Nuclear decay data, a set of data on half-lives, decay chains, and energies and intensities of radiations emitted by nuclear transformation, are required in calculating external or internal doses by emissions from radionuclides. A nuclear decay database, which has been the most widely used for dose calculation in radiation protection, is Publication 38 (ICRP38) of the International Commission on Radiological Protection. ICRP38 has played an important role in dose calculation for medical, environmental and occupational exposure for almost two decades. The present paper reviews the historical course of the compilation and application of ICRP38, and also describes the update of ICRP38 scheduled to take place around 2005.
Radiation exposures whose magnitude or likelihood is essentially unamenable to control can be dealt with by the process of exclusion from the scope of the regulatory instruments. Sources of radiation can be exempted from regulatory control on the grounds that the sources give rise to small doses and the radiation protection is optimized. It is believed that the exclusion of exposures and the exemption of sources from regulatory control are important components of the radiation protection functions. The internationally unified policy for exclusion and exemption has been pursued in recent years through the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Radiation Council of Japan has made some recommendations in its recent reports regarding some approaches for the practical application of the concepts of exclusion and exemption to artificial radiation sources and naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM). These subjects are outlined here.
The Vodnyi site in the Komi Republic of Russia represents a unique radioecological field site. The history of industrial operations associated with radioactivity here spans the period 1931 to 1956. Initial operations focused on the extraction of radium from groundwater [226Ra concentration up to 7, 840pCi/L (290Bq/L)], In 1947, the extraction of uranium and radium from ores began. Radionuclide contamination in the Vodnyi region includes soils that had been in long-term contact with radium-rich groundwater, charcoal-and gypsum/anhydrite-bearing solid wastes associated with radium production from groundwater, and uranium/radium mill tailings. Environmental monitoring and radioecological investigations in the region began in 1957. Due to restrictive publication practices of the past, many of the radioecological studies done at the Vodnyi site have received limited attention outside the former Soviet Union (FSU). Our goal here is to introduce the Vodnyi site to a wider audience and to describe past and current investigations.