Scientific knowledge is constantly evolving as more advanced technologies become available and more in-depth research is carried out. Given the potential implications that new findings could have on policy decisions, in 1998 the NEA Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) performed a survey of state-of-the-art research in radiological protection science. This study suggested that, while the current system of radiological protection was well-underpinned by scientific understanding, growing knowledge in several areas could seriously impact policy and regulation. Ten years later, the CRPPH has again performed a survey of state-of-the-art research which reiterates and clarifies its earlier conclusions.
This report summarises the results of this latest CRPPH assessment of radiological protection science. Specifically, it explains that knowledge of non-targeted and delayed effects, as well as of individual sensitivity, have been significantly refined over the past ten years. Although at this point there is still no scientific certainty in these areas, based on the most recent studies and results, the report strongly suggests that policy makers and regulatory authorities should consider possible impacts that could arise from research in the next few years. Further, the report identifies research areas that should be supported to more definitively answer scientific questions having the most direct impacts on policy choices.