Tables for
Volume C
Mathematical, physical and chemical tables
Edited by E. Prince

International Tables for Crystallography (2006). Vol. C, ch. 10.1, p. 960

Section 10.1.2. Objectives of radiation protection

D. C. Creagha and S. Martinez-Carrerab

aDivision of Health, Design, and Science, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia, and bSan Ernesto, 6-Esc. 3, 28002 Madrid, Spain

10.1.2. Objectives of radiation protection

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Radiation protection is concerned with the protection of individuals, their offspring, and society as a whole, at the same time allowing for the participation in activities for which radiation exposure might take place. There are two aspects of these deleterious effects: the somatic effects which become manifest in the individuals themselves, and the hereditary effects which become manifest in their descendants.

For the dose range involved in radiation protection, hereditary processes are regarded as being stochastic (thresholdless) processes. Some somatic effects are stochastic, and carcinogenesis is considered to be the chief risk at low doses and therefore a significant problem in radiation protection.

Non-stochastic processes are specific to particular tissues, e.g. damage to the cataract of the eye lens, non-malignant damage to the skin, damage to the bone marrow causing depletion of the red-cell count, and gonadal cell damage which impairs fertility. For these changes, the severity of the effect depends on the dose received and a clear threshold exists below which no detrimental effect has been found to occur.

A balance has to be achieved between the risk of damage to individuals and the benefits to society in the use of the ionizing radiation in experiments. Bearing this in mind:

  • (i) no practice ought to be adopted unless its introduction produces a positive net benefit;

  • (ii) all exposures should be kept as low as reasonably achievable under the existing economic and social circumstances;

  • (iii) the dose equivalent to individuals should not exceed the limits indicated in Table 10.1.2[link].

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