INPO’s Work Over its First Two Decades

The Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) was created by the U.S. nuclear utility industry in 1979 in response to the accident at Three Mile Island, and to a significant degree, in response to recommendations by the Presidential Commission appointed to investigate the accident (also know as the Kemeny Commission) after its chairman, Professor John Kemeny).

Over its first decade, INPO received very little recognition for its work with the nuclear industry to improve safety; and it surely did not seek recognition beyond its member utilities.

In 1989, on the 10th anniversary of the Three Mile Island accident, INPO prepared a report on the industry’s progress and described details of the work done to implement each applicable recommendation in the Report of the Presidential Commission on Three Mile Island (The Kemeny Report). A copy of the INPO report was sent to each living member of the Kemeny Commission, to the Secretary of Energy, to each NRC Commissioner, to each member of the House and Senate, and to others in the Administration and other parts of the government.

In response to the INPO report, Professor John Kemeny issue a press release stating:

“The creation of INPO is an important part of the response (to our recommendations). It monitors nuclear safety on behalf of the industry, and has been the initiator of many changes. The (INPO) report takes our recommendations one by one, and summarizes the way they were implemented. The improvements over the past decade have been impressive, and are very reassuring.”

This was the first significant recognition of INPO’s work.

Over the next decade, INPO received recognition for its work in many forums. This took the form of public awards to INPO, but more often to its CEO at the time. Dr. Zack Pate, who served as CEO of INPO from 1984 until 1998, and as Chairman of WANO from 1997 until 2002, stressed on many occasions that the awards and honors that bear his name were awards to, and were earned by, the many nuclear professionals at INPO much more than by him personally.

National Academy of Engineering

Dr. Zack T. Pate was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1997 for promoting and achieving significant improvements in the safe and reliable operation of nuclear power plants worldwide.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made “important contributions to engineering theory and practice, including significant contributions to the literature of engineering theory and practice,” and those who have demonstrated “unusual accomplishment in the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology.” Members are elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) by their peers — current NAE members.

William S. Lee Award for Industry Leadership

The William S. Lee award for Industry Leadership, the U.S. nuclear industry’s top award, was presented to Dr. Zack T. Pate in 1998.

The award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to technical development, an improved regulatory climate or public acceptance of nuclear energy. The award is presented, at the chairman’s discretion, at NEI’s annual conference, the Nuclear Energy Assembly.

Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award

Dr. Zack T. Pate was the 2002 recipient of the Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award. The award, established jointly by the American Nuclear Society and the Nuclear Energy Institute, recognizes outstanding service in developing and guiding peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Pate’s leadership within the nuclear Navy, the INPO and the WANO earned him a world-wide reputation as a nuclear pioneer.  During his tenure as INPO president, he was instrumental in shaping the commercial nuclear energy industry’s thinking on issues of safety and reliability.

Pate joined a distinguished group that had been previously honored with the Smyth Award, including Glenn T. Seaborg and Sen. Pete V. Domenici.  The Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award was established in 1972 to commemorate the life’s work of Henry DeWolf Smyth, the Princeton University physicist who played an important role in the development of atomic energy beginning in the 1940s.  He served on the Atomic Energy Commission from 1949-54 and was appointed by President Kennedy as the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with the rank of ambassador.  Smyth also advocated an international partnership to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

James N. Landis Medal

Dr. Zack T. Pate was awarded the James N. Landis Medal in 1999 for “outstanding performance…in nuclear power…”

The James N. Landis Medal is presented for outstanding personal performance in the design, construction, or management of major steam-electric stations using nuclear or fossil fuels. The candidate must also demonstrate personal leadership in humanitarian pursuits, which may include committee activity, Section leadership, or the broad non-technical professional activity of the individual’s engineering society.

The award was established in 1977 in honor of James N. Landis, President of American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1958.

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