There is considerable interest in revisiting LNT theory as the basis for the system of radiation protection in the US and worldwide. Arguing the scientific merits of policy options is not likely to be fruitful because the science is not robust enough to support one theory to the exclusion of others. Current science cannot determine the existence of a dose threshold, a key piece to resolving the matter scientifically. The nature of the scientific evidence is such that risk assessment at small effective doses (defined as <100 mSv) is highly uncertain, and several policy alternatives, including threshold and non-linear dose- response functions, are scientifically defensible. This paper argues for an alternative approach by looking at the LNT debate as a policy question and analyzes the problem from a social and economic perspective. In other words, risk assessment and a strictly scientific perspective are insufficiently broad enough to resolve the issue completely. A wider perspective encompassing social and economic impacts in a risk management context is necessary, but moving the debate to the policy and risk management arena necessarily marginalizes the role of scientists.
Mossman, Kenneth L
"THE LNT DEBATE IN RADIATION PROTECTION: SCIENCE VS. POLICY,"
Dose-Response: An International Journal:
2, Article 6.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dose_response/vol10/iss2/6