Sunday, December 27, 2009

Radiation protection : Justification and Optimization of intervention

4-Justification and Optimization of intervention

The proposed intervention should do more good than harm, that is, the benefits resulting from the reduction in dose should be sufficient to jus­tify the harm and the costs, includ­ing social costs, of the intervention.

The form, scale, and duration of the intervention should be chosen so that the net benefit of the reduction of dose, that is, the benefit of the reduction in dose less the costs of the intervention, should be as large as reasonably achievable.

The ICRP system is widely incorporated into national legislation throughout the world.

The International Basic Safety Standards (BSS)

The BSS, published in 1996, are based primarily on the ICRP system of radiological protection described above. These standards lay down detailed requirements for occupational, medical and public exposures, and specify dose limits and exemptions. They also specify requirements for ensuring the safety of radioactive sources and for dealing with nuclear emergencies. IAEA Safety Guides give more detailed guidance on how the requirements should be met in particular situations. Most countries apply these standards in their own legislation and regulatory requirements.

The BSS specify technical, scientific and administrative requirements for the safe use of radiation. However, these requirements presuppose that certain basic arrangements are in place to control uses of radiation. These basic arrangements are sometimes referred to as 'infrastructure for safety', and include such things as laws and regulations on the use of radiation and radioactive materials, and a regulatory body responsible for making sure these are followed.

In countries with nuclear power programs, this infrastructure has normally been developed. But this infrastructure is necessary for any uses of radiation, not just nuclear power.

Almost all countries make some use of radiation in medicine or industry. Around the time the BSS were published, the IAEA realized that many countries without nuclear power programs did not have a proper safety infrastructure, and so a major project was initiated to assist them in improving their capabilities to manage these uses of radiation safely.

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