The Scandalous Science Behind Nuclear Regulation

A flawed scientific model continues to hinder the nuclear power industry and shape policy, holding us all back.

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Nuclear power could be a game-changer for energy affordability, grid reliability, and carbon reduction. However, it’s been stifled for decades based on one deeply flawed scientific model: the linear no-threshold (LNT) model. The theory underlying this model suggests that any exposure to ionizing radiation, no matter how small, increases cancer risks and that risks rise in a linear way with exposure levels. It’s not true.

The roots of LNT’s dominance are more political than scientific. Its influence traces back to Hermann Muller, a geneticist and 1946 Nobel Prize winner. Muller’s research in the 1920s and ’30s claimed to show that radiation induces mutations in fruit flies, with no safe threshold. He became an ardent evangelist for the idea that even tiny radiation doses could cause hereditary defects.

However, it appears Muller may have deliberately misled his followers. For example, Muller falsely claimed in his 1946 Nobel acceptance speech that there was “no escape” from the conclusion that any radiation is harmful, despite being aware of evidence to the contrary.

Read the full article on Reason.