From Conca, in response to stock's questions.
I sent your comment to one of the authors and received this back:
I did a
review on the whole text of the study, I just don’t have time to write
it up nicely, but here is my shoot from the hip take on things. I am not
against this type of study and in fact urge it to be replicated by
those with no vested interests. -
These types of studies where cells
shielded from natural levels of radiation exhibit deleterious effects
have been done by the French (Planel et al.1987), the Italians (Satta et
al. 1995; Carbone et al. 2009; Fratinni et al. 2015) and the Japanese
(Kawanashi et al. 2012), studies run over the last four decades.
(references cited in our Castillo paper)
No conclusion, their
experimental setup is questionable. I mean why not run the background
radiation cultures in “background radiation” rather than try to create a
K40 background radiation using salts. -
We started this work by doing
just that and published an initial report (Smith et al. 2011). Comparing
above ground controls to below ground shielded cells of D. radiodurans,
we observed similar trends as in our second study (Castillo et al 2015),
i.e., growth was inhibited. The idea of adding back radiation was to
control for variables that would otherwise not be controllable at two
Just weird, the only benefit is being in the same
location….and then to put the radiated test and the nonradiated in the
SAME CABINET? -
Both the add-back 40K control and the rad-deprived
treatment were located in the steel vault, but they were in separate
incubators. This means that the only difference between the two
treatments was radiation. However, I appreciate the point made below
about humidity differences.
Why the lousy climate control on the
incubator box…the low rad chamber swung from 20RH to 60RH, thats a hella
swing for a climate controlled box. The radiated chamber held much
better tolerance at 30 to 50RH. -
In 2011, we did have a hard time
controlling the humidity in the 2 different incubators, due to the KCl
salt buffering humidity by releasing/sorbing water. We attempted to
control the minus incubator with variable levels of water. We are much
better at it now than in 2011. Now, I’ve thought, what difference on the
radiation field would humidity make? I’d love to run an experiment with
the hypothesis that a gamma source would undergo more Compton
scattering due to the atmospheric water molecules. Sigh, some day, when
we get tighter endpoints maybe we’ll do it. Bottom line, both sets of
cells in plus and minus rad incubators were suspended in water, both
experiencing 100% humidity.
Then when they measured the low rad area
with a test device, they decided to ignore the device and instead use a
model that showed 20 times less radiation, excuse me? -
I’m a much more
natural empirical scientist than I am a theory guy, and so was the last
one to let go of my Sodium Iodide detector measurements. But I couldn’t
ignore the variability of my measurements: I took about 150
measurements, and yet the readings were all over the place. We reported 2
nGy/h plus/minus 1.8, so what does that mean? That’s a lot of
variability, it was mostly the noise of the instrument I was using.
Other empirical methods like suing badges also have severe limitations
at these bizarrely low levels of rad. We got a physic geek to run
MonteCarlo N Particle modeling; MCNP analyses are well-established and,
in this case, gave the more accurate estimation.
They draw conclusions
that both type of bacteria were heavily effected by rad or no rad, and
then for the radiation sensitive bacteria they say our variation was so
great that we really can’t say anything with any certainty. -
clear and statistically significant stress gene upregulation in the
radiation sensitive bacterium (S. oneidensis), so I’m not sure what’s
being referred to. I really can’t understand the gene testing portion
and it is not written clearly. - Yes, sorry, it could have been written
better, but see above statement. The statistics say that in three
separate experiments, three different families of stress genes (DNA
repair, ROS response and efflux pump), become upregulated when cells are
deprived of normal radiation. In our reciprocal control experiments,
when we returned the cells to radiation-sufficient conditions (i.e., the
other incubator 3 feet away with a source of rad), the stress genes
Plus they were doing this at WIPP, in the underground, and
they could only visit the test site quickly twice a day, their total
test was 2 days long. So this must have been after the plutonium
explosion in WIPP, a questionable place to do bio-testing.
We did the
experiments reported in Castillo et al. in 2011, before the rad release.
Interesting though, is the fact that about 1000 meters away, there is
the nuclear repository for weapons waste, and yet the salt completely
shields the rad so that MIT and Stanford can run two international
astrophysics experiments (on dark matter and neutrino-less double beta
decay, respectively), that rely on the almost complete absence of
radiation in order to publish their results.
Then they want to
questionable and not replicated test on special bacteria to be used as a
basis for throwing out radiation standards on humans and gifting us
with more radiation.
More work needs to be done to test under what
conditions LNT is correct, but at these levels it is not. LNT needs to
be tested, and not just accepted because it sounds good and is
stock here again, with more questions and statements---
LNT (Linear No Threshold) is a canard, a strawman argument, in terms of promoting any alternate theory by "disproving LNT". No engineer or scientist would assume or even theorize that LNT was the way that 50 different important isotopes that decay with various methods and energies and that also have important chemical properties within the human body and bio-congregate in various ways....no one would assume a linear reaction to all these wildly varying factors. Especially when the extrapolation, or interpolation if you insist since Zero is the "target" is based on a limited number of cases of a post war scenario of high dose radiation.
The true reaction of human to various isotopes may be supra "linear", sub "linear", parabolic, or even "double humped". There may be some sweet spot in which there is a benefit. But with our level of understanding and ability to test, and knowing that there are large individual differences in reaction to humans to many different inputs (hay fever as a simple example, peanut allergy, lactose intolerance) it seems clear that there will also be a huge difference in reactions to humans to various isotopes. And so even IF, we could tell what is good for the gander, we could not certainly say that it is good for any particular set of gooses.
We know that the nuclear industry is extremely challenged at this time. And we know that they want to loosen up the rules regarding radiation exposure and radiation releases and cleanup efforts. So it is important for the nuclear industry to change the laws so that they have a chance of survival. However, everywhere one looks, there is clear and statistically significant evidence that even at the existing, what some call "low" levels of radiation releases from nuclear plants, that there is importantly damaging and wide spread negative effects. Although the environment and humans are under attack from a number of negative factors such as chemical pollution, pesticides, and some believe GMOs, this should not be a reason why we should not eliminate an obvious cause of deleterious radiation and heavy metal pollution (nuclear) which is no longer economic in favor of much better methods to generate electricity. And that is before we even bring up the issue of long term damage from the attempt at long term "disposal" of nuclear waste.
Sometimes we don't just need a bigger boat, we need a different boat.
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