Environmental Issues > Nuclear Energy, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Main Page > All Nuclear Energy, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Documents

Biography of Thomas B. Cochran
Senior Scientist in NRDC's Nuclear Program


Thomas B. Cochran

Dr. Thomas B. Cochran is a consultant to the Natural Resources Defense Council where he began working in 1973. Prior to retiring in 2011, he was a senior scientist and held the Wade Greene Chair for Nuclear Policy at NRDC, and was director of its Nuclear Program until 2007. He has served as a consultant to numerous government and non-government agencies on energy, nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear reactor and nuclear waste matters. He is a member of the Department of Energy's Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee and three of its subcommittees: the NEAC Nuclear Reactor Technology Subcommittee, the NEAC Infrastructure/Facilities Subcommittee and the NEAC International Subcommittee. Previously he served as a member of DOE's Environmental Management Advisory Board, Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Board and Energy Research Advisory Board, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Advisory Committee on the Cleanup of Three Mile Island and the TMI Public Health Advisory Board.

Dr. Cochran initiated NRDC's Nuclear Weapons Databook Project. He also initiated a series of joint nuclear weapons verification projects with the Soviet Academy of Sciences. These include the Nuclear Test Ban Verification Project, which demonstrated the feasibility of utilizing seismic monitoring to verify a low-threshold test ban, and the Black Sea Experiment, which examined the utility of passive radiation detectors for verifying limits on sea-launched cruise missiles.

Dr. Cochran is the author of The Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor: An Environmental and Economic Critique (Washington, DC: Resources for the Future, 1974); and co-editor/author of the Nuclear Weapons Databook, Volume I: U.S. Nuclear Forces and Capabilities (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger Press, 1984); Volume II: U.S. Nuclear Warhead Production (1987); Volume III: U.S. Nuclear Warhead Facility Profiles (1987); Volume IV: Soviet Nuclear Weapons (1989); and Making the Russian Bomb: From Stalin to Yeltsin (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995). In addition, he has published numerous articles and working papers, including those in SIPRI Yearbook chapters, Arms Control Today, and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He has co-authored (with Dr. Robert S. Norris) the article on "Nuclear Weapons" and in the 1990 printing of The New Encyclopedia Britannica (15th edition), revised and updated in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011 Ultimate DVD (Copyright 2010, Encyclopedia Britannica).

One of his most recent publications (with Christopher E. Paine) is "Nuclear Islands: International Leasing of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Sites to Provide Enduring Assurance of Peaceful Use," The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 17, No. 3, November 2010, pp. 441-474.

Dr. Cochran received his Ph.D. in Physics from Vanderbilt University in 1967. He was assistant Professor of Physics at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, from 1967 to 1969, Modeling and Simulation Group Supervisor of the Litton Mellonics Division, Scientific Support Laboratory, Fort Ord, California, from 1969 to 1971, and from 1971 to 1973, he was a Senior Research Associate at Resources for the Future.

Dr. Cochran is the recipient of the American Physical Society's Szilard Award and the Federation of American Scientists' Public Service Award, both in 1987. As a consequence of his work, NRDC received the 1989 Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Cochran is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the AAAS and a member of the American Nuclear Society, the Health Physics Society and Sigma Xi.

last revised 7.6.11

Get Updates and Alerts

See the latest issue >

NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs

Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.

Donate now >

Share | |