Radiation – both the use of it and exposure to it - raises many questions and even controversy. These topics have been keeping us busy for decades, now more than ever. But how dangerous is radiation? Do we really have to worry? How do we benefit from the use of radiation? We will try to answer these questions on this website. All of these topics and more are covered in a booklet produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (available in eleven different languages here).
Radiation is not just one thing. In the first place we need to note that there is ionising and non-ionising radiation.
Here we focus on ionising radiation. The first things that may come to mind when thinking about ionising radiation could be nuclear power plants and possible accidents, or even atomic bombs. But ionising radiation is much more common in our daily lives than we may think. There are natural sources of radiation and there are artificial sources of radiation. Some sources of and exposures to radiation have a greater impact on our health than others, and the risks from radiation need to be seen alongside other risks to health.
Longstanding research on ionising radiation and its effects on health has already built a good picture of the risks. Nevertheless there are still some gaps. European research platforms have taken time to identify these gaps that have led to the development of research priorities and strategic research agendas (SRAs), and eventually research projects to address the gaps. The MELODI - SRA concerns low dose radiation health risk, the ALLIANCE - SRA concerns effects of radiation on the environment, the EURADOS - SRA concerns radiation measurement and dosimetry, the EURAMED - SRA relates to medical aspects of radiation protection and finally the NERIS - SRA considers radiation emergency preparedness and response.
The European Commission EURATOM programme stepped up the plate and is funding the CONCERT project, which brings together the research priorities of the different platforms in order to align them and to establish a joint roadmap for further research in the different areas of radiation protection. CONCERT funds a number of research projects, and you can find out more at these links: TERRITORIES , CONFIDENCE, LDLensRAD, 2nd call projects.
You can also contribute to future research initiatives by voicing your perception of nuclear and radiological risks and expressing your opinion on related issues such as communication and quality of information received from different sources by completing our survey, available in 15 languages.