The Future of Radiological Protection


ICRP: It is Time for a Change, Now!

Author(s): Bernd Lorenz
(Lorenz Consulting)



ICRP's recommendations have been the basis for decades to form radiation protection in nearly all countries of the world. The result in terms of dose is that worldwide occupational exposure is below 1 mSv/a, far away from existing dose limits and so low that dose constraints do no longer make sense. The debate triggering 25 pages paper of ICRP is a prolongation of what has been. There is no attempt to revise anything that has been published by ICRP in the last years including ICRP 103. So, if nothing really happens, the next "ICRP 2029" will be a stockpiling of ICRP 103 plus the manifold recommendations between 2007 and 2029. And this is not adequate, this is not what we need for practical radiation protection. It looks like ICRP is ignoring the extreme low doses that have been achieved worldwide and, on the contrary, invents constantly new areas to demonstrate that radiation protection is not satisfactory. The outside world will see this a signal that radiation is and remains an evil thing. And that's wrong. ICRP should declare that at the current state anybody is safe against radiation. There are several issues where ICRP overestimated the detrimental effects of ionizing radiation: the new dose limit for the lens of the eye, the reference value for Radon of 300 Bq/m³, the DCRLs in the newly created environmental radiation protection concept are extremely low, the target dose values after a severe accident shall finally lead to the same dose band as for planned exposure, to mention some outstanding issues. And there is at least one thing that does not influence safety at all: the new dose quantities. But it will create costs and block manpower that would be otherwise beneficial. Again, one example that ICRP does not enough care about the consequences of its recommendations. Reading the 25 pages document reveals that it is a summing up of all what has been said. But there is no attempt to critical question the existing recommendations. And this is not enough. The cradle of the RP System was ICRP 26, but it has been spoiled over decades and is now hidden under a mountain of unnecessary things. We need a change, to simplify the system and a crystal-clear statement that anybody under the current RP regime is safe. Perhaps it is also time to stay away from the LNT-hypothesis.

Keywords: need for a change; correct former recommendations; wrong objective for radon; simplify the system; question LNT