The 70th Session of UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) just concluded its 70th session, with more than 150 scientists from 30 State Members of the Committee and 11 international organizations, which was held at the Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria from 19-23 June 2023.

The Chair, Jing Chen (Canada) highlighted the significant progress made by the Committee since the 69th session, including the ongoing scientific work on second primary cancer after radiotherapy; public exposure to ionizing radiation; epidemiological studies of radiation and cancer; diseases of the circulatory system from radiation exposure and the launch of the new evaluation on the nervous system effects of ionizing radiation in April 2023. The Committee also discussed its Future Programme of Work (2025-2029), which is envisaged to be approved at its 71st session in 2024.

The Chair also welcomed the Committee’s approval of its revised Governing Principles for the Committee’s work and supporting procedure for Preparation of the Committee’s Scientific Annexes and Reports for Publication.

As part of the Committee’s ongoing work to evaluate public exposure to ionizing radiation the Committee is currently running an online global survey to collect data on this topic. As of today, 104 UN Member States have nominated their national contact persons to assist in the data collection, 53 countries have submitted data to the global survey. The Chair of the Committee highlighted the importance of cooperation and support from all Member States in providing data and noted that more data are needed, especially from Africa, Latin America and Asia, to further enable geographically balanced scientific evaluation on levels and trends of exposure of the public to ionizing radiation.

The UNSCEAR 71st session is scheduled from 20 to 24 May 2024 in Vienna, Austria.

The UNSCEAR secretariat also released today the translations of the United Nations Environment Programme booklet entitled “Radiation: Effects and Sources” in three additional languages – Hindi, Indonesian and Persian. The booklet provides in plain language information on basic science related to radiation, including effects on humans and the environment and on sources of radiation. It is based on the major scientific reports of the Committee and aims to expand public knowledge on levels of exposure to ionizing radiation and its possible effects. Borislava Batandjieva-Metcalf (UNSCEAR Secretary) thanked the three States members of the Committee (India, Indonesia, and Iran) for their support to wider disseminate the Committee’s findings. The booklet is now available in 15 languages on UNSCEAR’s public website and UNEP’s Knowledge Repository.

(UNIS)

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