• Hans Vanmarcke is the next chairman of the United Nations UNSCEAR Committee

    Hans Vanmarcke Dr Hans Vanmarcke, former president of BVS-ABR in 1999-2000 and radiation protection expert from the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN), will assume the presidency of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) starting from 2017.

    UNSCEAR was created by the UN General Assembly in 1955 in order to assess levels of exposure to ionizing radiation and the effects on health and the environment. Its reports provide a scientific basis to the United Nations and governments, allowing them to assess the risks of radiation and to take safety measures.

    UNSCEAR is made up of scientific delegations from 27 countries, including Belgium. As a member of the Belgian delegation since 1996, Hans Vanmarcke, head of the SCK•CEN expert groups Radiological Impact and Performance Assessments and Molecular and Cellular Biology, has been appointed president. As a Belgian expert in radioprotection he will succeed the Japanese president, Yonekura, starting from 1 January 2017.

    ‘It is a great privilege and a true honour to be able to chair this United Nations committee and to represent Belgium,’ affirms Hans Vanmarcke. ‘It is crucial to continue our research into the effects of ionising radiation on health, particularly the effect of low doses of radiation, and to provide validated scientific information to the UN General Assembly, the scientific world and the general public’.

    During Vanmarcke’s presidency, UNSCEAR will focus particularly on drawing up several highly anticipated reports: the health effects of exposure to radon in the home, the biological mechanisms of exposure to low doses of radiation, and epidemiological studies on the incidence of radiation-related cancers and ‘secondary’ cancers after radiotherapy.