S.A. Dewji, “Grand Challenges in the American Nuclear Society: Resolutions by 2030”, Plenary. 3rd International Conference on Dosimetry and its Applications, Lisbon, Portugal, 27-31 May 2019.
In order to identify technical nuclear challenges that need to be resolved by 2030, the American Nuclear Society embarked on the identification of core “Grand Challenges”. The objective of the Grand Challenges initiative was to identify and help solve some of the economic, sociological, or political issues that we face as a society. From some 300 recommended submissions and following a consolidation process, nine core “Grand Challenges” were recommended. From within the entire American Nuclear Society community, establishing a scientific basis for modern low-dose radiation regulation was identified as one of the top challenges faced by the Society. This Grand Challenge outlines that the Linear-No-Threshold (LNT) model is based on high dose rate nuclear weapons data and its application to nuclear reactor, medical, and irradiation applications is tenuous at best. New evidence in radiation and chemical toxicity fields is suggesting that LNT models are likely overly conservative, and the way in which they are used makes this conservatism inordinately expensive. Today, the principle of As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) has in many cases lost the “reasonable” aspect, as nuclear power plants micromanage every milliroentgen (mR) of worker dose in order to meet metrics of dose reduction. Unnecessary fear of low doses of radiation has adversely impacted safety and enabled cumulative costs to build up within the U.S. nuclear energy industry such that building and maintaining plants is now overly cumbersome and expensive. The progress and activities addressing this Low Dose and other synergistic Grand Challenges within the American Nuclear Society will be discussed.