The System of Radiological Protection for the Next Generation


While the System of Radiological Protection is robust and has performed well, it must adapt to address changes in science and society to remain fit for purpose for the next generation.


ICRP is in the process of review and revision of the System that will update the 2007 General Recommendations in ICRP Publication 103. This will take several years, involving open and transparent engagement with organisations and individuals world-wide.

The next generation refers to the future revised General Recommendations, and to the importance of the involvement of the younger professionals and scientists who will continue to use and maintain the System in years to come. ICRP's mentorship programme is a key activity supporting this.

The work is loosely organised into three phases: identifying topics ('building blocks') to be reviewed, developing these topics primarily through ICRP Task Groups, and finally consolidating the results into a publication that will supercede ICRP Publication 103.



Guiding Principles

Guiding prinicples in the review and revision include:

  • Reliance on solid science & ethical values
  • Inclusiveness & accessibility so everyone who wants to contribute can, and to benefit from a wide variety of perspectives
  • Transparency in the process

A central consideration in the revision is simplification. The System must be easier to understand, easier to communicate, and easier to use. Nonetheless, the underlying basis of the System must be robust to handle complex problems and consider complex scientific, ethical, and practical issues.


Key Milestones: Four Open-access Papers


Launching the Process: An Invitation to Contribute

The open access paper Keeping the ICRP recommendations fit for purpose (Clement et al., 2021) launched the process, encouraging discussions throughout the RP community and beyond on which areas of the System of RP might gain the greatest benefit from detailed review and refinement.



Initial Feedback from the International RP Community

This was addressed directly at the Future of Radiological Protection Digital Workshop held 14 October – 3 November 2022. The open access paper Summary of the 2021 ICRP workshop on the future of radiological protection (Rühm et al., 2022) responds directly to the issues raised in the ‘fit for purpose’ paper, presenting the views of the participants (approximately 1500 participants from 100 countries) on areas of the System of RP that need attention.



Focus on Research to Strengthen the System of RP

In parallel, the open access paper Areas of research to support the system of radiological protection (Laurier et. al., 2021) presents ICRP's views on areas of research which could support further development of the System of RP. It aims to complement research priorities promoted by international organisations, placing them in the perspective of the evolution of the System of RP.



Feedback on Research Priorities

The open access paper ICRP workshop on the review and revision of the system of radiological protection: A focus on research priorities – feedback from the international community (Rühm et al., 2023) summarises views of the RP community raised in the ‘areas of research’ paper.





Based on extensive feedback received, identification of the topics that would benefit from review is now essentially complete. Nonetheless, we will continue to be on the lookout for additional areas that may arise. Similarly, it appears that the areas of research that could benefit the System of Radiological Protection are clear.

The focus is now on addressing each of the identified topics, principally through Task Groups. A record number of Task Groups, listed on the ICRP website, are addressing dozens of individual topics. Many are holding open workshops to get feedback from the broader community as work progresses. In addition, we welcome comments on all draft documents through our public consultation portal, and sometimes during open online workshops held during the public consultation period. We anticipate initiating several more Task Groups in the coming years to address additional topics important to the review and revision of the System of RP. Each is formed through an open call for experts.