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The European ALARA Network has considered that it would be useful to make a specific survey in order to evaluate the dissemination of the justification, limitation and optimisation principles rhough Europe. A questionnaire was prepared by the EAN Newsletter Editorial Board and sent to all EAN (18 countries) and RECAN (22 countries) national contact persons.

Such a survey was first undertaken in 2001 and its results were published in the ALARA Newsletter issue N°9. However, at that time, it was mainly limited to EAN member countries. Since then, the enlargement of the EU has led to several new implementations of the European Directives 96/29 and 97/43 that are directly inspired by ICRP N°60 Recommandations [1990]. In addition, some non-member states are using the IAEA Basic Safety Standards for Radiation Protection [1996] that are also based on the Recommendations made by ICRP in 1990.

The new EAN survey shows that the majority of European countries have nox adopted a common framework and compatible regulations as far as radiological management in normal and accidental circumstances is concerned, even if small differences remain. 

The justification principle is systematically included into regulations but, the practices which are definitively unjustified by Law are not often clearly cited, nor are the criteria to be used to justify a continuation of an existing practice, the use of radiation exposures for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, or an intervention after a radiological accident. 

The maximum individual doses for public and the occupational dose limits are similar everywhere; the small differences that can be observed (e.g. on the reference period taken into account, the way to manage exceptional cases, etc) are not especially significant but could still, potentially, lead to unjustified and time-consuming administrative difficulties, especially in the context of a labourg market which is more and more open to a free circulation of goods and workers. A total harmonisation of these dose limits would, therefore, be beneficial.

Nuances of style in the wording of the optimisation principle (ALARA) exist, but the overall meaning appears consistent. The survey shows clearly that a few countries have explicitly adopted the concept of dose constraint which was especially enphasized by ICRP Publication 60.

The answers to the questionnaire received from about 25 countries were presented and discussed during the 10th EAN Workshop in Prague in September 2006. A summarize of this paper was published in the ALARA Newsletter issue N° 19. 

You can download here the full paper of this presentation as well as all the answers to the questionnaire. 

Full paper

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