A three-part series by the Better Government Association that examined lax oversight of the nuclear power industry in Illinois and across the nation received national honors from the prestigious Society of Environmental Journalists.
The Washington, D.C.-based journalism association honored the series “Power Struggle” with a second place prize for the Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding In-Depth Reporting.
BGA reporters Brett Chase and Madison Hopkins revealed persistent radioactive leaks around nuclear power plants in Illinois as well as the blurred lines between federal nuclear watchdogs and the nuclear power industry they are empowered to oversee.
“This investigation chronicles serious trouble at aging Illinois nuclear power plants,” contest judges said of the BGA series.
The judges also lauded the series for being “well-researched and thoroughly documented reports on the nuclear power industry in Illinois” and said the stories “brought significant attention to a vulnerable industry that, without sufficient oversight and enforcement, can pose real risk to residents of Illinois.”
It is the second national award for the series, which also took home top honors earlier this year from the National Press Foundation, which awarded the work the Thomas L. Stokes Award for Best Energy Writing.
“This is vital work that is core to our mission at the Better Government Association,” BGA President David Greising said. “By combining shoe-leather reporting with a deep dive into documents and data, Brett and Madison crafted an important story. It is gratifying we’ve now been twice recognized nationally for it.”
The winner of the Kevin Carmody Award for small news operations was an investigation into toxic waste by the Record of Bergen County, New Jersey.
The BGA’s environmental reporting is supported this year through a grant from the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund.