Thu Dec 6, 2012, 08:28 PM
bananas (25,015 posts)
AP Exclusive: Japan scientists took utility money
Source: Associated Press
Influential scientists who help set Japan's radiation exposure limits have for years had trips paid for by the country's nuclear plant operators to attend overseas meetings of the world's top academic group on radiation safety.
The potential conflict of interest is revealed in one sentence buried in a 600-page parliamentary investigation into last year's Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant disaster and pointed out to The Associated Press by a medical doctor on the 10-person investigation panel.
The doctor on the parliamentary panel, Hisako Sakiyama, is outraged about utility funding for Japan's ICRP members. She fears that radiation standards are being set leniently to limit costly evacuations.
"The assertion of the utilities became the rule. That's ethically unacceptable. People's health is at stake," she said. "The view was twisted so it came out as though there is no clear evidence of the risks, or that we simply don't know."
Read more: http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2019841119_apasjapanradiationrisk.html
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Response to bananas (Original post)
Thu Dec 6, 2012, 10:22 PM
caraher (4,748 posts)
2. Maybe they should have sent them away more...
The real scandal isn't that the utilities paid for their travel, it's that Japan lets their guidelines be set by views other than those of ICRP.
The official stance of the International Commission on Radiological Protection is that the health risks from radiation become zero only with zero exposure. But some of the eight Japanese ICRP members do not subscribe to that view, asserting that low-dose radiation is harmless or the risks are negligible.
I suspect that whether or not the utilities paid to fly Japanese ICRP members to conferences, they were going to bend rules in the wake of Fukushima. Certainly none of the raised exposure limits were set because the science of radiation risk had changed in the wake of the accident.
I'd also imagine plenty of non-Japanese ICRP members who are not utility-funded share the view that there may be a threshold for radiation risk. The mere fact that they hold this view does not really put them out of the scientific mainstream. But it does place them outside the regulatory mainstream that uses the linear no-threshold model to provide a conservative estimate of risk.