The Nuclear Theory You Never Knew Was Nonsense: Exposing Junk Science on the Danger of Radiation Exposure

The Nuclear Theory You Never Knew Was Nonsense: Exposing Junk Science on the Danger of Radiation Exposure

By John Dale Dunn

Steve Milloy, long-time editor and founder of, announced an explosive exposé this month in an extended articleGovernment and private scientists in radiation safety have been attempting to cover up a pattern of misconduct and hijack the Health Physics Society, a professional organization of radiation safety experts and officials, to take down the society’s series of twenty-two videos featuring Dr. Ed Calabrese, which exposes a longtime scam in radiation safety matters.

The issue is Linear No Threshold Toxicology — LNT for short, also called the “one hit” theory of toxic radiation genetic mutation.  These bad actors have also conspired to censor and silence Calabrese, a prominent toxicologist and the subject of the video series, who did the investigation that exposed the lies used to promote LNT during the ’40s and ’50s by the influential Hermann Muller, awarded the 1946 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for what Calabrese has demonstrated is a pack of lies, creating the LNT scam that is with us today.

Milloy says: is presenting for the first time emails uncovered via the Freedom of Information Act that expose the inner workings of a little-known bureaucracy dedicated to keeping in place the so-called “linear non-threshold model” (LNT). The LNT is used by regulatory agencies to set permitted exposure standards for radiation.

In 2018, I was asked to submit a paper and make a presentation on the fraud of LNT to a joint meeting of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and the Health Physics Society (HPS) on low-level radiation hazards and risk management.  I was asked because the organizers of the meeting knew that I was critical of LNT radiation biophysics — I thought it was a crock.

LNT says there is no safe level of radiation exposure, but obviously, the better rule is the rule of Paracelsus: “All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes that a thing is no poison.”  (The dose makes the poison.)  No threshold of LNT throws that maxim out the window.

My negative attitude about LNT was nurtured by a twenty-plus-year interest in the work of Ed Calabrese, U. Mass Amherst, reigning expert on low-level radiation hazards and the theory of heresies that asserts a tri-phasic effect of exposure of all kinds — 1) a no effect level, 2) a beneficial effect at low exposure levels, and 3) a toxic effect at higher levels of exposure.  My medical experience with drug effects shows that same hermetic di-phasic effect — drugs have a sweet spot between no effect and toxic effect. 

I prepared my papers, short and long, for the meeting, favorably referencing Dr. Calabrese and Dr. John Carderelli, president of HPS.  I am sure Carderelli was influential in organizing the anti-LNT meeting, and he and HPS membership were committed to discarding the LNT model because of its detrimental regulatory impact on nuclear power development and utilization.

Hormesis is a concept that flies in the face of the LNT/”one hit” radiation risk theory, planted and promoted by Muller and his acolytes, that there is no safe level of radiation and that any exposure to radiation puts people at risk.  Muller’s advocacy is that any radiation exposure — one hit of an alpha, beta, or gamma — can and will cause cancer because they cause mutations, according to Muller’s fruit fly studies.  The critical part of the video series is Calabrese’s exposure of Muller’s lies about his fruit fly research that resulted in his Nobel Prize.

Cancer caused by genetic mutations induced by one hit of radiative energy, and the related theory of one hit toxicology, is just plain bad science designed to promote regulatory hyperactivity — create a scare.  Consider LNT claims when ambient (environmental) radiation is in the soil, the water, and the air.  It is coming at us from the universe as cosmic rays.  Every person, animal, plant is constantly exposed to radiation.  Obviously, there must be a safe level.  And combine that with the phenomenon of hormesis, and it is clear that a low level of exposure to radiation is beneficial.

Hermann  Muller’s one hit/no safe level theory doesn’t follow the evidence, but it does achieve Mencken’s description of practical politics,: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

The 2018 meeting was positive about pushback on LNT — enough that I was asked to participate in an extra panel on the last day to consider how to alert the public that LNT is wrong and we need to reset public policy on radiation risk management.  The LNT proponents, meanwhile, were apoplectic. 

This year, the HPS put together twenty-two videos explaining Calabrese’s work and concepts, including his investigation of how Dr. Muller’s misconduct resulted in adoption of LNT radiation biophysics and the resultant public policy decisions made since.  The videos are compelling because Ed Calabrese is a living and breathing monument to good science and professional integrity.  Dr. Calabrese asserts:

I have never seen anything like this in my nearly 50 years in the field. … The documentary tells a powerful story that exposes numerous critical errors, profound bias for influential scientific leaders and organizations, and scientific misconduct at the highest levels in this country. The entire series is based on 14 hours of interviews with me, and I had to provide documentation for all my statements, many of which are incorporated into the documentary. I hope this documentary will take center stage in this international re-evaluation process and help lead to substantial change in cancer risk assessment.

The fallout (that’s not radiation fallout, but political fallout) of the 2018 Pasco meeting on low-level radiation risk and the recent Health Physics Society decision to do the Calabrese video series debunking LNT has been an organized effort by mostly government-affiliated members of the society to try to stack the Board of Directors of the HPS because the election participation rate is very low.

The efforts made by government-employed or funded actors and others committed to LNT are documented in detail by the Milloy exposé.  He has the emails.  He published them with the names and then described them — what their positions are and how they are participating in the takeover.  

The perps’ goal is to remove anti-LNT members from leadership of the Health Physics Society and crush Calabrese.  They represent the army of leftist environmentalists who dominate public radiation safety science and are funded by government agencies with a political agenda.  This is not radiation biophysics in the public interest.

Ike Eisenhower warned us in his farewell speech: “We must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of scientific-technological elite.”  And Angelo Codevilla eloquently described the dangers of an army of unelected “experts” controlling an administrative state tyranny.  

John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D. is a retired emergency physician/inactive attorney/consultant in Brownwood, Texas.

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