Friday, 14 August 2015

The linear no-threshold (LNT) model is not science it's junk science.

The linear no-threshold (LNT) model recognises that even a small amount of radiation produces a small amount of damage.

The linear no-threshold (LNT) model is not science it's junk science. There never was any legitimate foundation for the theory and, in fact, the original purveyors of BEIR I made several mistakes, touching on actual fraud.(1)

There's never been a scientific consensus on radiation risk.(2) LNT was always a theory lacking evidential support aka a "hypothesis". The only reason LNT even became a theory in the first place was because it was easiest thing to model. All 3 fundamental assumptions in LNT were formulated to make it easy to model:

  1. Linear
  2. No-threshold
  3. Dose-response is additive over time.

Only the first assumption is approximately valid. The 3rd assumption is clearly nonsense w.r.t. radiation because radionuclides are generally not concentrated when taken up in the food chain, and actual exposure to radioactivity is not additive. The 2nd assumption (no-threshold) was always disputed too.

OK, so those are some arguments against LNT, why why am I calling it junk science? It's junk science because non-scientists, and non-radiation specialists rely on it to scare-monger over radiation and nuclear power.


  1. Edward Calabrese challenges Science Magazine to right a 59 year-old case of scientific misconduct
  2. Dose-effect relationship and estimation of the carcinogenic effects of low-doses of ionizing radiation, by Maurice Tubiana, André Aurengo, 2005
  3. Nor does enforcing LNT for radiation make any sense. Better safe than sorry is an idiotic policy too: Radiation Risk and Ethics, by Zbigniew Jaworowski

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Green FUD about new Vogle Nuclear plants spins revenue into costs.

The projected revenues from the two new nuclear plants at Vogle, Georgia, USA were calculated to be $65 billion over a 60 year projected plant lifetime1. Each plant is 1117 MWe in capacity (net). Assuming a conservative 90% capacity is reached2. They can be expected to generate 1056.77 TWh of electricity, or 1056.77 billion units (a 'unit' is a kWh in Britain)3. The expected revenue works out at US 6.15¢ per kWh. In Britain my current electricity tariff is 14.04p per kWh (equivalent to: 21.9¢/kWh)4. So I'm paying 3.56 times the cost of Vogle electricity. I should be so lucky to have such low cost nuclear power.

The electricity cost above assume the new Vogle reactors (units 3 and 4) will undergo a cost overrun. Total costs to build them are projected at USD $7.5 billion.5. Even with a cost overrun Vogle plants will still make cheap electricity. One might think this is good news. Perhaps we should break open a bottle of Prosecco or Cava? No such luck. At least two green websites have spun this revenue projection by Bobbie Baker into "a case study of nuclear power’s staggeringly awful economics"6,7.

They took Baker's expected revenue and turned it into expected costs! In the source they cited, Bobbie Baker is quoted saying: "The current total revenue requirement for the Project is approximately $65 billion"1. This was spun into: Vogtle: at $65 billion and counting, it’s a case study of nuclear power’s staggeringly awful economics6. Some people have blinkered vision. They're so certain that nuclear power is expensive, their minds turn revenue into costs, and their prophecies are fulfilled.


  1. To get the quote for $65 billion (what Commissioner Baker said):
    1. Follow this link: Freeman Mathis & Gary LLP Lawline Alerts
    2. Click on the link for "Georgia Utility Update – July 2015"
  2. US nuclear power plants had an average capacity factor of 91.8% in 2014. See: US nuclear plants set capacity factor record in 2014: industry group
  3. 2 × 1.117 GWe × 365 × 24 × 60 × 90% = 1056771.36 GWh
  4. My tariff of 14.04p includes the effect of a standing charge. See: EdF Energy 'Unit rate comparison'
  5. Plant Vogtle nuclear reactors expected to cost $7.5bn
  6. Vogtle: at $65 billion and counting, it’s a case study of nuclear power’s staggeringly awful economics,
  7. Atlanta Progressive News: Vogtle Nuclear Expansion Total Cost Is 65 Billion Dollars, Former Commissioner Says