SAN FRANCISCO—The U.S. nuclear industry today bestowed its top individual award on Zack T. Pate, whose visionary leadership at the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) helped bring about industry-wide improvement in nuclear power plant safety and reliability performance.
Pate, who last year was elected chairman of the World Association of Nuclear Operators, was presented the William S. Lee Award for Industry Leadership during the nuclear energy industry's annual meeting. Pate retired last March as INPO's chairman and chief executive officer, and was named chairman emeritus of the Atlanta-based organization.
Pate received the Lee Award from James J. Howard, the chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, who said, "By example and by design, Zack Pate has encouraged and promoted excellence throughout the nuclear power industry. His emphasis on communication, cooperation and high standards has led to improved safety and performance at nuclear power plants in the United States and around the world."
Pate served at the helm of INPO for 14 years, a period that included steady, consistent gains in safety performance and operational reliability across the commercial nuclear energy industry. Through extensive benchmarking and sharing of operational experience, the industry in many areas already has exceeded or is nearing quantifiable, year 2000 performance goals set earlier this decade.
"Under Zack's leadership," Howard said, "INPO has constantly refined on-site plant evaluations, the look at ourselves by our peers. His insistence that we all pay attention to basics—training and testing, self-assessment, conservative decision-making, and the value of lessons learned from previous events—has paid off really well."
A native of Georgia, Pate served 22 years in the United States Navy before joining INPO in 1980. He was the organization's president and chief executive officer since March 1984, and he became chairman and chief executive officer in July 1997. Howard said that talent, professionalism, vision and drive have been hallmarks of Pate's career.
"Zack was among the first to see the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident as an opportunity to bring operators from all nations into a worldwide nuclear professional community. It is particularly fitting for this award that Bill Lee and Zack Pate were surely the most instrumental U.S. executives in the formation of the World Association of Nuclear Operators. This ability to stimulate international, cross-cultural cooperation is a tribute to Zack's leadership and style," Howard said.
The William S. Lee Award for Industry Leadership, formerly the Chairman's Award, was renamed in Lee's honor following his death in 1996. Lee, who in many ways was the industry's most vocal safety advocate in the aftermath of Three Mile Island, was serving as chairman emeritus of Duke Power Co. when he died. Lee was a recipient of the Chairman's Award for Industry Leadership in 1995.
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 http://www.nei.org.