Many people have asked for my views on the recent Guardian articles by Mr Monbiot on Dr Busby.
These articles are bad news for everyone in the environmental and Green movements. Many will know that Dr Busby has followers and opponents, so the articles are internally divisive. I don’t get any pleasure from them, even though Dr Busby has been very unkind in the past.
Dr Busby’s actions in Japan appear unfortunate. More important, his rudimentary epi study on cancers near Wylfa is seriously flawed in my opinion and in Dr Korblein’s view. (There appears to be a slight increase in solid cancers in one ward, but it’s not close to Wylfa.)
The real problem is that Dr Busby’s actions are grist to Mr Monbiot’s mill that radiation risks are overrated and that people who oppose nuclear on health grounds are mistaken and/or unprincipled. In response to Mr Monbiot, I would say
(a) radiation risks are real and are not overrated according to the overwhelming majority of proper radiation biologists and epidemiologists. See my recent blog (Are Radiation Risks Overrated?) on this website.
(b) we should be guided by these radiation scientists and not by media pundits.
(c) people who oppose nuclear power are not mistaken and are principled: indeed, their views are more principled than Mr Monbiot’s views on nuclear.
(d) many people oppose nuclear power as it is inconsistent with the principle of Sustainable Development, the Precautionary Principle (viz Fukushima and Chernobyl), and the ethical principle that we should not pass to future generations the serious problem of nuclear waste which we cannot deal with today.
(e) also disturbing is the clear evidence that nuclear power facilitates the development of nuclear weapons worldwide (eg Iran).
I guess many people think Mr Monbiot writes good articles questioning the establishment: I used to like his articles too. The problem is that sometimes he tackles matters which are complex and cannot be addressed by one day’s background reading as he admits he did with radiation risks.
And it’s a pity his fixation with nuclear power as the solution to global warming (when it is, at best, a poor answer) appears to have led him to downplay radiation risks.
Hope this helps.
Dr IAN FAIRLIE