International History of Radiation Protection

As a unique technoscientific and diplomatic organization, the IAEA embodies the defining feature of post-WWII nuclear research: political collaboration on an international level became the precondition for any international scientific cooperation. The Agency’s technical cooperation program—known earlier as technical assistance and criticized for furthering political tensions especially during the Cold War—played a major role in implementing radiation protection programs and funding specific research projects in the field worldwide. It promoted the notion of radiation risk, introduced the concept of safety culture, and eventually regulated the nuclear world. But how, when, and why did the IAEA conceive of radiation protection as a global problem that required a coordinated global solution? In this subproject, we focus on the Agency’s programs of technical assistance and explore overlaps between science and diplomacy in decisions pertaining to the participating countries and in the prioritization of research themes.

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