Tag Archives: American Nuclear Society

November edition of ANS journal Nuclear Technology is available

The ANS Winter Meeting is focused on progress in nuclear technology. Keep up-to-date year round with the ANS technical journal Nuclear Technology (NT).  The November 2012 edition is available electronically and in hard copy for American Nuclear Society member subscribers and others. Non-subscribers click here to  subscribe to NT and other ANS titles.

NT is the international research journal of ANS and is edited by Nicholas Tsoulfanidis.

The November issue contains the following peer-reviewed articles:

ANS journals are available through annual subscriptions and by individual edition or article. Please click here to go to the online journals page. A menu of ANS’s publications is available online by clicking here.

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#ANS12 Focus on Communications Workshop: TODAY, 4:30 PT, California Room

WHO:   Anyone with an interest in communicating with policymakers  about important nuclear issues

WHAT:    The ANS Focus on Communications Workshop

WHEN:   Wednesday, November 14, 4:30 – 6:30 (PT)

WHERE:   California Room (see property map below)

If you would like to learn about how the recent election has affected the political landscape for nuclear—this workshop is for you.

If you would like to share tips and techniques for communicating with policymakers about important nuclear issues—this workshop is for you.

This always-popular workshop is hosted by Mimi Limbach of Potomac Communications and Craig Piercy, the ANS Washington DC Rep. They will share the latest inside-the-beltway buzz on nuclear in this casual, interactive, interesting and fun session!

TerraPower is sponsoring this workshop, which will feature complimentary snacks and beverages.

Let’s makes this an energizing session where we learn from the best in the business and share ideas for communicating effectively with our federal representatives!

The Focus on Communications Workshop is in the California Room (circled in red). [CLICK TO ENLARGE]

ANS Social Media Gathering: TODAY, 12 NOON PT, TERRACE SALON 3

WHO:   Anyone with an interest in use of social media

WHAT:   The ANS Social Media Gathering

WHEN:   Wednesday, November 14, 12 noon – 1 pm (PT)

WHERE:   The ANS Media Center, located in Terrace Salon Room 3.

If you would like to learn more about different social media tools and techniques—this is for you.

If you know more than we do about social media and can tell us a thing or two—this is for you.

If you have ideas of how to use Social Media in its myriad forms to help nuclear professionals to communicate more effectively with the outside world—then please attend.

Attendees are welcome to show up with ideas for discussion, questions, or problems.  There will be brief remarks by Will Davis, Laura Hermann and Steve Skutnik. This is a casual, interactive, interesting and fun session!

Please note that there will be extremely light snacks available—so please feel free to bring your own lunch.

Let’s try to make this a session we can all walk away from knowing more than when we went in!

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Candace Davison wins 2012 Landis Award

Candace Davison, senior reactor operator and senior research and education specialist with Pennsylvania State University, on November 12 received the American Nuclear Society’s 2012 Landis Public Communication and Education Award.

Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar (left) and Candace Davison display the plaque for the 2012 Landis Public Communications Award. Dunzik-Gougar is currently vice-chair of the ANS Public Information Committee and Davison is Immediate Past Chair.

The Landis Award recognizes an individual for outstanding efforts, dedication, and accomplishment in furthering public education and understanding of the peaceful applications of nuclear technology. This may include outstanding communication in public venues as well as exceptional work done to inform teachers, K-12 students, and other audiences in public education settings about nuclear science and technology applications in nuclear careers.

The ANS social media program, including this blogsite, were launched under the auspices of the ANS Public Information Committee while Candace Davison was chair.

A tip of the ANS Nuclear Cafe cap to Candace in celebration of this well-deserved honor!

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ANS Winter Meeting 2012: Nuclear Technology Expo

The first of a series on people and events at the 2012 American Nuclear Society Winter Meeting

By Will Davis

The evening of November 11 saw the opening of the latest ANS Nuclear Technology Expo, in the spacious convention facility housing the ANS 2012 Winter Meeting at the Town & Country Resort in San Diego, California. The event did not disappoint.

The Expo opened with this evening’s ANS President’s Reception, with food and beverage of a high caliber provided for attendees. The turnout was shoulder to shoulder for much of the floor space in the exhibit area.

Over 50 groups were represented in the Expo; the majority were vendors, while some were regulatory or governmental bodies (the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the International Atomic Energy Agency), national laboratories (Argonne, Idaho National Laboratory) and universities. Every kind of information was available either by brochure or via conversation with attendant representatives. The displays were all quite interesting, with many tailored directly to a very focused audience. One display was appealing to all audiences: a remote grappling arm with sensitivity sufficient to delicately manipulate a very thin-stemmed wine glass.

Vendors represented at the Expo included the large reactor vendor companies including Westinghouse, GE-Hitachi, and Areva, and many other companies whose services are more specialized, including I&C (instrumentation and control),  measurement equipment, and engineering consulting. Remotely-controlled, rugged equipment used for decommissioning of nuclear power plants (in addition to general demolition) was represented as well.

Face to face conversation and networking are among the most valuable aspects of this expo event. I did not have the chance to thank Mimi Holland Limbach for her fine presentation at the ANS Annual Meeting in June that was so enjoyable—tonight gave me the opportunity to discuss and thank her in person. I conversed with many colleagues who I haven’t seen since June—that is, when they were not engrossed in deep conversation with other colleagues.

This author came away with, literally, a bag full of relevant, up-to-date technical material that will serve well in answering future questions asked by readers. And, yes, some really “cool” souvenirs—you’ve got to have something to bring back home for the family!

The Nuclear Technology Expo is open for two more days—this Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, hours are from 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM (opening with an ANS Attendee Luncheon until 1 PM), while on Tuesday the hours are from 10 AM through 2 PM. If you’re here in San Diego attending the Winter Meeting and didn’t have a ticket to tonight’s event, do find time in the next few days to explore the Expo. It’s well worth it.

Remember to follow events on the ANS Twitter account! Look for @ans_org. Tomorrow—the Opening Plenary Session, with live tweets. Hash tag #ANS12.

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Will Davis is a former USN Reactor Operator qualified on S8G and S5W reactor plants; is a writer and social media consultant for ANS; writes for Fuel Cycle Week; and also writes at his own Atomic Power Review blog.

President Corradini: Welcome to the ANS 2012 Winter Meeting

I want to welcome everyone to the American Nuclear Society 2012 Winter Meeting in San Diego, California. This is a great time to be a part of the nuclear science and technology industry and I’m so glad you’re here.

Dr. Michael Corradini

The Winter Meeting allows us to share new knowledge and lessons learned, and to network with other professionals in our field from across the country and around the world. The Meeting kicks off on Monday with the opening plenary, “Future Nuclear Technologies: Resilience and Flexibility.” Of particular meaning to me is the topic of my President’s Special Session, “Ten Years since the Generation IV Roadmap: Progress and Future Directions for New Reactor Technologies.” The Gen IV Forum has offered many new innovations and this is a chance to reflect on those innovations and look toward the next phase of reactor design for the industry.

The many sessions available during the Meeting cover a wide range of issues including two embedded topicals – one on severe accident assessment and the other on advances in thermal hydraulics. Throughout all of the sessions at the Winter Meeting, we will discuss our successes, debate our questions, and delineate the ongoing challenges.

In addition to the great educational opportunities available, divisions and committees are meeting during the Winter Meeting to continue the important work they do in helping to lead the Society. With the completion of our strategic plan, these dedicated professionals are working together with headquarters staff to implement the plan. One aspect of this work that I want to highlight is ANS’s Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information.

Over the past six decades, professionals like you have been helping to improve quality of life by providing clean energy, medical diagnostic tools and treatments, irradiation technologies that protect our food supply, advances in security technologies, and other benefits of nuclear science and technology. The public, however, remains largely uninformed about how nuclear science and technology enrich our daily lives. This lack of awareness impedes the introduction of new technologies that can create jobs, protect the environment, and continue to improve our lives. The Center is giving us a vehicle for greater public outreach that will impact all other aspects of the Society and ultimately impact our industry.

This is an exciting time to be in our field and a great opportunity here at the Winter Meeting. I am so proud to be a member of ANS and I hope you are too.

For those of you not able to attend in person, I encourage you to follow the happenings of the Meeting through social media outlets like this blog, Facebook, and Twitter through @ans_org and #ans12. Of course, you’ll get the full recap through future issues of ANS publications, ANS News and Nuclear News.

Again, welcome and thank you for coming.
Michael Corradini
ANS President 2012-2013

ANS Meeting Preview: Social Media Gathering

WHO:   Anyone with an interest in use of social media

WHAT:   The ANS Social Media Gathering

WHEN:   Wednesday, November 14, 12 noon – 1 pm (PT)

WHERE:   The ANS Media Center, located in Terrace Salon Room 3.


If you would like to learn more about different social media tools and techniques—this is for you.

If you know more than we do about social media and can tell us a thing or two—this is for you.

If you have ideas of how to use Social Media in its myriad forms to help nuclear professionals to communicate more effectively with the outside world—then please attend.

Attendees are welcome to show up with ideas for discussion, questions, or problems.  This is a casual, interactive, interesting and fun session!

Please note that there is no food service available, so please feel free to bring your own lunch.

Let’s try to make this a session we can all walk away from knowing more than when we went in!

NA-YGN announces 14th annual Roddy Nuclear drawing contest

By Laura Scheele

The 14th annual North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NA-YGN) drawing contest is now underway! The drawing contest teaches 4th and 5th grade students about the wonders of nuclear science and technology by engaging them creatively. This year’s theme is Roddy Nuclear Builds Tomorrow—with an emphasis on the importance of new plant construction for the future of nuclear and growing energy demands.

Roddy Nuclear is a nuclear fuel pellet cartoon character who can fit into the palm of a child’s hand. Roddy provides as much energy as almost 2000 pounds of coal and 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas. NA-YGN also offers classroom resources, such as a PowerPoint presentation, to introduce nuclear energy topics to middle school students (see links below).

Click to Enlarge

Don’t delay—the deadline for NA-YGN Chapters to host their area contests and submit their top 10 drawings is Friday, October 26! The top 5 drawings will be showcased at the 2012 ANS Conference in San Diego, Cal., on November 11-15 (so be sure to register now). Winners will be selected online at Clean Energy Insight and announced by December 1 .

The 2013 NA-YGN Annual Contest Winning Submission

For More Information

NA-YGN’s announcement of the 2012 Roddy Nuclear drawing contest

Contest guidelines, instructions and awards

How to host the drawing contest (for Educators)

How to host the drawing contest (for Parents and Students)

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Laura Scheele is the Communications and Public Policy Manager for the American Nuclear Society’s Communications and Outreach Department. She also serves as the ANS Liaison to North American Young Generation in Nuclear.

October’s NSE journal in print & online editions

The October 2012 issue of the technical journal Nuclear Science and Engineering is available electronically and in hard copy for American Nuclear Society member subscribers and others.  Non-subscribers click here to learn how to subscribe to NSE and other ANS titles.

NSE is the international research journal of ANS and is edited by Dr. Dan Cacuci.

The October issue contains the following peer-reviewed articles:

ANS journals are available for purchase by issue or by article. Please click here to go to the online journals page. A menu of ANS’s publications is available online by clicking here.

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Post #2 from Mumbai: The Indo-US Nuclear Safety Summit

Margaret Harding is blogging from the ANS–sponsored Indo–US Nuclear Safety Summit in Mumbai, India.

By Margaret Harding

I had hoped to keep more material coming, but technical difficulties and jet lag have limited me some. More on day 1 of the conference. The pictures are from the exhibit hall and the front entrance.

One of the speakers spent a little time talking about the regulatory environment. His words were important for all countries to heed. Regulation must remain science based. Diverse knowledge should inform regulation, no single technology or group should dominate. A regulator with solid technical knowledge can be responsive to new technology and new ideas without creating excess burdens on the developers and still maintain safety and oversight. [Aside from Margaret: Points we should certainly listen to in the United States as well. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulation is frequently too technology specific and the ability to keep up with new developments has stretched the NRC's staff at times.]

Another great comment focused on the impact of our words. While conservatism in our design processes is important, when excess conservatism is applied to emergency situations, we can create fear where no risk exists and impose significant restrictions on a population far in excess of the actual risk. Such evacuations and lengthy abandonments of home and business create burdens on the population that do far more harm than the original risk we were trying to protect against. The Fukushima aftermath is an example of such impacts.

After lunch, there was a session for those of us who have not had much (any?) business dealings in India to learn a little more about the United States’ trade relationship with India and the status of any nuclear opportunities that might exist. Judy Reinke, minister-counselor for commercial affairs for the US embassy in India, gave us some really interesting information. India is growing quickly and the middle class is growing even faster. The workforce is generally young and very entrepreneurial. India is looking for ways to continue to grow. The government is very focused on inclusive growth that brings benefits to those who are deeply improverished as well as to the middle class. India’s parliamentary government is currently such a very weak coalition, however, that coming to a decision can be very difficult because all the partners in the coalition must agree before moving forward. This has had some impact on regulatory reforms that are needed for full engagement by outside businesses.

India’s economy has been growing at 8 percent until the last few years, when growth slowed to 6–7 percent. Slower economic growth added to continued population growth has made the goal of inclusive growth a very difficult goal for India. The need for infrastructure and energy to get the economy growing again has become a strong driver. This need benefits the nuclear industry, because getting reliable electricity to businesses and manufacturers is critical to a successful growth of the economy. Businesses that do not have power do not need workers. Workers who don’t work don’t get paid, which results in continued poverty.

Finally, India really only opened up to global trade in 1991. The government has continued to reform laws and regulations to make global markets more accessible both for export and import. But, again, a weak government makes such reform more difficult.

That’s it for tonight. Tomorrow, I’ll post a summary of Dr. Patrick Moore’s speech and subsequent journalist interviews, as well as more information about the session I participated in regarding public communications and what both countries can do better.

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Harding

Margaret Harding has almost 30 years of experience in the nuclear industry in technical design, licensing, and quality issues.  She worked for GE-Hitachi for 27 years with positions of increasing responsibility, leading to vice president of Engineering Quality. Two years ago, she left GE-Hitachi to start her own consulting business to help companies with business ventures in the nuclear industry. She is a guest contributor to the ANS Nuclear Cafe.

Nuclear Matinee: A Look at an Online Nuclear Science & Technology Course

A free college-level internet course surveying the theory, design, and operation of commercial nuclear power reactors is starting soon! This course will be taught by Larry Foulke, PhD, PE, former president of the American Nuclear Society.

“A Look at Nuclear Science and Technology” is aimed at scientifically inclined individuals who want to learn more about nuclear energy and the nuclear power industry. It will address subjects such as: What is nuclear energy? What is its history? Who are its heroes? Why is it controversial? How do nuclear power plants work? What about nuclear weapons? What are the stereotypes and misconceptions?

Dr. Foulke explains more in this video introduction:

See the Course Website for the course syllabus, FAQ, and how to sign up!

 

 

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NRC Public Meeting on San Onofre: October 9 via Webcast, Twitter

Note: The NRC public meeting on San Onofre steam generator issues has now adjourned. The webcast will soon be available in archived form at http://video.nrc.gov/. The twitter feed featuring participation by groups on all sides of the issue can be viewed HERE (tweets will eventually expire).

WHEN:

Tuesday, October 9
6:00-9:30 P.M. Pacific Time
Click HERE for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) news release with schedule information

VIRTUAL ACCESS

The meeting is now live on webcast at: http://video.nrc.gov.

A phone bridge will be available by calling: 1-888-989-4359 and entering pass code 1369507.

The webcast and phone bridge will be one-way only.

SOCIAL MEDIA ACCESS

ANS will live-tweet the hearing at @ans_org using hashtag #SanOnofrePlease note that the person(s) doing the live-tweeting will be watching via webcast.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Click HERE for social media coverage by Will Davis of Atomic Power Review of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station steam generator issues, including a roundup of helpful links at the end of the entry.

Click HERE for a wealth of information from Southern California Edison regarding the San Onofre steam generator issues.

ALERT: NRC Public Meeting on San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Issues

AMERICAN NUCLEAR SOCIETY (ANS)
COMMUNICATIONS & OUTREACH ALERT

NRC Public Meeting on San Onofre Nuclear
Generating Station Issues

WHEN:

Tuesday, October 9
6:00-9:30 P.M. Pacific Time
Click HERE for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) news release with schedule information

WHERE:  

St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel
One Monarch Beach Resort
Dana Point, California
Click HERE for Local Area Directions and Map Links

WHY:

The NRC is holding a public meeting that includes a facilitated roundtable discussion regarding the safe operation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Click HERE for a collection of background information and data from Southern California Edison, the majority owner/operator of the San Onofre station.

There is public interest about the steam generator tube degradation issues at San Onofre Units 2 and 3. Nine participants have been named to represent public interests in the roundtable discussion. Two of the nine are ANS national members (but are not representing ANS on the panel):

  • Ted Quinn, representing Californians for Safe and Clean Nuclear Energy
  • Ken Schultz, PhD, representing himself as a local citizen

ANS members and other nuclear professionals play an essential role in providing credible information in a public setting to increase public awareness and to put relative risks into context. If you live in the area, your presence and participation in this meeting will help to ensure that a credible scientific and technical perspective on this important issue is conveyed in a public setting.

VIRTUAL ACCESS:

The meeting will be webcast live at: http://video.nrc.gov.

A phone bridge will be available by calling: 1-888-989-4359 and entering pass code 1369507.

The webcast and phone bridge will be one-way only.

SOCIAL MEDIA ACCESS:

ANS will live-tweet the hearing at @ans_org using hashtag #SanOnofre. Please note that the person(s) doing the live-tweeting will be watching via webcast.

Click HERE for social media coverage by Will Davis of Atomic Power Review of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station steam generator issues, including a roundup of helpful links at the end of the entry.

For further information, ANS members can contact Laura Scheele, Communications & Policy Manager, ANS Communications & Outreach Department.

U.S. Global Nuclear Leadership Through Export-Driven Engagement

By Art Wharton

The latest American Nuclear Society board-approved Position Statement (PS83) is titled “U.S. Global Nuclear Leadership Through Export-Driven Engagement.” This statement highlights a paradigm shift that is occurring within ANS, as global macroeconomic issues force the recognition that clean energy is imperative for continued global development.

It’s logical that ANS would want U.S. nuclear technology to dominate the global market; but the position statement does not come from a market-driven angle—it is noted as a non-proliferation measure. This may seem paradoxical at first, but I ask the audience: Would you rather the U.S. nuclear energy industry influence the world’s developing countries as they inevitably build their nuclear infrastructure? Or would you prefer the influence of the nuclear energy industry of another country, which might not enforce and teach the same level of rigor in operational excellence, human performance, and design for non-proliferation?

ANS is now taking the stance that nuclear energy is not only a valuable source of domestic stability, but also an international security imperative. As developing countries begin taking advantage of nuclear energy as a clean energy source (this is already well underway and accelerating), the United States will be looked toward for its technology leadership in nuclear energy.

1-2-3 Agreements

For bilateral nuclear trade agreements (known as 1-2-3 Agreements), it is imperative that the 1-2-3s be negotiated in a way that assures safety, but does not necessarily demand that a sovereign nation give up its sovereignty (such as automatically requiring that a country never “enrich” uranium to the very low levels required for use as nuclear fuel). The origination of the ANS position statement was a U.S. House of Representatives bill proposed to essentially enact a “gold standard” in 1-2-3 agreements, after the United Arab Emirates had agreed to forego its right to enrich uranium as an anti-proliferation measure. Since we know that these types of requirements are not being placed on agreements among other countries, such a requirement would place the United States in an uncompetitive stance, left to watch from the sidelines as the international nuclear trade landscape develops. Logically, ANS would like to see American technology leading the way to a cleaner and safer energized world.

The exportation of peaceful nuclear technology is highly valuable to developing nations. Historically, countries that developed nuclear energy technology actually developed nuclear weapons first, before they realized how much more valuable nuclear technology is for peaceful purposes. Why not help developing countries skip that first step?

U.S. nuclear technology is designed with anti-proliferation in mind as part of global security policy, so the exportation of U.S. nuclear energy technology as a market leader serves as a security imperative, to ensure that peaceful and nonproliferative technology is used dominantly throughout the world. I ask again: Would you rather see a developing country install U.S. technology under the guidance and influence of the United States? Or, would you rather see a developing country buy from someone else?

Influence and control

This is actually an area where Position Statement 83 may bring a little discomfort to the people in the nonproliferation community. It contains an undertone of influence, rather than control, over the expansion of nuclear science and technology in the international community. When I was a very young boy, my parents were able to control me; indeed, it was their responsibility to control me as I was raised. But something weird happened as I grew up into my teen years: I gained a sense of sovereignty. I could think for myself, act for myself, and I was pretty sure I knew more than them anyway, as most teenagers do. I wasn’t completely grown up yet, but the game had changed. My parents could no longer expect the ability to control me, but needed to still influence me to grow into a productive member of society (Craig Piercy, the Washington, D.C. representative for ANS, tells of this paradigm shift with pictures of his children as they grew up—it’s personally compelling and relatable).

In a global society where the United States out-spends everyone else on national defense (and shall we say, international defense), there yet comes a time when even the immense capability of the U.S. Armed Forces cannot effectively control the global community—but the positive example of the U.S. nuclear energy industry, its exemplary safety record, and its operational excellence can serve as a beacon of influence as it exports its technology.

This is why the United States must be the market leader in the exportation of peaceful nuclear technology. But I’m not done.

Poverty and risk

One of the (some might say, naïve) dreams that I had roughly a decade ago as I was working on my undergraduate degree was the dream that I could forge a career selling and building nuclear power plants in developing nations—as part of a larger global effort to bring people out of poverty. “U.S. Global Nuclear Leadership Through Export-Driven Engagement” could help that dream come alive.

World Bank research indicates that besides the opening of new markets and increasing global wealth creation, security is the other imperative to reduce world poverty, and vice-versa. A “rich” person has a lot more to lose if they go to war or otherwise commit acts of violence. What has a poor person to lose by taking such large risks? In a world where only about 1/6th of the population lives on more than $5 of purchasing power per day, the opportunities are endless for improving global security hand-in-hand with global economic activity. Peaceful nuclear science and technology applications can be a significant piece of the puzzle—with the United States leading the way through a high level of engagement in exports.

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Disclosure: I have a deep personal interest in the topic of exporting nuclear technology, which influenced my choice of employment at the finest nuclear technology company on the planet; however, all opinions contained above are my own opinions, and do not necessarily represent the opinions, positions, or strategies of Westinghouse Electric Company LLC or any of its subsidiaries or parent companies, or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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Wharton

Art Wharton is a principal project engineer at Westinghouse Electric Company LLC in Nuclear Power Plants Business & Project Development. He is a member of the ANS Planning Committee, ANS Public Policy Committee, the ANS Operations and Power Division Program Committee, is the Treasurer of the ANS Operations and Power Division, is the Pittsburgh ANS Local Section Past Chair, a Trustee on the Board of Pittsburgh’s Urban Pathways Charter School, and is a guest contributor to the ANS Nuclear Cafe.

The future of nuclear at #MOXChat

By Laura Scheele

On September 11, the National Nuclear Security Administration (U.S. Department of Energy) hosted a public meeting in Chattanooga, Tenn., concerning its Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the disposition of surplus weapons-grade plutonium as mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel for use in power reactors. You may have seen the ANS Call to Action for the hearing and perhaps read the ANS position statement or background information.

L to R: Stephanie Long, Nick Luciano, Alyx Wszolek, and Suzy Hobbs Baker.

This is the story about how ANS members fulfilled the mission set forth in the position statement:  to inform the public and media about the nonproliferation benefits of the MOX fuel program. It’s also the story of how ANS student members answered the Call to Action and contributed to the success of this event for the Society.

The Chattanooga ANS Local Section and the Chattanooga State Community College ANS Student Section both committed to supporting the September 11 hearing as a priority outreach project. ANS Public Information Committee Chair Dave Pointer e-mailed nearly 700 ANS national and student members within a 5-state radius and asked them to come to the hearing to represent the Society, to explain why MOX fuel use makes sense, and to make a stand for nuclear in an area where nuclear opponents had monopolized the public discussion about nuclear.

ANS members showed up.

ANS student members from University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UT-K): (l to r) Hailey Green, Remy Devoe, Tyler Rowe, Seth Langford, John Wilson, and Brent Fiddler. (Photo by Charles Ellsworth)

LOTS of ANS members showed up.

Chattanooga State Community College ANS students wear their blue-and-orange shirts in a standing-room-only public hearing.

MOST of the ANS members who showed up were students.

The faculty and student delegation from University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UT-K). (Photo by Charles Ellsworth)

ANS members who couldn’t show up replied to the e-mail to say they couldn’t come, but wanted to pass along their encouragement and their belief that this was the right thing to do.

We can take pride in how well the Society was represented in Chattanooga.

The students took pride in representing the Society and the profession—and did so very well.

Chattanooga was a communications victory for ANS across the board: a great turnout for nuclear professionals and students and a great event for explaining the benefits of MOX fuel technologies.

Defying expectations

The presence of so many young people supporting the ANS position on MOX fuel made a definite impression upon attendees. The most common question I was asked by non-ANS participants was, “How many Chattanooga State students are here today?” One gentleman who opposed MOX fuel prefaced his remarks by saying that he once taught at Chattanooga State and was thrilled to see so many students attending the hearing.

Chattanooga ANS Local Section Chair Samuel Snyder wrote following the hearing:

Samuel Snyder, Chattanooga ANS Local Section Chair

Samuel Snyder comments during the hearing.

One thing that struck me last night was the average age of those who attended the meeting in support of the nuclear science and technology industry. When you take last night’s “pro-nuclear” group as a whole, I would say that the average age was in the 20s.

A good number of students were willing to get up in front of the group and provide public comments in favor of the ANS-backed proposal for the disposition of surplus plutonium. The comments were very civil from the “pro” side, and mainly civil from the “anti” side, though my biased opinion is that the “pro” side did a much better job of presenting facts and providing sound arguments for their position.

It’s good to have friends…

This was the first public hearing experience for most of the participants. Recently, Chattanooga has seen a lot of anti-nuclear activity, including opponents who stage protests dressed as zombies.

In asking ANS members to attend this hearing, we were asking nuclear professionals to venture outside of their comfort zone in terms of making public comments on an issue that might not really be their area of expertise—and oh, by the way, you might also need to wade through a crowd of zombies who will be heckling you. No worries!

Three ANS students wisely team up and keep their backs to the wall to prevent a zombie sneak attack. (L to R: Alyx Wszolek, Steven Stribling, and Stephanie Long ) (Photo by Charles Ellsworth)

That’s what friends (and professional membership societies) are for—to watch your back when you’re surrounded by zombies. Being the only science-informed person in the room can sometimes be uncomfortable and even intimidating. There is strength in numbers, and so coming together on a vitally important issue strengthens our association by strengthening our professional and personal bonds.

…Especially social media friends

Suzy Hobbs Baker of the Nuclear Literacy Project drove from South Carolina to support the hearing. (Photo by Charles Ellsworth)

The social media promotion of this event contributed to its success. The ANS Social Media Group is an amazing collection of people with wildly different perspectives and backgrounds who share one thing: the conviction that the nuclear community needs to improve how we communicate if nuclear energy’s promise is to be realized.

 

Alex Woods, Chattanooga State

Alex Woods, Chattanooga State Student Section president, led off the comments.

Individually and collectively, they have shed much blood, sweat, and tears in their efforts—and they are willing to lend a hand so that your blood, sweat, and tears might be spared.

#MOXChat was the twitter hashtag for the Chattanooga hearing. The live-tweeting provided a minute-by-minute rundown of the comments and observations by nuclear professionals across the country who followed this on twitter. Unfortunately, the tweets have expired on Twitter.

A roundup of social media coverage of #MOXChat is at the end of this article. Many thanks to everyone who supported this event via social media. Your observations and advice were invaluable, and many of the students brought printouts of your entries to the hearing as prep material.

Steven Skutnik

Steven Skutnik

A special tip of the ANS Nuclear Cafe cap to Steve Skutnik, who did it all at this hearing: made public comments, live-tweeted the hearing, live-blogged the hearing here at the ANS Nuclear Cafe, blogged pre- and post-hearing at his Neutron Economy blog, and helped prep students in his capacity as UT-K assistant professor. Thanks, Steve!

 

The power of  showing up

Howard Shaffer, Meredith Angwin and Eric Loewen

Howard Shaffer and Meredith Angwin receive presidential citations from ANS Past President Eric Loewen.

Meredith Angwin and Howard Shaffer have spearheaded a nuclear advocacy effort in Vermont that has changed the public debate over nuclear energy. They often talk about the value of  ‘Showing Up’ to support nuclear. By showing up, Meredith and Howard have built a pro-nuclear grassroots movement in a place where people sometimes seem to think nuclear is a four-letter word.

Pro-Nuclear Rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Go Team Nuclear!

We asked ANS members to come to the hearing and comment on behalf of ANS—but we also asked those who could not comment to show up and support their friends and colleagues. They did—and they applauded every comment. Some who couldn’t stay for the hearing showed up to meet with the students and answer questions that they had about MOX fuel and reactor operations.

ANS members mingle before the public hearing begins.

Everyone there contributed to the success of this event—just by showing up.

Having fun is contagious

The disposition of excess weapons-grade plutonium is a serious issue. The ANS student members took seriously the responsibility of speaking on behalf of the ANS position and the need to counter some of the more implausible assertions by the nuclear opponents who attended.

Chris Perfetti preparing his public comments.

Taking the responsibility seriously, however, doesn’t mean being humorless. Sometimes we err too much on the side of serious and need to remember that positive experiences build upon themselves: having fun at an event makes it more likely that you’ll do something similar in the future.

Besides, we’re hilarious! Why try to fight it?

Sometimes a little #MOXSnark needs to be vented due to the wild claims made by nuclear opponents.

And sometimes brilliant ideas—like ANS Man, or a YouTube show featuring Sarcastic Science Guy in a Turquoise Shirt, or setting future public comments to cheering cadences—are born of these shared experiences.

All I will say is this:  My understanding of  plutonium dispersion factors has been forever transformed. Or, as Steve Skutnik live-tweeted, #youprobablyhadtobethere.

You know, in Chattanooga.

WHERE ANS ACHIEVED TOTAL DOMINATION*!

*in a technically credible, knowledgable, and thoroughly polite and eloquent manner, while adhering to the highest standards of safety (no zombies were harmed in the writing of this post).

L to R: Remy Devoe, John Wilson, Rob Milburn, and UT-K Student Section President Ryan Sweet

Social media roundup

Rod Adams, Atomic Insights:
Plutonium Power for the People

Meredith Angwin, Yes Vermont Yankee:
MOX & Hearings in Chattanooga
Meeting Success Story in Chattanooga
Show Up for Nuclear in Chattanooga

Steve Skutnik, Neutron Economy:
Wading into the Zombie Nuclear Horde
Mixing it up over MOX – a wrapup from Chattanooga

Dan Yurman, Idaho Samizdat:
Mix it Up about MOX in Chattanooga
Calling Out Red Herrings about MOX Fuel for TVA

US Areva:
Can you Talk MOX? 10 Things You Need to Know about MOX Nuclear Fuel

Chattanooga State students stand near a MOX fuel assembly mock-up at the open house. (L to R: Geneva Parker, Mark Hunter, and Brian Satterfield) (Photo by Charles Ellsworth)

Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information

ANS was able to support this important effort thanks to funding provided through its Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information.

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 Laura Scheele is the Communications and Public Policy Manager for the American Nuclear Society’s Communications and Outreach Department.