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Dr. E. Gail de Planque Honored With Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award

SANTA MONICA—Dr. E. Gail de Planque, an internationally renowned nuclear technology expert, was awarded the Henry DeWolf Smyth Statesman Award here today by industry and academic organizations. The award, announced at the Nuclear Energy Institute’s (NEI) annual conference, is given in recognition of statesmanlike contributions to the many aspects of nuclear energy activities.

Dr. de Planque’s distinguished career includes: serving as a commissioner with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (1991-1995); director of the Department of Energy’s Environmental Measurements Laboratory; president of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and the International Nuclear Societies Council; extensive involvement with the International Atomic Energy Agency; member of the Board of Directors of domestic and international commercial nuclear companies; and the publication of numerous journals.

In presenting the award, Harold Ray, president of the American Nuclear Society and executive vice president of generation at Southern California Edison, said, “Gail is a person of great integrity and long-time public service to the nuclear profession. She is a consensus builder. Her attributes include a commitment to ensuring that transparency exists in all of the actions taken. She believes in doing things out in front, not behind the scenes, and that is a big part of the public leadership she has provided.”

In accepting the award, Dr. de Planque said, “It has been a tremendously rewarding experience to work in the nuclear community.” Citing a variety of interactions and challenges in locales ranging from China to Antarctica to the United States to Russia, she said, “So far it’s been an incredible international journey.”

Joe Colvin, NEI’s president and chief executive officer, said, “Dr. de Planque merits this award in recognition of her many contributions in developing and guiding the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Dr. de Planque's outstanding leadership, in both the government and private sector, and her scientific contributions are immeasurable.”

Quoting from one of the many letters of nomination for Dr. de Planque, Colvin said, “It is rare that one person would have served in all of these sectors and with such distinction.”

Reading from another, he said, “It is not often that one person can make significant contributions in the scientific community, such as in radiological protection, transfer that expertise to the governmental section such as with the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and in addition provide valuable advice and support to the nuclear commercial sector. This is the true mark of statesmanship that is not restricted to one environment but flourishes in all sectors.”

The award was jointly established in 1972 by ANS and NEI. The award is named for Henry DeWolf Smyth, who chaired Princeton University’s physics department and authored the federal government’s official report on the development of the atomic bomb, “Atomic Energy for Military Purposes.” He served on the Atomic Energy Commission from 1949-54 and was appointed by President John F. Kennedy as the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with the rank of ambassador until 1970. Smyth also advocated an international partnership to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy.


The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at