Exposures of the public and workers from various sources of radiation

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The dose estimates from natural radiation sources in the UNSCEAR 2008 report are unchanged from those of the 2000 report. The worldwide average effective dose is estimated at 2.4 mSv per year, with radon accounting for about half of the exposure. Occupational exposures in nuclear power plants have decreased by about a factor of 4 from the late 70s to the early 2000s. The public exposure to the various stages of the nuclear fuel cycle is assessed per unit of electrical energy generated. The collective effective dose for local and regional population groups is estimated at 0.72 manSv/GWy. Attention on occupational exposure focused until the 1990s on artificial sources of radiation. Now however it is realized that a very large number of workers are occupationally exposed to enhanced natural sources of radiation and the current estimate of their collective dose is about 3 times higher compared to that of the UNSCEAR 2000 report. The total number of workers exposed to ionizing radiation is estimated to be about 22.8 million, about 13 million exposed to natural sources of radiation and about 9.8 million exposed to artificial sources of radiation; 75% of them are medical workers.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-146
JournalAnnalen van de Belgische Vereniging voor Stralingsbescherming / Annales de l'association Belge de radioprotection
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • UNSCEAR, Report 2008, radiation exposure, ionizing radiation

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