Report from the 69th Session of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation
The 69th session of UNSCEAR in progress.
The mandate of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) is to assess and report levels and effects of exposure to ionizing radiation. It is the world authority on radiation science and the estimation of global levels and effects of ionizing radiation that serves as the scientific basis for evaluating radiation risk and for establishing protective measures.
For the first time since before the global pandemic, the annual session of UNSCEAR took place in person in Vienna, Austria. The session was held as a hybrid meeting from May 9 to 13, 2022.
Group photo of attendees at the 69th session of UNSCEAR.
During the session, UNSCEAR acknowledged the work of the bureau for the 66th to 68th sessions led by Gillian Hirth (Australia) and the contribution of the outgoing vice-chair, Jin Kyung Lee (Republic of Korea), and elected the bureau for the 69th and 70th sessions:
- Chair: Jing Chen (Health Canada)
- Vice-chairs: Lidia Vasconcellos de Sá (Brazil), Anssi Auvinen (Finland), and Anna Friedl (Germany)
- Rapporteur: Sarah Baatout (Belgium)
The 69th session was chaired by Dr. Jing Chen, who will also chair the 70th session in 2023. Congratulations, Jing, on this prestigious appointment!
Jing highlighted the significant progress made by the committee since the 68th session, including the publication of Annexes A, B, and C of the UNSCEAR 2020/2021 Report. She also endorsed the new strategy for data collection, analysis, and dissemination to support the committee’s future evaluations on medical, occupational, and public exposures. The strategy aims to
- seek widespread participation in the committee’s surveys;
- improve regional representation in future reports on medical, occupational and public exposures to ionizing radiation; and
- ensure future committee surveys are relevant and useful, and adapt to changing data sources and uses of radiation across the world.
During the 69th session, more than 180 scientists from 31 member states and 13 international organizations also advanced their ongoing work on
- second primary cancer after radiotherapy,
- epidemiological studies of radiation and cancer,
- diseases of the circulatory system from radiation exposure, and
- evaluation of public exposure to ionizing radiation from natural and other sources.
New evaluations and the committee’s future program of work (2025 to 2029) were also a key part of the discussions.
In the margins of the 69th session, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, and UNSCEAR representive Batandjieva-Metcalf, committee secretary, signed the first memorandum of understanding in 65 years, which aims to strengthen ongoing collaboration between the two organizations.
Canadians at the 69th session of UNSCEAR,. Back row, left to right: Lindsay Beaton (Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau, Health Canada, and technical advisor to UNSCEAR), Chris Clement(scientific secretary, ICRP), Julie Burtt (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and technical advisor to UNSCEAR). Front row, left to right: Ruth Wilkins (Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau, Health Canada), Jing Chen (Radiation Protection Bureau, Health Canada), Rachel Lane (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission).
The Canadian delegation had a chance to meet Troy Lulashnyk, the Canadian ambassador to the Republic of Austria and permanent representative to the International Organizations in Vienna. From left to right: Lindsay Beaton, Rachel Lane, Jing Chen, Troy Lulashnyk, Ruth Wilkins, Julie Burtt, and Chris Cole (Permanent Mission of Canada to the International Organizations in Vienna).
The Scientific Committee’s 70th session is scheduled for June 19 to 23, 2023, in Vienna, Austria.
For more information on UNSCEAR visit the website.