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Breakthroughs Magazine

Mission Critical

International nonproliferation experts on-board at PNNL

International nonproliferation experts Thomas E. Shea and Carol Kessler have joined Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to lead the Lab's nuclear nonproliferation team. Their international expertise and reputations will further bolster PNNL's growth in global nonproliferation policy and science and technology activities. As directors of the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Programs and the Center for Global Security, respectively, Shea and Kessler lead programs for the National Nuclear Security Administration, one of PNNL's largest clients.

portrait of Thomas Shea

Thomas E. Shea

Shea's experience in international safeguards and nonproliferation includes 24 years at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria. At PNNL, Shea will lead a team in applying traditional and nontraditional means to the Lab's strong science and technology base for resolving international nonproliferation problems.

At IAEA, Shea helped to establish the basic IAEA safeguards concepts and developed the methods and techniques for implementing IAEA safeguards at plutonium reprocessing plants and uranium enrichment facilities. He was responsible for safeguards implementation in several nations, including Japan, India and Indonesia.

He led development of new IAEA verification systems for nuclear materials released from defense programs in the Russian Federation and the U.S., as well as investigations on a future Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty and verification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

portrait of Carol Kessler

Carol Kessler

Carol Kessler, an international expert in nuclear energy and nonproliferation, directs PNNL's Pacific Northwest Center for Global Security in Seattle.

The Center's mission is to provide a forum for the study of the full range of security issues, including not only traditional issues of nonproliferation, but also the impact of environmental, economic, energy and health conditions on global security.

Kessler emphasizes that the center must look beyond the traditional nonproliferation and verification mechanisms used to deal with proliferation to ascertain the root cause of why a country begins to buy, sell or develop weapons of mass destruction.

"We'll be taking a more holistic approach by addressing economic and environmental conditions, and the political, technical or nuclear structures that often are the precursors to proliferation."

Kessler most recently served as the deputy director general of the Nuclear Energy Agency at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international group focused on developing the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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