NA-YGN President’s Corner
19 May, 2011
[Approx. Read Time: 2 minutes]
Even by our own strict measures for success, I’m surprised by the outstanding performance that North American – Young Generation in Nuclear (NA-YGN) turned in this past year. And this effort is all the more significant because, this year, outstanding performance came in the face of overwhelming challenges. The tsunami-triggered nuclear troubles in Japan have challenged even the NA-YGN’s famous optimism about the future of the nuclear science and technology.
As soon as the first report on the troubled Japanese nuclear reactors hit the news, young professionals in North America wanted to know more and find ways to help. We wanted more information on the status of the troubled reactors and we wanted to know more about the future of the industry. But there wasn’t much NA-YGN could do to support Japan technically, so our generation became restless. Some began to question the future of the industry. Even I had doubts. I worried about the future of nuclear energy, I worried about my career selection and I worried about the future of NA-YGN.
But in this challenge to our optimism came the key for us to mobilize and help. We are an organization known for grassroots outreach. We act when others just talk. Since our career worries were broadly shared, we decided to support our industry by providing confidence, vital information and guidance for young professionals in the industry. We used social media to explain the significance of the events in Japan and correct inaccuracies about nuclear. Our dedication to communicating with our neighbors, friends and family helped keep valid concerns from growing into undue hysteria. Today we are seeing the confidence return. The optimism is rebounding.
Now that more than a month has passed since the earthquake and tsunami, a brighter picture of nuclear’s future is reemerging. North Americans will continue to research, design, develop, construct and operate nuclear facilities. We will create and keep jobs and we will continue to focus on safety.
What we cannot do and will not do is quit. This event is our generation’s Three Mile Island. We will learn from this event and we will use these lessons to further improve our industry. Continuing the path toward building new nuclear reactors, advancing nuclear medicine andeliminating proliferation concerns will help us achieve these goals. It is clear to me that our destination has not changed, just the road we are taking to our destination.
North American Young Generation in Nuclear
This is Elizabeth McAndrew-Benavides’ last President’s Corner as President of NA-YGN. She is now Past-President of NA-YGN.