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Draft Report for Consultation: Ethical Foundations of the System of Radiological Protection

The draft ICRP report Ethical Foundations of the System of Radiological Protection is now available for public consultation. We welcome comments from individuals and organisations. The draft document can be downloaded from the ICRP website. Comments must be submitted through the ICRP website no later than July 21, 2017.


Despite a long recognition that radiological protection is not only a matter of science, but also morality and wisdom, ICRP publications have rarely addressed the ethical foundations of the system of radiological protection explicitly. The purpose of this publication is to describe how the Commission has used ethical values in developing the system of radiological protection with the objective of presenting a coherent view of how ethics is part of this system. In so doing it helps to clarify the inherent value judgements made in achieving the aim of the radiological protection system as underlined by the Commission in its Publication 103. Although primarily addressed to the radiological protection community, this publication is also intended to address authorities, operators, workers, medical professionals, patients, the public and its representatives acting in the interest of the protection of people and the environment. The publication provides first the key steps concerning the scientific, ethical and practical evolutions of the system of radiological protection since the first ICRP publication in 1928. It then describes the four core ethical values underpinning the present system: beneficence/non-maleficence, prudence, justice, and dignity. It also discusses how these core ethical values relate to the principles of radiological protection, namely justification, optimisation, and limitation. The publication finally addresses key procedural values that are required for the practical implementation of the system, focusing on accountability, transparency and inclusiveness. The Commission sees this publication as a founding document to be elaborated further in different situations and circumstances.

ICRP routinely solicits comments on most draft documents prior to publication, with the exception of those that are basically compilations of computed values such as specific absorbed fraction values or dose conversion factors.

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