a nuclear attack warning, and G. V. LeRoy had already published, two years earlier, in J.A.M.A., volume 134, 1947, pp. 1143-8, that less than 5% of burns in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were caused by building and debris fires. In medicine it is always possible to expend vast resources on patients who are fatally injured. In a mass casualty situation, doctors should not give up just because they don't have unlimited resources; as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they would need to do their best with what they have.] On its website, www.psr.org, the group boasts that it "led the campaign to end atmospheric nuclear testing." With this campaign, the linear no-threshold (LNT) theory of radiation carcinogenesis became entrenched. It enabled activists to calculate enormous numbers of potential casualties by taking a tiny risk and multiplying it by the population of the earth. As an enduring consequence, the perceived risks of radiation are far out of proportion to actual risks, causing tremendous damage to the American nuclear industry. ... Efforts to save lives were not only futile, but unethical: Any suggestion that nuclear war could be survivable increased its likelihood and was thus tantamount to warmongering, PSR spokesmen warned. ...
'For the mindset that engendered and enables this situation, which jeopardizes the existence of the United States as a nation as well as the lives of millions of its citizens, some American physicians and certain prestigious medical organizations bear a heavy responsibility.
'Ethical physicians should stand ready to help patients to the best of their ability, and not advocate sacrificing them in the name of a political agenda. Even very basic knowledge, especially combined with simple, inexpensive advance preparations, could save countless lives.'
‘International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War: Messiahs of the Nuclear Age?’, The Lancet (British medical journal), 18 November 1988, pp.1185-6, by Jane M. Orient, MD:
'... history is apparently not among the areas of expertise claimed by IPPNW [international physicians for the prevention of nuclear war]. Its spokesmen have yet to comment on the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 (for which Kellogg and Briand received the Nobel Peace Prize), the Oxford Peace Resolution of 1934, the Munich Agreement of 1938, or the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, and on the effectiveness of these measures in preventing World War II. ...
'Sir Norman Angell (also a Nobel Peace Prize winner), in his 1910 best-seller entitled The Great Illusion, showed that war had become so terrible and expensive as to be unthinkable. The concept of ‘destruction before detonation’ was not discovered by Victor Sidel (Sidel, V. W., ‘Destruction before detonation: the impact of the arms race on health and health care’, Lancet 1985; ii: 1287-1289), but was previously enunciated by Neville Chamberlain, who warned his Cabinet about the heavy bills for armaments: ‘even the present Programmes were placing a heavy strain upon our resources’ (Minutes of the British Cabinet meeting, February 3, 1937: quoted in Fuchser, L. W., ‘Neville Chamberlain and Appeasement: a Study in the Politics of History’, Norton, New York, 1982). ...
'Psychic numbing, denial, and ‘missile envy’ (Caldicott, H., Missile envy: the arms race and nuclear war, New York: William Morrow, 1984) are some of the diagnoses applied by IPPNW members to those who differ with them. However, for the threats facing the world, IPPNW does not entertain a differential diagnosis, nor admit the slightest doubt about the efficacy of their prescription, if only the world will follow it. So certain are they of their ability to save us from war that these physicians seem willing to bet the lives of millions who might be saved by defensive measures if a nuclear attack is ever launched.
'Is this an omnipotence fantasy?'
Here are some extracts from Dr Orient's letter to FEMA about the continued use of the lying LNT theory of radiation for long-term effects propaganda:
Jane M. Orient, M.D.
President, Physicians for Civil Defense
1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9
Tucson, AZ 85716
To Rules Docket Clerk
Office of the General Counsel
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Room 840, 500 C Street S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20472
RE: Docket #: DHS-2004-0029
Docket #: Z-RIN 1660-ZA02
We agree that flexibility is required in responding to incidents involving radiological dispersal device (RDD) or improvised nuclear device (IND). It is critical that actions taken do more good than harm. The dangers of panic, the shut-down of essential services, and disruption of the economy and social arrangements could vastly outweigh the supposed dangers of an increased exposure to radiation, particularly in the event of the use of an RDD.
We are disappointed that the document does not explicitly recognize that current radiation protection standards are based on the linear no-threshold (LNT) theory of radiation carcinogenesis. This theory calculates casualties based on collective doses. The assumptions are the equivalent of saying that if one person dies from ingesting one thousand aspirin tablets all at once, that one person will die if each one of the thousand persons ingests one aspirin tablet each. In fact, all actual evidence indicates that radiation, like most other potentially adverse exposures, exhibits a biphasic dose-response curve. While high levels are damaging or lethal, within a certain range at the lower end of the scale there is a seemingly paradoxical stimulatory or protective effect. Persons with accidental or occupational exposures within this “hormetic” range have a lower incidence of cancer and birth defects, and have had an increase in longevity as well. Thus, measures to “protect” people against exposures in this range may deprive them of a beneficial health effect, as well as harming them through excessive costs or deprivation of the other potential benefits of technology.
... It should be noted that the average background dose on the Colorado plateau is 600 mrem per year, and in some areas of the world, much higher than that. For example, in Ramasari, Iran, the average background is about 48 rems per year-that is 4,800 mrem per year-without noticeable adverse health effects. Forced resettlement, on the other hand, would cause many billions of dollars in damage to the economy as well as social upheaval. Because of widespread public fear of low-dose radiation, many people might choose to be resettled than face such increased exposure, but persons should not be forced to abandon their homes, personal property, and businesses based upon unfounded fears. ...
In appointing technical advisory committees, it would appear important to include persons whose reputation is not strongly invested in the linear no-threshold hypothesis, who would thus find it difficult or impossible to change their position. A full range of views must be heard and not suppressed by a “consensus” process that strongly pressures participants to approve a predetermined position and excludes those who do not.
We think it is critical that the United States government should not enable terrorists to destroy a large area of the country and cripple its economy by exploiting unwarranted fears. Instead, we need to be prepared to mitigate the damage should efforts at interdiction fail.