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#753 - August 3, 2012

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Full issue

Remembering Toni Wenisch
We are very sad we have to inform our international friends and contacts that Toni Wenisch passed away after a short severe illness on July 21, much too early at the age of only 61 years.

Toni Wenisch was born in 1950 in the UK, but spent all her life in Vienna. She started to study mathematics at the University of Vienna but switched to the College for Electronic Engineering; she worked 1975-1983 as a measurement technician in the semiconductor laboratory. In 1979 Toni´s daughter Johanna was born.

In 1986 Toni joined the Austrian Institute of Ecology. Shortly after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl Toni on her own initiative founded the gamma spectroscopy laboratory, to give citizens access to affordable radiation tests; hundreds of food and soil samples were examined. In addition a hot-line free of charge was established to inform people about radiation and its health effects.

She published studies in cooperation with many other experts on most issues, from nuclear waste in Austria, safety at Temelin, Bohunice, Toni contributed to many expert statements in trans-boundary EIA process for nuclear programs. In addition to working as the nuclear expert at the institute she also became the head of the Institute of Ecology in 1996. In her consequent and modest way she steered the team into a sustainable future. The last years she started to phase herself out of managing the institute and looking forward her “retirement”, which would give her more time to work scientifically on her topic; in 2010 she started to work as an independent expert on nuclear safety, energy and environment. She continued to prepare studies on nuclear safety, among the most recent were assessments of NPP Borssele, construction of a new NPP in Belarus, of the Ukrainian safety program and the stress tests. She was one of the few women who worked in the field of risk and technology assessment.

We will miss Toni, many of us in our daily work and life. That way she stays alive in our memories and we carry on with the work she started.