Thursday, 14 April 2016 13:44

Atomic bomb victims as a reference

Written by  Urs Fitze

Anyone who takes radiation protection seriously cannot expose people to even a low dose – organisms are busy enough with natural radiation. But this is wishful thinking. On the grounds that we cannot statistically prove that so-called "low radiation doses" actually lead to a higher incidence of cancer cases, a question mark suddenly hovers over what was considered established knowledge. And it can be defined as a safe threshold dose based on the impossibility of evidence , which – similar to cars – in truth only represents a tolerance value. The long-term studies of survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which have been ongoing since 1950, provide the database for these tolerance levels. Founded in 1982, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), a self-constituted panel of experts, is the most influential organisation when it comes to setting these tolerance levels. It has continuously weakened its basic recommendations from "lowest possible degree" (1955) to "as low as readily achievable" (1966) until the level used today of "as low as is readily achievable, economic and social consequences being taken into account" (1973). However, the findings of the long-term studies of atomic bomb survivors cannot be ignored, and so the tolerance levels for the population and workers have been made more strict step-by-step. At the end of the day, the tolerance levels have to be justified by a corresponding benefit to society. According to this mindset, the much trumpeted benefits of the peaceful use of nuclear power in the form of electrical energy has to outweigh the damages to our health, even if they are statistically undetectable. The currently valid tolerance levels therefore reflect what is politically achievable and not what is desired for the health of humankind and all living things.


Radium Girls

  • Radium Girls: Videocollage by the designer Rose Todaro www.rosetodaro.com

Who we are

Founded in 2012, the Association for Sustainable Journalism on the Internet is committed to high-quality, independent on-line journalism that stands the test of time. The association promotes and runs journalistic websites dedicated to topics that are hardly covered any more in conventional media. Its members include journalists, photographers, designers and web designers.

Pressbüro Seegrund, which was founded in 1989, is firmly established in the media landscape. Its focus is on feature reports, reportage and non-fiction books. It has launched a number of online magazines in recent years including www.alpenmagazin.org, www.mangel-und-moral.org, and the latest creation: www.mensch-und-atom.org.

About

Publisher:
Association for Sustainable Journalism in Internet,
Neugasse 30,
CH-9000 St. Gallen

 

Editor:
Pressebüro Seegrund,
Neugasse 30, PO Box 445,
CH-9004 St. Gallen,
Tel. +41(0)71 671 10 73,
www.seegrund.ch,

 

Website design and programming:
Eveline Arnold Ukaegbu, Proclamation,
Zypressenstrasse 138,
CH-8004 Zürich,
www.proclamation.ch

 

English translation:
Elana Summers

 

Russian translation:
Alexej Scherbakov

 

Local interpretors: Galina Kovalch (Belarus),
Irina Gasanova (Ukraine), Chikako Yamamoto (Japan)

 

Authors:
Martin Arnold, freelance journalist, author and media entrepreneur for the past 30 years
Urs Fitze, freelance journalist, reportage on politics, the economy, science, travel and the environment" target="_blank">www.seegrund.ch,

 

 

Our Aim

Without provoking or causing a scandal, www.society-and-the-atom.org wants to shake things up a bit by encouraging society to reflect on a subject that affects all of us: nuclear power. It is a subject that polarises, turning opponents and supporters into ideologues. And it is a subject that divides the informed and the uninformed in a way that creates intentional and unintentional dependencies. Against the background of the current debates on the 'energy transition', we want to contribute a critical discussion for all those who want to more know about nuclear power. And we want to do our bit to overcome the deep ideological divide that separates supporters and opponents. When it comes to this subject, the truth very quickly becomes relative – or is made relative. You move around in an area where experts, opinion makers, ideologues, affected persons, victims, lobbyists, politicians and world saviours jostle against each other. Everyone should be able to have their say, to tell their truth. The truth of the radiation victims as well as that of the power plant operators, the supporters and the opponents. The second objective of the book is to explore the many facets of truth – and remain receptive to all those who want to make it comfortable for us.

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