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PROTECTFP6-036425 Ethics of the existing ICRP statement

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Presentation on theme: "PROTECTFP6-036425 Ethics of the existing ICRP statement"— Presentation transcript:

1 PROTECTFP Ethics of the existing ICRP statement

2 PROTECTFP The ICRP statements Although the principal objective of radiation protection is the achievement and maintenance of appropriately safe conditions for activities involving human exposure, the level of safety required for the protection of all human individuals is thought likely to be adequate to protect other species, although not necessarily individual members of those species. The Commission therefore believes that if man is adequately protected then other living things are also likely to be sufficiently protected. (ICRP, 1977)

3 PROTECTFP ICRP 60 The Commission believes that the standard of environmental control needed to protect man to the degree currently thought desirable will ensure that other species are not put at risk. Occasionally, individual members of non- human species might be harmed, but not to the extent of endangering whole species or creating imbalance between species. (ICRP, 1991)

4 PROTECTFP Challenges to the Paradigm Lack of scientific evidence to support the statements May not be valid under some circumstances (e.g., waste disposal) Incompatible with management of other environmental stressors Requirement for assessment under some national legislation Philosophically inadequate and outdated

5 PROTECTFP Consensus Statement – Oslo 2001 (excerpt) As part of the effort to revise and simplify the current system of radiological protection for humans, there is a need to address specifically radiological protection of the environment. Our present level of knowledge should allow the development of a system that can be used to logically and transparently assess protection of the environment using appropriate end points. The development of the system ought to identify knowledge gaps and uncertainties that can be used to direct research to improve the system.

6 PROTECTFP Menace of the Nuclear Rabbits * Rabbits burrowing in the Dounreay nuclear waste pits Might be radioactive Might be eaten by cats, humans, other wildlife * Scotsman headline 12/6/2003 Bye bye bunnys…

7 PROTECTFP Backlash Protecting humans HAS protected the environment … show us the evidence that it has not We know enough to be able to claim the risks are small There are more important threats to the environment We have better things to spend our money on

8 PROTECTFP Is the statement scientifically robust? – The Commission believes that:... if man is adequately protected then other living things are also likely to be sufficiently protected (ICRP, 1977) … the standard of environmental control needed to protect man to the degree currently thought desirable will ensure that other species are not put at risk. (ICRP, 1991)

9 PROTECTFP Is the statement scientifically robust? We know more today than we did in 1977 and 1990 …but we also know what we dont know (large data gaps on transfer and effects) Do we know enough to conclude that there is no need to regulate specifically for non-human species. Will control of human exposures always be sufficient to protect the environment? Can we convince stakeholders that our assessment is robust enough? How can we best demonstrate that the environment is not at risk from ionising radiation?

10 PROTECTFP A satisfactory degree of protection?..individual members of non-human species might be harmed but not to extent of endangering whole species or creating imbalance between species. (ICRP, 1991)

11 PROTECTFP What are we protecting and why? Pollution control Nature conservation Resource exploitation

12 PROTECTFP Let the flowers live! Leave the flowers for others to enjoy!

13 PROTECTFP What is a satisfactory degree of protection? Ecosystem function Biodiversity Protected species and habitats? The abiotic environment? Ecosystem complexity raises challenges for any environmental stressor

14 PROTECTFP There are more important threats to the environment The impact of ionising radiation is negligible compared to other changes We know more about ionising radiation than many other environmental stressors We havent seen any adverse effects so it is safe to assume there are none How can we best demonstrate that the risks are lower than other environmental threats? Are the proposed assessment and management methods compatible?

15 PROTECTFP The costs of regulation outweigh the benefits We could be spending money more effectively We are discriminating against the nuclear industry What are the costs and how might they be optimised? What are the benefits?


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