ICRP Publication 101b

The Optimisation of Radiological Protection - Broadening the Process

Abstract - The principle of optimisation of radiation protection is defined by the Commission as the source-related process to keep the magnitude of individual doses, the number of people exposed, and the likelihood of potential exposure as low as reasonably achievable below the appropriate dose constraints, with economic and social factors being taken into account. According to the revised recommendations of ICRP, this process of optimisation below constraint should be applied whatever the exposure situation; i.e. planned, emergency, and existing.

The previous recommendations for the practical implementation of the optimisation process are still valid. It must be implemented through an ongoing, cyclical process that involves the evaluation of the exposure situation to identify the need for action, the identification of the possible protective options to keep the exposure as low as reasonably achievable, the selection of the best option under the prevailing circumstances, the implementation of the selected option through an effective optimisation programme, and regular review of the exposure situation to evaluate if the prevailing circumstances call for the implementation of corrective protective actions. However, the way in which the optimisation process should be implemented is now viewed more broadly to reflect the increasing role of individual equity, safety culture, and stakeholder involvement in our modern societies.

This report is a consolidation and an evolution of the Commission’s recommendations concerning the optimisation principle. After some background information on the foundation and evolution of the principle, this report describes the main characteristics of the process, addresses the issue of exposure distribution in that process, and provides the basic requirements for its application in operation and regulation. A description of decision-aiding techniques commonly used for practical implementation of the optimisation process is provided in Annex A.

Recommended citation
ICRP, 2006. The Optimisation of Radiological Protection - Broadening the Process. ICRP Publication 101b. Ann. ICRP 36 (3).

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