It is CERAD’s overall goal to reduce the inherent uncertainty in predictive modelling and risk assessment of radiation. Our research results will thus have direct implications for decision making and management and communication of risks. We have learned from the other Research Areas how sources and associated releases impact organisms and ecosystems, even at low doses, and adjusted model predictions accordingly. RA4 has then applied an ecosystem approach to finetune the risk assessment of radiation and to inform and guide radiation protection. We have included socioeconomic impacts in our considerations, given their increasingly recognised importance.

RA4 has three umbrella projects:

The main aim of this Umbrella is to evaluate the consequences of radiation at ecosystem level. Our current knowledge about effects of radiation is mainly based on laboratory or field studies of single species. Here, we cover ecosystems: multiple species and the abiotic environment. Our hypothesis is that ecosystem interactions and processes (e.g. food chain interactions, competition between and within species, changes in biodiversity) can result in indirect effects from exposure to ionizing radiation.

Does an exposure scenario (under normal conditions or in an emergency) represent a risk to humans and/or the wider environment? Impact and risk assessments rely on evidence-based decision criteria regarding source term and deposition, ecosystem transfer, biological uptake and effect. Under this Umbrella we aim to establishing such a scientifically set of criteria to improve impact and risk assessment tools. Through sensitivity analysis of models, we disclose which factors contribute most to overall uncertainties. This will help adjust priorities for research in RA1-RA3

This Umbrella aims to evaluate the broader consequences of radiation events. This requires a multidisciplinary approach, as not only radiation contamination but also economic, societal, and ethical impacts pose challenges to society.

Key publications: 

Kalman, C. and D.H. Oughton (2020). Ethical considerations related to radiosensitivity and radiosusceptibility. International Journal of Radiation Biology, Vol. 96 (3), 340-343.

Tomkiv, Y., Liland, A., Oughton, D.H. and B. Wynne (2019). Assessing Quality of Stakeholder Engagement: From Bureaucracy to Democracy. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society Vol. 37(3), 167–178.

Oughton, D.H. (2016). Societal and Ethical Aspects of the Fukushima Accident. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 12(4), 651-653.

Brechignac, F., Oughton, D.H., Mays, C. et al (2016). Addressing ecological effects of radiation on populations and ecosystems to improve protection of the environment against radiation: Agreed statements from a Consensus Symposium. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 158, 21-29.

Tomkiv, Y. et al (2016). How did media present the radiation risks after the Fukushima accident: a content analysis of newspapers in Europe. Journal of Radiological Protection, 36(2), S64-S81.

Strand, P. et al (2014). Assessment of Fukushima-Derived Radiation Doses and Effects on Wildlife in Japan. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 1(3), 198-203. 

Published 8. October 2020 - 11:09 - Updated 2. November 2020 - 13:36