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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Radiation protection issues related to the use of nuclear power

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Abstract Nuclear power generation require protection against harmful effects of ionizing radiation. Radiation protection is based on the linear, no‐threshold model of health risks at low doses and three fundamental principles: justification, optimization, and limitation. The practical application of radiation protection is divided into three areas: planned, emergency, and existing exposure situations. Planned exposure situations include difficult social issues related to the exposure of large populations, exposure of future generations, protection against accidents, and protection of the environment. Emergency and existing exposure situations are both characterized by heterogeneous distributions of exposures and complex social and economic aspects, which make assessment and evaluation of protective strategies complicated and value laden. Four problem areas of social and ethical issues stand out as central for radiation protection: The first is uncertainty and the influence of value judgments in scientific risk assessments. The second is distributions of risks and benefits between different individuals, both in space and time. The third is the problem of setting limits when there is no known level of exposure that is associated with a zero risk. The fourth central problem area is related to stakeholder influence and risk communication. This article is categorized under: Nuclear Power > Science and Materials

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