Hey Hey Ho Ho, LNT Has Got To Go

Hey Hey Ho Ho, LNT has got to go

Hey Hey Ho Ho, LNT has got to go

LNT, the Linear No-Threshold theory of radiation exposure, is the hypothesis that there is no safe level of radiation that a person can be exposed to, with creating additional risk of health consequences, such as cancer. LNT is the basis for all the current radiation protection regulations in the US and elsewhere. These standards date from the late 1940’s and 1950’s and were developed based on data from atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and also from studies done by Herman Muller, the Noble Prize winner.

However, there is just one little problem, LNT is wrong. Not just a little wrong or just wrong here or there, it is completely wrong. There is a threshold to radiation exposure below which there are no effects on the human body. Thus, to base radiation protection regulations on a wrong theory is to waste scarce resources for no benefit.

Let me use car seat belts as an example of the cost to benefit ratio. It costs time and money to design and build seat belts into cars. Resources are used to incorporate the design into the car and to manufacture and maintain seat belts.

These costs are passed on to the buyer of the car. I pay these costs because seat belts have been shown to protect the occupants of the car in case of an accident. As a car owner, I know that the cost to benefit ratio for the seat belts is low, because the seat belts can be mass produced and I highly value my life and the lives of my family members

Contrast this with the cost to benefit ratio of radiation protection regulations. Some of the regulations impose costs that reach into the billions or tens of billions of dollars per estimated or theoretical live saved. These are the regulations that have increased the cost of nuclear power to the point where nuclear opponents have claimed that nuclear is not economic. I am saying that the regulations driving these costs are based on a theory that has been disproven. LNT is wrong. Let’s work together to make radiation protection regulations rational and science based.

bwr