The impressive safety record of the nuclear industry (including but not limited to medical uses of radiation and nuclear power) is prima facie evidence that the current system of radiation protection works. Regulatory limits, particularly for the public, are set well below observable risk levels. Radiation doses encountered in occupational settings under normal operating conditions are also tiny fractions of levels known to produce acute injury. Risks of radiogenic cancer are so low that they are very difficult to measure, if they can be measured at all. Despite the stellar worker and public safety record, the radiation protection framework is complex and confusing, promotes public fear of low doses of radiation, and is increasingly expensive. A risk-based system of protection is difficult to defend because of large uncertainties in risk. Communicating risk information is challenging because the public has difficulty understanding small risks.