Are there risks from exposure to low levels of radiation?
Don Higson, PhD, FIEAust, FARPS
Secretary, Nuclear Engineering Panel
5:30 for 6:00 pm, Wednesday 27 November 2013
Engineers Australia Harricks Auditorium, Ground Floor
8 Thomas St, Chatswood NSW
Register online for catering purposes at this link
On-going studies of survivors from the atomic bomb explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki have shown that they have between zero and around 10% risk of cancer mortality due to radiation exposure, depending on dose. The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) recommends - for the purpose of optimising radiological protection procedures - the assumption that the radiological risk is proportional to the dose without a threshold. This assumption has been misapplied by others to make (and propagate) grossly exaggerated estimates of the radiological consequences of reactor accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Hence, the public has been exposed to unrealistic and unnecessary concerns about radiological risks from nuclear power. It also appears that some of the emergency actions taken to protect the public from exposure to radiation in both cases have done more harm than good. Recent reports by the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) and by an ICRP Task Group state that:
- there have been no observed health effects that are attributed to radiation exposure from the Fukushima accident, either among workers or the general public; and stress that
- collective doses, aggregated from the exposure of large numbers of individuals to very low doses, should not be used to estimate numbers of radiation-induced health effects.
Neither UNSCEAR nor ICRP defines clearly what is meant by "very low doses" in this context. Dr Higson will propose a definition and will argue that there is no risk from lower levels of exposure. p>
About Dr Higson
Don Higson received a degree and PhD in chemical engineering from Imperial College, London. After working on the development of nuclear submarine propulsion for Rolls-Royce & Associates, he joined the Australian Atomic Energy Commission (now ANSTO) in 1964 and specialised in nuclear reactor safety assessment. He has worked as a consultant to the International Atomic Energy Agency on nuclear safety and safeguards. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and Secretary of its Nuclear Engineering Panel, a Fellow of the Australasian Radiation Protection Society (ARPS), Vice President of the Australian Nuclear Association and a member of the International Nuclear Energy Academy. He retired from ANSTO in 1995 and founded the ARPS Newsletter, of which he is the Editor.
ANA2013 Conference Friday, 11th October 2013
The 10th biennial Australian Nuclear Association Conference on Nuclear Science and Engineering in Australia (ANA2013) was held on Friday, 11th October 2013, in the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 280 Pitt St, Sydney.
The theme of the conference was Nuclear Science and Technology in Action.
- Exciting science, medicine and innovative advances using nuclear techniques
- Updates on uranium mining in Australia and nuclear power developments
- Neutrons from OPAL research reactor and x-rays from Australian Synchrotron
- Achievements in nuclear science, engineering and technology
Pacific Basin Nuclear Conference, Vancouver, 24-28 Aug 2014
The Canadian Nuclear Society, the Canadian Nuclear Association, and Natural Resources Canada are hosting the 19th Pacific Basin Nuclear Conference (PBNC-2014) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 24-28 August 2014, under the aegis of the Pacific Nuclear Council. The ANA is a member of the Pacific Nuclear Council
The theme of PBNC-2014 is “Fulfilling the Promise of Nuclear Technology around the Pacific Basin in the 21st Century”. Authors are encouraged to submit papers on any topic in nuclear technology for oral presentation in technical sessions at PBNC-2014. Papers will be organized in 10 technical tracks.
Please visit the PBNC-2014 website for more information, to submit papers, and to register.