Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2015
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering a “petition for rule-making” and could decide that exposure to radiation is beneficial to health. Three individual petitioners have asked that the NRC amend its “Standards for Protection Against Radiation” and change the basis of the regulations. If adopted, the agency would drastically weaken radiation protection by embracing the scientifically dubious “hormesis” model. “Hormesis” theory suggests that “exposure of the human body to low levels of ionizing radiation is beneficial and protects the body against deleterious effects of high levels of radiation.” Current radiation standards the world over hold that radiation is always harmful.
Individual investors and nuclear utilities have advocated the debunked “hormesis” theory for decades, but this is the first time the NRC has been obliged to seriously consider it in rulemaking. The National Academy of Sciences’ BEIR VII report* explicitly dismissed the bogus theory. Committee member Herbert L. Abrams of Harvard said, “There appears to be no threshold below which exposure can be viewed as harmless.” The report concluded that any exposure to radiation poses some risk, and that there is no level below which an exposure poses no risk. For the NRC to consider the petition at all flies in the face of well-established and settled science.
Please write to the NRC. Comments on the proposed rule were due Sept. 8, however, “Comments received after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so.”
To see the proposal, go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0057.
Email comments to: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov. If you do not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, contact: (301) 415-1677. Fax comments to: Secretary, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission at (301) 415-1101. Mail comments to: Secretary, US NRC, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attn: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff.
*“Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation,” BEIR VII, Phase 2, 2006