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KNOXVILLE –A man who has received unprecedented access to North Korea’s nuclear weapons plant at Yongbyon will speak at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

Siegfried Hecker, a senior US nuclear weapons scientist and former director of one of the two U.S. nuclear weapons design laboratories, will discuss the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs in a public presentation.

The presentation comes as a UN nuclear agency report reveals the strongest finding yet that Iran is going ahead with a bomb-making program. His talk will be held in the Toyota Auditorium of the Baker Center at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 18. This event is free and open to the public.  Parking is available for a small fee in the University Center garage.

“Iran and North Korea pose very serious challenges in preventing and reversing the spread of nuclear weapons,” said Howard Hall, UT Knoxville Governor’s Chair Professor in Nuclear Security. “The nonproliferation spotlight will be on the Korean peninsula next spring at the next international nuclear security summit, and Dr. Hecker is one of the few Westerners to ever actually enter North Korea’s weapons plants.”

Hecker will speak about his experiences with and observations of the North Korean weapons program and will compare the North Korean weapons development efforts with ongoing concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Hecker is co-director of the Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation. He joined Stanford University after a distinguished career at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he served as director of the laboratory for eleven years. Over the past twenty years, he has fostered cooperation with the Russian nuclear laboratories to secure and safeguard the vast stockpile of ex-Soviet fissile materials.

UT’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan institute devoted to education and scholarship concerning public policy and civic engagement. For more information, visit

The event is sponsored by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the UT Student Chapter of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, and the Global Security Program in the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

Hecker is available to the media upon request.

C O N T A C T :

Howard Hall (865-974-2525,

Nissa Dahlin-Brown (865-974-0931,