A senior Finnish nuclear official is to become UN’s new chief nuclear inspector. Tero Varjoranta, now head of Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, will succeed Herman Nackaerts as deputy director general for safeguards of the IAEA, Reuters reported today. As an important part of his responsibilities, Varjoranta will monitor Iran’s nuclear program.
Nackaerts, a Belgian national, is due to retire later this year. He travelled to Tehran several times to press the Iranians to open their Parchin military site for IAEA inspection. The agency, in a 2011 report, had said that it suspected the site had housed a nuclear weapon research unit.
Varjoranta's appointment is expected to be announced by the IAEA at a meeting next week of the U.N. agency's 35-nation governing board. Another Finn, Olli Heinonen, held the post before Nackaerts. The March 4-8 board meeting is also expected to approve a second four-year term for IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. (Reuters, 1 March)