ICRP regrets to announce that our emeritus member, Herbert John Dunster, passed away on Sunday 23 April 2006 at an age of close to 84 years. John, who spent almost all of his professional life in radiological protection, had his baptism of fire in the Windscale accident in October 1957. The resulting release of iodine-131 required the establishment of a widespread milk monitoring programme and of radiological criteria for the protection of the population, and John played an important role in making the decisions required. Having been an Assistant Director at the UK National Radiological Protection Board and then Deputy Director General at the Health and Safety Executive, John returned to NRPB as its Director from 1982 to 1987. There, he again found himself at the centre of decision-making in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident in 1986.
John, who had many international functions, was passionate about ICRP. He first became an ICRP Committee member in 1959 and met and became firm friends with Bo Lindell and the late Dan Beninson. John joined the Main Commission in 1977 and the three of them came to dominate the development of radiological protection philosophy. The result was the 1990 Recommendations in ICRP Publication 60, of which John was the principal author. Those recommendations are still the basis of international and national basic safety standards today. He was elected an Emeritus Member in 1997 and remained a keen contributor to the development of draft documents up to the very end.
John’s dauntingly rapid thinking and talking was tempered by his complete honesty, his unassuming personality, and his generous loyalty and hospitality. He is sorely missed by his many close friends around the world.