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Looking to the Future

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EPA is working on early identification of issues that could impact on radiation protection. By identifying issues early, EPA can better respond to and take advantage of new trends, circumstances and technologies. EPA works in partnership with the Institute for Alternative Futures and the Woodrow Wilson Center on projects that look to the future.

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Future of Radiation Protection: 2025

The Institute for Alternative Futures, with the support of EPA, studied the most important radiation protection-related challenges and opportunities that may emerge between now and 2025. The project focused primarily on the needs of state, local, Tribal, and public sector organizations in meeting the challenges ahead.

The project involved discussions with thought leaders and innovators from all levels of government, public, and private sectors. During interviews and focus groups, the participants identified emerging issues and developed four alternative future scenarios for the use and management of radioactive materials. Scenario development spurred further discussions about aspirations, principles for guiding action, and innovative approaches and solutions.

Outcomes from the discussions include:

The report: The Future of Radiation Protection: 2025 describes the project’s methodology and summarizes the findings from discussions with more than 300 participants. Participants represented the U.S. radiation protection community and organizations with expertise in the broader arena of environmental protection and public health. The report also highlights emerging technologies and new approaches for tackling the complex radiation protection challenges ahead.

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Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars

The Wilson Center is a nonpartisan institute for advanced study and a neutral forum for open, serious, and informed discussions. Their goal is to facilitate better long-term thinking and planning on issues potentially affecting the environment within 5 to 20 years.

The Wilson Center, with the financial support of EPA, is exploring key issues identified in the Future of Radiation Protection: 2025. This project is part of a larger EPA effort lead by the Office of Research and Development on Emerging Issues and Environmental Protection. The Wilson Center is currently exploring the applications of the principles for guiding action to emerging issues:

Application of Whole System Thinking to Products and Processes That Use Radioactive Materials

To explore the potential benefits of a whole system approach, this project will identify what happens to quantities of a frequently used radionuclide during its lifecycle from production to disposal. Exploring the flow of radioactive materials through our economy will enable us to better manage their use.

Implications of Advances in Genomics for Radiation Protection

To better understand the relationship between genomics and environmental protection, this project will explore areas of particular importance for radiation protection:

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