Society News Archive

26 July 2006
Skip Bowman Delivers the Landauer Memorial Lecture on Nuclear Renaissance

Frank L. (Skip) Bowman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, delivered the Robert S. Landauer, Sr., Memorial Lecture at the 51st Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society. The meeting was held in Providence, Rhode Island, June 25-29, 2006, at the Providence Convention Center. Bowman's address, The Nuclear Energy Renaissance and the Role of the Radiation Safety Professional, sketches the broad outlines of what he calls the nuclear energy renaissance and discusses the critical role radiation safety professionals will play in the renaissance.

After citing concrete examples that the nuclear industry is building again, Bowman makes the observation: "But none of this astonishes me as much as the fact that nuclear power is becoming a unifying issue, rather than a divisive one. Oh, we will always have skeptics, even downright opposition, but it's clear that nuclear energy is finding favor with growing numbers of people and institutions." The fact nuclear power is becoming a unifying issue is exemplified by the recent endorsement by Patrick Moore, a cofounder of Greenpeace and author of The Whole Earth Catalog, for incorporation of nuclear power into America's energy future, the nuclear industry's unwavering support at the highest levels of the Executive Branch, exceptional support for the industry in Congress, growing acceptance in the financial community, and a recent survey of the public that found "88 percent of college-educated voters and 86 percent of the public at large agreed that nuclear energy will play an important role in our energy future." Bowman cautions, however, that the nuclear industry must earn and maintain the public's trust in order to sustain the renaissance. He states: "We will not be able to build new reactors unless there is consensus among stakeholders that today's nuclear plants are safe and reliable. Continued excellent plant performance is an unconditional imperative." Regarding the role of the radiation safety professional, Bowman stated: "Health physicists and radiation protection professionals will play a strategic role in all of the nuclear energy initiatives I've discussed so far. And here, the numbers tell a chilling story and present us with a major challenge."

He goes on to explain that the moajor challenge is the result of a shortage of radiation safety professionals to meet the demand to support industry growth. Approximately 1,000 radiation safety professionals were in attendance for Bowman's presentation. At the conclusion of the address, Health Physics Society President Ruth McBurney presented Skip with the Robert S. Landauer, Sr., Memorial Lecture Award.

Click here for the complete text of Skip Bowman's address. Click here for HPS President Ruth McBurney's introduction/background of Skip Bowman. Click here for more information about the Robert S. Landauer, Sr., Memorial Lecture.