Individual failures suck. Agreed. But they’re often isolated to the confines of your office or living room or the wall upon which your dartboard hangs or that four-wheeled “project” that is taking up space in your garage.
Individual failures that lead to institutional failures are an entirely different breed of animal. The history of the nuclear industry is replete with those examples. Some of my favorites are my own.
The nuclear industry has been granted a “second chance” out of the necessity of assembling a zero-carbon footprint energy mix. But that second chance is a tenuous amalgam of nuclear advocates and recently-former nuclear “no-f*cking-way'ers!”.
And sitting atop all this social nuclear instability are U.S. regulators trying very hard to look like independent regulators, and the U.S. Congress and government (until very recently) heaping failure upon failure on the nuclear industry and the U.S. taxpayers at nearly every turn while attempting to address the national issues surrounding nuclear power.
Amidst all the talk of new beginnings is the loss of the secret sauce of organizational cultures that operate within high-hazard industries. Author James Reason laid bare the recipe for that secret sauce when he said, “If eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, then chronic unease is the price of safety.”
Indeed, chronic unease in the nuclear industry left the nuclear enterprise long ago. Through my writings, I hope to bring some of that much-needed unease back to the conversation.
Why Are My Writings Worth Slightly More Than A Plugged Nickel?
I've worked in the nuclear industry for almost 40 years, mostly in highly technical and often classified settings. I've worked on projects at nearly every facility in the DOE nuclear weapons complex, for Homeland Security, DOD, and other federal agencies, and on behalf of private clients working on nuclear projects, such as cleaning up high and low level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. I've also helped oil and gas companies with their unique radio-environmental issues
On the flip side of my technical experience, I was a governor-appointed official for the state of Texas for 14 years. I worked diligently and led two organizations to support the responsible use of radioactive materials, the safe disposal of radioactive wastes, and the engagement of the public, stakeholders, politicians, and corporations in the important conversations that did and must happen if legitimate nuclear operators are to do their work correctly.
This experience, combined with my rather impressive list of personal failures, creates a unique canvas upon which my stories and analyses are written.
"Success is not built on success. It's built on failure. It's built on frustration. Sometimes it's built on catastrophe." - Sumner Redstone
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