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The implementation of the ALARA principle in the medical and industrial fields is certainly one of the most challenging issues that health physicists and RP professionals will have to deal with during the next decade. Numerous presentations made on these topics at the IRPA 12th Conference in Buenos-Aires have confirmed this. It raises even more crucially the need for enhancing radiological protection culture, especially outside the nuclear sector.  Thus, the initiative taken by the Radiological Protection Societies to establis h a dedicated working group to prepare IRPA Guiding Principles on the improvement of radiological protection culture worldwide is very welcome. Moreover, the integration of the revised ICRP Recommendations for the system of radiological protection into national regulations will undoubtedly reinforce the role of optimisation (ALARA) in reducing occupational and public exposures.   Maybe we can say that the RP profession is reaching a major turning point in the movement toward a common way of doing, organizing, and managing radiological protection: towards shared ethics?

The 24th issue of the ALARA Newsletter presents current RP issues that have arisen in the industrial and medical sectors. The optimisation of occupational doses - particularly extremity doses – that can be received by practitioners are often neglected: the example given of the important reduction of PET technologists doses achieved in a British dispensary (see paper Tout & al.) shows the potential for progress, especially where new techniques are used. The increase in radiological incidents (see paper Kropacek) and accidents in the medical sector in Europe suggest a need for for a real raising of awareness for medical physicians and doctors, surgeons, radiological technologists, manufacturers, RPEs and RPOs, etc.  Industrial radiography is another field where the radiological protection culture is low in comparison with the radiological risks generated by the activities: it has to be noted that the ARAN and RECAN networks, both supported by the IAEA, have chosen this topic for their annual workshops (see paper Sadagopan & al.).  Furthermore, the feedback exchanges made inside the European NORM network (see paper Schulz) show that there is still a limited knowledge of radioactivity, radiological risks, means of protection and monitoring in the NORM industries community.

Better education and training of the public and workers, improving of radiation source safety, and the recognition of the competences, roles and duties of radiation protection experts are key elements for improving radiological protection culture. It is the role and the creed of EAN to promote and participate to all initiatives that could assist in this process.

Content of the issue

  • Editorial, A. Schmitt-Hannig, P. Croüail, P. Shaw (EAN),
  • Extremity dose to nuclear medicine technologists in routine clinical practice with 18F-FDG, D. Tout, H. Moore, PJ. Julyan, DH. Hastings (North Western Medical Physics, The Christie NHS, Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK),
  • The European Radiation Protection Authorities Network, S. Fennell (RPII, Ireland), N. Stritt (SFOPH, Switzerland),
  • Summary of the 1st ARAN Workshop: "Improving Radiation Protection in Industrial Radiography", G. Sadagopan, P. Deboodt (IAEA), D. Woods (ANSTO, Australia), K. Sakai (NIRS, Japan),
  • 4th RECAN Workshop on "Problems in the industrial application of ionizing radiation sources" - Risan, Montenegro, November 2008,
  • View of the project "European ALARA Network for Naturally Occuring Radioactive Material - NORM" and its future, H. Schulz, E. Ettenhuber, K. Flesh, L. Geldner, R. Gellermann,
  • Radiological Incidents during Treatment of Breast Cancer in the Czech Republic, J. Kropacek (SONS, Czech Republic).