Keywords: LNT, linear no–threshold, threshold, hormesis, low dose radiation, ionising radiation, low radiation, scientific controversy, morality, ethics, public choice, human cost, radiation protection, economic incentives, human bias, political pressure, nuclear hazards, nuclear safety, decision making, state officials, nuclear regulation, excessive cost, nuclear accidents
Low–dose ionising radiation: scientific controversy, moral-ethical aspects and public choice
The ethical issues of radiation protection are dealt with on a systematic basis. It is shown that the Linear No–Threshold (LNT) model of low–dose ionising radiation damage, being widely accepted, is still ill–founded. In everyday routine, the present regulation imposes excessive cost on society, effectively leading to loss, rather than to saving, of life. In nuclear emergency, compulsory relocation (Chernobyl, Fukushima) led to social destruction known to cause statistically significant life shortening. The decision–making state officials are subjected to economic incentives, as well as to human biases and political pressures. As such, they are objectively interested in being 'on the safe side' regarding the nuclear hazards. While these interests cannot be eliminated in the framework of democratic society, they should be properly acknowledged and mitigated. It is also very important for society to develop incentives for politicians and decision–makers to be properly informed themselves and to inform the general public.