Nuclear Energy and Health

MON, 10/17/2011 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
Fall 2011 Colloquium Series

Energy needs worldwide are expected to increase for the foreseeable future, but fuel supplies are limited. Nuclear reactors could supply much of the energy demand in a safe, sustainable manner were it not for fear of potential releases of radioactivity. Such releases would likely deliver a low dose or dose rate of radiation, within the range of naturally occurring radiation, to which life is already accustomed. The key areas of concern are discussed. Studies of actual health effects, especially thyroid cancers, following exposures are assessed. Radiation hormesis is explained, pointing out that beneficial effects are expected following a low dose or dose rate because protective responses against stresses are stimulated. The notions that no amount of radiation is small enough to be harmless and that a nuclear accident could kill hundreds of thousands are challenged in light of experience: more than a century with radiation and six decades with reactors. If nuclear energy is to play a significant role in meeting future needs, regulatory authorities must examine the scientific evidence and communicate the real health effects of nuclear radiation. Negative images and implications of health risks derived by unscientific extrapolations of harmful effects of high doses must be dispelled.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Cuttler received his BASc-Eng degree (1964) in engineering physics from the University of Toronto and his MSc and DSc degrees (1967-1971) in nuclear sciences and engineering from the Israel Institute of Technology. Until 1974, he managed a radiation detector company.

At Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, he led the design and procurement of the reactor control, safety systems and radiation monitoring instrumentation for the first CANDU-6 reactors, the four-reactor Pickering-B station and the four-reactor Bruce-B station. He was engineering manager of AECL’s Bruce-B Project, resident engineering manager in Romania, engineering manager district heating reactors, manager of services to the eight-reactor Pickering station, engineering integration manager of the CANDU-9 Project and manager of technical services including Y2K support to 28 reactors.

Dr. Cuttler has been an active member of Professional Engineers Ontario, Canadian Nuclear Society (president 1995-1996), American Nuclear Society, American Physical Society, Canadian Nuclear Association, Health Physics Society, Canadian Radiation Protection Association and the International Dose-Response Society. He has written hundreds of technical reports for nuclear stations, tens of conferences papers and articles for peer reviewed journals.

Starting in 2000, he provided services to Ontario Power Generation for returning Pickering Unit-4 to service and extending the life of the Pickering-B station, to AECL for completing reactors to supply radioisotopes for diagnostic scanning, to Bruce Power for restarting reactors 1/2 and extending the Bruce-B reactor lives for 30 years.

Since 1995, Dr. Cuttler has been assessing the health effects of ionizing radiation and drawing international attention to radiation hormesis. He presented tens of papers at many conferences pointing out that low exposures are stimulating for curing infections, extending life and reducing the incidences of cancer and congenital malformations. He organized adaptive response sessions at nuclear energy conferences, inviting renowned radiobiologists to present remarkable evidence. He has urged many oncologists to use total-body low-dose radiation in cancer therapy. He has intervened with regulators with submissions that identify beneficial effects following low doses and debunk the LNT assumption. He arranged presentations by world specialists in low dose at hospitals, universities, nuclear centers and societies. He continues to communicate positive low dose information and fight politicized radiation scares on the Internet and at professional and social clubs.

Dr. Cuttler is the recipient of 2011 International Dose-Response Society Award for Outstanding Career Achievement. The award is presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of Dose Response.