The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) recently reinforced the international system of radiological protection, initially focused on humans, by identifying principles of environmental protection and proposing a framework for assessing impacts of ionising radiation on non-human species, based on a reference flora and fauna approach. For this purpose, ICRP developed dosimetric models for a set of Reference Animals and Plants, which are representative of flora and fauna in different environments (terrestrial, freshwater, marine), and produced criteria based on information on radiation effects, with the aim of evaluating the level of potential or actual radiological impacts, and as an input for decision making. The approach developed by ICRP for flora and fauna is consistent with the approach used to protect humans. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) includes considerations on the protection of the environment in its safety standards, and is currently developing guidelines to assess radiological impacts based on the aforementioned ICRP approach. This paper presents the method developed by IAEA, in a series of meetings with international experts, to enable assessment of the radiological impact to the marine environment in connection with the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972 (London Convention 1972). This method is based on IAEA’s safety standards and ICRP’s recommendations, and was presented in 2013 for consideration by representatives of the contracting parties of the London Convention 1972; it was approved for inclusion in its procedures, and is in the process of being incorporated into guidelines.
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- Protection of the environment
- Radiological protection
- Reference Animals and Plants
- System of radiological protection