Dear ANS members,
As you know, the staff and I are in the midst of implementing a significant overhaul of ANS operations, as guided by the letter and spirit of ANS Change Plan 2020.
We are off to a good start. We have changed the ANS organization chart to knock down silos and bring fresh leadership to our Publications and Digital Technology Departments. We have embarked on a major overhaul of our IT infrastructure to leverage the advantages of cloud computing and significantly improve our cybersecurity posture. Our first visible improvement will be a modernized ANS website, scheduled to go live for members and the general public in a matter of weeks, followed by digital access to Nuclear News and related content this summer.
We have many other exciting changes in the works, including the build-out of an ANS Operations Center to increase the value and timeliness of our news reporting and our communications to the public. Just as important as these 2020 deliverables, however, is the commitment of the staff and volunteer leaders to modernizing the way we do things, so we can make ANS more productive without sacrificing the personal touch that makes our organization great.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak with scores of members over the last three months, and I am so grateful for the advice and counsel you have provided about our people, programs, and initiatives. One call in particular sticks out in my mind. It was with an ANS leader based overseas. We initially struggled with incompatible teleconferencing platforms, but when we ultimately connected, this member gently reminded me to communicate the broader value of the changes we are making. “Make sure people understand why you are doing this,” he said.
Put simply, we are doing this for two reasons: sustainability and impact. First, we are applying modern, technologically enabled business practices to our operations in order to improve our efficiency and serve our members in a fiscally sustainable manner for decades to come. Think of it as “delivering the nuclear promise” of ANS.
Our second and equally important motivation is readying ANS to be a louder voice for the nuclear professional community in the 2020s—stronger, more scientifically grounded, and not afraid to take on tough issues. According to the results of an August 2019 Pew Research Center survey, U.S. public confidence in scientists is “on par with confidence in the military,” and it “exceeds the levels of public confidence in other groups and institutions, including the media, business leaders, and elected officials.” ANS is the one nuclear organization with a mission and mandate to be the voice of the nuclear scientific community.
Clearly, we cannot rely solely on the nuclear industry or Washington, D.C., to lead the public dialogue on nuclear technology, especially on thorny issues like nuclear waste and low-dose radiation. It seems clear to me that, for nuclear to take its rightful place on the stage, the voices of the scientists and engineers who have devoted their careers to using this technology for good must be heard.—Craig Piercy, Executive Director/CEO