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Protection of the Public in Situations of Prolonged Radiation Exposure

ICRP Publication 82

Ann. ICRP 29 (1-2), 1999

Abstract - This report provides guidance on the application of the ICRP system of radiological protection to prolonged exposure situations effecting members of the public. It addresses the general application of the Commission's system to the control of prolonged exposures resulting from practices and to the undertaking of interventions in prolonged exposure situations.

Additionally, it provides recommendations on generic reference levels for such interventions. The report also considers some specific situations and discusses a number of issues that have been of concern, namely: natural radiation sources that may give rise to high doses; the restoration and rehabilitation of sites where human activities involving radioactive substances have been carried out; the return to `normality' following an accident that has released radioactive substances to the environment; and the global marketing of commodities for public consumption that contain radioactive substances. Annexes provide some examples of prolonged exposure situations and discuss the radiological protection quantities, radiation-induced health effects and aspects of the Commission's system of radiological protection relevant to prolonged exposure.

Quantitative recommendations for prolonged exposures are provided in the report. They must be interpreted with extreme caution; Chapters 4 and 5 stress the upper bound nature of the following values: Generic reference levels for intervention, in terms of existing total annual doses, are given as <~100 mSv, above which intervention is almost always justifiable (situations for which the annual dose threshold for deterministic effects in relevant organs is exceeded will almost always require intervention), and <~10 mSv, below which intervention is not likely to be justifiable (and above which it may be necessary). Intervention exemption levels for commodities, especially building materials, are expressed as an additional annual dose of ~1 mSv. The dose limit for exposures of the public from practices is expressed as aggregated (prolonged and transitory) additional annual doses from all relevant practices of 1 mSv. Dose constraints for sources within practices are expressed as an additional annual dose lower than 1 mSv (e.g. of ~0.3 mSv), which could be ~0.1 mSv for the prolonged exposure component. An exemption level for practices is expressed as an additional annual dose of ~0.01 mSv.

Recommended reference format for citations

ICRP, 1999. Protection of the Public in Situations of Prolonged Radiation Exposure. ICRP Publication 82. Ann. ICRP 29 (1-2).

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