The major work of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) is accomplished through its scientific committees. These are constituted by the Board of Directors.
The body of scientific committees is largely grouped in the following scientific and advisory program areas:
- PAC 1: Basic Criteria, Epidemiology, Radiobiology, and Risk
- PAC 2: Operational Radiation Safety
- PAC 3: Nuclear and Radiological Security and Safety
- PAC 4: Radiation Protection in Medicine
- PAC 5: Environmental Radiation and Radioactive Waste Issues
- PAC 6: Radiation Measurements and Dosimetry
- PAC 7: Radiation Education, Risk Communication, Outreach, and Policy
Responsible for each area is a committee chaired by a Scientific Vice President. These scientific program area committees are charged with evaluating the need for new NCRP work in the area and formulating their recommendations on the scope of the proposed new work and individuals who might be considered to chair any new report-writing committee that is constituted. These recommendations are submitted to the Board of Directors for action.
When the Board concludes that a new report-writing committee should be commissioned, the work begins with the selection of a committee chair, approval of committee membership based on consultation with the chair, and concurrence with the proposed scope of work prepared by the scientific program area committee and/or the chair.
Committee size varies considerably depending upon the subject area and the complexity of the undertaking. The usual size of scientific committees is 6 to 10 members.
A technical member of the NCRP Secretariat staff is assigned to work with and for each scientific committee. Committees also have access to consultants and advisors should these be needed in developing their work.
Following establishment of a scientific report-writing committee, it proceeds with its work which has as its endpoint the publication of a scientific report. This process often requires considerable effort with the time needed to complete a draft report varying appreciably from committee to committee.
The review process for draft reports is elaborate and comprehensive. It includes, first, review by a selected group of “critical reviewers.” Second, following modification on the basis of the comments of the critical reviewers, the report is submitted to the full Council membership and the organizations participating in the review process. Further modification on the basis of the comments received follows, with the goal of reaching an essentially unanimous acceptance of the material included in the report.
Scientific report-writing committees usually move into inactive status when they have completed their assigned tasks. This occasion is subsequent to publication of the pertinent scientific report. This retains, for a limited time, a source of advice and interpretation of published materials. Subsequently, a committee is usually disbanded.
Appointments to the membership of a scientific program area committee are governed by the following policy.
Scientific program area committee appointments, including those of chairmen, shall be considered to have been made at the time of the Board of Director’s meeting following the annual meeting which is closest to the time of actual appointment. Initial appointments to these standing scientific committees shall be for periods of two, four or six years, with the terms of approximately one-third of the membership expiring every two years. The chairman of the committee shall propose individuals for appointment and identify those proposed for initial two-year appointments, those proposed for initial four-year appointments and those proposed for initial six-year appointments. Subsequent appointments shall be for a period of six years. Retiring members may be proposed for reappointment. Proposed appointments (with biographical information) shall be submitted to the Executive Director prior to the Board of Directors’ meeting at which action on the proposed appointments is to be taken.