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Regulatory low dose limits: from science to political correctness?

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The setting of regulatory low dose limits has become a topic of central importance for further radiation uses because of its close relationship to: the public acceptance of nuclear power as a safe, inexpensive, reliable, ecologically beneficial, and climatically neutral source of electricity; the use of various highly beneficial medical, industrial and research applications; and the exploding costs for remediation and decommissioning of sites and facilities, waste management, storage and transport of radioactive materials, etc. Unfortunately, the initially quite reasonable ICRP Recommendations have degenerated over the decades into the applications of the LNT/Collective Dose dogma. With the accumulation of new radiobiological and epidemiological results during the last two decades, the scientific basis of LNT became increasingly questionable. At the same time, non-scientific political and ideological pressures on the limit-setting international and national authorities increased. In this paper, some trends leading to the low-dose recommendations in the ICRP 2005 draft, as well as likely problems in their implementation, are briefly discussed.

Keywords: low dose effects, cost-benefit assessment, radiation protection regulations, risk analysis, low radiation, low dose limits, low dose recommendations

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