Tom LaTourrette

Photo of Tom LaTourrette
Senior Physical Scientist
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in geology, California Institute of Technology; B.A. in geology, University of California, Berkeley

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Tom LaTourrette is a senior physical scientist at the RAND Corporation, specializing in energy, public safety, and homeland security policy. His energy and natural resource research has examined management options for spent nuclear fuel, supplying biomass fuel for energy, prospects for developing oil shale resources, assessing natural gas resources on federal lands, and mining technology. His public safety and homeland security research addresses emergency responder safety and health, disaster response, the federal role in catastrophe insurance, terrorism risk modeling, and aviation and border security. LaTourrette has testified before the Secretary of Energy's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, was a member of the Government Accountability Office's Yucca Mountain Alternative Uses expert panel, FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program Reform academic expert panel, and the California Little Hoover Commission's advisory panel for Safeguarding the State: Preparing for Catastrophic Events. LaTourrette holds a Ph.D. in geology from the California Institute of Technology.

Recent Projects

  • Options for managing nuclear waste
  • Assessing biomass resource availability
  • Earthquake insurance and disaster assistance
  • Occupational safety and health for public safety employees
  • Terrorism risk assessment

Selected Publications

Tom LaTourrette et al., Supplying Biomass to Power Plants: A Model of the Costs of Utilizing Agricultural Biomass in Cofired Power Plants, RAND Corporation (TR-876-NETL), 2011

Tom LaTourrette et al., Earthquake Insurance and Disaster Assistance: The Effect of Catastrophe Obligation Guarantees on Federal Disaster Assistance Expenditures in California, RAND Corporation (TR-896-CEA), 2010

Tom LaTourrette et al., Managing Spent Nuclear Fuel: Strategy Alternatives and Policy Implications, RAND Corporation (MG-970-RC), 2010

Tom LaTourrette et al., Occupational Safety and Health for Public Safety Employees: Assessing the Evidence and the Implications for Public Policy, RAND Corporation (MG-792-CHSWC/NIOSH), 2008

Henry Willis and Tom LaTourrette, "Using probabilistic terrorism risk modeling for regulatory benefit-cost analysis: Application to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative in the Land Environment," Risk Analysis, 28:325-329, 2008

Tom LaTourrette et al., Reducing Terrorism Risk at Shopping Centers: An Analysis of Potential Security Options, RAND Corporation (TR-401), 2007

James Bartis et al., Oil Shale Development in the United States: Prospects and Policy Issues, RAND Corporation (MG-414-NETL), 2005

Tom LaTourrette et al., Protecting Emergency Responders, Volume 2: Community Views of Safety and Health Risks and Personal Protection Needs, RAND Corporation (MR-1646-NIOSH), 2003

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: ABC News (Chicago); Associated Press; CNN Radio; CQ Homeland Security Digest; KCBS Radio; Los Angeles Daily News; South China Morning Post; Tampa Tribune; United Press International

Commentary: Orange County Register; United Press International; U.S. News & World Report


  • Worker wearing a hazmat suit

    Breaking Down Nuclear Waste as a Two-Part Issue

    The U.S. Department of Energy is now planning separate repositories for commercial waste and the waste from the military's nuclear weapons production instead of disposing of both in the same repository as originally intended. Decoupling different parts of the nuclear waste problem is a small but positive step forward.

    May 5, 2015 Las Vegas Sun

  • The Tribute in Light is illuminated on the skyline of New York's Lower Manhattan as people look across the Hudson River in Jersey City, September 11, 2013

    3 Terrorism Risk Insurance Act Facts for Congress to Consider

    With the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act set to expire this year, Congress is currently revisiting a crucial question: What is the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets? As the debate unfolds on Capitol Hill, policymakers should consider three key research findings.

    Jun 12, 2014 U.S. News & World Report

  • San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

    San Onofre Risk Factors

    The ongoing effort to open a spent fuel repository in the U.S. demonstrates the magnitude of the technical and political challenges of such an undertaking, writes Tom LaTourrette.

    Jun 20, 2013 The Orange County Register

  • Prepare for Disaster

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Prepare for Disaster in the United Press International.

    Sep 27, 2005 United Press International