Oct 1, 2012
Annals of the ICRP
The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) recognises that there is no simple or single universal definition of ‘environmental protection’, and that the concept differs from country to country and from one circumstance to another. However, there is an increasing need to be able to demonstrate that the environment is protected from radioactive substances released under authorisation for various reasons, such as for wildlife conservation requirements, or wildlife management for commercial reasons, or simply as part of pollution control. The Commission is developing the concept of Representative Organisms, which may be identified from any specific legal requirements or from more general requirements to protect local habitats or ecosystems. Such organisms may be the actual objects of protection or they may be hypothetical, depending on the objectives of the assessment. They may be similar to, or even congruent with, one or more of the Reference Animals and Plants (RAPs). Where this is not the case, attempts can be made to consider the extent to which the Representative Organisms differ from the nearest RAP in terms of known radiation effects upon it, basic biology, radiation dosimetry, and pathways of exposure. This paper discusses the practical implications of such an approach.