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.”

2017 Thomas L. Stokes Award for Best Energy and Environment Writing
Brett Chase and Madison Hopkins / Better Government Association