Nuclear Energy Agency Online Bulletin

March 2001

Radiation Protection

Expert Group on the Evolution of the System of Radiation Protection

A new expert group to address the evolution of the system of radiation protection, the EGRP, has been created by the Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH). The EGRP will further explore the issues outlined in the CRPPH document, A Critical Review of the System of Radiation Protection. It takes up where the Expert Group on Controllable Dose (EGCD) left off. The EGRP held its second meeting in February 2001, during which it identified four priority areas for further discussion: Triviality, Decision making versus decision aiding, Dose limits, especially for the public, Justification and optimisation.

The CRPPH felt strongly that the development of a new, more broadly understood and accepted system of radiation protection should be the result of a combination of both evolutionary change (starting from the present system), and new thinking. The stakeholder involvement concepts as exemplified by the recent Villigen meeting on integrating radiation protection in modern society were also seen as essential to the success of any new recommendations. These independent paths should eventually merge into a single approach. As a final assurance of quality and acceptability, the CRPPH emphasised that new ideas or approaches should be thoroughly "road-tested" to ensure that they will deliver significant improvements and do more good than harm.

Work to elaborate a more effective approach to these issues in the context of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) recommendations will continue, and it is hoped that this will be completed by mid-2002. At the second EGRP meeting members from four of the NEA's standing technical committees participated in discussions on the latest approaches taken by the ICRP in the development of its new recommendations. Both written and oral comments from the NEA to the ICRP were welcomed by Professor Clarke, ICRP Chairman, and other meeting participants. These comments will help shape the direction of future recommendations.

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