Thursday, June 02, 2016

Looking Back at #NEA16

Here at NEI, it seems as if the first five months of the year has gone by in a blur. January featured Third Way's Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase. February was our annual Wall Street Briefing.

March saw us participating in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory's Commission's Regulatory Information Conference. The Nuclear Industry Summit straddled March and April. And then the last two weeks of May rocketed past as we participated in a Department of Energy summit on preserving at-risk nuclear reactors, and then, just two days later, headed south to Miami for the 2016 Nuclear Energy Assembly.

Not that we're complaining. Our industry is facing some strong headwinds, and while the future is bright with prospects for a number of advanced reactor designs, we need to #ActForNuclear now in order to preserve the current fleet and the benefits it contributes to the nation in order to get there.

Many of those themes were echoed in the words of NEI Chairman Don Brandt in the annual State of the Industry address, where he urged his colleagues to help change the conversation about nuclear energy:
We also need to change the conversation. The nuclear industry has the facts on its side—about safety, reliability, clean air benefits and more—but a dry recitation of data does not stir people’s emotions or their imaginations. Unless we get people’s attention to nuclear energy’s benefits, our data mean little or nothing to them. We must promote the benefits of carbon-free nuclear energy as a critical part of a diverse, cleaner electricity supply.

[...]

Let’s do a better job of tuning in to stakeholders. Make sure we are talking about things that matter to them! Tell people why they should care about nuclear energy.

Tell them why it matters to them. Step out from behind our stacks of data and analysis and connect with people.

Because nuclear matters.
One person we managed to connect with was Australian climate activist Ben Heard. We first discovered Ben and his nuclear conversion story back in 2012, but this was the first time we got to meet him in person as he appeared in a panel discussion alongside Rachel Pritzker of the Pritzker Innovation Fund and Matt Bennett of Third Way. Ben was pretty direct about the need to humanize what we do, and his message met with a very receptive audience inside the hall in Miami.
Ben's appearance on stage was something of a watershed moment for us, as it was only a few minutes before that the Twitter hashtag for the conference, #NEA16, began to trend, just as #ActForNuclear had a few days before during the Department of Energy summit.

And speaking of that bright future, one couldn't help but be encouraged by what we saw from the younger industry employees in attendance. NEI's Tara Young arrived in Miami a few days ahead of the formal start of #NEA16 in order to attend the annual meeting of North American Young Generation in Nuclear, and with iPhone in hand, she did her best to get as many of her industry colleagues on video to help tell the story of our industry. Along with this blog feature by Entergy's Natalie Wood, it's a reason to cheer for what's coming up from the next generation of nuclear energy industry employees.

NA-YGN Videos
Sandra Stewart, Energy Northwest
Bristol Hartlage, Curtiss-Wright
Robert Ashworth, MPR
Ana Pisani, Duke Energy
Umar Faraz, AREVA
Gary Mingo, Southern Nuclear
Alexander Bauer, Dominion
Kirsty Gogan, Energy for Humanity

What else is there to say? Plenty. So much in fact, that we still haven't had time to unpack it all. So for now, here are the links to all of our exiting coverage from the Nuclear Energy Overview (NEO)team. Before the end of the week, we'll be posting more videos with industry employees talking about the future of the business and why despite the interesting times we live in, our industry is one with real purpose and hope for the future.

NEO Coverage
NEI Re-Elects Pinnacle West’s Brandt, TVA’s Johnson as Board Leaders
Next Era Energy Employees Win Top Industry Innovation Award
Ex-INPO CEO James Ellis Earns Nuclear Industry’s Leadership Award
Without More Nuclear, Global Climate Goals Won't Be Met
Now Trending: Advanced Nuclear Energy Technology

#NEA16 Panel Discussions (YouTube)
Building the Foundation for the Future
Preparing for New Reactor Development
Global Climate Panel

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