Optimisation in decision making has broad applicability to the whole spectrum of nuclear and radiation-related policy, regulation and practice. The way it is applied has changed in recent years as society has evolved to promote an inclusive and holistic decision-making process. In the radiological protection area, the increasing challenge is to apply it in the broader context of overall risk management, broaden the stakeholder participation process, and deepen the thinking on reasonableness in optimisation. Experience in various circumstances has shown that there is a need to develop a framework in which very different aspects can be balanced to support risk-based decision-making and determine the level of tolerance of risk and uncertainty. Currently, optimisation, as one of the three protection principles of the international radiological protection system, is well defined in theory, complex in practice in a large number of situations, and increasingly based on the combination of four pillars:
As radiological protection moves towards a more holistic approach, recognising its multi-dimensional nature, there should be an even greater focus on understanding and meeting the expectations of those affected by the application of protection. Development is therefore needed along three main lines:
The forthcoming work of the Committee on Radiological Protection and Public Health on modernising the way optimisation is implemented should help inform the revision of the ICRP system. The ultimate goal is to facilitate sustainable and transparent decision-making, beyond the optimisation of radiological protection, in the broader perspective of individual and social well-being.
Text on behalf the NEA CRPPH's bureau.
Keywords: Optimisation; Stakeholder engagement; Decision making; Reasonableness; multiple risks and benefits
Greg, thanks for the thought-provoking presentation. The idea of 'optimisation of well-being' as a way to help ensure all factors are considered, and also takes into account the WHO definition of health.