NCRP Vision for the Future and Program Area Committee Activities in 2017


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Abstract

The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements’ (NCRP) vision for the future is to improve radiation protection for the general public and workers. This vision is embodied within NCRP’s ongoing initiatives: preparedness for nuclear terrorism, increasing the number of radiation professionals critically needed for the nation, providing new guidance for radiation protection in the United States, addressing the protection issues surrounding the ever-increasing use of ionizing radiation in medicine, assessing the radiation doses to aircrew due to higher altitude and longer flights, providing guidance on emerging radiation issues such as the radioactive waste from hydraulic fracturing, focusing on difficult issues such as high-level waste management, and providing better estimates of radiation risks at low doses within the framework of the Million Person Study of Low Dose Radiation Health Effects. Cutting-edge initiatives include a re-evaluation of the science behind recommendations for lens of the eye dose, recommendations for emergency responders on dosimetry after a major radiological incident, guidance to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration with regard to possible central nervous system effects from galactic cosmic rays (the high-energy, high-mass particles bounding through space), re-evaluating the population exposure to medical radiation, and addressing whether the linear non-threshold model is still the best available for purposes of radiation protection (not for risk assessment). To address these initiatives and goals, NCRP has seven Program Area Committees on biology and epidemiology, operational concerns, emergency response and preparedness, medicine, environmental issues and waste management, dosimetry, and communications. The NCRP vision for the future received a quantum boost in 2016 when Dr. Kathryn D. Held (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School) accepted the position of NCRP Executive Director and Chief Science Officer. The NCRP quest to improve radiation protection for the public is hindered only by limited resources, both human capital and financial.

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