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Re: Radiation.

While reserving the option of not coming down definitively on one side of the "safety of nuclear power" issue or the other, it does bear pointing out that Helen Caldicott has a bit of a dubious reputation when it comes to supporting her claims. Here's a pretty good example as described by The Guardian's George Monbiot, with whom Dr. Caldicott had a televised debate recently:

(There's a lot more on their correspondence to be found there, if you're interested.)

Having said that, this Fukushima situation is probably worse than the Japanese authorities would have us (and the Japanese public) believe. As the international media seems to have lost interest to some degree (undoubtedly because its audience has moved onto a fresher, sexier topic), perhaps it's unfair to focus on Caldicott's rather hyperbolic delivery since she does raise some good points about the distinction between external and internal radiation which is often glossed over by the reports I've seen about the risks from Japan.

But as important as it is to keep the public aware of such dangers, it's surely equally (if not more) important to be able to back up your claims with some form of accepted and citable scientific research. So far, from what I've read and heard from Caldicott, she has too often contented herself with explanations along the lines of "trust me, I'm a doctor" or "trust me, I've spoken to a lot of people and they all agree with me here" for my liking. It doesn't mean that she's wrong it what she's saying, only that she doesn't do a particularly convincing job of proving her point when one digs a bit beyond the sound bites.

Apr 24, 2011, 00:41


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