Friday, 14 August 2015

The linear no-threshold (LNT) model is not science it's junk science.

The linear no-threshold (LNT) model recognises that even a small amount of radiation produces a small amount of damage.

The linear no-threshold (LNT) model is not science it's junk science. There never was any legitimate foundation for the theory and, in fact, the original purveyors of BEIR I made several mistakes, touching on actual fraud.(1)

There's never been a scientific consensus on radiation risk.(2) LNT was always a theory lacking evidential support aka a "hypothesis". The only reason LNT even became a theory in the first place was because it was easiest thing to model. All 3 fundamental assumptions in LNT were formulated to make it easy to model:

  1. Linear
  2. No-threshold
  3. Dose-response is additive over time.

Only the first assumption is approximately valid. The 3rd assumption is clearly nonsense w.r.t. radiation because radionuclides are generally not concentrated when taken up in the food chain, and actual exposure to radioactivity is not additive. The 2nd assumption (no-threshold) was always disputed too.

OK, so those are some arguments against LNT, why why am I calling it junk science? It's junk science because non-scientists, and non-radiation specialists rely on it to scare-monger over radiation and nuclear power.


  1. Edward Calabrese challenges Science Magazine to right a 59 year-old case of scientific misconduct
  2. Dose-effect relationship and estimation of the carcinogenic effects of low-doses of ionizing radiation, by Maurice Tubiana, André Aurengo, 2005
  3. Nor does enforcing LNT for radiation make any sense. Better safe than sorry is an idiotic policy too: Radiation Risk and Ethics, by Zbigniew Jaworowski

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