DANGER: RADIOACTIVE – Do Not Drink More than 63,000 Gallons of Water

My name is Art Robinson. I am Professor of Chemistry at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, and I publish a pro-science, pro-technology, pro-free enterprise monthly newsletter, Access to Energy, which in September 1997 began its twenty fifth year. Access to Energy was founded by Professor Petr Beckmann in 1973 and published by him until his death in 1993.

As for those 63,000 gallons, our readers know why they are safe. We don’t ask them to trust and parrot us, we ask them to think.

In this case, we told them how much radioactive iodine 131 is given to a healthy patient in a thyroid check: up to 90 microcuries (a cancer patient is given much more). And we reported the maximum measured activity in rainwater washing out Chernobyl’s iodine over the US: 0.00036 microcuries per liter. There is about 4 liters to the gallon; hence 63,000 gallons of “contaminated” rain water “full of fallout” will give you as much radioactive iodine as you get when you have your thyroid checked.

Does that tiny grain of knowledge make you feel good?

It should, because America’s news media and largest periodicals don’t have it.

They work by the T&P (trust and parrot) method. They may differ in whom to trust and parrot; but they share a common inability to evaluate. They will find two opposing viewpoints and manufacture a “controversy;” for they think objectivity lies halfway between the truth and a lie (or worse, between two lies).

In the Three Mile Island episode, Access to Energy pointed out at the time that the accident would cost more than one life per week: not from any radiation, but in the fuel cycle of the substitute power, mostly coal-fired, that had to be brought in to replace the safer and healthier way of generating electric power nuclear power.

In the Chernobyl accident, too, we pointed out that in its short life of 25 months, Chernobyl Unit 4 saved more lives from coal-fired pollution than it took, or will ever take, by radiation. And we gave the reasons why the Soviets did not even bother to dilute contaminated wheat with grain from elsewhere. “A little cesium and strontium gave the Russians a more varied diet; for unlike Markey, Solarz, Schroeder and the other antinuclear breast beaters in Congress, the Soviets care only about visible deaths.”

But Access to Energy is not just about nuclear energy (which is merely a very blatant target of superstition mongering). It is about the truth and how to arrive at it in scientific fields.

In all other cases of irrational panic, Access to Energy gives reasons, not parroted hunches, for its conclusions; and it tells you where you can check them independently.

If you think these reasons are unimportant compared with the political need of distributing research grants and humoring the sham environmentalists, support the efforts of the EPA and the State Department to ban “ozone-destroying” chemicals.

If you think corporations can be taxed without passing the tax to the consumer, join Ralph Nader in soaking the rich.

If you are looking for somebody to trust and parrot, get your opinions ready-made from the network newscasters and newspaper analysts, who are mostly trusting and parroting each other.

But if you want to form an opinion by rational conclusion from measured data, subscribe to Access to Energy.