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Editorial - EAN is moving forward!

In a brainstorming seminar in 2009, a number of colleagues reflected on the work done and the results achieved by EAN in the last 5 years as well as on future challenges and activities.

Consensus has been achieved on the values shared by those actively involved in the network on the effectiveness of cooperation and networking to improve the practical implementation of the ALARA principle. However, there is still room for improving the dissemination of experience and for better harmonisation in radiation protection policies and practical procedures with regard to the ALARA principle.

New challenges for ALARA are emerging: ICRP is reinforcing the role of optimisation in the implementation of the radiation protection system; new initiatives to maintain the high level of competence and expertise in the radiation protection field are developing on the national, European and international level (see the report on the ETRAP Conference in this Newsletter); the practical implementation of the ALARA principle in the medical sector (see paper Ginjaume et al. on the ORAMED project), as well as in existing exposure situations, in particular for radon and NORM (see paper Wichterey et al. on the 2nd EAN NORM Workshop), is gaining momentum and is seen more and more as a priority. The same is true for developing the ALARA approach to radiation protection culture and the dissemination of the ALARA values through education and training in all sectors. New technologies are arising in different fields which need our attention, for example, the reinforced use of ionising radiation for non-medical purposes (e.g. for security purposes). Among other topics, this has been an issue which was discussed at the 12th EAN Workshop in Vienna (see Summary and recommendations in the Newsletter).

In order to meet these challenges, some important initiatives have been started: the setting up of an EAN Working Group on ALARA Culture, the first results of which are being reported in this Newsletter; participation to international projects relevant for ALARA, such as the EU FP7 project TRASNUSAFE; organization of the next EAN Workshop on ALARA in the Medical Sector in cooperation with EFRS, ESR, EFOMP and EANM; and the results of surveys related to ALARA. A survey on Radon is in the process of finalisation; development of specific EAN documents, etc.

All these activities and achievements show that EAN is well prepared to meet future challenges!

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