World Bulletin/News Week
A senior Finnish nuclear official is to become the new chief United Nations nuclear inspector in charge of monitoring Iran's atomic activities and other sensitive issues, diplomats said on Friday.
Tero Varjoranta, now head of Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), is to succeed Herman Nackaerts as deputy director general for safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), they said.
One Western envoy said he was an "excellent" choice.
Varjoranta in 2010-11 worked at the Vienna-based IAEA as director of a unit dealing with nuclear fuel and waste technology after a three-decade career at STUK.
Nackaerts, a Belgian national, is due to retire later this year after three years in charge of the IAEA's department handling nuclear proliferation inspections globally, including high-profile cases such as Iran and Syria.
Varjoranta's appointment is expected to be announced by the IAEA at a meeting next week of the U.N. agency's 35-nation governing board, the diplomats said. Another Finn, Olli Heinonen, held the post before Nackaerts.
It was not immediately clear when Varjoranta would start his new job. One diplomat said he believed it would be after the summer.
The March 4-8 board meeting is also expected to approve a second four-year term for IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, who has no rivals for the post, unlike for his close election victory in 2009.