Radiation Risk: The new era begins
Presentation by Prof. Chris Busby, ECRR Scientific Secretary
at Academy of Science, Seezhu Zaale, Riga
13.00 – 16.00, 14th August 2009.
Meeting convened by Baltic Sea Region office of the European Committee on Radiation Risk

Recent research has shown a failure in the radiation risk model of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), which radiation risk agencies in all nations currently use to regulate public exposures. This was the conclusion of radiation scientists from across the world gathered at the ECRR’s 3rd International Conference held in May 2009 on the Island of Lesvos, Greece. The final statement from the conference urged national governments to abandon the ICRP model and, as a matter of urgency, to employ the 2003 model of the ECRR. This Declaration was signed by all the delegates (link).

Evidence was presented at the conference that the errors implicit in the ICRP model have resulted in systemised loss of human life. In an extraordinary development it was reported (link) that, in Stockholm on 22nd April, the recently resigned Scientific Secretary of the ICRP, Dr Jack Valentin, had conceded that the ICRP model could not be used to predict the health effects of exposures and that for certain internal exposures it was insecure by up to two orders of magnitude. He also said that as he was no longer employed by ICRP he could agree that the ICRP and the United Nations committee on radiation protection (UNSCEAR) had been wrong in not examining the evidence from the Chernobyl accident, and other evidence outlined below, which shows large errors in the ICRP risk model.

  1. There is new theoretical and experimental evidence showing that the health effects of the element Uranium have been massively underestimated. Uranium is still contaminating the world following its use as a weapon and is the basis for the nuclear industry.
  2. The late health effects of the Chernobyl accident are being found to be enormous, with increases in cancer reported from as far away as Sweden and the United Kingdom.
  3. There is also significant excess cancer in studies of people living close to coastal areas of the Irish Sea, contaminated by the Sellafield reprocessing plant.
  4. More evidence that small internal doses are hazardous are the increased risks of childhood cancer near nuclear sites in Europe, with a recent German government study showing a 3-fold excess risk of leukemia in children aged 0-4 living within 5km of all nuclear sites in Germany from 1980-2005.

In this presentation Prof. Chris Busby, ECRR Scientific Secretary outlined the evidence from health studies, the scientific background and the problems of changing regulatory practice.

Ditta Rietuma, General Secretary of the ECRR Baltic Sea Regional Office, presented the implications of a new regulatory regime for developments such as the nuclear waste repositories planned for Sweden and Finland, and the nuclear neutron-beam-canon European Spallation Source (ESS) in Lund, Sweden.

Contact: Ditta Rietuma, – by email bsr@euradcom.eu or Mobile 00371-298 110 64.

Professor Busby’s presentation (1.14Mb PDF)


Ditta Rietuma’s presentation (2.5Mb PDF)