Arms Control Association: Getting to Know Carolyn Mac Kenzie

Interviewed by Daniel Horner

Carolyn Mac Kenzie has spent much of her professional life in pursuit of radioactive sources that are no longer under the control of authorities. These sources, which are used in medicine, research, and industry, can be dangerous if they fall into the hands of people who do not realize what they are or if people do know what they are and want to use them to make a radiological dispersal device, or “dirty bomb.” Mac Kenzie’s experience in tracking “orphan” sources has included stints at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the U.S
. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration

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She spoke to Arms Control Today on April 6 from her office at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is the radiation safety officer. The interview, which was conducted by Daniel Horner, has been edited for length and clarity


Carolyn Mac Kenzie is helping Atomic Reporters develop guidelines for journalists in the event of a radiological emergency. Read the full interview with her on the Arms Control Association’s website.

This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Arms Control Today, and has been reprinted with the permission of the Arms Control Association.” Textbook, magazine, and classroom reprint arrangements are explained at

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