International Guidance, Legislation and Regulations


Organisations and their Roles

There is an enormous literature on the environmental behaviour of radionuclides and on the adverse effects of ionising radiations on human health and the environment.  This information is regularly reviewed by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).  Based on these reviews and a variety of other source of information, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) makes recommendations on radiological protection applicable in occupational, medical and public exposure contexts.  The ICRP is a commission of the International Congress of Radiology (ICR).  Its sister commission is the International Commission on Radiological Units and Measurement (ICRU) which develops and promulgates internationally accepted recommendations on radiation-related quantities and units, terminology, measurement procedures, and reference data for the safe and efficient application of ionising radiation to medical diagnosis and therapy, radiation science and technology, and radiation protection of individuals and populations.


In parallel, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), amongst its other responsibilities, develops Basic Safety Standards (BSS) for radiological protection, as well as producing numerous reports relating to specific areas of protection.  The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) includes Japan as a member and its mission is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co-operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for the safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.


Numerous other regional and national organisations are also of importance in developing radiological protection standards and guidance on a wide range of legal and technical issues.  These include the European Union (EU), the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Union of Radioecology (IUR) and the US National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP).