ICRP 2019 is all over. It was a great conference, with a lot of interesting developments in radiation protection talked about. The three main themes for the conference where Mining, Medicine, and Mars. The big three for radiation protection.
NORM as ways was a big feature on mining day. As more efforts are being made to actually quantify the amount of NORM that is being moved around the globe, even more effort again is being directed towards understanding the exposure scenarios that NORM features in.
The exposure scenario is highly important when considering an exposure event. In fact the exposure scenario is more important than the underlying amount of activity when evaluating risk. Time and distance. There is a propensity for workers to be around lower levels of activity for longer periods of time. Understanding not just the source, but the environment in which exposure occurs is critical.
Have you heard about Shielding Studio?
To LNT (linear no-threshold) or not to LNT was discussed as usual. If the LNT model is abandoned, what would the limits be? Just the current working limits for occupational and public exposures I suppose. Radiation Hormesis says the evidence doesn’t justify LNT, but that probably cuts both ways.
The body of work that is dose-to-biota is getting fleshed out more and more. Environmental exposure isn’t just for humans after all, there can be lasting effects and consequences for flora and fauna.
Is space the final frontier for radiation protection?
It appears that a cruise to Mars (there and back) and a stay on the surface can be accomplished within the career/lifetime exposure limits for an astronaut. Is this an existing exposure scenario? Are astronauts radiation workers? All interesting questions that were asked, answered, and debated.
Active shielding was discussed. Although the mass of equipment to provided sufficient power for this is comparable to getting the same shielding effect with physical material. Using today’s technology at least. It is probably more realistic for shielding on the surface of Mars, rather than during transit.