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What a tiresome repeat of hoary old tales about nuclear safety from Neil Overy (Important questions of safety, October 17). If you repeat the lie often enough, people will come to believe it. That is reputed to have been Goebbels’ dictum for successful propaganda. Dr Overy claims that the deaths from the Fukushima accident are likely to number about 1,000. How can he possibly know? There have been some predictions based on the implausible hypothesis that if a certain dose of nuclear radiation causes a shortened life for half of a population of 1-million people, then one millionth of the dose will shorten the life of half a person. That is the linear no-threshold hypothesis that is the basis of all international nuclear safety calculations, and we know it is nonsense because you cannot find which half of a person has had their life shortened. He then goes on to claim more than 200,000 shortened lives from Chernobyl. That accident took place in 1986. Thirty-one years later, we should ...

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