Focal Role of Tolerability and Reasonableness in the Radiological Protection System


Annals of the ICRP, Vol.45 n°1S, Mars 2016, p.309-321


The concepts of tolerability and reasonableness are at the core of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) system of radiological protection. Tolerability allows the definition of boundaries for implementing ICRP principles, while reasonableness contributes to decisions regarding adequate levels of protection, taking into account the prevailing circumstances. In the 1970s and 1980s, attempts to find theoretical foundations in risk comparisons for tolerability and cost–benefit analysis for reasonableness failed. In practice, the search for a rational basis for these concepts will never end. Making a wise decision will always remain a matter of judgement and will depend on the circumstances as well as the current knowledge and past experience. This paper discusses the constituents of tolerability and reasonableness at the heart of the radiological protection system. It also emphasises the increasing role of stakeholder engagement in the quest for tolerability and reasonableness since Publication 103.