Nuclear energy: Radiation Effects on Human Health and Environment

Problem and its background

  Radiation has been used in a variety of areas (e.g. CT scans in medicine and non-destructive inspection in industry), whereas radiation exposure is known to cause health effects as a result of DNA or cell damages. Radiation causes skin burn, tissue reactions/organ damages and higher cancer incidence rates, especially at high dose exposure such as resulting from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, in the case of long-term exposure to low dose radiation (low dose/ low dose-rate), it is hard to detect changes in cancer frequency through epidemiological studies. Moreover, the biological mechanism linking radiation exposure to diseases such as cancer is not fully understood yet.
  While radiation can be beneficial in a variety of areas, it should be appropriately controlled and regulated in terms of the harmful effects on health. In radiation regulations, protection standards are not defined based on a binary approach to the danger/safeness of radiations, but based on an evaluation of the risk. The risk-benefit balance must be carefully considered. Radiation protection standards have been set based not only on the radiation risk, but also on the situation regarding the radiation utilization, each country’s social and economic conditions, etc.
  We support collecting and clearly summarizing information related to radiation effects/ radiation protection issues (e.g. academic article, research trends, regulatory trends and reports in the media).

Service/our capabilities

Survey and analysis relevant to radiation effects research

  We have been providing clear information about epidemiological studies and biological studies related to health effects of low dose/ low dose-rate from academic journals, reports published by public agency, symposium documents and media around the world. Moreover, we have been providing comments on important information by interview survey to experts in Japan or abroad.

Survey relevant to trend of international radiation protection standards

   We provide clearly summarizing information about each country’s radiation protection regulation, details of its examination's progress and regulatory trends and international authority’s trends such as the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) through domestic and international corporate networks.

Survey and consulting related to NORM

  Naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) are natural sources of radiations found in the environment; they contain all kinds of radioactive elements of natural origin. Among this materials, Technologically Enhanced NORM (TENORM) in which the concentration of naturally occurring radioactive elements has been artificially increased, have been under consideration for regulation in each country.
  In IAEA’s Basic Safety Standards (BSS) published in July 2014, when an industry handles an amount of NORM exceeding a set level, it is required to manage this NORM in the same fashion as industries handling radioactive materials (facilities, methods, etc.). For this reason, industries dealing with NORM, namely geothermal resources exploitation, oil-well drilling and rare earth drilling will likely be met with stronger regulatory requirements regarding NORM.
  JANUS has been offering consulting services on the response to new NORM regulation.

Other

  We can conduct overseas on-site surveys and provide a wide range of information related to radiation effects/ radiation protection issues, such as, radiation emergency responses, public involvements at nuclear facilities, each country’s approaches to the management or optimization of radiation exposure.

Related links

Nuclear energy: Disaster prevention & Exposure evaluation
Nuclear energy: Fuel Cycle and Waste Management

Contact

Radiation Group, Energy Technology Unit
Email: radjanus.co.jp