By Suzy Hobbs
In the weeks and months following the events at the Fukushima plant in Japan, the American Nuclear Society’s Social Media listserv has become a headquarters for sharing information, ideas, and strategies about how to combat misinformation about nuclear energy. This active forum is facilitated by Dan Yurman, who through this effort has opened a new door for collaboration between communicators from all corners of the nuclear community. Many on this list have voiced concerns that the industry response to Fukushima has not yet managed to transition from defensive to offensive, in terms of public outreach.
It was really only a matter of time before these thoughts evolved into a plan. There is a genuine need for a comprehensive, collaborative outreach campaign to share accurate information about nuclear energy with the public. The listserv is an incredibly valuable tool that has resulted in numerous success stories, and I would like to announce the latest idea to emerge from this group: The Nuclear Literacy Project.
The Nuclear Literacy Project plans to go where the nuclear sector has been quite timid about going before—the wild world of advertising. With the help of several organizations, including PopAtomic Studios, a top-notch committee of nuclear professionals, and a really good advertising agency, we are going to systematically address the need for effective public outreach. We will also coordinate between many existing and emerging outreach efforts to ensure that we can support one another and reach our shared goals.
In the vein of our art exhibit, “Faces of the Nuclear Renaissance,” we will work to give nuclear professionals a platform to share their personal reasons for supporting nuclear through both traditional and contemporary advertising.
The goal of the advertising campaign will be to direct the public to clear, concise resources for their consideration. For those who feel inspired, we will also provide action items that help everyday folks get involved in supporting nuclear. The “Nuclear Made” campaign is one example of the action items we will implement, empowering consumers to use their dollars to support clean energy. Just imagine fancy French wine in the grocery store with one of these stickers!
This is a truly grassroots effort, based on collaboration and volunteerism. I would like to thank our committee members and advisors who have stepped up to help make The Nuclear Literacy Project a reality.
Committee Chair: Carl Lumma Carl is the former sustainability analyst for Apple, and worked at that company at a time when they revolutionized advertising. Click here to read more about Carl’s thoughts on why some advertising methods are more effective than others.
Committee Members: Each of these individuals brings unique expertise and knowledge to this project, but they all have one thing in common—they are professional communicators who have recognized that we must do more to reach the public with information about nuclear energy. Based on this realization, they have each offered their time and energy as concerned citizens, rather than representatives for their respective employers.
We are very lucky to have such an esteemed and inspired group:
- Rod Adams, publisher of Atomic Insights
- Gwyneth Cravens, author of “Power to Save the World”
- Margaret Harding, president of 4 Factor Consulting
- Andrea Jennetta, publisher of Fuel Cycle Week
- Robert Margolis, nuclear engineer
- Karen Norheim, marketing for American Crane & Equipment Corporation
- Nancy Roth, managing editor of Fuel Cycle Week
- Laura Scheele, nuclear advocate
- Jim Scherrer, principal of NukeConnect
- David Bradish, manager of energy information for the Nuclear Energy Institute
Web Master: (Web site coming soon: www.nuclearliteracy.org)
- Jason Correia, Web master and Social Media coordinator
Lastly, I want to thank my board of directors for its honesty and whole-hearted support, as well as Dan Yurman and Laura Scheele—the folks who made it possible for our small organization to have access to the people and ideas needed for “Nuclear Literacy” to emerge from the ANS Social Media listserv. Thank you as well to my fellow ANS members, who, by supporting ANS public information initiatives, have provided a home for spirited discussions about nuclear communications.
This project is still early in development and we are currently seeking additional advisers, sponsors, and donors to make it a reality. If you, your company, or organization would like to get involved with The Nuclear Literacy Project, please contact me, Suzy Hobbs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suzy Hobbs is the executive director of PopAtomic Studios, a non-profit organization dedicated to using the power of visual and liberal arts to enrich the discussion on nuclear energy. Hobbs is an ANS member and a frequent contributor to ANS Nuclear Cafe.