|Presentation of Uranium Institute Gold Medal|
|Chairmanís Remarks ó Jean-Pierre Rougeau|
Since its tenth anniversary in 1985 the Uranium Institute has awarded a gold medal every two years to an individual whom the Instituteís Council of Management deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to the development or application of nuclear power. The early recipients of these awards were people who made outstanding contributions to the introduction of nuclear power in their respective countries, but in 1997 we broke with the tradition of honouring only distinguished engineers. The last recipient of the Gold Medal was Dr Hans Blix, who for sixteen years had presided over the International Atomic Energy Agency, and was the global champion of the benefits of civil nuclear energy in all its applications.
The key to public acceptance of nuclear energy is knowledge and information. The nuclear industry for many years had a reputation for secrecy and unwillingness to share its knowledge with the general public. This information deficit is gradually being put right. One of the principal instruments of this transformation is NucNet. It is my very great pleasure today to honour the two men who more than anyone else have, by their dedication and expertise, made the spread of nuclear information not only possible but exciting.
Since its establishment in 1991, NucNet has become the indispensable information source for top nuclear managers, executives and public communicators. Anyone with a daily professional need to be up to the minute on nuclear developments throughout the world turns to NucNet. But more important to my mind, this news service has by its speed, its accuracy and its impartiality gained the trust and respect of journalists throughout the world, and has been accepted by a wider public as an purveyor of accurate and balanced news about nuclear energy.
It has been able to do this because of the two men whom we are honouring today: Jack Ashton and Chris Lewis.
Jack Ashton has been Editor in Chief of the network since its inception. Chris Lewis joined him in February 1995 as editor and business development manager. Interestingly they both came to NucNet from Swiss Radio International, and learnt their trade in the traditional nursery of the best journalists, the English provincial press.
Together they have made a first rate team. They have collected information from all sorts of sources: information officers at plant sites, utilities, regulatory bodies, government ministries, research centres, and so on. It is distilled and edited at their central office in Berne from where it is distributed by a system of fax and email to NucNetís subscribers, providing an up-to-date and constant flow of material about the latest nuclear stories. Any journalist, or nuclear manager for that matter, now has far more accurate information about the latest nuclear story at his fingertips than he had ten years ago. This is the measure of Jack Ashton and Chris Lewisís achievement.
For those of us who are regular attendees at nuclear conferences, Chris Lewis is the more familiar figure. Jack Ashton is less well known; today gives us an opportunity to see the person behind the by-line. But the two of them are a team which has created a highly successful and useful service. Their dedication to the truth and to the dissemination of soundly based and accurate knowledge about the nuclear business is great, and greatly in the interests of the industry. It cannot be said too strongly how important the spread of such information is.
The nuclear industry is much in their debt. We have a chance today to acknowledge that publicly. It is thus with great pleasure that, on behalf of its members, I now present the Uranium Instituteís 1999 Gold Medal to Jack Ashton and Chris Lewis of NucNet.
© copyright The Uranium Institute 1999SYM9798