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Issue 25 - October 2009

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Editorial

Eight years ago, when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed, it not only left an indelible impression on the planet's collective memory, it has also led to an international awareness that strengthening security for radioactive materials and nuclear facilities worldwide was a major issue of concern. In 2006, the Litvinenko affair reinforced this awareness. As a consequence, the radiological protection and safety communities, merged into what we might now call the radiation safety community, amongst others, have developed a huge set of recommendations, measures, regulations and laws aimed at countering terrorist attacks, illicit trafficking, and other malevolent acts using or targeting radioactive sources. The aim is to prevent such events, but also to mitigate their consequences if they do occur. These aims inherently require consideration of the optimisation principle in the management - before and after - of emergency situations. There are many issues to explore: the exposures of emergency responders, security staff, supervisors and workers, operators of security-related sources, and the public must be kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). It is noted that several recent ICRP recommendations (Publications No. 96, 103, 109 and 111) address these exposure situations, and with this in mind, the next 12th EAN ALARA Workshop will be focussing on these issues.

The 25th ALARA Newsletter presents several papers that show that the use of radioactive sources, especially in industrial, medical and research applications (see paper Cellier & ALARA News), continues to increase worldwide. In the context of the preceding text, this further adds to the task of regulatory bodies and TSOs responsible for the control of radiation sources. The accidental or even malevolent import-export of radioactive sources (see paper Drouet & al.), and industrial and medical accidents/incidents (see paper Stritt) may never be totally prevented, but the introduction of ALARA at the preparedness stage, will certainly help in guaranteeing a better response and lower doses.

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