In order to harmonize efforts to further strengthen radiological protection worldwide, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the IAEA have agreed to work together to revise and update the 2007 ICRP General Recommendations (ICRP Publication 103). The ICRP recommendations recognize planned, emergency and existing situations of radiological exposure and apply the fundamental principles of justification and optimization of protection to all these situations. The recommendations are a key source for the IAEA’s Basic Safety Standards (GSR Part 3).
The review will ensure that the guidelines, and the radiation protection system based on them, remain fit for purpose, taking into account scientific research and social changes since 2007. Experts will identify elements and areas that could require additional clarifications and adjustments to specific situations. The IAEA and ICRP will focus on developing a more holistic approach taking into account additional factors, including radiation protection measures in very low dose exposures often comparable to natural background radiation, and radiation protection requirements in the range of low doses and low dose rates.
“Potential revisions to the system could eventually lead to updates to the IAEA’s international safety standards, and that is why the IAEA’s early involvement in the review is of great importance,” said Peter Johnston, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Radiation Protection, Transport and Waste Safety. . “We share a common goal: to protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation, while maintaining the benefits of activities involving radiation in various spheres of life.”
The review will also focus on improving communication about the system to professionals, patients, workers and the general public. “ICRP Publication 103 has recognized communication and stakeholder engagement as important to system implementation,” said Christopher Clement, ICRP Scientific Secretary. “Communication and engagement enable the sharing of knowledge, expertise and values of stakeholders in order to achieve the best outcome for all. Improved communication at international, national and facility level will be required.
“During this review, the fundamental pillars of the existing system — sound science, values and the experience of its application — are important and must be preserved,” Johnston said.