Radiation protection is foundational to harnessing the societal benefits of radiation in nuclear energy, security, and medicine applications. Significant challenges in radiation protection remain unaddressed for the nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear medicine, emergency response, national defense, and space exploration, as the United States is lacking a coherent research strategy prioritizing radiation protection mission needs and gaps in scientific knowledge to meet these needs. Research and development in the field of radiation protection calls for cooperation among governmental agencies, emergency responders, research organizations, and the academic community. Amidst atrophying national expertise in radiation protection, the Radiation Protection Research Needs Workshop was spearheaded by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Health Physics Society. This workshop facilitated critical dialogue among radiation stakeholders in the governmental and scientific communities, including national laboratories, academic institutions, and industry partners. The workshop featured presentations representing 12 federal agencies and breakout sessions involving the identification of scientific drivers by subject matter experts in each of the following areas: new fuel cycles/reactors, dosimetry, medical physics, instrumentation and operations, decontamination and decommissioning, space radiation, national defense, emergency response, environmental modeling, and low-dose effects. The goal of this workshop was to seek stakeholder input toward the development of a national strategic research agenda in the field of radiation protection. Consequently, the Health Physics Society has established a Special Task Force on Health Physics Research Needs, tasked with the prioritization of scientific drivers in radiation protection for the development of a national strategic research agenda.
1Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Oak Ridge, TN;
2Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Center for Radiation Protection Knowledge, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge, TN;
3Department of Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX;
4Georgia Institute of Technology, Nuclear and Radiological Engineering Program, Atlanta, GA.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
For correspondence contact Shaheen Azim Dewji, Department of Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, 3133 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-3133, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Manuscript accepted 3 July 2018)