Tom LaTourrette

Tom LaTourrette
Senior Physical Scientist


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 RAND with over 20 years of experience in infrastructure, energy, and public safety policy. His research covers seabed mining and critical minerals supply chains; risks and mitigation to infrastructure related to hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, sea level rise, and terrorism; renewable, nuclear, and fossil energy resources and technologies; safety evaluation, technology, and regulation; and terrorism risk modeling and technology deployment. He has testified before the Secretary of Energy's Blue-Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future and has been on advisory panels for the Government Accountability Office, FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program, and the California Little Hoover Commission. He holds a Ph.D. in geology from the California Institute of Technology.

Selected Publications

LaTourrette, Tom, Todd C. Helmus, and Irina A. Chindea, China's Role in the Global Development of Critical Resources: Case Studies in Coal Power, Electricity Transmission, and Seabed Mining, RAND Corporation (RR-A2096-1), 2022

LaTourrette, Tom, Defining Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices for Process Safety Management, RAND Corporation (RR-A1866-1), 2022

Miller, Benjamin M., Tom LaTourrette, Drake Warren, and David Metz, The National Institute of Standards and Technology's Impact on Fire Safety Standards, RAND Corporation (RR-A1100-1), 2022

LaTourrette, Tom, Benjamin M. Miller, Teddy Ulin, Kristin Van Abel, Krista Langeland, and Nupur Nanda, Public Buildings in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria: Prestorm Challenges, Hurricane Damage, and Suggested Courses of Action for Recovery, RAND Corporation (RR-2606-DHS), 2020

Preston, Benjamin Lee, Tom LaTourrette, James R. Broyles, R. J. Briggs, David Catt, Christopher Nelson, Jeanne S. Ringel, and Daniel A. Waxman, Updating the Costs of Compliance for California's Hospital Seismic Safety Standards, RAND Corporation (RR-3059-CHA), 2019

LaTourrette T, Lauland A, Fischbach J, Berg N, Stelzner C, Assessing Vulnerability and Improving Resilience of Critical Emergency Management Infrastructure in California in a Changing Climate, California Natural Resources Agency, 2018

Dixon, Lloyd, Tom LaTourrette, David A. Galvan, Charles A. Goldman, Nidhi Kalra, Christopher Nelson, Flavia Tsang, Paul S. Steinberg, James Lyons, Jerry Bowers, and Bob Katin, Process and Outcome Evaluation of the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, California Energy Commission (RR-1948-CEC), 2017

Tom LaTourrette, "Risk factors for injury in law enforcement officer vehicle crashes," Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 38(3), 2015

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; Voice of America

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


  • Trade Regulation

    Do Car Companies Know Where Their Critical Minerals Come From?

    The initial slate of electric vehicles qualifying for a new federal tax credit was announced in April. Key to eligibility is the source of critical minerals used in their batteries. While the list of acceptable nations of origin is still being worked out, there's an important practical question the IRS should ask: Do carmakers really know where their critical minerals come from?

    Apr 28, 2023


  • Energy Resources

    Is Seabed Mining an Opportunity to Break China's Stranglehold on Critical Minerals Supply Chains?

    China dominates global supply chains for nearly all critical mineral resources, including the rare earths that power decarbonization technologies. Seabed mining may be a way to diversify critical minerals supply chains and break China's stranglehold on supplies of some of the world's most important natural resources.

    Nov 21, 2022


  • Hurricanes

    Q&A with the Experts: Puerto Rico

    When Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico on September 18, electricity went out across the island. It was a reminder that recovery from 2017's Hurricane Maria is far from complete. RAND researchers discuss the difficulties Puerto Rico is still facing.

    Oct 10, 2022

  • Nuclear Energy

    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

  • 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

  • Nuclear Sciences

    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