Radiation and Reason Book

Radiation and Reason: The Impact of Science on a Culture of Fear

"This is an important and useful book. Wade Allison's message is simple - we've got it wrong about nuclear power.” 
Brian Clegg, Popular Science Website

About the Book

Date of Publication: October 2009
ISBN: 9780956275615

For more than half a century, the view that radiation represents an extreme hazard has been accepted. This book challenges that view facing a scientific question: How dangerous is ionising radiation? As well as a historical and sociological one: Why are we so worried about radiation? 

The answers use modern scientific evidence and common sense understanding. Briefly, radiation is about a thousand times safer than suggested by official standards. Four facts illustrate the need for a new understanding:

1. The radiation levels in the nuclear waste storage hall at Sellafield, UK are so low thatin a million hours the dose there would equal the one used on the health tissue of any patient on radiotherapy treatment in a single day.

2. The radiation dose experienced by the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs caused 0.6% to die of radiation-induced cancer between 1950 and 2000, about 1/20 of the chance of dying of cancer anyway and less than the chance of being killed on US highways in 50 years.

3. The wildlife at Chernobyl today is reported to be thriving, despite being radioactive.

4. The mortality of UK radiation workers before age 85 from all cancers is 15-20% lower than comparable groups.

The case is made for a complete change in attitude towards radiation safety. The realisation that radiation and nuclear energy are much safer than usually supposed is of extreme importance in discussion of alternatives to fossil fuels and their relative costs.

Radiation and Reason book cover

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"I very much agree with the conclusions of this book, and am very pleased to see them presented in a style that makes them accessible to the general reader." 
Sir Eric Ash, FRS
"If Professor Allison's well-documented arguments are right - and if people can be persuaded to examine them! - his book gives us a little more hope of confronting the problems posed by both dwindling fossil fuel reserves and the release of their waste products into the atmosphere."
Michael Frayn, playwright and author
Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
"This is an important and useful book. Wade Allison's message is simple - we've got it wrong about nuclear power. We've overreacted to the level of risk posed by low-level radiation exposure, and because of that we make nuclear power ridiculously expensive. The arguments are very powerful."
Brian Clegg, Popular Science website
"Even if you disagree with where Allison takes his arguments, a large part of the book is a good accessible review of the science of radiation and its biological effects. This in itself makes it a potentially valuable read for activists interested in nuclear and environmental issues."
Peace News
"Why I'm becoming a pro-nuke nut..... The other scholar challenging my nuclear views is Wade Allison....we must consider all alternatives available to us - including nuclear energy, which just a few months ago I fervently opposed."
John Horgan, Scientific American
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