Late this afternoon, it came to our attention that Joseph Mangano, Janette Sherman and Robert Alvarez will be holding a news conference on Monday morning (December 19) concerning a new study they've done about how Americans might be affected by radiation released into the atmosphere from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan.
While we haven't seen the article as of yet and can't comment on it, our readers should know that reliable third parties have reviewed the work of all three authors in the past and found it to be fatally flawed.
Here's what the New Jersey Commission on Radiation Protection had to say about Mangano's "Tooth Fairy" project:
The Commission is of the opinion that "Radioactive Strontium-90 in Baby Teeth of New Jersey Children and the Link with Cancer: A Special Report," is a flawed report, with substantial errors in methodology and invalid statistics. As a result, any information gathered through this project would not stand up to the scrutiny of the scientific community. There is also no evidence to support the allegation that the State of New Jersey has a problem with the release of Sr-90 into the environment from nuclear generating plants: more than 30 years of environmental monitoring data refute this.In June, Michael Moyer of Scientific American had this to say about a study by Mangano and Sherman on radiation and Fukushima:
[A] check reveals that the authors’ statistical claims are critically flawed—if not deliberate mistruths.As for Mr. Alvarez, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had this to say about one of his papers on the safety of spent fuel pools:
Only by explicitly excluding data from January and February were Sherman and Mangano able to froth up their specious statistical scaremongering.
This is not to say that the radiation from Fukushima is not dangerous, nor that we shouldn’t closely monitor its potential to spread (we should). But picking only the data that suits your analysis isn’t science—it’s politics. Beware those who would confuse the latter with the former.
The NRC staff has reviewed the paper, "Reducing the Hazards from Stored Spent Power- Reactor Fuel in the United States," April 21, 2003, Robert Alvarez, et al., (published in Science and Global Security, spring 2003) and concludes that it fails to make the case for its central recommendation.Members of the press should take care to challenge the findings announced on Monday, and to be sure to contact NEI or other third party experts to review the validity of the study, rather than simply rebroadcast its findings.
Our review of the paper indicates that it is a deficient study of the hazards associated with the storage of spent fuel. Many of the 114 cited references are NRC studies or NRC contracted studies conducted for a variety of purposes, and most are not applicable to terrorist attacks.