Former IAEA Deputy Director General Provides Perspective on Japan's Nuclear Crisis

March 15, 2011
by Doug Gavel

Desperate efforts to prevent a nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan are causing great fear and anxiety among millions of Japanese citizens, many of whom already suffered tremendous personal losses in the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and devastating tsunami that struck the country’s northern coast on March 11. Suddenly, the nation that has depended on nuclear energy for a large portion of its power supply is threatened with the destruction of several plants and the possible deadly effects from radiation leakage. How the nation and the world can and will deal with the impact from this disaster is the subject of much speculation and conversation among nuclear power experts across the world.

Olli Heinonen (in the video above) is a senior fellow at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on nuclear power design and construction. He has inspected nuclear facilities in Japan as well as South Africa, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Libya and elsewhere. In the video, Heinonen provides his perspective on the lessons that can be learned from this disaster and he discusses how it might impact the design and construction of future nuclear power plants.


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