Keywords: ALARA, collective dose, protection, controllable, radiation
Changing philosophy in ICRP: the evolution of protection ethics and principles
There has been a 100-year history of the uses of radiation in medicine and industry. Throughout that time, there has also been advice on the need to protect people from the hazards associated with exposure. This paper traces the evolution of protection standards through the differing phases that are identified. These phases reflect changes both in scientific understanding of the biological effects of exposure and of the social and ethical standards to be applied. As a result, the principles used for protection have continuously evolved and are likely to continue to do so in the future. In 1999, suggestions were published for the general form of a new set of recommendations from ICRP, which would be intended to be simpler than previous recommendations and to emphasise the protection of individuals. Subsequently, there have been widespread discussions on the way in which these suggestions might be extended to deal with the practical interpretations that will be needed. The Commission has taken note of the points made and has now agreed on the policy issues involved in the next stage of development of the next recommendations.