Panel Rejects Nuclear Industry Claim, Affirms Radiation Link to Cancer (AP) The preponderance of scientific evidence shows that even very low doses of radiation pose a risk of cancer or other health problems and there is no threshold below which exposure can be viewed as harmless, a panel of prominent scientists concluded Wednesday. The finding by the National Academy of Sciences panel is viewed as critical because it is likely to significantly influence what radiation levels government agencies will allow at abandoned nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons production facilities and elsewhere. The nuclear industry,, as well as some independent scientists, have argued that there is a threshold of very low level radiation where exposure is not harmful, or possibly even beneficial. They said current risk modeling may exaggerate the health impact. The panel, after five years of study, rejected that claim. "The scientific research base shows that there is no threshold of exposure below which low levels of ionized radiation can be demonstrated to be harmless or beneficial," said Richard R. Monson, the panel chairman and a professor of epidemiology at Harvard's School of Public Health. The committee gave support to the so-called "linear, no threshold" model that is currently the generally acceptable approach to radiation risk assessment. This approach assumes that the health risks from radiation exposure declines as the dose levels decline, but that each unit of radiation — no matter how small — still is assumed to cause cancer.