ANS Grand Challenge: Low-dose radiation
The June 2017 special report on the ANS Nuclear Grand Challenges (available online at ans.org/challenges/) identified low-dose radiation as a crucial focus area for ANS. Specifically, the challenge is to “Establish the scientific basis for modern low-dose radiation regulation.” This is particularly difficult given the long review cycles associated with International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) recommendations. Additionally, while the Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with issuing guidance on radiation exposure standards in the United States, responsibility for implementing and enforcing radiation protection regulations is distributed throughout the federal government. Finally, while it is accepted that tissue reactions (previously called deterministic or nonstochastic effects) exhibit a dose threshold, there is still substantial scientific debate over the shape of the dose response at low doses for stochastic effects, such as cancer. Despite these hurdles, substantial progress has been made over the past five years on the low-dose radiation grand challenge.