Magazine article Science News

A-Bomb Radiation Doses Reassessed

Magazine article Science News

A-Bomb Radiation Doses Reassessed

Article excerpt

A-bomb radiation doses reassessed

A long-awaited reassessment of radiation dose measurements from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs is nearly complete, researchers report, and is likely to result in more stringent radiation protection standards. The new calculations are based on revised estimates of the yields of those bombs and make use of new computing techniques for measuring radiation exposures. Like previous reports (SN: 5/30/81, p.343), the latest findings are controversial.

Roger J.M. Fry of the Oak Ridge (Tenn.) National Laboratory and Warren K. Sinclair of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements in Bethesda, Md., report that a new, computer-assisted dose measuring system adopted in 1986 has provided more detailed information about the World War II blasts. Fully revised risk estimates are not expected to be released until 1988. However, the scientists write in the Oct. 10 LANCET, it is probable that "future risk estimates for radiogenic cancer will be somewhat higher' than before.

Atomic-bomb survivors are the primary source of data on long-term radiation risks for humans. Those data are being reviewed by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), an organization jointly administered by the Japanese Ministry of Health and the U.S.-based National Academy of Sciences. New findings by RERF will be taken into account by the International Commission for Radiological Protection, which sets worldwide radiation protection standards for patients, radiation workers and the general population. …

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