Keeping the ICRP recommendations fit for purpose

C. Clement, W. Rühm, J. Harrison, K. Applegate, D. Cool, C. M. Larsson, C. Cousins, J. Lochard, S. Bouffler, K. Cho, M. Kai, D. Laurier, S. Liu, S. Romanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) has embarked on a review and revision of the system of Radiological Protection that will update the 2007 general recommendations in ICRP Publication 103. This is the beginning of a process that will take several years, involving open and transparent engagement with organisations and individuals around the world. While the system is robust and has performed well, it must adapt to address changes in science and society to remain fit for purpose. The aim of this paper is to encourage discussions on which areas of the system might gain the greatest benefit from review, and to initiate collaborative efforts. Increased clarity and consistency are high priorities. The better the system is understood, the more effectively it can be applied, resulting in improved protection and increased harmonisation. Many areas are identified for potential review including: classification of effects, with particular focus on tissue reactions; reformulation of detriment, potentially including non-cancer diseases; re-evaluation of the relationship between detriment and effective dose, and the possibility of defining detriments for males and females of different ages; individual variation in the response to radiation exposure; heritable effects; and effects and risks in non-human biota and ecosystems. Some of the basic concepts are also being considered, including the framework for bringing together protection of people and the environment, incremental improvements to the fundamental principles of justification and optimisation, a broader approach to protection of individuals, and clarification of the exposure situations introduced in 2007. In addition, ICRP is considering identifying where explicit incorporation of the ethical basis of the system would be beneficial, how to better reflect the importance of communications and stakeholder involvement, and further advice on education and training. ICRP invites responses on these and other areas relating to the review of the System of Radiological Protection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1390-1409
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Radiological Protection
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published on behalf of the Society for Radiological Protection by IOP Publishing Ltd.


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