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ARCH-Agenda for research on Chernobyl health: to develop of a strategic plan for research on the health consequences of Radiation from the Chernobyl Accident

IARC, France
Funded by
European Comission
The Chernobyl accident led to the most serious exposure of a normal human population to ionizing radiation, apart from the atomic bombs in Japan. Unlike the bombing, the health impact of Chernobyl has not been extensively studied. In some areas (eg.: thyroid cancer), research has been intensive and informative and, in others, however, little work has been conducted.

The validity of extrapolating radiation risk estimates based mainly on studies of the atomic bomb exposures to low dose chronic exposures received due to the accident is controversiall but of great public health importance. Questions relate to the choice of models for transport of risk between populations projection of risks over time extrapolation of risks from external high dose rate exposure to low dose and low dose-rate exposues from a mixture of internal and external radiation. Questions also concern non-cancer risks are the importance of non-targeted effects following low levels of radiation.

Chernobyl has an iconic status in public opinion, and the accident provides a unique opportunity to answer these questions, to provide the authoritative studies needed to inform the nuclear debate, and to test new hypotheses about radiation effects and biology / genetics in general. Given the vast range of potential studies, this project aims to develop a strategic research agenda on the health consequences of exposure to radiation from the Chernobyl accident.

The modus operandi is the assembly of a multidisciplinary group of experts, from within and outside the most affected states, who have considerable experience in the follow-up of the health consequences of the accident. The group is identifying and prioritizing (short and long term) the potential studies, assessing their feasibility, cost-effectiveness and likelihood of success, and preparing a reasoned and comprehensive strategic agenda for future research. The strategic research agenda will be provided in the fall of 2010 detailed proposals for priority research areas in the short term are already prepared and available (


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