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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

2 1/ Letters - Metro on Dalgety Bay and Mail & Herald on Shale

  The Metro letter was in yesterday, highlighted. It was not signed as UKIP because the party has not yet, as far as I know, made a public statement on this. The original letter shown in full was considerably edited but this is unsurprising since it was long and complicated and a sufficiently remote subject I did not really expect them to use it. I found their editing to be sensible Once again I would like to commend the Metro as a paper that transcends its free paper format, for example its centre pages on Monday contained another science article by Ben Gilland on quantum physics, with drawings of the 2 slit experiment, which would have been too intellectual for Guardian readers (they only did PPE & classics before running the civil service).

       Once again SEPA sitting as judge and jury on their own claim to have found radium at Dalgety Bay have repeated the claim, though it is noticeable that they are highlighting the existence of clinker there (which nobody ever denied and is not quite the same as allegedly dangerous radioactivity) rather than the alleged radium.
      The fact is that internal documents released under the freedom of Information Act have shown that SEPA have always known that not only is there no radiation risk whatsoever but that local radiation levels are "less than 2/3rds those of any Aberdeen street".
       Moreover despite having publicly claimed to have found radium particles chemically shown to be paint in fact they have never found any proven radium at all, let alone bonded into paint.
      This is hardly surprising for 2 reasons. The original paint was water soluble and thus would hardly be likely to be found bonded to anything 63 years later even had in been in the middle of the Sahara. It rains more often in Scotland. Secondly the total amount of radium there, which existed only as a small part of the paint on the numbers on a few dials simply could not have consisted, even back then, of more than 1/4 of a gram. For comparison every square mile of soil contains I gram of radium, produced as a by-product of the existence of 9 tons of radioactive uranium and thorium. 1/4 gram spread over a mile could neither be detected nor have any effect. SEPA would be better employed writing reports about the possibility of fairies at the bottom of gardens - at least this would not inflict planning blight on perfectly healthy communities.
       In fact the entire scare about low levels of radiation being dangerous has always been bureaucratic empire building. It does not and never has had any scientific basis whatsoever. Indeed low levels of radiation have, since long before the atomic age, been demonstrated to improve plant and microbe growth in the laboratory. The process is well known and is called hormesis. Experimental evidence, on either side, is obviously more difficult to obtain with humans but even there is overwhelming statistical evidence that health is better in areas where radiation levels have always been naturally higher.
       Of course promoting this false scare provides gainful employment to a large number of SEPA bureaucrats but unfortunately for them that does not make it true and no reputable scientist nowadays claims this scare as scientifically based."

   This letter went out to all and sundry but, as far as I know, was only published by the Metro. That makes the Mail and Metro only papers ever to have been willing to publish anything sceptical about the LNT radiation scare.

    The second letter was in the Herald on Saturday and Mail today. This was signed as a UKIP representative and, somewhat to my surprise, both papers have kept that in. I am particularly surprised at the herald doing this since they have declined to publish UKIPers letters even in response to letters by Alex Orr (publicly funded PR man) attacking us.

      We are now told that Britain has 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, one of the biggest reserves in the world. Scotland may, since we have a far smaller population density have the same per capita share. The discovery of shale obviously threatens the peak oil scare, prophesied annually for the last 50 years, which in turn means the oil price is likely to fall substantially. With North Sea oil particularly expensive to extract a fall in the price would be ruinous. It seems probable that the rest of the UK could very shortly (most of the US gas came online in an 18month period) have a "gas boom" just as "Scotland's oil" becomes unprofitable.
     Yet what is the SNP government's reaction? They are doing everything in their power to prevent development of this new energy industry in Scotland in case it interferes with their plans to become the "Saudi Arabia" of subsidy dependent windmills. 
    Will the SNP be sufficiently lacking in hypocrisy to say that the gas is "England's gas" and that (assuming the SNP succeed in preventing exploitation here) Scotland should have no part of the revenues?
   The one thing we can be certain of is that if today's anti-technology SNP had been in charge when North Sea Oil was first discovered they would have made sure none of it had been developed.

Both have published largely unedited. Strangely the Herald has a letter apparently disputing what I and others wrote but, insofar as it refers to me it simply reprints what I said with no actual argument. Persuasive eh?

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