Keywords: radiation carcinogenesis, LNT model, nonlinear effects, non-scientific influences, A-Bomb survivors, stimulation of defences, therapeutic applications, Chernobyl accident, UNSCEAR 2000 Report, low-dose radiation, low-level radiation, nuclear radiation
Why are we so afraid of nuclear radiation?
The origin of the LNT model of radiation carcinogenesis is outlined. The A-bomb survivor cancer mortality data are shown to not support this model at all. The nature of cancer and the role of the body's natural defence mechanisms are discussed. A simple biological model of the effect of radiation is shown to be more credible and consistent with the observed beneficial health effects at low doses and adverse effects at high doses. Important therapeutic applications of low-dose irradiations are mentioned. Reference is made to the UNSCEAR 2000 Report on sources and effects of ionising radiation, its comparison of natural and human-made sources and its review of the health effects of the Chernobyl accident. The evidence indicates public fear of low-dose and low-level radiation is unwarranted and blocks efforts to supply reliable, environmentally friendly nuclear energy and important medical therapies. ICRP resolution of the contradictions is urgently needed.