Friday, May 10, 2013

Experts Weigh In: Joseph Mangano Study Hopelessly Flawed

For the nuclear industry, safety is the top priority, and it goes to great lengths to minimize radiation exposure to the public and employees. So exhaustive are these measures that nuclear power plants only account for .1% of the annual radiation that a typical American is exposed to. Nearly half come from medical exposures.

Yet Joseph Mangano seems intent on repeatedly and falsely stating otherwise. Most recently, Mangano published a study that suggests a correlation exists between the closing of Rancho Seco and the decline in cancer rates in the surrounding area. We responded by reminding the media to consider Mangano's lack of credibility when it comes to "scientific findings" before distributing the study to their readers. This week, local Pennsylvania experts came to the same conclusion about his bogus work. An especially compelling statement comes from the state's director of the Bureau of Radiation Protection:

David J. Allard, director of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Radiation Protection, oversees nine active nuclear power plants on five sites throughout the state. DEP also oversees licensing for medical, academic, industrial type of sources of radiation including nearly 30,000 pieces of x-ray equipment in facilities, half of which are used by dentists.

“The technical reality with these nuclear power plants is that under the federal regulations, Title 10, Part 50, in the code of federal regulations, these power plants can’t emit liquid and airborne radiation that cause greater than three millirem of radiation,” says Allard.

“We see lots of background (radiation) and it’s only when you have Chernobyl or Fukushima where you actually see material on our samples other than the natural background and some residual fallout from the 50s and 60s. We monitor this and quite honestly at those kinds of levels, it’s really, really difficult to measure.”

According to Allard, radon, chemical exposures, genetics and lifestyles may have more impact on the prevalence of cancer rates.

“The problem is that correlation does not mean causation just because people live next to a power plant,” he says. “People are moving in and out. There are other major sources of radiation exposure that the public gets that really swamp whatever little radiation does come from the nuclear plant. The big one is the medical screenings…In these studies, whether by the NRC or Mr. Mangano, you have to control for those other sources of exposure.”
If his word isn't good enough, check out our past coverage of Mangano's sloppy research (a generous phrase for his work). The fact remains that America's nuclear plants are proven to be safe and continue to operate according to rigorous and comprehensive safety standards.


Anonymous said...

If everybody ignored him Joseph Mangano, would he just fade away?

jimwg said...

The nuclear community TERRIBLY need a cadre of instant media/web nuke education responders to harass and demand the media to include contary views instead of taking the words of Arnie and Helen and Joe here as gospel. They royally get away with spreading FUD unchecked simply because there is no one with the credentials and professional backing to challange them. As soon as we hear their likes bad-mouthing nukes, the bat-phone ought be picked up by nuke pros to get on the case of those forums or stations hosting their rants for equal rebuttal. There's no other industry complex that keeps turning the other bloody cheek so as nuclear!

James Greenidge
Queens NY

WJensen said...

Unfortunately, we as an industry continue to let people like this frame the view of the typical, ill-informed American citizen. It's sad.

Don Kosloff said...

The people Mr. Mangano used for his story did not live "next to" Rancho Seco. Nobody ever lived next to Rancho Seco. The bulk of the population that was used for the story lived 20 to 25 miles from Rancho Seco. During the period of the story creation, radiation dose from medical exposure roughly tripled.