Radiation has been existing everywhere in the environment since the earth's formation - in rocks, soil, water and plants. The mining and processing of naturally occurring radioactive materials for use in medicine, power generation, consumer products and industry inevitably generate emissions and waste. Recognising the potential hazards of these activities, radiation protection aims at protecting people and the environment from harmful and avoidable exposure to radiation.
As a federal research centre, SCK•CEN has the statutory assignment to give priority to research related to safety, radioactive waste management, protection of man and environment, management of fissile and other strategic materials and social implications as part of the pursuit of sustainable development and to develop and gather the necessary knowledge and spread this knowledge through formation and communication.
Radiation protection research
Radiation protection research at SCK•CEN deals with research and exposure assessment for routine and accidental releases, both from planned and existing exposure situations.
- We study the way that radioactive materials spread in the environment and the impact of ionising radiation on man and environment.
- We are also involved in emergency planning and preparedness and give support to risk management and decision taking.
- Medical imaging in radiology and nuclear medicine accounts for about half of the average annual effective dose for the Belgian population. We are currently involved in studies and projects on the estimation and optimisation of doses to patients and medical personnel.
- The effects of low dose ionising radiation on the development of organisms is investigated, with a focus on female germ cells, the pre- and early postimplantation stages, and the embryonic developing brain.
These activities are supported by radiation specific analysis and measurement techniques.
SCK•CEN is through this research domain the natural partner of the Belgian authorities. FANC/AFCN (Federal Agency of Nuclear Control), the crisis centre of the federal government, Civil Protection, the Federal Agency of Food Security, NIRAS/ONDRAF and the Superior Health Council are the most important partners.
The research and policy support activities are done in collaboration with Belgian and international universities and research institutes and are imbedded in an international context (European framework programmes, IAEA activities, ICRP, UNSCEAR).Contact person(s)