On Tuesday, June 22, Nuclear Townhall announced its debut and released a fully developed site full of articles and links with a front page design that looks a bit like the Drudge report. The new publication bills itself as “self-appointed Guardians of the Renaissance” and states that its mission is to provide answers to several important questions:
- How do we encourage licensing surety at the NRC?
- How do we persuade people to invest?
- How do we translate all that public support into action?
- Most of all, how do we avoid the paradox that the rest of the world is going to sprint ahead on nuclear power with the technology America developed?
Nuclear Townhall’s managing editor is Steve Hedges, the CEO of Hedges Strategies. This bio is quoted from Nuclear Townhall’s introductory letter:
As a national reporter for more than 25 years, Steve has worked at some of the best news organizations in the country. He has won the Overseas Press Club Award, the Lincoln Award and the Sigma Delta Chi Award during his 12-year tenure at U.S. News & World Report. He then joined the investigative team at the Chicago Tribune where was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for exposing air safety concerns at O’Hare international Airport.
His journalism career included the coverage of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Washington and New York and the subsequent inquiry into the intelligence failures that led to those strikes. As a Pentagon correspondent, Steve covered the hunt for al-Qaida in Eastern Europe; the invasion of Afghanistan; the Iraq War as well as natural disasters such as the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.
Steve has in-depth experience with Congress, the White House and a wide variety of federal agencies including the Government Accountability Office; the departments of State, Agriculture, Energy, Commerce, Transportation and Defense; the Federal Aviation Administration; Food and Drug Administration; Department of Agriculture and key law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the FBI and CIA.
On the day of release, Nuclear Townhall published a bang-up interview of Ted Rockwell, one of my nuclear heros and a real pioneer in the technology. (Ted was part of the Manhattan Project and served as Rickover’s Technical Director at Naval Reactors during the era when NR led the effort to create a functioning Pressurized Water Reactor for the USS Nautilus and then showed how that technology could be used in commercial operation at the Shippingport Nuclear Plant.)
There are some important words in that interview that need highlighting and repetition.
The conclusion that the reactor or the fuel of an American commercial power plant cannot realistically create a significant public health hazard has been published and documented in two peer-reviewed papers in Science, by 19 top nuclear experts, all members of the National Academy of Engineering. That conclusion reaffirms and updates previous reports by EPRI and others, as a result a multi-national, billion-dollar research program, carried out during the past four decades. That conclusion was affirmed by the then-Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. If someone wants to claim that the conclusion is flawed or incomplete, he should start first by challenging that paper and its extensive supporting data.
If someone wants to claim that an airplane crash could initiate a nuclear meltdown, he should challenge the results of that research program. We have put the facts out there. They have not been repudiated. We should use them to renounce false claim. With such facts, the burden is on the challenger. We should act accordingly.
Let me add my voice to that of Dan Yuman, my friend at Idaho Samizdat, and give Steve Hedges and Nuclear Townhall a hearty welcome to the world of pro-nuclear action.
I do have one additional note, however. In his introductory letter, Steve issued the following statement:
Nuclear Townhall (www.nucleartownhall.com) — which makes its debut today — promises to be the United States’ “go-to” site for the Nuclear Renaissance and the intellectual crossroads for the industry.
A statement like that gets my constructive competitive juices flowing. Atomic Insights has been on the web since 1995. There are a number of other sites on our blog roll whose owners and publishers are working hard every day to provide good information about nuclear energy and its future prospects. I would alter Steve’s statement by a couple of words and say that Nuclear Townhall promises to be “one of the got to sites” for the Nuclear Renaissance.