Sunday, June 13, 2010

Anne Harrington to NNSA

Anne Harrington has been nominated as Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration, the part of the Department of Energy that is responsible for nuclear weapons. This is a really good appointment.

Harrington developed and maintained the programs aimed at keeping nuclear scientists in the former Soviet Union busy during the 1990s so that they wouldn't need to find employment in countries that were looking for nuclear weapons programs. Her programs were effective; very few, if any, of those scientists have turned up in other countries.

I was a beneficiary of one of those programs; I worked with members of the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Alatau, Kazakhstan, on evaluating the radiological hazards at the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site. I didn't get any money out of it, just the opportunity to work with a group of highly-motivated and conscientious people on an important project. At a meeting where Harrington was giving a talk, I was only one of several people offering her our thanks for the programs she had developed.

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