Protection of People Living in Long-Term Contaminated Areas after a Nuclear Accident: The Guidance of ICRP Publication 111


Journal of Radiological Protection, Vol. 32, 2012, N95-N99.


The International Commission on Radiological Protection provides guidance for the protection of people living in long-term contaminated areas after nuclear accidents or radiological emergencies in ICRP Publication 111 (Ann. ICRP 2009, 39(3)). The prolonged exposures resulting from such events are defined as existing exposure situations and the driving principle for managing exposure situations is the optimization of protection. In conjunction with optimization, the Commission recommends the use of reference levels to restrict individual doses. To be effective, protection strategies to maintain and reduce exposure as low as reasonably achievable should include actions implemented by public authorities and private businesses, but also by the affected population itself. The process through which inhabitants living in a contaminated environment identify problems and apply their own protective actions has been named 'self-help protection’ by the Commission. Such a process supposes that affected individuals are fully aware of the situation and are well informed. It is the responsibility of the authorities to establish programmes for continuous radiation monitoring, information and education of the population. The involvement of local professionals and inhabitants in the definition and implementation of protection strategies is a key factor for the sustainability of long-term rehabilitation programmes.

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