Since the preparation of the second edition (1995) of Atoms, Radiation, and Radiation Protection, many important developments have taken place that affect the profession of radiological health protection. The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) has issued new documents in a number of areas that are addressed in this third edition. These include updated and greatly expanded anatomical and physiological data that replace “reference man” and revised models of the human respiratory tract, alimentary tract, and skeleton. At this writing, the Main Commission has just adopted the Recommendations 2007, thus laying the foundation and framework for continuing work from an expanded contemporary agenda into future practice. Dose constraints, dose limits, and optimization are given roles as core concepts.Medical exposures, exclusion levels, and radiation protection of nonhuman species are encompassed. The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) in the United States has introduced new limiting criteria and provided extensive data for the design of structural shielding for medical X-ray imaging facilities. Kerma replaces the traditional exposure as the shielding design parameter. The Council also completed its shielding report for megavoltage X- and gamma-ray radiotherapy installations. In other areas, the National Research Council’s Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation published the BEIR VI and BEIR VII Reports, respectively dealing with indoor radon and with health risks from low levels of radiation. The very successful completion of the DS02 dosimetry system and the continuing Life Span Study of the Japanese atomic-bomb survivors represent additional major accomplishments discussed here.
Rapid advances since the last edition of this text have been made in instrumentation for the detection, monitoring, and measurement of ionizing radiation. These have been driven by improvements in computers, computer interfacing, and, in no small part, by heightened concern for nuclear safeguards and home security. Chapter 10 on Methods of Radiation Detection required extensive revision and the addition of considerable new material.