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Protection of non human biota methodology, assessment tools and data requirements-doering

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  • 1. Protection of non-human biota: Methodology, assessment tools and data requirements Che Doering Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) Protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation 1
  • 2. http://www.arpansa.gov.au/pubs/technicalreports/tr154.pdf 2
  • 3. Conclusions • The ICRP has established a framework for radiological assessment and protection of non-human species based on a reference animal and plant approach • There is a need for national guidance on protection of non-human species, identified through the NDRP, and realised by the need of the uranium mining industry to integrate world best practice standards for assessing environmental impacts • The ERICA approach provides a practical framework for radiological assessment of non-human species and can potentially be adapted for use in Australian situations • Research is required to collect and assemble data on fauna and flora common to major Australian environments in order to establish a set of Australian reference organisms to facilitate the use of the ERICA framework in an Australian context 3
  • 4. Background • The longstanding practice for assessing the radiological protection of the living environment has been to assume that if humans were protected then other species were also adequately protected • However, it is now generally accepted that there is a need to demonstrate rather than assume that non-human biota living in its natural habitat is protected against ionising radiation risks from radionuclides released to the environment by human actions 4
  • 5. ICRP framework From: ICRP, 2009. Environmental Protection: the Concept and Use of Reference Animals and Plants. ICRP Publication 108. 5
  • 6. Australian U mining context • Uranium mining and milling are actions current and prospective in Australia with potential to release radionuclides to the environment • The EPBC Act recognises mining or milling uranium ore as a ‘nuclear action’ and ‘matter of national environmental significance’ • The EPBC Act requires the proponent to address ‘relevant impacts of the action’ through draft PER or draft EIS • Australian Government policy is that U mining should be based on world best practice standards for assessing environmental impacts • The implication is that environmental assessment under the EPBC Act should consider the radiation risk to non-human species 6
  • 7. Current national guidance National Directory (RPS6): “The principles for regulatory frameworks will require development of specific guidance on protection of non-human species, which will be included when international guidance on the issue becomes clear.” Mining Code (RPS9): “For the purposes of the Code it is assumed that by achieving adequate protection of human health, an acceptable level of protection will be afforded to the environment. However, this assumption may not be valid in all circumstances and specific additional control measures may be required.” 7
  • 8. ERICA • A European-developed conceptual framework and computational platform for assessment and protection of non-human species • ERICA Integrated Approach interconnects the elements of assessment, risk characterisation and management • ERICA Tool practically implements the assessment component of the Integrated Approach • Assessment approach incorporated within ERICA uses reference organisms and is consistent with the ICRP framework 8
  • 9. ERICA Tool • Freely available software programme • Includes a set of default organisms and parameter values • Flexible to allow the user to define their own organism and parameter values • Site-specific and probabilistic assessment capability 9
  • 10. Tiered assessment structure Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Generic screening Detailed screening Site-specific analysis Data needs Generality Resources 10
  • 11. Assessment process Release Dispersion model Transfer model Media concentration Whole-body activity concentrations Dosimetry model (external exposure) Dosimetry model Dose rate (internal exposure) Effects data/ benchmark value Risk Decision-making 11
  • 12. Transfer – concentration ratio (CR) • The ERICA Tool uses organism-to-media CR to estimate whole-body activity concentration in biota from that in media • CR = concentration in biota / concentration in media • The default CRs included in the ERICA Tool are biased towards European situations and may not be appropriate for assessments in an Australian context • A Tier 2 assessment allows the user to input their own CR values, obviating reliance on the defaults... But this assumes that data exists 12
  • 13. Existing Australian CR data • Sparse – Alligator Rivers Region, Maralinga, ANSTO study • Mostly at the tissue-to-media level; the data originally being collected for specific plant and animal tissues consumed by humans • Lack of organism-to-media CR for Australian biota impedes resonant and technically robust assessments of Australian situations using ERICA • To facilitate the implementation of ERICA in the Australian context, research is required to collect and assemble CR data on fauna and flora common to major Australian environments in order to establish a set of Australian reference organisms 13
  • 14. Future ARPANSA activities • Engage with industry, industry groups and government departments to discuss environmental radiological protection • Engage with RHC on the development of specific national guidance to do with protection of non-human species • Continue to promote awareness of radiological protection of non- human species in an Australian context • Investigate options and opportunities for research in order to address data gaps and to establish a set of Australian reference organisms 14
  • 15. Questions? 15