Biography

Olli Heinonen is a Senior Associate with the Managing the Atom Project at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. From 2010-2016 he was a Belfer Center Senior Fellow. He serves currently as a Senior Advisor on Science and Non-proliferation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Washington D.C., and was the 2016 S.Rajaratnam Professor for Security Studies at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

His research includes: 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 programs of concern around the world and inspected nuclear facilities in South Africa, Iran, 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 clandestine nuclear proliferation networks.

Heinonen is the author of several articles, chapters of books, books, in 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 Bulleting of the Atomic Scientists, Arms Control Today, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, the Helsingin Sanomat, the New York Times, the Mehr news, the Teheran Times, Die Stern, 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 Henry Jackson Society, the Institute for Science and International Security, the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of the Nanyang Technical University, and the Carnegie Endowment. He has authored chapters in books on the IAEA verification experiences and on synergetic effects that nuclear safety, security, and safeguards have on one another contributing to the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall nuclear order.

He has testified on nuclear non-proliferation issues in the congressional hearings for both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

Olli Heinonen studied radiochemistry and completed his PhD dissertation in nuclear material analysis at the University of Helsinki.

Last Updated: Jan 6, 2017, 12:57pm

Awards