Be an Advocate for Nuclear Energy ~ Here’s Where to Start
Don’t just sit there – do something!
The pressing issues of climate change and the need to decarbonize our highly technological societies have led to many people toward thinking that the CO2 emission free nature of nuclear power is one of the answers, along with renewable energy technologies like solar and wind.
People who are just starting to realize that the planet might be in peril, in fact it is, next ask, “well who is telling the story about nuclear energy and doing something about it?”
As it turns out there are a lot of people who are doing just that. To that end here is a short list, not meant to be all inclusive, that is provided for your use so that you have a place to start. This list is intended to be a starting point of organizations which have a demonstrated track record of doing useful work and are accessible via their websites.
The brief list here is divided into four general groups which are more or less arbitrary and there is no small amount of overlap among them in terms of what each one of them does. The names of the groups are more or less self-explanatory.
So what do these groups do?
- Some provide information to elected officials, lobby legislative bodies, and seek commitments from governments and business to develop new nuclear power plants and technologies and to extend the lives of the ones we already have.
- Some groups are thought and opinion leaders, but don’t lobby, but their influence is widely felt.
- At the grass roots level some groups knock on doors, hand out information packets, and urge people to get involved in the issue.
Depending on your preferred method of getting involved in the issue, here is a list of places to begin. This isn’t a complete list but you don’t need a “complete” list. You just need a jumping off point. All of them have value. The important thing is to get started.
Included below is the name of each organization, a link to its home page, and a brief statement of purpose from the group’s web site. Note that some of the “about” statements are edited for space.
Large Non-governmental Organizations
American Nuclear Society – The American Nuclear Society is a professional organization of engineers and scientists devoted to peaceful and beneficial applications of nuclear science and technology. Its members come from diverse technical backgrounds covering the full range of engineering disciplines as well as the physical and biological sciences within the nuclear field.
Nuclear Energy Institute – The Nuclear Energy Institute is the policy organization of the nuclear technologies industry based in Washington, D.C. NEI has hundreds of members and, with their involvement, develops policy on key national legislative and regulatory issues affecting the industry. NEI’s focus is definitely inside the DC Beltway, but the website has lots of useful information representing the nuclear industry’s views on legislation, policy, program, and regulatory developments in DC.
Nuclear Matters – Nuclear Matters is a national coalition that works to inform the public and policymakers via the major news media in the U.S. about the clear benefits of nuclear energy. The coalition supports solutions that properly value nuclear energy as a reliable, affordable, safe and carbon-free electricity resource that is essential to America’s energy future.
U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council – The United States Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC) is a U.S. business consortium advocate for nuclear energy and promotion of the American supply chain globally. Composed of over 80 firms, USNIC represents the “Who’s Who” of the nuclear supply chain community, including key utility movers, technology developers, construction engineers, manufacturers and service providers.
Canadian Nuclear Association – The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) is a non-profit organization to represent the nuclear industry in Canada and promote the development and growth of nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes.
FORATOM – (the European Atomic Forum) is the Brussels-based trade association for the nuclear energy industry in Europe. Its main purpose is to promote the use of nuclear power in Europe. The membership of FORATOM is made up of 15 national nuclear associations representing nearly 3,000 firms.
European Nuclear Society – ENS is a Learned Society that brings nuclear societies and professionals in Europe together, allowing them to exchange knowledge and experience about nuclear science and technology. ENS promotes the development of nuclear science and technology and the understanding of peaceful nuclear applications. Founded in 1975, ENS is the largest society for nuclear science, research and industry in Europe.
The Society’s membership includes national nuclear societies from 20 countries in Europe plus Israel. Another crucial component of that membership are its Corporate Members, representing key stakeholders which are partners for nuclear technology and research in Europe.
U.S. Think Tanks for Policy & Programs, and Thought / Opinion Leaders
Breakthrough Institute – Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and Fukushima nuclear accident, Breakthrough’s energy work has focused heavily on the future of nuclear energy. Along with a growing cohort of scientists, journalists, philanthropists, and environmentalists, we have made the case that addressing climate change will require abundant, cheap, safe, and reliable nuclear energy. Toward that end, Breakthrough has been a leading advocate for innovation in advanced nuclear designs and business models.
Clean Air Task Force – CATF aims to make nuclear energy a viable option for decarbonizing the world energy system at needed scale and speed. We catalyze private sector and government activity to lower the cost and deployment speed of current nuclear technology.
Energy For Humanity – Energy for Humanity is a UK-and Switzerland-based non-profit organisation with a global outlook focused on solving climate change and enabling universal access to modern energy services. Energy for Humanity strongly advocates for evidence-based, whole-system, and technology-inclusive solutions in pursuit of the best (fastest, most cost-effective, most feasible) outcomes for people and nature. Our goal is to address these themes and to inspire meaningful action.
Fastest Path to Zero Initiative – We are an interdisciplinary team of experts, including University of Michigan staff and students, working to support communities as they plan and pursue ambitious climate goals. We offer a variety of tools to help communities transform their energy systems while adapting to a changing climate. Our tool belt includes big data analytics combined with a passion for human-centered design and engagement. We specialize in working at the intersection of NGOs and academia.
Good Energy Collective – Good Energy Collective is a policy research organization. We’re building the progressive case for nuclear energy as an essential part of the broader climate change agenda. We develop smart policies at every scale to accelerate the just and equitable deployment of advanced nuclear technologies. Our research is rooted in social science and champions a whole-of-government approach, so that communities can go from ideas, to development, to thoughtful and effective deployment faster and more efficiently.
Partnership for Global Security – The Partnership for Global Security (PGS) is a recognized international leader and innovator in the nuclear and transnational security policy area. It provides actionable responses to 21st century security challenges by engaging international, private sector, and multidisciplinary expert partners to assess policy needs, identify effective strategies, and drive demonstrable results.
Third Way – Advanced Nuclear Energy Programs – Our team designs and advocates for policies that will drive innovation and deployment of clean energy technologies, and deliver the emissions cuts we need to win the fight against climate change. The more low-carbon options we have to work with, the better our chances of success.
U.S. Grass Roots and Open Source Activism
Californians for Green Nuclear Power – Californians for Green Nuclear Power, Inc. is dedicated to promoting the peaceful use of safe, carbon-free nuclear power, and to keeping Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant open, so it can continue in its important role of generating clean energy for the benefit of California’s economy.
Climate Coalition – We are working to educate people about the need for all types of zero-carbon energy generation—including nuclear energy—if we are going to clean up our energy streams, eliminate new carbon emissions, and clean up what has already been unleashed on our climate.
Environmental Progress – Environmental Progress (EP) is a research and policy organization fighting for clean power and energy justice to achieve nature and prosperity for all.
Generation Atomic – Our Mission: To energize and empower today’s generations to advocate for a nuclear future. Gen A works to cultivate relationships with business leaders, pro-nuclear donors, and grassroots advocates. By engaging stakeholders at all levels, Gen A is working together with many partners to create a loud, effective, and sustainable pro-nuclear constituency.
Thorium Energy Alliance – We are a nonprofit group composed of engineers, scientists, and concerned citizens interested in creating a working Thorium powered reactor. It is one of T.E.A.s goals to restart a Homogeneous Fuels Research Reactor program and commercialize the Molten Salt Reactor and the supply chain infrastructure behind it.
Energy Impact Center (EIC) – EIC is committed to finding accelerated open source pathways to decarbonize the global economy by 2040. OPEN100 offers developers around the world a design approach that has three ingredients for a successful nuclear reactor project: engineering schematics, construction schedule, and detailed economic analysis.
The OPEN100 project has a design approach for a pressurized water reactor (PWR) power plant that is sized at 100MW output. It says the PWR will rely on existing supply chains which will help keep costs under control. If when you were 12 you wanted to build a nuclear reactor from an erector set, this is a place for you.
U.S. Special Interest Groups
Mothers for Nuclear – We are mothers who used to be skeptical about nuclear energy, but now believe it is essential to protect our children from pollution, our landscapes from sprawl, and future generations from global warming.
North American Young Generation in Nuclear – Our Vision – Developing leaders to energize the future of nuclear. Our Mission – NAYGN provides opportunities for a young generation of nuclear enthusiasts to develop leadership and professional skills, create life-long connections, engage and inform the public, and inspire today’s nuclear technology professionals to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Women in Nuclear – Positioning the United States for the future of nuclear energy and technology through the advancement of women. Create professional development and networking opportunities for career advancement. Enhance understanding and awareness of the value of nuclear energy and technology.
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For really complete lists of organizations and people involved in advocacy for nuclear energy, this wide ranging page on Wikipedia is helpful and perhaps overwhelming hence this “getting started” blog post. The page is somewhat out of date as of Fall 2020.
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