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Archive for the ‘Nuclear Townhall’ Category

NTH: What’s It Going To Take To Make Nuclear Cool Again

Saturday, January 25th, 2020

This week, NTH’s reporter spoke to Eric Meyer of GenerationAtomic, a pro-nuclear grass-roots organization, and learned the latest on several key campaigns planned and getting underway at the state level.

Check out their site at:

USNIC: Regarding the passing of USNIC founder, president & CEO David Blee

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

Statement by
The U.S. Nuclear Industry Council
December 31, 2019
Regarding the passing of USNIC founder, president & CEO David Blee.

Washington, D.C. – The United States Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC) announced today that its founder and leader, president and chief executive officer, Mr. David Blee died suddenly this past weekend due to medical complications stemming from an adverse reaction to medication he was taking at the time.
For over 15 years since its founding and that of its predecessor organizations, David has been at the helm of USNIC and has been instrumental in guiding and leading industry efforts to win support for nuclear power in the U.S., and internationally. He was a tireless champion and was highly respected and admired by all for his efforts.
Hon. Bud Albright, the USNIC Chairman and former Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, stated that "the loss of our friend and able leader, David, leaves our hearts hollow. He was a good man.  Few have his ability to navigate the corridors of Washington and consistently advance worthy goals as capably as he. We shall miss him terribly, and as he would want, we shall continue to advance innovation, progress, and the application of advanced nuclear energy technology for the betterment of the world."  Hon. Albright also reported that the USNIC board has met and has developed a plan to ensure USNIC's continuity and continued advocacy for the U.S. nuclear industry.
David's public service experience included his current appointment to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee and past appointments as a Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy and Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Energy – and as Chief of Staff to former U.S. Senator Connie Mack while Hon. Mack was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Prior to founding USNIC and its predecessors, David Blee was an Executive Vice President for NAC International, a U.S.-based energy services and technology company, where he directed the company's Worldwide Consulting Group and Marketing & Business Development portfolios. Mr. Blee was previously a Senior Vice President for the strategic communications firm Robinson, Lake, Lerer and Montgomery.
The son of a Central Intelligence Agency officer who headed divisions in India and the former Soviet Union, David was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and lived 11 of his first 14 years overseas, including six years in India. He graduated from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania with a degree in economics but was soon drawn to politics and public service. David held numerous positions in government and industry over a career spanned several decades but as USNIC's leader he came to focus on efforts to revitalize the nuclear power industry. USNIC plays a key role in many facets of nuclear technology and commerce, and he was widely known as the industry's chief advocate and promoter inside and outside the halls of government.
In addition to his responsibilities as a nuclear industry leader, David was an avid horse racing industry enthusiast and a dedicated and loving husband and father. David Blee died on December 29, 2019 in Kentucky and was 66 years old. David is survived by his wife, Mary Elizabeth, and three children – Cooper, Elizabeth and Augustus Blee; brothers Richard, John and Robert and twin sister Elizabeth.
For more information Contact:
Caleb Ward

The United States Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC) is the leading U.S. business consortium advocate for new nuclear and promotion of the American supply chain globally. Composed of over 80 companies USNIC represents the "Who's Who" of the nuclear supply chain community, including key utility movers, technology developers, construction engineers, manufacturers and service providers. USNIC encompasses eight working groups and select task forces including an Advanced Reactors Task Force. For more information visit


Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Fluor Corporation CEO Alan Boeckmann told an engineering conference yesterday what is becoming obvious to everyone – growing supplies of shale gas are undercutting the Nuclear Renaissance in this country.
"The emergence of the tremendous volumes of shale gas which have kept prices low — and looks like it will keep them low for a very long time in the future — really has started to knock the legs out from under the U.S. nuclear industry," Boeckmann told the D.A. Davidson & Co Engineering and Construction Conference in San Francisco. Fluor is the country’s largest publicly traded engineering company.
Boeckmann added that a failure to put a price on carbon emissions in this year’s Congress had added to the trend. “As long as there was no extra cost paid for carbon emissions in the United States, the economics of building plants to burn cheap natural gas would remain better than that of nuclear,” Boeckmann told the conference, according to Reuters.
The situation contrasts highly with Russia and the Middle East, where national energy policy has decided to build nuclear reactors in order to sell natural gas supplies on the international market. Russian officials say they can get six times the price for their gas by selling it abroad than using it at home to generate electricity.
Also promoting natural gas consumption in the U.S. has been the “alliance” between advocates of renewable energy and natural gas companies that are advertising their gas turbines as the “natural partner” of unreliable wind and solar generating facilities. Fast-starting turbines can be fired up almost immediately to make up for power losses when the wind dies down or the sun goes behind clouds. The “partnership” of renewables-and-gas-turbines actually consumers more natural gas than if the same gas were used to power more efficient combined-cycle gas plants, but the practice is being employed to satisfy the statutory demands of state “renewable energy portfolio” mandates.
Congress will be considering a similar national renewable electricity mandate when it resumes session after the November elections.

Read more at Reuters


Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Now we know where the term "environmental purity" originates.

A handful of environmentalist activists, still smarting because the Obama Administration was not able to push climate legislation through the Senate, have begun openly talking about fielding an "environmental candidate" for President in 2012.

Such talk is years premature, of course, but it’s a strong indication of how little the professional environmental movement understands about compromise and how cultish it can be in its behavior.

“Obama’s environmental record has been dismal, especially on climate, oil and endangered species,” Kieran Suckling, executive director at the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity, told Politico. But then the Center for Biological Diversity has done some pretty dismal things itself.  For instance, it is one of the principal opponents who have managed to delay the Green PATH North Renewable Electricity Transmission Line, designed to carry wind and solar electricity from the California Desert to Los Angeles, for the past five years. []

What die-hard activists seem to be longing for is a European-style "Green Party" that would concentrate the 5 percent or so of voters who place environmental causes above everything else. In a European parliamentary system, such fractional minorities can play a key role – as Germany’s Green Party has proved. In the American electoral system, however, such splinter groups can only be counterproductive. After all, wasn’t Ralph Nader running on the Green Party ticket in 2000 when he mined Al Gore’s base?
As outlined on this site last week, the major reason environmentalist activists failed to get significant climate legislation is because they insisted on  purity and refused to strike alliances with other clean energy sectors, notably nuclear energy.  Had card-caring environmentalist been willing to acknowledge that only nuclear can replace coal for base load power, the political establishment might have taken them seriously.  Even now, if they were going for a carbon-free clean energy standard for electricity instead of a limited "renewable" standard, it might have been possible to get some kind of clean energy mandate through the Senate — as yesterday’s Washington Post editorial suggested. 

In July, Vinod Koshla, Silicon Valley’s most prominent investor in renewable technologies, suggested that a renewable mandate of 15 percent would easily become practical if it were expanded to include any low-carbon technology such as carbon capture or nuclear power. Within hours, Joseph Romm, the indefatigueable blogger on "Climate Progress," ran a critique entitled, "Is Anyone More Incoherent Than Vinod Koshla?"  [] You can steer literally hundreds of millions of dollars into wind and solar projects, but if you once say something positive about nuclear power, you are immediately read out of the picture.

That’s what killed climate legislation.  


Read more at Politico



Friday, August 13th, 2010

The Nuclear Townhall piece (Getting Down To The Basics On Renewables) brought a quick and breezy response from Carlo Ombello, the outspoken Sun God proponent. Said Ombello in a loquacious post to Townhall:

"Guys, this is hilarious.

Amazing how the simplest figures and comments can still lead you to describe a nightmare scenario where the World will be paved by renewable energy plants throughout. Quite simply the opposite of what I was stating. So much space on Earth, so little needed for our energy needs, and still you won’t get it. Actually, you will accurately avoid any quantifying numbers to back your amusing claims. Bring it on! I see it must be frustrating to see roofs everywhere, potential prays of those horrific PV panels!!! let alone those precious stretches of desert, usual destination of family holiday and weekend barbecues… for ever wasted to CSP plants and who knows what else."

Ombello took a good natured dig at nuclear Tyrannosauroids all:

"What surprises me the most thou is the total disregard of “old-fashioned” nuclear advocates (not all pro-nuclear people are like this!) for the technological progress the energy industry is undergoing at such a quick pace. In your nuclear dreams, there is not even room for new technology on the nuclear side, just some good ol’ uranium plants, now around for 60 years without a hint of meaningful evolution.

Good luck with that! But let the rest of us enjoy the fruits of human genius. Please."

Ciou for now Carlo…


Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Last Friday’s NTH Debate of the Week, “Can the U.S. be the World’s Nuclear Policeman?” caught the attention of Warren Olney, host of National Public Radio’s popular “To the Point” debate show, who was putting together a session on the State Department’s recent efforts to strike a nuclear deal with Vietnam.

So yesterday afternoon, NTH editor-at-large William Tucker appeared on the show along with Jay Solomon, the Wall Street Journal reporter who broke the story, Joseph Cirincione, of the Ploughshares Fund, a Washington non-proliferation group, Henry Sokolski, director of the Non-Proliferation Center in Washington and former Deputy for Nonproliferation in the Bush Administration Defense Department, and Selig Harrison, director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy.

Tucker stunned the Beltway oriented group by telling them “we’re in last place when it comes to developing nuclear technology” around the world and that we are jeopardizing whatever moral authority we had in directing nuclear technology around the world by failing to develop it ourselves. Needless to say, the representatives of the non-profit world were in denial with respect to this premise, which they labeled “premature fatalism.”  They also argued that “commercial interests” and the “powerful nuclear industry” is trying to spread nuclear technology around the world without any consideration of the proliferation aspects. Tucker responded that commercialization of nuclear power globally is largely being carried forth by France, Japan, Korea, Russia and China.

To hear the debate, click on this link and go to the podcast. Then move the cursor from the brief “Fed to H . . “ segment to “Nuclear Non-Proliferation and America’s Deal with Vietnam.”  The debate lasts about 35 minutes.

Listen to the broadcast here


Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Think of it: A technology that is on the cutting edge of 21st century physics. A power source that promises to run whole cities with only a whisper of an impact on the environment. A solution to the problem of carbon emissions. An almost unlimited supply of energy with maximum efforts for recycling and a minimum of waste. The chance to take what we need from nature without perturbing landscapes with gargantuan devices for gathering "renewable energy."

Public enthusiasm about nuclear power is at an all-time high – above 70 percent by some accounts. And the Obama Administration and Congress are advancing serious initiative to spur nuclear energy as part of the clean energy economy.

As self-appointed Guardians of the Renaissance how do we keep the Renaissance going? 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?

Americans assume we still have some kind of lead in this technology. We don't. We're going to have to regain that lead through hard work and daring. We're going to have to embrace this technology as never before.

That's the task we've set ourselves. We will be a water cooler with a blend of the most important stories of the day, original reporting and diverse points of view. We'll also add some "Farks" to the most important stories – a lead-in that encourages comments from readers. And once a week we'll have the "Friday Debate" in which we pick an important subject and invite you, our associates, to supply the intelligent opinion.

Altogether, we think it's a tremendously exciting format and we hope you will visit often. The Nuclear Renaissance is coming. We intend to be a big part of it.

Steve Hedges
Managing Editor

About Steve Hedges:

Steve Hedges has broad Washington and international experience as a journalist, communications strategist and issues management expert. He is currently CEO of Hedges Strategies, a Washington D.C.-base media strategy business.

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.