Published

In assessing the food chain impact of radioactive discharges, the FSA has previously presented single estimates of potential dose.

The Agency is now developing a probabilistic approach to risk assessment whereby a range of possible doses will be provided, taking account of all the uncertainties and variabilities associated with the derivation of the doses. The intention is to present this information to the public as it provides a better assessment of the range of potential doses. It would be included in the consultation process associated with nuclear site discharge authorisations and in response to public requests for information on the Agency’s assessments. This project investigated the ways of presenting this information to a non-technical audience.

Uncertainty has increasingly been recognised as a component of risk management and communication. There is a shift in attitudes concerning the extent to which uncertainty should be acknowledged and incorporated as an element of risk communication, particularly in relation to probabilistic modelling. The commissioning of work such as the current project is one such indication. This report has been written for a particular purpose, which is to support the Food Standards Agency in developing material to communicate the results of probabilistic modelling of the dose to people living near nuclear installations from ingested radioactive material. It concentrates on the communication of the uncertainty associated with these dose estimates, and complements a companion report on communicating variability. Both are primarily based on literature reviews.

The report can be downloaded here.