During the past several years, the NEA has been working to contribute its ideas and needs to the international dialogue regarding the development of new International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) general recommendations. This led to the publication of The Way Forward in Radiological Protection, An Expert Group Report.
A key concept that was developed in The Way Forward is that of "authorisation" – an umbrella concept that provides a logical framework for all regulatory decision making. This concept is seen as a simple, consistent and coherent way of addressing all radiological protection regulatory decisions. It provides a practical regulatory interpretation of the concepts that are developed by the ICRP. To test whether the ideas and concepts developed in The Way Forward would, if implemented, result in an improved system of radiological protection, the NEA expert group commissioned two consultants to "road test" these ideas. The results of these road tests will be published as A New Approach to Authorisation in the Field of Radiological Protection. The concept of authorisation discussed by the expert group has been transmitted to the ICRP, and to the broader radiation protection community, for consideration. As a result, authorisation has been taken up by the ICRP in its latest draft document that provides a conceptual framework for the development of more detailed recommendations.
The ICRP suggests that this concept is a regulatory tool that should be used when deciding whether to release radioactive materials from regulatory control, either totally or partially. Given the ICRP's interpretation of authorisation, a more detailed discussion of the concept would be useful. Given that the CRPPH has been in the forefront of developing this approach, the EGRA was created by the CRPPH in 2003.
The EGRA studied the concept of authorisation in a practical context in order to assist regulators and practitioners in understanding how this concept could be implemented. The EGRA met twice in 2003 to discuss at length the concept of "regulatory authorisation". Using the process set out in the EGRP road test report, the group clarified the concept, and showed how existing ICRP concepts (i.e. dose limits, dose constraints, exclusion, exemption) could be interpreted in a regulatory environment. The group made its work available to the international radiological protection community, the ICRP and submitted a paper to the 11th International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association.
The expert group presented its final report to the CRPPH at its March 2005 meeting, which approved it for publication. With the publication of the report, the group disbanded.
The Process of Regulatory Authorisation
A Report by the CRPPH Expert Group on the Regulatory Application of Authorisation (EGRA)
The Regulatory Application of Authorisation: The View of the NEA Committee on Radiological Protection and Public Health Committee on Radiological Protection and Public Health (Paper presented at the 11th International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association: external link).
The Way Forward in Radiological Protection, An Expert Group Report
(pdf format, 217 kb)
A New Approach to Authorisation in the Field of Radiological Protection
The Road Test Report (pdf format, 342 kb)
International Commission on Radiological Protection, ICRP
The CRPPH assists NEA member countries in the implementation and enhancement of the system of radiological protection. It contributes to the adoption and the maintenance of high standards of protection for the public, workers and the environment in all activities involving the use of ionising radiations, and particularly, but not limited to the field of nuclear energy.