Hey Greenpeace, could you find us Finns a warm place to live in?


Pictured: Finland. Not pictured: radiation levels exceeding those Greenpeace deems “emergency radiological situation” and “an unacceptable radiation risk.” (Picture credit: SeppVei/Wikimedia)

A recent Greenpeace news release leads to an inescapable conclusion: that us Finns need to be evacuated immediately, because radiation hazards of living in Finland exceed those encountered in Fukushima evacuation zones. I therefore humbly ask Greenpeace to find a place for 5.5 million Finns, or at the very least for those 549 000 of us who now have to live in a radiated wasteland where annual radiation doses are at least two times higher than what Greenpeace deems “emergency radiological situation” and “an unacceptable radiation risk” in Japan. If possible, could we also find a place that’s warm and without slush?

According to Greenpeace’s press release, “2017/02/21 Greenpeace exposes high radiation risks in Fukushima village as government prepares to lift evacuation order”, radiation levels measured in Iitate village would equate to an annual dose of 2.5 millisieverts per year (mSv/a), and levels as high as 10.4 mSv/a have been measured indoors. Since millisieverts are a measure of radiation danger that already accounts for the differences between different sources of radiation and for the differences in exposure pathways (e.g. internal or external), we can use these measurements to compare directly the risks of living in Iitate to risks of living in Finland. The comparison is simple: for the purposes of radiation hazard, higher millisievert count means greater risk.

According to Finnish estimates, the 5.5 million people living in Finland are at a greater risk than inhabitants of Iitate, receiving on average 3.2 millisieverts per year.


The mean annual radiation dose for Finnish people. Source: Finnish Radiation Safety Authority (STUK), Muikku et al. (2014) p. 6.

But this is not the whole truth, oh no! In many places in Finland, actual radiation doses are far higher than that. The ice ages scraped our soil down to bedrock, and bedrock contains considerable quantities of uranium. As it decays, one of the decay products is an odorless, invisible and radioactive gas known as radon. With little soil above to hold it, radon tends to rise into air and collect within our dwellings. As the pie chart above shows, radon and its decay products are a major factor in the radiation dose of an average Finn, but radon exposures can vary widely, from almost zero to as high as 340 (yes, three hundred and fourty) millisieverts per year (Muikku et al. 2014, p. 12).

According to measurements conducted by the Finnish Radiation Safety Authority (STUK), there are about 549 000 Finns who receive at least 5 millisieverts per year from radon and other sources. Of those, perhaps 70 000 receive annual doses that exceed the highest doses Greenpeace managed to measure at Iitate (10.4 mSv/a) (Muikku et al. 2014, p. 15). (Note: it is unclear whether radon might in fact account for the high indoors radiation doses Greenpeace measured in Iitate. It is well known from Finland and other areas with high radon concentrations that without very good basement ventilation, radon can easily collect in houses and result to very high dose rates.)

Even though extensive studies have failed to find any clear links between these dose rates and incidence of health problems (a link likely exists, but is so weak that clear connection cannot be established), it should be by now clear to anyone that if anyone deserves an evacuation because of radiation hazards, it is us Finns. (See also the picture at the top of this post.)

Preferably to somewhere warm.

The Fukushima disaster was a needless tragedy that sundered apart entire communities. It is despicable for any organization to continue to prolong this tragedy and exploit people’s understandable fears for the purposes of propagating its outdated, probably disastrous energy policy that puts opposition to nuclear power at front and center even when evidence of the dangers of runaway climate change becomes clearer by day. It is especially despicable to use utterly misleading propaganda like Greenpeace currently does – to solicit donations.


Muikku et al. (2014). Suomalaisten keskimääräinen efektiivinen annos. STUK publication A259. (PDF link)


About J. M. Korhonen

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38 Responses to Hey Greenpeace, could you find us Finns a warm place to live in?

  1. What the author seems to have missed is the clear statement in the report that the calculations
    of annual and life-time dose are on top of the exposure by background radiation as well as on
    top of the exposure that people already had from the period directly after the catastrophe to now.

    The second mistake the author makes is that Greenpeace does not call for evacuation.
    Greenpeace calls for transparency on radiation levels and an informed choice for people to return or not, free from any coercion in the form of withholding financial compensation or otherwise.
    Greenpeace has found in Iitate long term exposure levels that are – on top of background radiation – far higher than the by international norm (ICRP) accepted levels.

    The comparison with Finland, where a large part from background radiation exposure comes from radon, is quite illustrative, because Finland has strong regulations to reduce exposure to radon in houses – simply because radon is a known factor for health effects.

    Radiation exposure should be kept as low as reasonably possible. After a nuclear accident, victims should have an informed choice about where they want to rebuild their lives. Making fun of victims of one of the worst nuclear accidents in history is not a way to discuss the seriousness of radiation exposure.

    The full report can be found on: https://www.greenpeace.de/sites/www.greenpeace.de/files/publications/20170215_greenpeace_report_fukushima_noreturntonormal.pdf

    Ir. Jan Haverkamp – Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe / Greenpeace Switzerland
    Radiation Protection Advisor

    • Thank you for your response! I also calculated the additional doses due to radon exposure on top of other natural sources, so the risks are broadly comparable as we’re using Sieverts after all.

      While it is true that we seek to minimize radon exposures whenever it is practical, the fact that hundreds of thousands of Finns, and millions Earth residents elsewhere, receive doses that are very comparable to ones your activists measured in Iitate tells us something about the dangers. We do have a very advanced healthcare system with meticulous records, and although we believe radon causes some 200 to 300 cancer cases each year, the effects of these radiation doses are nevertheless so small that establishing a causal link between radon exposure and effects has not succeeded so far. What this ought to tell us is that health risks of these low doses (if they exist – there is serious debate about effect thresholds, another thing you don’t care to inform to the residents I fear) must be very small. Otherwise, health statistics in Finland and elsewhere would’ve picked up a correlation between exposure and disease burden.

      I have no intention of making fun of the victims, nor using them for soliciting publicity and donations. That makes one of us. While this post may be somewhat light-hearted in tone, the message ought to be deadly serious: competent scientific authorities have established time and again that a major cause of detrimental health effects from nuclear accidents is fear and uncertainty. By claiming that dose rates that are easily exceeded due to natural sources in many places of the world equate to “radiological emergency” and claiming that they pose “an unacceptable risk” (both are direct quotes from your press release), you are fear-mongering and prolonging the tragedy. You may say you “call for an informed choice for people to return or not”, but how on Earth can you claim the choices “informed,” if your activists inform us that elevated but nevertheless modest radiation levels equate to “radiological emergency?”

      Furthermore, there are good reasons to believe you’re doing this for the purposes of advancing your outdated, 1970s energy agenda and soliciting both publicity and donations. Moreover, this is far from the first time your organization has engaged in tactics that can only be described as “alternative facts” and fear-mongering. That I find despicable, and do not intend to hesitate to say so.

      PS. There are reasons why Greenpeace is generally the least trusted organization in Finland, at least when it comes to energy issues.

      • The GP report says the 1msv is the standard, but I have read many an IAEA report about post evacuation procedures and they suggest 1-20msv is a suitable range to consider reintroducing people while remediation efforts continue. Even broadening range of action from 20-100msv depending on the conditions on the ground and other factors (like ability to do food remediation, one of the most important exposure vectors). Anyway, it is more complex than “1msv, not exceptions”, or so I understand it. Granted, IAEA is not ICRP, but IAEA is equally respectable public health and radiation org.

      • Christopher:

        “Anyway, it is more complex than “1msv, not exceptions”, or so I understand it.”

        You’re exactly right. 1 mSv/a is the long-term recommendation because we have very good reasons to believe that at such a low level, there will be no health effects worth mentioning. But it doesn’t mean that doses higher than 1 mSv/a constitute an actual danger, no matter what the fearmongers are claiming. Levels significantly higher than 1 mSv/a can pose a statistical risk increase, but my heart aches for those Fukushima evacuees who have listened to Greenpeace’s woo and now fear a danger that is practically certainly very, very much smaller than what they’d incur from air pollution alone if living in any major city.

        Causing distress with totally lopsided “information” – particularly when one doesn’t even bother to compare the risks, even to risks incurred due to radiation elsewhere – is the very opposite of informing people. It’s fearmongering and fake news, and I’m very sad that it’s been the environmental organizations that have pioneered and perfected the weaponized biased information long before right-wing nutjobs found the tactic.

      • Ikemeister says:

        we believe radon causes some 200 to 300 cancer cases each year

        Based on ….?

      • Based on estimates made by the Finnish Radiation Safety Authority, STUK. Here in Finnish:


        STUK is very likely one of the most reliable, competent and least biased radiation safety authorities in the world, and my expertise doesn’t run nearly deeply enough to seriously question their assessments.

      • Regarding the lung cancer risk from Radon exposure.
        The following study forms part of the basis of claims that Radon is, after smoking, the second most important cause of lung cancer.
        Radon and Lung Cancer in the American Cancer Society Cohort .
        If you actually look at table 4, a different picture emerges:
        1) Current smokers have a 16 times higher risk to die of lung cancer than people who never smoked. That is a Hazard Ratio of 16 and a excess relative risk ERR of 1500%
        2) The alleged ERR for people exposed above the EPA action level of 148Bq/m^3 radon is just 34%.
        3) If you have a confounder as massive as smoking, the only honest way to deal with it is to restrict the study to non-smokers. Almost all medical studies are restricted to non-smokers anyway.
        4) For non-smokers the hazard ratio was actually <1, i.e. the lung cancer risk decreased with increasing radon concentration, though this decrease was not significant. HR=0.77 (0.47-1.25). The alleged increase in risk was only for smokers.
        5) For me the take home message is: If you worry about lung cancer, don't smoke. If you don't smoke, there is no need to worry about Radon.

    • Steve Aplin says:

      “… [Fukushima, ] one of the worst nuclear accidents in history… ”

      Well, it’s been 2,175 days since this “accident.” (It was an Act of God, actually — remember the 9-magnitude earthquake that raised that 30-meter tsunami which killed 20,000 of our fellow human beings and made half a million homeless during a blizzard?)

      During the 2,175 days since the meltdowns, all I’ve heard from Greenpeace is prophesies about death and cancer. Yet to this minute not a single person has died in the way you have told every media outlet on your kilometers-long mailing list they would die.

      Your fearmongering:
      1. Got Japan back onto fossil fuels for power generation. Fossil fuels, not the wind/solar/biofuel nonsense you’ve been peddling for decades.
      2. Convinced Germany to go back onto coal, to the point they’re now dumping upwards of 300 million tons of carbon pollution every year into my air.

      You’re an ENGO? Good job.

      I agree totally with J.M. Despicable is the right word to describe your behaviour.

    • A few more observations on the radon paper I cited above.
      According to UNSCEAR 2000, the additional annual effective dose from a 100Bq/l increase in indoor Radon is 2.5mSv.

      This, however, is the effective dose. The tissue weighting factor for the relavant part of lung tissue is 8%, so that tissue gets an annual dose of 2.5mSv/0.08 =31.25mSv. Much larger than anything Greenpeace measured in Iitate. Still the effect is impossible to see in studies restricted to non-smokers.

      Put in another way, a Radon effective dose of 2.5mSv should be much easier to notice in cancer statistics than a whole body dose of 2.5mSv, since in the former all the detriment is in the lungs, and lung cancers is quite rare amoung non-smokers.

      Also, if we take the linear non-threshold model seriously, risks should be additive.
      If the annual death rate from lung cancer for non-smoking individuals in low radon areas is x, than we have seen that smokers in low radon areas have a rate about 16x. For smokers, the ERR from 100Bq/m^3 radon was 1.2, so for someone with that much radon, the death rate from lung cancer would be 16*1.2*x = 19.2*x.

      So non-smokers would have to have an ERR of 4.2 from 100Bq/m^3 if their susceptibility to Radon-induced lung cancer were as large as for smokers. However the observed ERR for non-smokers is 0.77 (0.47–1.25), so 4.2 is outside the confidence interval by 14 standard deviations. Either a strong indication for the existence of thresholds or and indication that the effect observed for smokers is a statistical fluke.

      If the effect is real, it should be much more easily detected for non-smokers, as the Radon-induced cancers there do not hide behind a much larger number of smoking induced cancers.

      Can’t read the STUK report, but do they have any evidence from non-smokers?

    • Yet more information on Radon:
      The above paper summarises results from 13 studies in european countries. Figure 2 shows that none of the individual studies hat a result strong enough to put the null result (zero increase in cancer) outside the confidence intervall.
      Summarising over all studies, it does show a Radon dependent increase for current smokers, former smokers and never smokers, though in all cases only just on the edge of statistical significance. Interestingly, the relative risk is about the same in all cases. This means the increase in absolute risk from Radon for non-smokers is tiny, as illustrated in figure 3.

      An increase of indoor Radon concentration by 800Bq/m^3, giving an extra effective dose of 20mSv/year and exposing the relevant lung tissue to a whopping 250mSv/year only increases the chance for a non-smoker to die of lung cancer by the age of 75 from 0.41% to 0.93%. Even without the radon, the risk for smokers is 10.1%, and lung cancer, according to the CDC, only accounts for 30% of the smoking-related mortality. So even this huge radiation dose is 60 times less dangerous than smoking.

      The fact that Radon is only really relevant for smokers illustrates how well we are adjusted to cope with relatively high radiation levels and how poorly we are adjusted to breathing in toxic soot.
      Which is exactly why the purveyors of deadly and dangerous fossil fuels want us to worry about radiation instead. That “environmental” NGOs have become one of the main sources of this misinformation is an epic tragedy.

  2. Peter Weigl says:

    Great article. Thanks for your humorous take of this sad issue.

    Greenpeace’s continued claim of a “1mSv annual maximum limit recommended by the ICRP” is a malicious misrepresentation of the ICRP stance.
    By now I’d also blame the ICRP for not speaking out publicly about this – and letting Greenpeace have another go at successfully spreading this deliberate misinformation through the international media.
    The facts: In the GP document linked in your article “2017/02/21 Greenpeace exposes high radiation risks in Fukushima village as government prepares to lift evacuation order”
    it says:
    “These levels far exceed the 1 mSv annual maximum limit recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) [4] ….
    [4] ICRP recommendations for the public, sets the maximum recommended dose for areas that are not affected by a nuclear accident at 1 mSv a year. However, the Japanese government set a condition that it is acceptable for the public to receive up to 20 mSv per year in Imitate, as a response to an emergency right after the Fukushima Daichi nuclear accident.”

    This is clearly not the case. The authors of the ICPR Fukushima task force have at length explained this in their document: “Radiological protection issues arising during and after the Fukushima nuclear reactor accident”

    “There was a particular misunderstanding about the appropriate use and application of the dose value of 1 mSv year−1. The public tended to regard a dose above this value as dangerous, which created challenges in coping with the aftermath of the accident. The fact that there is little convincing evidence for human health effects below 100 mSv year−1 (or 100 times the dose limit) appeared to hold little sway over the level of concern.” [page 539]

    “The dose limit 1 mSv year−1 is for planned exposure situations. In existing exposure situations, people, residents in high background areas for instance, are living with elevated doses much exceeding 1 mSv year−1. There is no question that the exposure of current residents in an area with elevated residual radioactivity due to the accident belongs to an existing exposure situation, and hence the concept of dose limit does not apply. Instead, reference levels suitable for the prevailing circumstances are applied.” [pages 544/545]

    In simple terms: Greenpeace misuses a dose limit of additional 1 mSv year−1 set by the ICPR for “planned and regulated exposure” i. e. from a radiology department in a hospital, to scaremonger. Greenpeace deliberately hides the fact, that the ICPR Fukushima task force authors specifically state that “there is little convincing evidence for human health effects below 100 mSv year−1 (or 100 times the dose limit)” and that limits of up to 20 mSv year−1 can be safely set for return areas.

    • Thank you, excellent comment, and you’re exactly right. Greenpeace does nothing to help people reach informed conclusions whether to return or not; instead it only pushes the bits of information that support its scare story.

  3. Hah! Here in Denver we get 12 mSv a year! You Finns are wimps! 🙂


  4. Studies of folks in Finland, Brazil, and Iran (among other places) where people are exposed on a life long basis to radiation levels of 35, 50, and even higher mSv / year tell us those levels are not associated with any measurable (read “any”) increase in radiation-related disease. It’s generally agreed across a wide spectrum of those examining medical effects of radiation (an area where the last word, I of course acknowledge, has yet to be written!) that you need an exposure of 100 msv / year before there’s any chance at all even the most sensitive measurements and best and biggest studies might find any increase at all in radiation-related disease. Yet Greenpeace’s own figures present doses vastly below these. What’s up with that? Lies, deceit, and hysteria mongering.

    Greenpeace writes of a max added dose of 3 mSv / year when referring to exposures a bit under 200 msv OVER THE COURSE OF 70 years! I’d be worried that might be too low to give me the recommended boosted protection from cancer I want from my radiation hormesis! .
    It would seem Greenpeace is being quite consistent in its decades long habit of concocting anti-nuclear lies. To go with such other murderous misinformation as its opposition to GMO food in general, and Golden Rice in particular.

    Note, too, that it’s pretty clear that given radiation doses received over a long period of time are far less likely to cause medical harm than doses received acutely. MASSIVELY so. Get 8 Sv over a period of seconds or a minute and YOU WILL DIE… most unpleasantly… in a matter of days or weeks. Absolutely for certain. 100% of the time. But people have gotten 80 Sv over a period of years and lived long lives, with no radiation disease, and died of issues unrelated to radiation-caused disease.

    Greenpeace deserves only our contempt for its craven lack of even an iota of intellectual honesty and adherence to the methods of science and medicine.

    Thank you for the both entertaining and enlightening response you’ve made… and for the book you wrote with Rauli. You may recall I bought a pile of them from you. Three people I’ve given them to (directly or indirectly got back to me telling me their entire view of nuclear power was changed by reading your book… which of course was why I bought the books from you and began giving them out!

    For a future where quantity and quality of all human lives are enhanced by abundant and economical power, produced safely, with zero impact on human health, and near zero environmental impact in general and near zero CO2 put out into the atmosphere. That is, for a future where most of our electricity comes from nuclear power.

    Best regards,


    Martin H. Goodman MD

    • Thanks Martin, and great to hear our books have been of some use!

      I’m a bit more hesitant to say there is no connection between dose rates of, say, 20 mSv/year and disease burden, but it is indeed correct that the evidence for the link isn’t very good at all. The “problem” (a positive one) here is that at such low levels (still higher than what Greenpeace screams about) health effects, if they exist, are so small that reliably detecting them from such a sea of confounding factors is close to impossible.

      It may be that we’ll know one day one way or the other, but in the meantime, what IS certain is that what Greenpeace and other scaremongers are currently doing a) is not helping but b) is actively harming the victims of the Fukushima disaster. I could understand the scaremongering – the fear of radiation is understandable – but not the twisting of ICRP’s words when it is utterly plain from ICRP’s own material that Greenpeace’s measurements only confirm it’s now better to return than to stay away.

      Thanks again, and all the best!

  5. JO_Wass says:

    I’m not a proponent of expanded nuclear energy, and I think that for example Finland’s strong focus on new nuclear plants is detrimental to a long-term goal of increasing the use of renewables. However, neither am I a nuclear alarmist, which sometimes puts me at odds with my green and left-wing comrades. I think Greenpeace does some very important work, but I have for some time been worried about its skewed reporting on Fukushima. I’m sure Mr. Korhonen and I would disagree on a number of issues, however I do think that it is this sort of serious scrutiny of facts and statements that he shows in this post, that is needed on a much larges scale on both sides of the nuclear/renewable debate. So thank you for this.

    • You are on a slippery slope here. Once you start poking into the anti-nuclear arguments, you begin to realise that they are all based on wild unsubstantiated claims underpinned by the assertion that radiation is a health threat beyond comprehension.

      But it isn’t, and a good way to compare it with more familiar threats is the loss of life expectancy.

      1000mSv additional lifetime exposure costs approximately 1 year of life expectancy.
      Living with the air pollution in London costs about the same. So the worst lifetime exposure Greenpeace calculated for Iitate (156mSv) would still be 6 times less dangerous than the air pollution in London. But no one calls for an evacuation of London, and the pollution there is not the result of an avoidable accident.

      I wonder why you see increasing use of renewables as a long time goal as if it was an end in itself and not a means to an end.
      If the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible it becomes infinitely more achievable if nuclear is a large part of the solution.

      • JO_Wass says:

        To answer your last question as simply as possible: nuclear power carries with it a potential health threat, wind, solar and other renewables do not. That said, I’m not out on the streets protesting nuclear power, it may be the best compromise we have at the moment.

      • Steve Aplin says:

        ” nuclear power carries with it a potential health threat, wind, solar and other renewables do not.”

        Wind, solar, and the other renewables DO carry health threats, and they are far more serious than the easily managed ones nuclear presents. Wind/solar cannot survive on a grid on their own, you need some stable form of generation to cover their unreliability. You don’t like nuclear, so then your only alternative is some form of combustible fuel that pollutes the air (health risk plus climate change). Whatever form of combustible poison you pick, there are demonstrable, significant deaths tied to its use. Google “natural gas explosion” to get an idea what we’re talking about in the case of natural gas, which its propagandists have successfully made over into a “clean” fuel.

        African women suffer from bronchitis and cancer, from cooking three family meals per day over wood fires — that’s the same allegedly benign “renewable biofuel” that allows German energiewende enthusiasts to claim that nenewables are replacing nuclear.

        Large hydro is renewable, but after Banqiao in the seventies no one can say it doesn’t come with serious large scale mortal hazards. California earlier this month narrowly averted what could have been a similar (though smaller scale) catastrophe with the Orville Dam.

    • Many thanks for this! There are many good reasons to be opposed to nuclear power, and in a very slightly different world I too might be joining you in opposition. However, as I’ve tried to detail in this blog and elsewhere (see our book, Climate Gamble, in particular), I now believe that opposing nuclear power at this juncture is a reckless gamble that assumes the promises of new wonder energy and its salesmen will prove correct THIS time. After all, we have one shot and one shot only at decarbonization, and if it turns out that our new wonder energies are not at least five times more capable of growing than the previous wonder energy – nuclear – was, then we’ve just lost our only habitable planet.

      I too think Greenpeace does some very valuable work, and I take absolutely no pleasure in poking at fellow environmentalists. But it pains me to no end to realize that long before “fake news” and weaponized partial information were topics in general discussion, environmental organizations perfected both.

      Thank you again for your compliments, they’re most gratefully received, and I genuinely wish you the best of luck in advancing renewable energy and reducing environmental impacts.

    • Jo Wass, thanks for your answer, but I am not convinced. Firstly, as long as there is still electricity generated from fossil fuels, it is irresponsible to oppose nuclear power, as fossil fuels are much more harmful for health, environment and climate.

      It is often assumed that the eventual nirvana of 100% renewables is inevitable. Even representatives of the fossil fuel lobby say this all the time. Sadly, this is not true.

      According to: http://priceofoil.org/2016/09/22/the-skys-limit-report/
      – The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming.
      – The reserves in currently operating oil and gas fields alone, even with no coal, would take the world beyond 1.5°C.
      – Yet right now, projected investment in new fields, mines, and transportation infrastructure over the next twenty years is $14 trillion – either a vast waste of money or a lethal capital injection.

      Now I am pretty sure that the execs of the fossil fuel companies making these investment decisions are pretty well informed about how “renewables are taking off exponentially” and the wishful thinking endemic in the energy debate. But they also know about the inherent limitations of these energy sources and know that their investments are safe as long as nuclear power is demonised.

      Basically, the fossil fuel companies and the petro states like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela and Norway are every year piling $700,000,000,000 into the wager that the 100% renewables fantasy is never going to work.
      Are you willing to bet against?

      Finally, for Finland it would be particularly foolish to bet on renewables, as the insolation is abysmal, the windspeed is low and there are no mountains to speak of for hydro.
      So even against other countries betting on renewables, Finland would be in a massive disadvantage unless you aprove of burning trees on a massive scale. So bad actually, that Mark Jacobson recommends wave power as well. In the baltic. You could not make it up.


      Next he’ll recommend that Finland builds its tourism around surfing and its agriculture around growing tomatos and dates.

  6. Thanks for the excellent exposure of Greenpeace scare tactics. Kudos to Jan Haverkamp that he tried to defend their “work”, but I don’t think he will be back. These people don’t like being confronted with facts and evidence. Everybody can see how useful their efforts are for the fossil fuel industies.
    Greenpeace is stating the government is underestimating the actual radiation doses people would be getting in Iitate. They base this allegation on a survey in 7 (seven) “randomly” cherry-picked homes.
    Real scientists investigated the relationship between estimated and actual dose by handing out dosimeters to almost all 65,000 (sixty-five thousand) inhabitants of Date. 52000 of them had their exposure measured 24/7 for at least a year.
    The result: the average exposure was on average by a factor of 4 (four) lower than estimated.
    The box and whisker plots on page 9 show that in extremely rare cases (0.7%) the actual exposure was larger than the estimated one, but still smaller than 1.1 uSv/h. In most cases it was massively lower.
    Greenpeace is looking at the outliers, real scientists are looking at the whole dataset.

    • Yes, this was a very interesting result that fits the impressions I’ve gained over a decade of examining energy politics: that contrary to popular belief, authorities in democratic countries are, generally speaking, _conservative_ and cautious in their assessments of nuclear power and radiation – completely contrary to public perception of authorities colluding to hide evidence of dangers and minimize the risks.

      • Even in the Soviet Union, the initial attempts to hide the chernobyl accident were of course very damaging, especially because no food restrictions were put into place for some time.
        However, according to http://www.nrefs.org/publications/, they still ended up evacuating too many in 1986.

        The late evacuations in 1990 were completely counterproductive and western NGOs are fully responsible for this by sowing mistrust in the authorities, which was easy at the time, until they had no choice but “doing something”.
        220000 people were uprooted for a statistical gain in life expectancy of 21 days. And this after already having absorbed 75% of their lifetime exposure through the accident. If you are told you have to leave your home due to an unacceptable health risk, but have already invisibly and irrepairably accumulated 3 times that health risk in your body over the last 4 years, you must assume you are doomed. So it is no wonder many turned to drink.

        All this damage was recklessy and deliberated committed by Greenpeace and other anti-nuclear NGOs just to further their agenda. The more evacuations, the scarier the accident. And now they are talking about “informed choices” and “no coercion”.
        Despicable is the right word for these people.

    • Greenpeace has not looked at outliers, but randomly chosen houses. Date is another village and the results cannot be one on one transferred to Iiate. Again – the issue at hand is that levels for individuals have found to be higher than the international limits and on that basis people should have a free and non-coerced choice whether they want to return or not.
      The ranting here about “small doses of radiation are safe” is outside of main stream science and there is little sense to try to debunk that myth among believers.

      Jan Haverkamp – Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe

      • Peter Weigl says:

        Haverkamp: “Again – the issue at hand is that levels for individuals have found to be higher than the international limits ..”

        Jan, those “international limits” you keep talking about and Greenpeace is using to scare people are a deliberate misrepresentation. The international accepted authority on radiation protection, the ICRP has set up a Fukushima taskforce. The distinguished members of that taskforce have made it explicitly clear, that the “international limit” used by Greenpeace and others are wrong and a misinterpretation of the ICRP’s stance.
        “Radiological protection issues arising during and after the Fukushima nuclear reactor accident”
        “There was a particular misunderstanding about the appropriate use and application of the dose value of 1 mSv year−1. The public tended to regard a dose above this value as dangerous, which created challenges in coping with the aftermath of the accident. The fact that there is little convincing evidence for human health effects below 100 mSv year−1 (or 100 times the dose limit) appeared to hold little sway over the level of concern.”

        And please stop using that line from the Antivaxxer’s rulebook, pretending to only want choice and transparency.

      • Whether or not small doses of radiation are “safe” is actually an interesting question. We know for a fact that effects of small radiation doses, such as the doses Greenpeace is so horrified about (or the doses one gets from living in Finland or other high natural background radiation areas) are so small that disproving the hormesis hypothesis – that small doses of radiation are actually GOOD for health – has proved to be almost impossible.

        I don’t think hormesis is a good basis for radiation protection even if it turns out to be correct, but this is another thing anti-nuclear organisations either don’t know or don’t want to talk about: the risks of small doses are so small that it’s impossible to say for sure whether there is a risk at all.

        And your assessment of “mainstream science” isn’t exactly credible as long as you continue to blatantly misrepresent what ICRP, for example, is saying. As Peter Weigl noted, that 1 mSv/a “international limit” isn’t at all what ICRP is saying here. And if it were, it would mandate the evacuation of most of Finland.

  7. The Greenpeace propaganda builds on the myth that even small doses of radiation are so dangerous that they are worth avoiding.
    This is underpinned by research like this by the infamous anti-nuclear scientists Mousseau and Moller. In a press release they report on their findings as such
    Even the very lowest levels of radiation are harmful to life, scientists have concluded, reporting the results of a wide-ranging analysis of 46 peer-reviewed studies published over the past 40 years. Variation in low-level, natural background radiation was found to have small, but highly statistically significant, negative effects on DNA as well as several measures of health.
    Few people bother to look at the actual study: The effects of natural variation in background radioactivity on humans, animals and other organisms.
    The study did not look at the very lowest levels of background radiation at all, but at the highest levels of natural background found anywhere in the world, which is up to 1000 times higher than the average natural background. E.g. (from the article after correcting messed up units): Maximum terrestrial levels of radioactivity reach as high as
    29.7 microSv/h in Ramsar,Iran, (red)
    22 microSv/h in Morro do Ferro, Minas Gerais, Brazil, (red)
    12 microSv/h in Mombasa, Kenya, (orange)
    10 microSv/h in Lodeve, France, (orange)
    4.0 microSv/h in Kerala, India, (yellow)
    4.0 microSv/h in Tamil Nadu, India, (yellow)
    0.7 microSv/h in Yangjiang, China.(turquoise)
    For comparison, the colours in brackets are the colours these regions would score in this Fukushima radiation map.
    Have a look at table 2 to see how small the health effects are even at these large radiation levels. For cancer no significant effect was found at all, the most significant effect was on “immunology”, where it was found that people in very high background areas have a very active immune system, with no effects on the health and wellbeing of those affected.
    Now have a good think as to why Mousseau and Moeller would claim in their press release that they have the elusive epidimological proof that low level radiation (e.g. the tiny dose like 0.001mircoSv/h you might get from living near a nuclear power plant) has measurable detrimental health effects, and base that on a paper that does not deal with low doses at all. Is this honest science or junk science.

    • Thank you for this. I once enlisted a statistician I know to go through one Mousseau paper, and while the data was analyzed correctly, there indeed remained a bugging question about whether the data itself was tainted or not. Even subtle biases in methodology would’ve been enough to influence the results.

      The idea that all radiation must be avoided leads to, as the members of the ICRP Fukushima task force noted, “unreasonable” conclusions – such as demanding dose rates less than 1 mSv/a before returning, even though even 20 mSv/a wouldn’t make the area unsafe.

      • Just noticed the link to the M&M paper was broken, here t is.
        Their work raises a lot of red flags, especially as the get a just about “statistically significant” result in every study they publish.

        In the literature review paper above, they have a fascinating section about radiation tolerance of bacteria and fungi, with some strains being able to survive up to 30000Gy in one session.

        Yet elsewhere they claim that organic material does not rot properly in the chernobyl exclusion zone with maximum doses of 0.00003Gy/h or 0.25 Gy/year.

        Their work only makes sense if you forget about the little things called numbers and do not acknoledge that vastly different doses have most likely vastly different effects, merging to “none at all” at low doses. Even in the review paper, they only look at the effect size, and ignore the vastly different dose size in the data they amalgamate.

        Figure 2 is quite telling as well, with large effects only being observed with small sample sizes.

        Appeal to innumeracy is endemic in the whole anti-nuclear game, and also the basis of the oversold promises of renewables. Providing a list of promising technologies to answer the intermittancy problem of wind and solar is like listing kaviar, lobster and truffles as solutions to feeding the world. Then you patiently explain why kaviar is insufficient by orders of magnitude, only to be told that you are attacking a strawman, as no-one wanted to feed the world on kaviar alone. And so the parlour game goes on while the world burns.

  8. There is no such thing as zero risk. If in one sector a zero risk is set as an aim, one may safely expect that some other risk may increase. This logical error has been a problem of Greenpeace as well as many other NGOs. On top of climate change, energy production based on fossil fuels causes some mortality, even in relatively “clean” Finland 1000 to 1800 premature deaths annually, and hundreds of thousands to millions globally. This is per year, and even the consequences of the worst nuclear accident are at most tens of thousands per 50 years. In addition, fine particulate matter causes massive numbers of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses and deterioration of symptoms of e.g. asthma. In this sense single idea movements are dangerous, if they are not willing to see the whole picture. Jouko Tuomisto, MD

  9. Pingback: “Environmental NGOs knew the truth about climate change” | The unpublished notebooks of J. M. Korhonen

  10. Pingback: Fukushima 2017 - Saving Our Planet

  11. Peter Weigl says:

    Justin McCurry just rehashed the deliberate Greenpeace misinformation about the ICRP’s 1 mSv/year dose level in his Guardian article, despite the ICRP Fukushima task force explicitly saying otherwise and explicitly recommending a 20 mSv/year dose limit for return areas:

    Guardian article: “Fukushima disaster evacuees told to return to abandoned homes”
    “Campaigners have called on the government to declare Fukushima neighbourhoods unfit for human habitation unless atmospheric radiation is brought to below one millisievert (mSv) a year, the maximum public exposure limit recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.
    While 1 mSv a year remains the government’s long-term target, it is encouraging people to return to areas where radiation levels are below 20 mSv a year, an annual exposure limit that, internationally, applies to nuclear power plant workers.”

    Why not ask the author on his twitter account about the misinformation?

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