Thursday, January 10, 2013

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Klein appointed to oversee reforms for nuclear facilities in Japan

In March 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami on the northeast coast of Japan triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis in a quarter century at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In October 2012, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) appointed Dale Klein, Ph.D., P.E., associate vice chancellor for research in academic affairs at The University of Texas System, to lead a five-member independent advisory committee to oversee reform plans. Klein is the only American on the panel and has been appearing in international news since his appointment.

a recent meeting in Austin, TEPCO representatives met with Klein to discuss their findings and actions to date after publicly acknowledging that safety improvements may have prevented the crisis. Klein shared information from U.S. nuclear facilities that will assist TEPCO in creating a safety culture within their organization.

“I think it is a very positive step that TEPCO has taken to create the reform committee, because they understand that they need to reform the way they conduct themselves. They need to admit that they have problems and then identify issues to correct those so that an accident like Fukushima Daiichi will never occur again,” said Klein.

During his esteemed career as a nuclear engineer, Klein has served as assistant to the U.S. secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, overseeing a budget of $6 billion, and has held positions including chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; vice chancellor for special engineering programs at the UT System; professor of mechanical engineering (nuclear program) at The University of Texas at Austin; and associate director of The Energy Institute at UT Austin.

He has received numerous honors and awards including the Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award (2011), Engineer of the Year for the State of Texas, and the University of Missouri Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Nuclear Society.

Learn more about Dr. Klein at www. http://utsystem.edu/offices/academic-affairs/associate-vice-chancellors

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