Research and analysis

Ionising radiation exposure of the UK population: 2010 review

This report (PHE-CRCE-026) is one of a series of reviews giving estimates of the ionising radiation exposure of the UK population.

Documents

PHE-CRCE-026: ionising radiation exposure of the UK population: 2010 review

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Periodic reviews published by Public Health England (PHE) and predecessor organisations since 1974 have estimated the exposure of the UK population from naturally occurring and anthropogenic sources of ionising radiation. In this review, the eighth in this series, the per caput dose to the UK population in 2010 from all significant sources of ionising radiation was estimated to be about 2.7 mSv. This dose is the same as the per caput dose reported in the previous review for exposures occurring in 2003.

The per caput dose to the UK population from exposure to ubiquitous radiation in the environment in 2010 was about 2.3 mSv, or about 84% of the dose from all sources of radiation. This was dominated by exposure to natural sources of radiation, particularly radon gas. Anthropogenic radiation in the environment, from the historic testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere and from the routine discharge of radioactivity by industry, contributed less than 0.2% to the per caput dose to the UK population.

The per caput dose to the UK population not due to exposure to ubiquitous radiation in the environment was about 0.4 mSv, or about 16% of the dose from all sources of radiation. This was almost entirely the result of patient exposure during diagnostic medical examinations. Occupational exposure continued to contribute significantly less than 1% to the per caput dose to the UK population.

Published 13 April 2016