Permissible Dose: A History of Radiation Protection in the Twentieth Century

Permissible Dose: A History of Radiation Protection in the Twentieth Century

Permissible Dose: A History of Radiation Protection in the Twentieth Century

Permissible Dose: A History of Radiation Protection in the Twentieth Century

Synopsis

"A crisp and compelling assessment of the issues surrounding radiation protection. . . . Walker has a remarkable ability to make complicated issues clear and easy to understand. "--Allan M. Winkler, author of "Life under a Cloud"

"This concise and readable guide to the historical development of radiation protection standards by the federal government is exceptionally even-handed in discussing often controversial issues."--Barton C. Hacker, author of "Elements of Controversy"

Excerpt

This book is the third in a series of volumes on the history of nuclear regulation sponsored by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). I am the coauthor, with George T. Mazuzan, of the first volume, Controlling the Atom: The Beginnings of Nuclear Regulation, 1946–1962, and the author of the second volume, Containing the Atom: Nuclear Regulation in a Changing Environment, 1963–1971, which were published by the University of California Press in 1984 and 1992 respectively. Each is a detailed history of major regulatory issues during the chronological period it covers. This book takes a somewhat different approach by examining the various facets of a single problem—radiation protection—over a period of about one hundred years.

Many years ago, when I was an employee of the National Archives, I met a senior scholar who was researching a book on a former president of the United States. He introduced himself to me and to others by saying that he was writing the biography of that president. My colleagues and I were amused and rather astonished by the pretentiousness of his claim, as we knew of several able scholars who had recently published or were working on books about the same subject. At the same time, however, we had to admit to a certain amount of grudging regard for a scholar with enough confidence to make such a claim without blushing. Now that I am quite a bit more senior, I remembered that experience when deciding on a title for this book. I thought that the subtitle “The History of Radiation Protection in the Twentieth Century” had a nice ring to it.

But then I blushed, because a subtitle suggesting that this book covers . . .

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