Thomas L. Stokes Award for Best Energy Writing

NPF Award Winner: Thomas L. Stokes Award for Best Energy Writing - Brett Chase and Madison Hopkins

Brett Chase and Madison Hopkins 2017

Better Government Association

The Better Government Association, a nonprofit watchdog in Illinois, has won the National Press Foundation’s Thomas L. Stokes Award for Best Energy Writing.

BGA reporters Brett Chase and Madison Hopkins revealed radioactive leaks around nuclear power plants owned by Exelon and a reluctance by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to act on critical safety concerns. Illinois has more nuclear power plants than any other state, leading Chase and Hopkins to explore safety issues in a project titled “Power Struggle.”

NPF judges said: “Better Government Association reporters produced a clear-eyed, ambitious investigation into safety issues at nuclear power plants, exposing a culture where regulators often deferred to the nuclear industry. Their reporting on the frayed safety net surfaced this startling fact: Of 687 whistleblower complaints filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 2010-2016, not a single one was upheld.”

Other Winners of this Award


NPF Award Winner: Brett Chase and Madison Hopkins

Brett Chase and Madison Hopkins

Better Government Association


Lisa Song, David Hasemyer, Jim Morris, Greg Gilderman

InsideClimate News, Center for Public Integrity, The Weather Channel



An eight-person team collaborated on the winning entry


Jim Morris, Chris Hamby and Kimberly Leonard

Center for Public Integrity


Tony Bartelme

The Post and Courier


Thomas Content, Lee Bergquist, Joel Dresang

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Robert Collier

The San Francisco Chronicle


The Plain Dealer Staff

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Sudeep Reddy and Pete Slover

The Dallas Morning News


James Bruggers

The Courier Journal


Ralph Haurwitz and Jeff Nesmith

Austin American-Statesman and Cox Newspapers


Peter Eisler

USA Today