A Framework for Assessing the Impact of Ionising Radiation on Non-human Species
In its 1990 Recommendations, the ICRP indicated that it believed that the standards of environmental control needed to protect man to the degree currently thought desirable would ensure that other species are not put at risk. The ICRP considers that its system of radiological protection has provided a fairly good indirect protection of the human habitat. However, no internationally agreed criteria or policies explicitly address protection of the environment from ionising radiation, and it is difficult to determine or demonstrate whether or not the environment is adequately protected from potential impacts of radiation under different circumstances. The present report suggests a framework, based on scientific and ethical-philosophical principles, by which a policy for the protection of non-human species could be achieved. The primary purpose of developing such a framework is to fill a conceptual gap in radiological protection; it does not reflect any particular concern over environmental radiation hazards.
The proposed framework is designed to harmonise with the ICRP's approach to the protection of human beings, but does not intend to set regulatory standards. Instead, the proposed framework is intended to be a practical tool to provide high-level advice and guidance for regulators and operators. An agreed set of quantities and units, a set of reference dose models, reference dose-per-unit-intake (or unit exposure), and reference fauna and flora are required to serve as a basis for the more fundamental understanding and interpretation of the relationships between exposure and dose and between dose and certain categories of effect, for a few, clearly defined types of animals and plants. As a first step, a small set of reference fauna and flora with supporting databases will be developed by the ICRP. Others can then develop more area- and situation-specific approaches to assess and manage risks to non-human species.
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