Consulting Senior Scientist (former Director of the Nuclear Program), Natural Resources Defense Council; Ph.D. (United States)
Consulting Senior Scientist (former Director) of NRDC's Nuclear Program
Thomas B. Cochran is the initiator of the NRDC's nuclear weapons data book project and the U.S.-Soviet nuclear weapons verification project, a four-year collaboration between NRDC and the Soviet Academy of Sciences to demonstrate that a nuclear test ban treaty could be verified. Dr. Cochran has been a member of numerous government advisory committees on nuclear energy, nonproliferation and nuclear clean-up issues. He joined the NRDC in 1973. Dr. Cochran is a nuclear physicist and an environmentalist. The primary focus of his work has been matters related to nuclear weapons, fissile material control, and nuclear waste management. Right now Dr. Cochran divides his time between two projects: NRDC's Nuclear War Plans Project and assisting in the development of a mechanism for raising money to secure Russian weapons-usable fissile material against theft and diversion. As part of the Nuclear War Pans Project, Dr. Cochran and Matthew McKinzie are working on developing a computer model for assessing the blast and radiological impact of using nuclear weapons under U.S. and Russian war scenarios. Even today, a decade after the Cold War, a military officer follows each of the two presidents with a case holding a list of war scenarios which are very real and are tied to nuclear weapons on alert in both countries. A computer program attempts to replicate the war plans and simulate realistically the use of nuclear weapons on likely targets under the various scenarios.