Korsnick calls for concerted nuclear advocacy effort

24 May 2017

The US nuclear energy industry must work together to strengthen existing relationships and build new coalitions among supporters of nuclear energy's different attributes, according to Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) president and CEO Maria Korsnick.

Maria Korsnick - NEA2017 - 460 (NEI)
Korsnick opening the Nuclear Energy Assembly (Image: NEI)

Speaking yesterday at the opening of the NEI's Nuclear Energy Assembly in Scottsdale, Arizona, Korsnick said: "Nuclear energy's value is clear to those of us who work in the industry. Certainly it's clear to people like me, who are advocates for nuclear energy both professionally and personally."

However, she added, "Unfortunately, what is clear to us seems opaque to many policymakers and the public. Either inadvertently or by design, they are opting to edge us out of the energy spotlight - and perhaps off the stage completely. Simply put, nuclear energy's benefits have been taken for granted. It took the premature shutdown of several nuclear plants to open people's eyes to the magnitude of that loss."

Korsnick said the industry has developed the National Nuclear Energy Strategy to communicate nuclear energy's benefits "more aggressively, more widely and more consistently than we ever have before". The industry has "stepped up our advocacy efforts not just a notch or two, but by a great margin", she said.

"Judging by the reaction from some of the industry's longtime critics - and from new critics in unexpected places - we're gaining traction," Korsnick said. She noted that in the past year the state governments of New York and Illinois have adopted explicit policies recognising nuclear's contribution to clean energy. Other states - including Connecticut, Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania - are considering doing the same.

Korsnick noted that nuclear energy has supporters in the business and labour communities, as well as among groups focused on climate change and air quality.

"Their priorities are different, but they have a shared stake in nuclear energy," she said. "As the industry reaches out to supporters in diverse areas, we find them reaching out to us. New coalitions are forming. Relationships are getting stronger."

Despite this progress, "this remains a time of great stress for the nuclear energy industry", she said, stressing that the industry must ensure nuclear energy remains part of the conversation on clean energy.

"Like me, you know exactly which aspects of this fascinating field have kept you a passionate believer in its promise for the future," she said. "What I'd like you to do is go out and spread the passion in the ways you know best."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News