The new "Normal": Stakeholders and radiation protection limits in a post-9/11 world

Timothy J. Jorgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

With the recent upsurge in worldwide terrorism, the prospects for a radiation terrorism event have greatly increased. Current recommendations regarding recovery from such an event specify that decisions about the extent of radiological cleanup will be dependent upon stakeholder acceptance of the risk levels. The case is made here that stakeholders are currently not prepared to make decisions collectively about the acceptability of risk levels and will be even less capable during the aftermath of an attack when a consensus among stakeholders is unlikely to be achieved. In order to better prepare stakeholders to make risk decisions after an attack, there needs to be at least some limited radiation training for people in locations that are likely terrorist targets, and this training is best delivered before a radiological incident has occurred. Additionally, the training should focus on individualized risk assessment based on personal radiation doses and should emphasize that individuals have the ability to control their personal dose by limiting the time that they spend in "zones" that have relatively high contamination levels and restricting their intake of specific contaminated foods. By raising stakeholder consciousness before an incident occurs and reducing decisions about the acceptability of risk to the level of the individual rather than the entire group, individual stakeholders will be empowered to become more fully engaged in the recovery process, more in control of their own lives, and less dependent upon radiation protection professionals to make global decisions about the acceptability of radiation risks on their behalf.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-231
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Physics
Volume111
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • accidents, nuclear
  • radiation dose
  • radiation risk
  • risk communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Epidemiology

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