Press Releases

    UNIS/INF/148
    2 June 2006

    UN Atomic Radiation Committee Concludes Session

    VIENNA, 2 June (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) at its 54th session, approved documents for publication, reviewing the latest scientific information on epidemiological studies of radiation exposures, the effects of radiation exposure on the immune system, on cellular effects and on the risks of exposure to radon.

    During its session which concluded in Vienna, Austria, today, the Mayor of Vienna hosted a reception to celebrate UNSCEAR's 50-year history of providing scientific advice on the levels and effects of exposure to radiation sources. Hans Blix, the guest speaker, highlighted the importance of UNSCEAR's scientific work over the past 50 years, recognized its achievements and reputation for scientific independence and credibility, and reflected that, with important developments in radiation science and major environmental challenges, there was a need to strengthen its support.

    The Committee noted that the recent findings of the Chernobyl Forum confirmed its own essential scientific conclusions reached in the year 2000 on the health consequences of radiation exposure due to the Chernobyl accident. "But at the recent 20th anniversary of the accident, there was much uninformed reporting of numbers of projected deaths due to radiation from the accident. This created confusion among the public," said Peter Burns, Chairman of UNSCEAR. The Committee intends to clarify the assessment of potential harm due to chronic low-level exposures among large populations. It will also continue its work to provide the scientific basis for a better understanding of the radiation related health and environmental effects of the accident.

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    The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) was established by the General Assembly in 1955. It is the world authority concerning levels and effects of ionizing radiation. Governments and organizations throughout the world rely on the Committee's assessments as the scientific basis for evaluating radiation risks and establishing protection measures. The UNSCEAR secretariat is based in Vienna, although it is linked functionally to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi. UNSCEAR is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

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    For information contact:

    Malcolm Crick
    Secretary of UNSCEAR
    Telephone: + 43 1 260 60 4330
    E-mail: malcolm.crick@unvienna.org