Expert Group on the Process of Stakeholder Involvement in Radiation Protection Decision Making (EGPSI)

Since the recognition of the health risks exposure to ionising radiation poses, an internationally accepted system of radiation protection has evolved. As new scientific information and radiological challenges have been identified and addressed, the system has increasingly broadened its scope and has evolved independently from other systems aimed at the protection of public health and the environment. The radiation protection system's framework has been extended, and new portions have been added to handle each new situation. The goal has been a unified system of protection able to cover all situations. The system has now reached a stage of development, where some argue that it is too complex, even incoherent.

Of relevance to the system of radiation protection is the increasing desire and need for society to understand decisions made by governments, regulatory bodies and industry, and to participate more actively in decision-making processes that involve environmental and public health issues. To address this need, industry, governments and regulatory bodies are making their operations increasingly transparent. Radiation protection is no exception to this trend. The technical rationales that were once sufficient to explain radiation protection theory are no longer sufficient in today's social context.

The need to address and communicate theory, practice and the decision-making process to a wider audience, and to clearly define the role of experts, has led the radiation protection community to reassess the framework of the system of radiation protection. The very fundamentals of the system of radiation protection continue to be questioned, and many issues have been identified which could better serve and address stakeholders' priorities.

To better understand how the process of developing radiation protection risk identification, assessment and management should evolve to better address societal needs, the CRPPH organised the first Villigen workshop in 1998 to address decision making in complex radiological situations. As a follow-up to this, and to directly contribute to the evolution of the system of radiation protection, the CRPPH organised in January 2001 the second Villigen workshop, "Better Integration of Radiation Protection in Modern Society". This workshop addressed the new context of risk governance, emerging expectations of society towards risk policies, experiences in stakeholder involvement in radiological risk, assessment and management, and the evolving role of international expertise in structuring the system of radiation protection. To carry this work forward, the CRPPH identified stakeholder involvement process aspects as key areas. To focus on this aspect, the Expert Group on the Process of Stakeholder Involvement was created in 2001. The EGPSI analysed existing case studies to identify commonalities in the processes used to involve stakeholders in the decision-making processes. "Stakeholder Participation in Decision Making Involving Radiation: Exploring Processes and Implications", the third Villigen workshop, was organised by the EGPSI and hosted by the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (HSK) in October 2003.

The CRPPH agreed during its 61st meeting that, following the publication of the summary documents from the Third Villigen Workshop, the EGPSI should disband.

Related links

Stakeholder Participation in Radiological Decision Making: Processes and Implications
Summary Report of the Third Villigen Workshop, Villigen, Switzerland, 21-23 October 2003

Stakeholder Participation in Radiological Decision Making: Processes and Implications
Case Studies for the Third Villigen Workshop, Villigen, Switzerland, 21–23 October 2003
(pdf format, 3.7 mb)

A Critical Review of the System of Radiation Protection
(pdf format, 692 kb)

Policy Issues in Radiological Protection Decision Making
Summary of the Second Villigen Workshop, Viligen, Switzerland, 13-15 January 2001
(pdf format, 692 kb)

The Societal Aspects of Decision Making in Complex Radiological Situations
Proceedings of an International Workshop, Villigen, Switzerland, 13-15 January 1998