In Memoriam Ian Hore-Lacy

It is with tremendous sadness that World Nuclear Association received the news that our dear friend Ian Hore-Lacy, one of our longest-serving colleagues, passed away on 2nd December 2021 in a tragic accident during a camping trip. He was 81.


After university, Ian worked as a Senior Biology Master at the Geelong College, before moving to CRA Limited (later Rio Tinto) in 1974 as an environmental scientist. His skills as a communicator and educator then led him to become General Manager of the Uranium Information Centre in Melbourne in 1995. 

Ian joined World Nuclear Association in 2001 as Director for Public Communications,  and later Senior Research Analyst.

Ian single-handedly created the Information Library, the world’s most authoritative online resource on all things nuclear, a library that over the years has been extensively used and referenced by industry, academics, students, journalists, and policymakers alike. Its more than 180 papers, which Ian tirelessly updated and developed, constitute one of his many legacies, and it will also be a lasting homage to his dedication to nuclear education.

In 2006, Ian received the WNA Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Peaceful Worldwide Use of Nuclear Technology for his services as an educator on nuclear energy. He leaves behind an incredible legacy that will continue to benefit the nuclear community and scholars everywhere for many, many years to come.

Ian was also a prolific author, having published six books on nuclear energy, sustainability and Christianity, three topics very close to his heart. Between 1978 and 2018, he published 11 editions of a comprehensive and accessible book about nuclear power later issued as “Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century”. It has become the key reference for the World Nuclear University’s Summer Institute, in many ways combining Ian’s passion for nuclear energy and helping young people excel in life.

In 2017, Ian decided to reduce his time with the Association to focus on other key priorities such as his family, his church, mentoring young people, and driving 4x4s in the Australian outback. He became Senior Advisor to then-Director General, Agneta Rising, and in 2020, to her successor, Sama Bilbao y León. He continued to publish the Weekly Digest, in which he provided perspective to key news items. Ian was a guest in the Titans of Nuclear podcast just over a month or so ago.

Ian will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues at the Association and throughout the global nuclear community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ian's wife Libby, and their children Anna, Will, Fiona, Dave, and their families.

If you would like to us to share any thoughts or memories you have of Ian please send your comments to and we will add them below.


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Ian was a friend. He was one of my most diligent and committed supporters as I (naively and without guile) went on a journey of taking a position regarding nuclear technologies. Ian made me better at what I do without ever making me feel inferior or not-valued. He brought wisdom.

His book "Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century" is an almost perfect generalist handbook for understanding nuclear energy, technology and industry. I reach for it often, and luckily for me it has his inscription. The number of times I have confidently relied on his information pages is far too many to count.

Ian was kind, Ian was generous. A genuine theologian and theist who also embraced science and technology in full, I so respected his intellect and his ethics.

I cannot quite believe I will not hear his booming voice and get that firm handshake at the next nuclear event. I think I had even got him used to getting a big hug from me. I will miss Ian greatly, and I hope he has gone to God as his faith deserves.

My thoughts are with his close friends and family right now.

Ben Heard


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We at Kazatomprom are deeply saddened to hear of Ian Hore-Lacy’s passing; it is, without question, a heartbreaking time for his family, friends, and colleagues.

As is undoubtedly the case for all those who knew and worked with Mr. Hore-Lacy over his extensive career in the nuclear industry, his hard-earned credibility, exceptional experience, and outstanding personality will be dearly missed. From a professional perspective, Mr. Hore-Lacy will be forever remembered for his contributions to the development of the nuclear industry across the world.

On behalf of Kazatomprom, I wanted to express our sympathy and let you know that Mr. Hore-Lacy, and all those who loved him, are in our thoughts. Please accept our deepest condolences during this difficult time.

Askar Batyrbayev


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Really sad news. Ian did a great job reporting extensively and honestly about all developments in nuclear power. The textbook he wrote and revised is excellent material for a wide audience and his WNA reviews of all relevant topics of extreme value to anyone in the field.

He will be missed.

 Charles McCombie


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I first met Ian in about 1995 when he had recently taken over the reins at UIC and I was an Information Officer at the Uranium Institute, and our paths crossed frequently over the years. A few years after Ian joined World Nuclear Association I found myself back on board and working alongside him. I don't think I've ever come across anyone with such an extensive breadth of knowledge about the nuclear industry, and the library of Information Papers he developed are a magnificent legacy.

Ian stood for no nonsense. When asked a question, his response would often be "It's in the Information Papers". And lo and behold, it usually was - and on the rare occasions that it wasn't, Ian would make sure the information would be tracked down and the offending paper updated. He expected a similar level of dedication and attention to detail from others - working alongside Ian made me raise my game.

A larger-than-life character, who has touched many lives.

My heartfelt condolences to Libby, Anna, Will, Fiona, Dave and their families.

Claire Maden


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Ian had a tireless ethic that never seemed to grow weary into his later years. I believe this ethic was derived from the pleasure he received from lifting everyone up around him, alongside his love for God. He told me one of the main reasons for his wonder in nuclear related matters was to reach a closer understanding of God's creation. " [nuclear energy is...] considered indicative of God’s providence in the sense of liberality of God’s provision for human needs.

I've been unbelievably lucky to have brushed paths with Ian and all the more richer for having done so. He will be forever missed from all corners of the globe, all walks of life.

Dylan Hem


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I am deeply saddened to hear of Ian’s passing. It was only relatively recently that I met Ian at the Australian Nuclear Association conference in 2019, but I had known of him for many years through colleagues in the uranium business at Rio Tinto Energy. When I asked Ian recently to review the report of our preliminary concept study on what would be required for nuclear plants to be operating in Australia from the 2030s he diligently and systematically worked through the draft picking up a number of errors, providing comments and making suggestions that others had missed, while at the same time providing helpful words of encouragement. Ian struck me as someone who gave his heart to seek and search out wisdom, and who did his work with all his might, even beyond four score years, until he was suddenly taken from us to his eternal rest.

Stephen Wilson


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I first met Ian when I moved to Australia in 1999. Ian was working at the UIC, I joined ANSTO as an analyst supplying data to the UIC and we were in regular communication. When he joined the WNA he established the Information Library that is the first place anyone looks for information as it is always up to date. He will always be remembered for this legacy.

Ian will be sorely missed by the global nuclear community, but especially here where he supported and encouraged the small group working to get nuclear accepted in Australia. He was always generous with his time and would provide comments and intelligent suggestions on the regular e-mail discussions.

At the time of the Fukushima accident, Ian used his contacts to get the most accurate and up to date information which we could then use to provide the Australian print and TV media with facts and minimize the more sensational reports.

Ian will be very much missed at conferences where he had a real presence. You immediately knew he was there when your heard that voice.

He gave many excellent presentations at Engineers Australia Nuclear Engineering Panel meetings and of course always attracted a large audience.

Immediately the AUKUS agreement was announced on 16 September 2021 Ian was onto it. I received an e-mail saying “In light of today’s announcement I have spent a couple of hours updating WNA’s info paper on Nuclear Powered Ships”.  Typical Ian, always totally professional.

We have lost a much-respected man.

My deepest condolences to his family.

Tony Irwin


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I met Ian 2001 in London when he was newly recruited to the World Nuclear Association, and I was at the time the Chairman of the Association. Since then, we have worked together in different ways, and it has been interesting, fruitful and pleasant at all times. Ian was always well respected for his knowledge, and his Information Library is contributing to a whole world, understanding more about nuclear energy, its history, role and technical development, now and tomorrow. Later on, I travelled the world as Director General and wherever I came Ian’s work was talked about and praised. Many times, people came to me to give their respect and thanks for the Information Library and that was all Ian´s work. It was students, professors, consultants, staff at embassies and ministries, and they used the outstanding source of information for reports, presentations, speeches and in contact with clients. And indeed, I got the information that one country’s energy policy is based on information from Ian’s papers, of course for the very good quality, updated facts and accurate information on everything that has to do with nuclear. I know Ian was very keen and contributed substantially also to his own country, as it is aiming for an effective climate policy. Ian was absolutely fantastic to have on board in our team, and I am so thankful for the many years we could enjoy his wisdom, somehow he never grew old. We will miss you and the world will miss you, but your work will still be followed and is continuing to make a difference.  I am thankful that I had the chance to work with Ian!

I'm deeply saddened by Ian’s passing.

My heartfelt condolences to Libby, Anna, Will, Fiona, Dave and their families.

Agneta Rising


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Ian had a rare talent to distil vast amounts of information – some highly technical - into essential briefing notes and books on nuclear. His work rate was prodigious, his knowledge was encyclopaedic. He was equally good at doing media interviews.

The World Nuclear Association contracted with Elsevier in 2006 to publish Ian’s book Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century. But Ian felt the price we were charging put the book out of reach of what the layman could afford; so subsequent editions of the book were published in-house. It was a similar story with the briefing notes or information papers, which we considered putting behind a pay wall. Ian argued that the narrative about nuclear needed to be publicly available, and his view prevailed.

This strategy worked in the long run: the body of work that is the information papers - now maintained by colleagues at the Association - have directly or indirectly persuaded many influencers, notably fellow environmentalists, to support nuclear.

Ian was an inspiration to many, and took time to support and provide encouragement to younger colleagues. I will miss his reports - delivered with real insight and aplomb - about a nuclear issue. I am glad that he was still active and near the top of his game right until the end.

Serge Gorlin


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Ian Hore – Lacy was a great member of the University of New England community in the 1960s. He was one of the first people that I met when I first enrolled in Wight College, UNE. A botantist at that stage he showed a great interest in exploration/camping and formed the University of New England Exploration Society. He organised for the then Governor General of Australia, Lord Casey to become the Society’s patron.

I took part in one of his Land Rover driving courses in my freshman year. He had everyone’s attention when he went around the side of a hill and rolled down the hillside several times, sitting right next to him the glass from the shattered windscreen went past my face several times and I felt the ground on my back each roll. Fortunately there were no injuries, he tipped the now slightly worse for wear Land Rover back on its wheels and continued on. An impressive performance.

He had a great sense of derring do at that stage off his life. With a zest for living, he embraced university life in the best sense of the term.

A most generous person and it has been my honour to have been on many camping trips with him to the New England National Park.

Ian MacCulloch


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