Bias of Nuclear-Related Organizations

Alex Hughes
March 24, 2015

Submitted as coursework for PH241, Stanford University, Winter 2014

After considerable time and effort spent developing nuclear technologies during World War II, nuclear power became a viable technology for power generation when the first civilian nuclear power plant was opened in Obninsk, USSR in 1954. In the following years, nuclear power experienced exponential growth worldwide until the mid-1980s, though the production of new reactors slowed somewhere in the mid-1970s amidst political opposition and historically low fossil fuel prices. Since then, the global production of power through nuclear energy has slowed down, plateauing in the mid-2000s before spiking down after the Fukushima-Daiichi meltdown in 2011 that caused Japan to decrease its nuclear power output considerably.

Due in no small part to a few major accidents, nuclear power, how to use it, and its potential health implications have been controversial topics worldwide for many years now. This controversy has begotten both pro- and anti-nuclear special interest groups that attempt to exert some influence over public opinion and policy through monetary donations to political candidates, social media outreach, or advertising campaigns. It is not always obvious from the names of these organizations what their stances are, so this article will provide an overview of some of the largest entities in order to help readers interpret information presented to them.

Before we delve into the entities themselves, it is important to note that very little quantitative information about lobbying is available to the public. The Lobbying Disclosure Act created a database that catalogs all lobbying expenditures greater than $10,000 reported to the federal government, but this database is guaranteed to be neither accurate nor consistent, as the data presented there may change at any time without prior notice. [1] As almost all of the monetary quotes presented by news articles and even academic papers are derived from this database, quantitative analysis of lobbying is extremely challenging, if not impossible. Many special interest groups also employ state and local policymaker lobbying, public outreach, protests (in the case of anti-nuclear groups), and advertisement campaigns to promote their causes. It is also worth noting that almost all of the organizations listed here have very few dated publications, so they can change their stances at any point. That said, the organizations here have had relatively consistent policies for the past several decades.

Pro-Nuclear Groups

Neutral Nuclear Groups

Anti-Nuclear Groups


This non-comprehensive list of nuclear power-related special interest groups should serve as a guide for readers to understand the bias behind information presented to them. There are more groups than the ones listed, but these are some of the largest and most ubiquitous.

As a general rule, if the reader wants to learn more about any of these organizations (or others), (s)he can start by going to the entity in question's website to determine what its general (pro-/anti-/neutral) stance is, then delving deeper by finding who quotes their work or what their public outreach material is. The next piece is finding out if they contribute to any larger organizations, political groups, or politicians. That information can be found through a number of nonpartisan organizations, though it is not guaranteed to be accurate. From there, the readers are free to draw their own conclusions about the validity of the claims made.

© Alex Hughes. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] "Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995," U.S. Public Law 104-65, 109 STAT 691, 19 Dec 95; United States Code, 2013 Edition, 2 USC 1601, 1 Jan 13.

[2] "Energy Reorganization Act of 1974", U.S. Public Law 93-438, 88 STAT 1233, 11 Oct 74; United States Code, 2013 Edition, 42 USC 5801, 1 Jan 13.

[3] C. D. Ferguson and M. Jansson, "Regulating Japanese Nuclear Power in the Wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Accident," Federation of American Scientists, May 2013.

[4] "Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook," European Renewable Energy Council Report, June 2010.