With continuing concerns over nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, the U.S. and international partners remain uncertain how to address threats – perceived and real – from these unpredictable nations. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) serves a critical role in this space, providing intelligence on these programs and expert assessments of technical capabilities.
On September 9th, PSA held a special off-the-record CPP dinner with Dr. Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director General of the IAEA and current Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, to discuss these country’s nuclear programs, IAEA oversight, current technical assessments, and options for the international community. As the former head of the IAEA Department of Safeguards, Heinonen led teams of international investigators to examine nuclear programs of concern around the world and inspected nuclear facilities in South Africa, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Libya and elsewhere, seeking to ensure that nuclear materials were not diverted for military purposes. He led the Agency’s efforts to identify and dismantle nuclear proliferation networks, including the one led by Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan, and he oversaw its efforts to monitor and contain Iran’s nuclear program.
To learn more about PSA’s Congressional Partnership Program, visit www.psaonline.org/cpp.
Dr. Olli Heinonen
Olli Heinonen is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. His research and teachings include: nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, verification of treaty compliance, enhancement of the verification work of international organizations, and transfer and control of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Before joining the Belfer Center in September 2010, Olli Heinonen served 27 years at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. Heinonen was the Deputy Director General of the IAEA, and head of its Department of Safeguards. Prior to that, he was Director at the Agency’s various Operational Divisions, and, as inspector, including at the IAEA’s overseas office in Tokyo, Japan.
Heinonen led teams of international investigators to examine nuclear programmes of concern around the world and inspected nuclear facilities in South Africa, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Libya and elsewhere, seeking to ensure that nuclear materials were not diverted for military purposes. He also spearheaded efforts to implement an analytical culture to guide and complement traditional verification activities. He led the Agency’s efforts to identify and dismantle nuclear proliferation networks, including the one led by Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan, and he oversaw its efforts to monitor and contain Iran’s nuclear programme.
Prior to joining IAEA, he was a Senior Research Officer at the Technical Research Centre of Finland Reactor Laboratory in charge of research and development related to nuclear waste solidification and disposal. He is co-author of several patents on radioactive waste solidification.
Heinonen is the author of several articles, chapters of books, books, and publications ranging from the IAEA and nuclear non-proliferation issues, to regional nuclear developments. His writings and interviews have been published in various newspapers and magazines including: Foreign Policy, The Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Arms Control Today, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, the Helsingin Sanomat, the New York Times, the Mehr news, Die Stern, the Haaretz, the New Statesman, the Washington Post, the BBC, and the Time. His policy briefings have been published by the Belfer Center, the Atlantic Council, the Nautilus Institute, the Institute for Science and International Security, the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the Carnegie Endowment.
Olli Heinonen studied radiochemistry and completed his PhD dissertation in nuclear material analysis at the University of Helsinki.