[ RadSafe ] Guidance on ALARA

Kai Kaletsch eic at shaw.ca
Wed Mar 25 07:34:55 CDT 2009


Is there any guidance on how to apply ALARA, that takes into account the 
benefits to the worker from having a job?

For example, suppose I want to build a uranium mine in an area with high 
unemployment and I have the choice of 2 mining methods. One his highly 
mechanized and requires importing expensive equipment from outside of the 
host country. The other requires 200 more workers, each expected to receive 
5 mSv per year. Further, suppose that the total cost of the 2 methods is 

A quantitative ALARA analysis requires that I spend X dollars to avoid 1 Sv 
of collective dose and, therefore, I should choose the mechanized option and 
eliminate 200 jobs.

To me, this does not make any sense. If 5 mSv per year has been found to 
present a risk that is no greater than other jobs, and having a job is 
considered a good thing, then why should I eliminate any jobs in the name of 
ALARA? Who benefits from this????

It seems to me that, to maximize benefits to workers and society, we should 
maximize employment first (as long as no one exceeds dose limits), and only 
after this has been done apply ALARA.

So, my question is: Is there a statement to that effect issued by any 
recognized agency, or is there any other guidance document that recognizes 
the benefits of employment in a quantitative way when performing an ALARA 

I'm aware of the 'social and economic factors taken into account' phrase. 
The problem with that is that almost everyone interprets it differently and 
it certainly provides no quantitative guidance.

Thanks in advance,

Kai Kaletsch
Environmental Instruments Canada Inc.

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