Society News Archive

3 August 2004

Richard V. Osborne, in his 12 July Plenary Session presentation at the HPS 2004 Annual Meeting, concluded that many of the proposed recommendations by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) are not in the right direction. Dr. Osborne was the Society's 2004 Landauer Lecturer. His talk ("Are the Proposed Recommendations of the ICRP Taking Us in the Right Direction?") summarized ICRP's draft recommendations which are now available on the ICRP website for comment.

Osborne pointed out that the recommendations of the ICRP, published in 1990, have provided the basis for radiological regulations and standards in many parts of the world. He said, "The recommended system of protection is complex and, although the Commission has clarified and extended its ideas in a series of publications through the ensuing decade, some of its concepts have not been well understood or easily applied." He continued, "The Commission has recognized the need for a more coherent and comprehensible set of recommendations and has prompted a lively and open debate in the radiation protection community. The initial fears that the ICRP was going to recommend a revolutionary system of protection have mollified to some extent. The stated aims of the ICRP are to consolidate and simplify the existing system of protection and to remain generally consistent with current international and national practices."

"However," he added, "there are fundamental changes that will affect implementation of the recommended system of protection. These include the emphasis on the protection of individuals, the emphasis on source-related dose constraints rather than dose limits, presentation of the hierarchy of dose constraints in relation to natural background radiation, the elaboration of the principle of optimization, and the development of a system for protecting biota that is intended to parallel that for humans. My conclusion is that many of these changes are not in the right direction. It is important that people in the health physics field review this draft document and provide the ICRP with their comments."

Osborne's PowerPoint presentation can be viewed on this website.