Radiation Protection Glossary

A radiation protection glossary for Radiation Protection Supervisors (RPS) and anyone interesting in radiation safety terminology. The glossary is a mixture of health physics terms, and phrases related to radiation legislation, transport, practical safety and similar.

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Optimisation

Optimisation can be stated as '..a process or method used to make a system of protection as effective as possible within the given criteria and constraints..'. With respect to Radiation Protection, the ICRP 103 publication states '.consider how best to use resources in reducing radiation risks to individuals and populations ... so far as is reasonably achievable, social and economic factors being taken into account'. This is the basis of the ALARA principle, and the UK ALARP principle (but ALARP does not consider social and economic factors and is developed from Case Law)). Radiation protection uses optimisation to reduce exposures below Dose Limits.

The definition of 'safe' is not strictly an engineering term; it's a societal term. Does it mean absolutely no loss of life? Does it mean absolutely no contamination with radiation? What exactly does 'safe' mean?

– Henry Petroski