The international community has lost a leading force in the development of nuclear and radiation safety standards, with the death of Dr. Dan Beninson of Argentina 21 August 2003. Dr. Beninson stood among the principal architects of the IAEA´s international safety standards now being applied worldwide.
Dr. Beninson held a number of top positions in Argentina and internationally, including serving on the IAEA Board of Governors. His was also Chairman of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, the body that provides the basic recommendations for IAEA standards, and Director of the Secretariat of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, which periodically examines and reports on global radiological conditions. Nationally, he attained the highest position in his field, first becoming President of the Argentine regulatory authority and then President of the Argentine Atomic Energy Commission.
Among his professional achievements were the IAEA´s first safety standards, which he co-authored in the 1960s, and his invaluable role in their subsequent development and acceptance, including their incorporation in four international conventions in areas of nuclear and radiation safety. He additionally participated in major IAEA safety assessments, notably related to Chernobyl´s radiological consequences and to the landmark radiological studies of former nuclear test sites in the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls.
Dr. Beninson was a leading advocate and initiator of efforts to strengthen the global safety and security regime, notably with respect to the control of radioactive sources. In the years before his death, he chaired major IAEA international conferences on this topic in Dijon, France, and in Buenos Aires. He additionally was a decisive contributor to the findings of an IAEA international conference in 2002 on the protection of workers occupationally exposed to radiation.