Nuclear Panic is Money…

I am certain there are many more examples for Nuclear Panic is Money – people that try to raise panic and then profit financially from this… and I invite all readers to send these to me, I will add them in this post which I hope to continously update. I give you a good example here below.

So during the past weeks I have come across many different “studies” on the impact of Fukushima in Europe. While I certainly agree with the fact that we should stay vigilant and carefully observe what is going on, I also emphasize that, especially in these times, it is important to rely on as honest information and rational opinion as is possible. And it is not all-too-clear whether this is truly done and who uses what kind of information (see also HERE at project syndicate). So let me give you some examples. Thanks also to the hat-tip by Indridi Palsson, who is always helping to collect useful sources on nuclear issues from the net and up for a rational debate.

So here is my number 1 panic article (in German): Radioactivitiy reaches Europe – warning against  milk and  vegetables. Now I might be barking up the wrong tree, and if I do, I’d like to apologize already now. But honestly – this really looks soooo very much like a perfect example for Nuclear Panic is Money that I cannot let this opportunity slide:

In March 2011, some traces of Iod-131 were found in milk and vegetables in the South of France. In April 2011, the article by http://www.zentrum-der-gesundheit.de/ (which means centre of health) picked this story up and suggested that this is the case everywhere across Europe, and that some types of vegetables (like spinach or some salads) are “polluted extremely strongly”. The article continues to discuss about geiger counters and runs on foods that were produced prior to Fukushima… blah blah blah.

On the website it is also possible to see that the article has been updated on the 30th December 2013. Clearly, by that time it should have become clear that there were no runs on foods, no real need to go shopping with a geiger counter in the hand, and no more news on radioactive foods.

And if you think this is only an article written by a few panic pushers, then see this: It has more than 17 thousand facebook likes, more than this website here is likely to ever get (hopefully not though…).

I’ll first give you my view on why this website is writing articles in such a panic pushing way, and then some more background information on what is actually going on.

First things first. By sheer coincidence, that website has a shop attached to it. While reading the article on the left-hand side, you read about the products that will be helpful to reduce a potential impact of nuclear contamination, and then on the right-hand side the company, surprisingly, sells precisely those products that it just advocated in the article. Nuclear panic is money… Though the company claims on the website that it runs its website on donations, a closer look into the commercial registry shows that it is a joint stock corporation with its own collection department (Inkassoabteilung). Collection department basically means that if you cannot pay your bills to them then they are going to send some friends over that make sure you do…

One way the article suggest we could reduce our personal exposure to radioactivity is by using Betonit, a kind of mineral soil. This will cost you 30 euros per month, unless you also take their suggested mud pack, which would add a monthly bill of roughly 90 euros. So 120 euros a month, someone who panics may buy more – no wonder they need a collection department!

However, and somewhat surprisingly, apart from that webshop, I found no single other source for Betonit’s potentialy usefulness to reduce nuclear contamination. What I found instead was that it actually is used to reduce diarrhea, and is also an additive to shampoos…

I am certain there are many more examples for Nuclear Panic is Money… and I invite all readers to send these to me, I will add them in this post which I hope to continously update.

Now to my second point: Here is the information on the radioactive contamination in France. As one can see, it is negligible, and nearly indistinguishable from the natural radioactivity. In comparison, for example, the level of radioactivity measured in May 1986, after Fukushima, was more than a 1500 times higher, and levels are far far below European regulatory standards (see p.6 in report).

Now what is true is that, in the days after Fukushima, Iod-131 was elevated across the world, see below.

ctbto_aktivitaetskonzentrationen_jod

The German station that analyzes the amount of radioactivity in the air is called Schauinsland, and between the 21.3.2011 and 9.5.11, the amount of Iod-131 was much higher than before Fukushima, which happened on the 11.03.2011. But already two month later the amount of iod-131 was indistinguishable from the natural level, and this across all stations of the world apart from Japan.

So while their original article was written around the time of the most elevated iod-131 levels and thus panic-creation may be `understandable’, their recent update just a month ago should definitely have made use of the new information available.

For more information the reader is referred to HERE.

NOW – I am by no means saying that elevated radioactivity is unlikely to have an impact, and I have interated and re-iterated many times on the dangers of nuclear energy here in my blog, but I believe that objectivity is important when it comes to such important and wide-ranging topics, and special interests should be subdued. And by special interests I especially mean companies that then try to sell products that have no known proven effect on radioactivity in the body.

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Cheers for sharing!

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2 comments
  1. Radiation in the air is one thing. Radiation leaking into the ocean is another. What studies have you been paying attention to about the thousands of gallons of radioactive water still leaking into the Pacific? Who profits from that?

    Like

    • Thank you for your comment. I am not downplaying Fukushima, but the point I am making above is that I have a problem with someone raising panic in order to profit from this. Especially by trying to sell a product that does not seem to have any scientifically-proven effect. This, to me, is simply moral hazard and abuse of asymmetric information.

      Like

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