[ RadSafe ] Guidance on ALARA

Jerry Cohen jjc105 at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 25 13:34:34 CDT 2009

Where did you get the idea that application of ALARA should make sense?

From: Kai Kaletsch <eic at shaw.ca>
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 5:34:55 AM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Guidance on ALARA


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 identical.

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 analysis?

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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