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[cdn-nucl-l] " Young nuclear professionals aim to rattle activists' strategies"
NUCLEONICS WEEK MAY 19, 2005
Young nuclear professionals
to rattle activists'
A group of young professionals who support the nuclear
industry are shaking up advocacy groups' strategies for fighting
nuclear projects, said Lisa Shell, incoming president of
the North American Young Generation in Nuclear
Shell said the organization has had an impact on advocacy
groups' demonstration tactics and on public opinion of
nuclear energy, particularly in Virginia. She told the Nuclear
Energy Assembly in Washington, D.C. that a local chapter of
NA-YGN started organizing about a year ago to support
Dominion's early site permit (ESP) efforts. Group members
then began attending meetings, responding to negative
charges, and adding their voice on blogs (Web logs) to
"counter spin" from activists.
The group organized a pro-nuclear rally in February at an
NRC public meeting on Dominion's ESP request. The result,
she said, was more balanced media coverage.
"We have a lot of opponents running scared," Shell said.
She noted that one advocacy group began posting meeting
notices just days, rather than weeks, in advance to discourage
NA-YGN's presence. And the Blue Ridge Environmental
Defense League removed information from its Web site after
NA-YGA challenged the data, she said.
She said the group is becoming more savvy about communications
and counter-demonstrations, and it plans to
pass on its knowledge to help local chapters on an interna-
tional scale confront anti-nuclear groups.
Attracting and retaining young engineers and other new
employees into nuclear companies is crucial for the survival
of the industry, said Donna Jacobs, vice president of nuclear
services for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. She told the conference
that her company has made an effort to look into the
needs of young hires. With a wave of retirements
to hit the industry in the next five years, efforts are
way to recruit and retain a new crop of
Through extensive interviews, Jacobs said she found the
employees wanted "to feel valued," "see results," and know
there were career opportunities. In addition to pay and benefits,
the employees were interested in having a company
offer rotations and a mentoring program.
"New employees have a lot of ideas, and they will challenge
things," she said. What they don't want to encounter
is having their suggestions rebuffed with the response,
"We've always done things that way," Jacobs said.
Jacobs encouraged companies to set up organized orientation
programs and not stifle new ideas that "challenge the status
-Jenny Weil, Washington
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