On 21 March 1957, the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation established the Working Party on Public Health and Safety. From this early date onwards, radiological protection formed a central part of the work of what was to become the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency.
Now, 50 years later, the Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) has commissioned this historical review of half a century of work and accomplishments. Over this period, the key topics in radiological protection have been identified, debated and addressed by the CRPPH. This report brings this history to life, presenting the major questions in the context of their time, and of the personalities who worked to address them. The developments and views of the past condition how we are able to assess and manage radiological risks today, as well as how we may adjust to challenges that will or could emerge in the coming years. This heritage is thus an important element for the CRPPH to consider as it looks forward to its next 50 years of accomplishments.