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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 78-82

Low-level radiation exposures: Time to revisit linear no-threshold concept

1 Ex-Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Ex-International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria
2 Ex-Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai 400085, India

Correspondence Address:
M R Iyer
Bungalow D 4, Raj Kunj Society, Chembur, Mumbai - 400 074
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-0464.169375

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The concepts of LNT (Linear No-Threshold) and the resulting ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) used for radiological protection have been stumbling blocks for public acceptability of nuclear power. Often, public get confused and easily get exploited by interested people. The application of this concept has perhaps resulted in a more harmful phenomenon now known as "radiophobia." Over the years, LNT has become the corner stone of radiation protection philosophy for the international organizations like ICRP, UNSCEAR etc. which is followed by all national regulators. The genesis of these theories is the cellular level findings of half a century back. Most of these are findings at high dose levels in macro systems and extrapolated to low dose. It is time that international radiation safety organizations revisit the assumptions and have a more pragmatic approach towards these abstract concepts in the light of new findings. The article reviews the evolution of LNT hypothesis and the basis for LNT, examines the possibility that there might be a threshold dose, below which there would be no radiation-related cancer risk. Evidences against LNT and the possible existence of a threshold dose are reviewed. The article concludes that this is definitely time to have a re-look of the corner stone concepts in radiation protection philosophy.

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