What’s the Risk of Radiation with 5G or 6G?

Apr 20, 2024
What’s the Risk of Radiation with 5G or 6G?

While Jeff has had a very busy travel week, he made sure to carve out some time to take on a few interesting questions that came in this week.

We’ll continue our regular schedule next week with our guest essay series. We’ll spend at least a couple of days addressing one of the most common questions we’ve gotten over the past weeks and months…

After a brutal three-year biotech winter, are we finally seeing signs of the next great biotech boom?

We’ll see you next week in Outer Limits.


Laser Boron Fusion

Hi Jeff, thank you for the continued enlightenment on the progress of fusion energy. Have you researched HB11.energy? They are out of Australia and are developing Laser Boron Fusion. They claim Boron is abundant, safe, non-radioactive, and cannot be weaponized. Would love for you to research and share. Thank you much for the info you provide. — Euclides P.

Hello Euclides,

Thanks for writing in with the question about laser boron fusion. There were a few others that wrote in with similar questions about this approach and HB11 Energy based out of Sydney, Australia.

This approach to nuclear fusion, using an extremely high-powered laser to shoot protons into a boron fuel, is another form of aneutronic nuclear fusion. This is a fusion reaction that doesn’t produce any neutrons. No radioactive byproducts.

I recently wrote about aneutronic fusion in Outer Limits — The Cleanest Approach to Nuclear Fusion. I highlighted two very promising companies building aneutronic fusion reactors — TAE Technologies and Helion Energy.

Both of these companies use field-reversed configuration (FRC) designs in order to achieve fusion reactions.

Unlike TAE Technologies and Helion Energy, HB11 Energy proposes to build a reactor using high-powered lasers to “shoot” protons at a boron fuel capsule and then magnetically confine that reaction.

Three alpha particles are released from this kind of fusion reaction and about 8 MeV (megaelectron volts) of energy are produced.

This approach to a fusion reaction is based on an interesting laser technology known as chirped pulse amplification, which was the subject of a 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics. The approach creates ultrashort high-intensity laser pulses, which in theory should be able to sustain a hydrogen boron fusion reaction, hence the company name HB11 Energy.

And again, in theory, such a fusion reactor should be able to capture the energy released from the reaction and covert that into usable energy. Ideally enough energy to power a utility-scale power grid.

HB11 Energy proposes that no steam generator would be required. It suggests that it can directly capture the energy and convert into electricity in a similar way that Helion Energy has proposed.

To date, a scientific experiment, which was called a “proof of principle,” has been performed that did successfully demonstrate that this approach was able to produce energetic alpha particles using a high-powered laser approach.

This is certainly positive, but to be clear, this was just an experiment — much in the same way that the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory demonstrated its experiment at its National Ignition Facility, which produced a small amount of net energy back in December of 2022.

It is important to note that these are just experiments. HB11 Energy is not yet on a path towards building a pre-commercial prototype fusion reactor.

The company was spun out of the University of New South Wales in early 2019 and has only raised about $23 million to date. And yet, it claims to be the “global front runner in the race to commercialize the holy grail of clean energy.” That’s a joke, and its patently not true.

For comparison, TAE Technologies has already raised over $1.3 billion, and Helion Energy more than $600 million. It’s a basic litmus test. If HB11 Energy and its approach to aneutronic fusion (that’s the holy grail reference) was the global front runner, why is all the investment capital flowing to TAE and Helion?

The challenge with HB11 Energy’s approach is that the lasers need to be extremely high-powered, strong enough to create a much higher plasma temperature than the standard deuterium tritium reaction (thus requiring massive power requirements), and the energy produced from the reaction needs to be captured efficiently.

The experiment demonstrated an overall conversion efficiency (from laser to alpha particle energy) of 0.005%.

And here’s the issue. The theory of this approach will probably be proven true, however the efficiency (or lack thereof) will most likely not make it commercially and economically viable.

And the ultimate goal is to be able to manufacture and build thousands of highly efficient, net energy producing fusion reactors all over the world. We want them to be so efficient that these fusion reactors become the cheapest form of electricity production on Earth. That’s the path towards limitless clean energy.

Right now, there are better approaches to nuclear fusion much closer to commercialization that are extremely well-funded and making incredible progress.

 Back Up the Truck on EDIT?

Jeff, I am following Brownridge now, as a supporter of Jeff Brown. I am currently still an Unlimited subscriber of Brownstone. I love your research and take on the high technology topics, along with biotech. Do you have any insight for me on EDIT? In the last 30 days, insiders have sold 97,000 shares and the stock is on a downward spiral. After the earnings, I would have thought we would see as pop in price, but we cannot get traction on this stock. Looking for some insight. — Jake C.

Hi Jake,

The latest trading on EDIT makes no sense at all. The company is now trading at a $170 million enterprise value, sitting on $323 million in cash. Based on current technicals, the company is way oversold. Conditions like these rarely last.

The insider sales don’t amount to that much, so that is less of a concern. I believe that Editas is simply in an awkward transition period as a company. It is making great progress on its RUBY clinical trial, and it signed its first major intellectual property licensing deal with Vertex/CRISPR Therapeutics.

Its quarterly earnings reports don’t really mean much yet, because Editas is pre-product revenue, and the royalties from its intellectual property are just beginning. We’re just at the beginning of that becoming a cash cow for Editas Medicine. 

Biotech companies will have to line up to take out similar license agreements, just like Vertex/CRISPR Therapeutics (Outer Limits — A Resounding Victory in Biotech).

At the moment, Editas isn’t being valued for its intellectual property portfolio, or its therapeutic pipeline. And we’re still in a high interest rate environment, which is difficult for early stage, small capitalization companies.

In the last several weeks, there is a much broader acknowledgement in the markets that inflation continues to be a problem and the Federal Reserve is not going to be dropping interest rates much this year at all — something that I predicted at the very beginning of this year in Outer Limits — 2024 Will Be Chaos, Here’s How We’ll Come Out Ahead.

Editas is dirt cheap. But it may take many months before high-growth small caps come back into fashion and attract institutional capital. And that’s what we need to see in order for the stock to run. 

Risk of Radiation with 6G

What about the risk/fear of radiation emitted by 6G? 5G is bad enough. Won't 6G be far worse? — Kenneth C.

Hi Kenneth,

I’m glad you brought this up. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

Before we dive in, it is important for us to understand that electric and magnetic fields (EMF), also referred to as electromagnetic fields, are a form of radiation. EMFs come in two types.

Non-ionizing radiation, which is the type associated with Wi-Fi and cellular networks, is a form of low-level radiation that is generally believed to be harmless to humans. Non-ionizing radiation is not believed to cause cellular damage or damage to human DNA. There have been several animal studies in the past that have subjected animals to unusually high levels of non-ionizing radiation for extended periods of time… and none found a conclusive link to health problems or cancer.

Ionizing radiation, like the kind that we receive when we have an X-ray, can cause cellular damage, as well as damage to our DNA. And there are known links to cancer for those that receive an excess of ionizing radiation.

Knowing this is a good starting point, but it doesn’t mean that there are no dangers to our health. There have certainly been observational studies that raise concern, especially for those who have extremely high levels of usage/exposure to even non-ionizing radiation.

And the higher up we go in generations of wireless technology, the powers increase. But it is important to note that it really depends on which frequency band a consumer is accessing a wireless network from.

4G technology was widely deployed in UHF and L-band frequencies, which are largely lower power deployments. Even some 5G network coverage has been in the UHF (television) bands, which is lower power. Using a 4G or 5G network in these frequencies is likely to be fine.

However, higher GHz band deployments of 5G with dense base station coverage, do in fact use higher powers, and thus higher levels of non-ionizing radiation. The same will certainly be true of 6G.

The reality is that no studies to date have proven that these higher frequency deployments are linked to health problems. And all of the consumer smart phones are required to have undergone extensive testing to ensure that their phones are below the specific absorption rates (SAR), which are set by regulators in each country.

In 2023, the French regulator ANFR found that a couple of iPhone 12s did not meet the SAR limits, which resulted in a ban of the sale of iPhone 12s. It’s important to mention that it wasn’t all iPhone 12s and the limits of the two iPhone 12s that failed the test were still at levels thought to be safe to human health.

My own speculation about what this might have been, is that the iPhone 12s were the first 5G-enabled iPhones. And Apple may have boosted the power on those phones in an effort to effectively extend the access to 5G networks, due to 5G networks not having widespread coverage. Just to be clear — I’m just making an educated guess as to why that might be.

Those power levels can and have been adjusted via software updates now that 5G network coverage is far more ubiquitous. And no issues have been raised concerning the iPhone 13, 14, or 15.

But again, that doesn’t mean that there is no risk at all. 

Should we believe the regulators on the acceptable limits that they set? If you would have asked me four years ago, I probably would have said, yes, those are most likely safe levels.

But after the last three years — where the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, and so many other government organizations — blatantly lied to us over and over again, and continue to do so, we all have a right to be very skeptical.

As an exercise, let’s assume that there is some level of risk, and that risk is associated with usage styles. For example, if someone spends 5 hours a day talking on their smartphone held next to their head, that presents a higher risk than someone who uses wired or wireless headphones.

If someone sleeps with their phone right next to their head/pillow, that is a higher risk than someone who places their phone on a table 3-feet away. If a user places their phone in their front pocket for 10 hours a day, that’s obviously more exposure than someone who limits keeping their phone on their body throughout the day.

For those who are more interested in this subject, you can check out the book by Dr. Joseph Mercola, EMF*D: 5G, Wi-Fi, and Cell Phones: Hidden Harms and How to Protect Yourself.

I pay attention to this space, so if/when I do come across any interesting research, I’ll be sure to share it in Outer Limits

Downsides of Renting Out Your Tesla?

Exciting article on the robotaxi and TSLA owners having their car work for 8 hours during the day giving rides, and returning to the office to return one home at the end of the workday. What is there being done to ensure that riders don't damage/trash the inside of the vehicles? With the cameras on the outside of the vehicle for FSD, could the potential for internal damage and a need for constant clean-up be a realistic downside and end up limiting participation by TSLA and/or robotaxi owners? Your thoughts? — Bob

Hi Bob,

This is a very valid concern. To your point, with no human driver in the front seat, riders will almost certainly be more likely to care less about what they do in the car, or what they leave in the car, as no one will confront them.

And I’m sure that many Tesla owners will choose not to opt-in their cars to the ride hailing network for exactly this point.

However I can think of some solutions.

Teslas actually have a cabin camera in their cars. It’s just above the rearview mirror, mounted in module that it attached to the windshield.

Tesla Cabin Cam
Source: Tesla

Seen above, it’s very well integrated, and most of us probably wouldn’t even notice it was there.

This camera’s main purpose is to monitor the driver’s awareness. This is particularly important in the context of the current self-driving software. If the car notices the driver dozing off, whether on self-driving or not, it can make noise and alert the driver in an effort to gain attention and avoid an accident. This is a great feature.

I can imagine how this can be used to monitor passengers in a car. After all, if any damage were to be done, it would be captured on video, and the ride hailing network would know who the person was that booked the ride. So there would be recourse.

I suspect that the terms and conditions of the ride hailing service would also hold the riders responsible for any damage done to the interior of the car. Riders could be alerted to this as a warning, right in the smartphone app when they book the ride.

In time, as these autonomous ride hailing networks proliferate, there will also be servicing centers where autonomous vehicles go to be charged and cleaned. I can imagine that in the event of a spill or a dirty cabin, the car would simply drive to a service center for cleaning and return back to the network, or to the owner, at a designated time.

While there is no way to stop a person from doing something bad, the solutions above could provide clear recourse, as well as remediation in the event that something did happen.

We always welcome your feedback. We read every email and address the most common comments and questions in the Friday AMA. Please write to us here.

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