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A training guide for future health professionals

Preventing what
we cannot cure NEETHU PUTTA

Table of Contents
Acknowledgements 3
Part I: Mission & Vision 4
Strategic Priorities 5
Part II: What is Advocacy? 7
Medical Advocacy 8
Part III: Building Your Chapter 9
Step 1: Getting Started 9
Step 2: Organization & Structure 10
Step 3: Resources 11
Step 4: Building rapport 11
Overall Goals 12
Part IV: Advocacy Strategies 13
Strategy 1: Reaching Congress 13
Strategy 2: Reaching the media 15
Strategy 3: Hosting events 17
Strategy 4: Building partnerships 19
Appendix 20

Citations 25
Page 2

"Physicians have an obligation to consider the entire public as their

patient. Even without prior activist experience, medical students can
make a huge difference in their own community through student
groups, while building the skills necessary to tackle threats from
government legislation. SPSR is a great starting point for those who
have the desire to create change."
²Marie Kim, President of SPSR University of Iowa Chapter

ence. As health professional students, you are fortunate to have
each other. Your energy and fresh ideas are an inspiration for the
rest of us. Thank you so much for embarking on this journey with
² Dr. Peter Wilk, Executive Director PSR
Page 3


We   would   like   to   thank   the   following  
individuals   for   their   continued   support:  
Marie   Kim   for   her   helpful   edits,   Craig  
Levoy  for  his  diligent,  prompt  work  ethic,  
and   Molly   Rauch   and   Rebecca   Abelman  
for  their  revisions  and  advice.  

Part I: Mission & Vision Page 4


Part  I:  Mission  &  Vision  


Who  are  we?  

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), founded in 1961, is the medical
and public health voice working to prevent the use or spread of nuclear
weapons and to slow, stop and reverse global warming and the
degradation of the environment. PSR is the U.S. Affiliate of International
Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the recipient of the
clinic ² a physician must be concerned about the greater good of mankind. As a
health professional, your work extends beyond the hospital or clinic³you are
an advocate for implementing and changing policies to protect the rest of the
population. PSR has over 50,000 members and 31 PSR chapters, all committed
to the same mission. You are a part of PSR!

Student Physicians for Social Responsibility (SPSR) is a program of PSR

SPSR has 41 chapters and is headed by two national student representatives who
both sit on the Board of Directors for PSR and guide SPSR as a whole.

Student Physicians for Social Responsibility is a group of
student health professionals working to promote
environmental justice, address social disparities, and
advocate for a peaceful and secure world.
Page 5 Part I: Mission & Vision

SPSR has three different focus areas:  



Environmental Peace &
Social Justice  
Justice Security

These focus areas each have a few ´VWUDWHJLF SULRULWLHVµ or goals that
drive the overall mission.

Social Justice

Fairness for all

Guided by the values and expertise of medicine and public health, PSR seeks to
protect human life worldwide from the impact of social injustice and structural
violence. The root causes of social injustice are many and include a widening gap
between rich and poor, unequal distribution of resources worldwide,
discrimination, and the disenfranchisement of individuals and groups from the
political process. SPSR is committed to highlighting the disproportionate negative
effects that issues like environmental degradation, war, and nuclear waste have on
poorer communities of color both nationally and internationally.

Equal Access to Healthcare

Whether it is through promoting legislature for equal access to healthcare or
providing the homeless with healthcare services, student PSR chapters support
universal access to basic health services.
Part I: Mission & Vision Page 6

Environmental Justice
Individual and community health are intrinsically linked to the environment; in order
to improve our own health, we must develop a more sustainable relationship with
the environment. Environmental degradations such as the use of environmental
toxins and consequences related to climate change disproportionately affect the
poorest communities and communities of color. Student PSR aims to raise
awareness of the health effects of environmental destruction and their effect on
communities, and to act in support of a verdant and just world. Through education
and advocacy, SPSR addresses a wide range of issues such as climate change, toxins,
clean energy, and greening healthcare at the local, national, and international level.

Peace & Security

Supporting a nonviolent and fair world

War threatens the health and livelihood of military personnel and civilians
alike. Modern warfare takes a direct toll on the physical and mental health of those
involved. Furthermore, war is expensive, leading to the diversion of considerable
amounts of resources from worthy endeavors including healthcare and
education. Student PSR recognizes that peace is the precursor to a better world,
and supports the promotion of a truly secure global environment.

Nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament

Nuclear weapons pose the single greatest security threat to our global
existence. The use of a nuclear weapon would completely overwhelm the public
health infrastructure, rendering any current strategies ineffectual. In facing the
nuclear threat, SPSR's motto is especially relevant: we must prevent what we
cannot cure. SPSR seeks to minimize this danger through global disarmament and
by lobbying for steps toward zero nuclear weapons.

Safe Energy
SPSR is committed to promoting research of and use of alternative energy sources.
Coal-fired power plants are not only the leading climate change culprit in the US,
been linked to cardiovascular and respiratory compromise. Nuclear energy is
economically unsound and mired in unresolved safety issues that pose a threat to
public health. SPSR advocates for focusing on real energy solutions from
renewable, efficient sources.
Page 7 Part II: What is advocacy?

Part  II:  What  is  advocacy?  


Advocacy is not just identifying

Step  2:  Organization  &  Structure  
problems or solutions. While
identifying problems and finding
There mustarebeboth
solutions a hierarchy
integral within
parts your SPSR chapter in order to successfully
to the your ship advocacy
process, forward. Hereis is
anan example:
independent action dedicated
to changing policies, positions or
programs of an institution.1 Advo-
cacy is only one part of a four Guru: Now let me teach you the ways of ad-
step problem solving process, as vocacy, young one!
illustrated below. 7UDYHOHU,·POLVWHQLQJ

Changes in
policies &
Four Step Problem programs
Knowing who isProcess:
responsible for what tasks in your chapter will help ensure and
improve the efficiency of your advocacy work. Also, by giving your core leaders
titles and specific
1) Identifying responsibilities it willIdentifying
problems help maintain the stability of your
2) Finding solutions Problems Solutions
3) Planning advocacy strategies
Draw your
4) Finding theown structure
common groundand list the main responsibilities of each position:
between those three steps
Step  2:  Organization  &  Structure  7KDW´VZHHW VSRWµ LV ZKHUH ZH QHHG WR
be. We must identify problems, find so-
lutions, and plan advocacy strategies,
and ultimately create change in policies
and programs.
Part II: What is advocacy? Page 8

What is medical advocacy?

Medical advocacy aims to change policies that are relevant to medicine. Student
Physicians for Social Responsibility (SPSR) concentrates on three sectors:
Environment & Health, Peace and Security, and Social Justice. For example, nuclear
disarmament is a medical issue, as nuclear weapons can potentially cause many
health-endangering consequences, such as radioactive contamination. SPSR
advocates for complete nuclear disarmament. You are a SPSR medical


Dr. Peter Wilk, Executive Director PSR

Most SPSR groups choose a few issues that they are passionate about and focus on
in at least one of its main program areas³Peace & Security, Environment & Health,
and Social Justice. Communicate your ideas with your National Student
Representatives (NSR). You can also focus on other areas of interest; for example,
Philadelphia SPSR groups mainly focus on gun violence.

Which issues will your SPSR chapter focus on? Plan in the box below:

Page 9 Part III: Building Your Chapter

Part  III:  Building  Your  Chapter  


what medical advocacy is, you are ready to build your own SPSR chapter! In
order to construct a united front to advocate for a change in a specific policy,
you must have a cohesive, organized and strong group of energized advocates.
This section provides helpful advice for building a successful SPSR chapter.

Step  1:  Getting  Started  

1) Register as an SPSR advocate on the PSR website:

2) Contact PSR National at and your local PSR

chapter. Find your local PSR chapter:

3) Identify three to four core helpers who are interested in starting this
SPSR chapter with you.

4) Hold a kick-off event. See below and Part IV: Advocacy Strategies for
details on holding events.

5) Make a plan or start an initiative, and then request a mini-grant from PSR
Ex. Design a campaign that asks Congress to get rid of
environmental toxins. Write up a concise, yet well explained grant
request for this campaign.  
Part III: Building Your Chapter Page 10

Step  2:  Organization  &  Structure  

There must be a hierarchy within your SPSR chapter in order to successfully
propel your organization forward.
Treasurer   Secretary
Knowing who is responsible for each task in your chapter will improve the
efficiency of your advocacy work. Also, giving your core leaders titles and specific
responsibilities will maintain the stability of your chapter.

Draw your own structure and list the main responsibilities of each position:
Page 11 Part III: Building Your Chapter

Step  3:  Resources  

You will need some help building your chapter ² ZKHWKHULW·VZLWKFDSLWDOLGHDV
or organization.

1) Knowledge of school assistance: What does your school offer to

student groups? Make sure to ask! Sometimes student groups are
provided free office space, conference reimbursements, free poster
printings, etc.
2) Email This e-mail address is for any questions or
3) Contact your local PSR chapter: Use the PSR website (http:// to find your local PSR chapter. Perhaps you
can hold a joint event or share some of their resources.
Step  4:  Building  rapport  within  your  chapter  
This step is essential to building a strong, cohesive chapter.

1) Use a social media network, such as Facebook, to create a group or

fan page. You can have members post relevant articles or thoughts on
that page, creating a living space for your group!

time. Some wikis are moderated, meaning someone reviews the changes
before they are made. A wiki can be a useful tool for information sharing.
Visit to read more and create one today!

3) Create an e-mail listserv to facilitate shared communication by using a

Yahoo or Google group. This allows you to send an e-mail to all
members by just e-mailing one Yahoo or Google group address.
Part III: Building Your Chapter Page 12
Where we need to be

Overall  goals  for  your  chapter:  

How do you gauge the success of your chapter? This is what every chapter
should strive for:

1) Events: Events are essential to maintaining a successful chapter. They

are what attracts members and keeps members, as events tend to be
both informative and fun ² and students love free food! Successful
chapters should be hosting at least two large events as well as three
fundraisers per year.

2) Funds: PSR offers mini grants for SPSR chapters for specific initiatives
that an SPSR chapter is launching. For example, if an SPSR chapter
launches a campaign on environmental health and sends an advocacy plan
to PSR National, PSR consider sending a grant to that chapter.
Furthermore, try to keep a target amount of around $500 to hold events
and for meetings.

3) Members: There is power in numbers: members may have useful

contacts, draw attention and thus generate more members, and give your
SPSR chapter credibility. Extending invitations to public health, pre-
medical and dental students helps increase awareness, resources, and
funds, and as an added benefit, you may gain potential members! Aim for
a core group of 20-25 dedicated members.
Page 13 Part IV: Advocacy Strategies

Part  IV:  Advocacy  Strategies

How do you implement your advocacy agenda? Detailed below are some
strategies that you and your SPSR chapter can use in order to be successful

Strategy  #1:  Reaching  Congress  

One of the most important aspects of advocacy is meeting with those who
impact policy. These meetings are used to persuade lawmakers to take a course
of action that you support. This is called lobbying. Your congresspersons are
there to represent the views of their constituents³LW·V WKHLU MRE /HJLVODWRUV
expect to be contacts and need to be
contacted in order to perform their
duty well. Elected officials and their staff Lobbying is the action of
regularly meet with constituents to attempting to influence a
hear their views, though the majority of
visitors are paid lobbyists representing
especially in terms of voting.
industry and corporations. The
corporate interest is not always
it is critical to counterbalance those voices with opinions of concerned citizens
like YOU!

1) 9LVLWLQJ \RXU FRQJUHVVSHUVRQ·V RIILFH, either in your district or in
Washington, is the most effective lobbying strategy. This way, one gains
face-to-face contact and can build rapport with the congressperson. First,
call and make an appointment with your member of congress. If you
cannot get an appointment, ask to meet with the staff person that is most
qualified to talk about the issue in which you are concerned.

2) Before the meeting:

x Gather an interested group of people to show that this issue affects

more than one person.
x Establish your agenda and goals.
Part IV: Advocacy Strategies Page 14

3) During the meeting:

x Be concise and to the point, as you have to remember that your

member of congress does have a busy schedule.
x Press for commitment; do not let
your member of congress evade
the issue. Ask specifically for his or
her position on the issue. Best  Practices  
x Stress why this issue concerns you
and others. Cite local statistics and Prepare a convincing
give examples of those who will be argument.
most affected.
Explain the problem, and
then explain your solution
4) After the meeting: thoroughly.

x Make sure to thank the member Pick a few IDFWVGRQ·W

or the staff person for his or her throw too many at them!
time. Explain why it is important
x Provide a follow-up e-mail or fact
for the community.
sheet, or perhaps schedule a
second meeting. Keep in touch, so Bring a business card or
you can eventually build a contact information with
x Share the knowledge you learned
and tell the PSR national office. Bring PSR resources or
fact sheets if relevant.
Page 15 Part IV: Advocacy Strategies

Strategy  #2:  Reaching  the  media  

The media is influential in educating the public

and shaping public policies. If you want Congress The media is a means of
to pass clean air legislation or ratify the communication that is
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, you have to designed to reach vast
keep those issues in the public eye. As a SPSR amounts of people.
advocate\RXPXVWHQVXUHWKDW6365·VYLHZVDUH There are four basic types:
heard above voices of the high-priced lobbyists 1. Television
for the coal and oil industries, military 2. Radio
contractors, or pro-gun lobbyists. 3. Newspapers & magazines
4. Internet
1.   Write a media advisory ² A media advisory is written to media outlets
before an event, alerting them of an upcoming event. It only includes the very
of a media advisory is to persuade the media into coming and covering the
event. Present your event as worthy of coverage!2 (For example, see Appen-
dix A.)  

x One page at maximum with a brief headline
  x Print "MEDIA ADVISORY" in the top left corner
  x Provide contact names, phone numbers and e-mail.
  x Highlight the date, time and place.
x Briefly describe the purpose, speakers and if there will be
photo opportunities.
x Indicate the end of the page by placing a "###".

2. Letter to the editor ² These are among the most popular and widely read
parts of every daily newspaper. Most importantly, elected officials carefully
monitor this section of the newspaper ² along with the editorial page ² to
discern local opinion. (For example, see Appendix C.)

3. Ask local media sources to come cover your events ² By covering your
events, you will be keeping the public informed and keep SPSR issues in the
spotlight. This will attract attention from the public, other advocates, and
elected officials.
Part IV: Advocacy Strategies Page 16

4. Write a press release ² A press release is a report written for press to read
during an event. It is generally 1-2 pages describing the basic findings of a
report, sometimes including quotes by speakers, and is released on the day of
the event. Press releases should be distributed during the event. Sometimes
press releases are used to issue statements in reaction to news events. For
example, PSR might issue a press release in support of proposed gun control
legislation. Make sure to send PSR National a copy of the release! (For
example, see Appendix B.)

x Two pages maximum, double-spaced, one-sided
x Brief headline
x Highlight the release date
x Provide contact names and numbers
x Indicate the end of the page by placing a "###".
x Include a sentence or two about your organization.

5. Editorials and op-eds ² An op-ed is an

opinion piece that generally runs in a daily Best  Practices  
newspaper showcasing a specific issue that
an authorized individual feels passionate Be concise and keep press
about. Op-eds can raise the profile of an releases short.
important issue, establish your group as a
Be sure to include a contact
player in the solution of a problem, and
encourage citizen action. (For example, see
Appendix D.) Always have the date of the
event on all materials.
6. Facebook and other social media
networks ² Social media networks, such Call to confirm that your
as Facebook, are great tools and resources press materials were
to use in order to get a message out to a received and maintain a
large mass of young people. Facebook has relationship with the media
many potential SPSR advocates ² take ad- source.
vantage of the opportunities and networks
that social media gives you access to.
Page 17 Part IV: Advocacy Strategies

Strategy  #3:  Hosting  events  

Events are a perfect way to invite outsiders to learn more about your issues and
the mission of your group. Planning events also gives your group members the
opportunity to have a greater involvement in the activities of the organization.
Ultimately, by holding events, you will be expanding your support base and
educating your local community.

1. Book signings ² Book signings are a great way to attract new, potential SPSR
advocates as well as current ones. By having a popular and knowledgeable
author (a sort of celebrity) speak about an issue that SPSR focuses on, i.e.
nuclear proliferation, you can draw current as well as potentially new members
to unite for an interesting event. Offering discounted books, personally signed
by the author, may be a magnet as well.

2. Panel discussion ² Panels with experts in

a relevant field speaking about SPSR issues Best  Practices  
draw many students, as students are gen-
erally interested in gaining contacts and Always provide food and
networking. By hosting these panels, you beverage.
may be able to expand your SPSR chapter!
Provide biographies of
speakers or panelists,
3. Campus organization fairs ² These
fairs are a perfect way to introduce your Keep a sign-in sheet
chapter to the rest of your college cam- available to keep track of all
pus. Generally, each club will be assigned attendees. Include space for
one table that they can use to advertise
their group. Make fliers or brochures, and Be sure to follow up with
Make sure to have a few sign-up sheets phone call.
handy with fields for names and e-mail ad-
Part IV: Advocacy Strategies Page 18

4. Movie screenings ² Movie screenings are generally centered around a

movie that is relevant to your specific issue. For example, if you are
interested in nuclear disarmament, you could have a movie screening in
Hold a reception afterwards that involves a discussion and some free food to
allow members to discuss how they felt about the movie! Movie screenings
increase awareness in an entertaining way, and thus can be really popular and
well attended events.

5. Grand Rounds on Medical School Campuses ² This is generally a

presentation delivered by an expert, often based on a specific patient or case,
with a question and answer session at the end. Before the presentation, give
a short summary of your SPSR chapter and its recent activity, and after the
presentation, make sure to encourage the medical students present to attend
next meeting, and persuade them to come.
Page 19 Part IV: Advocacy Strategies

Strategy  #4:  Building  partnerships  

Working on climate change? Safe energy? There are probably dozens of other
organizations that are working on the same topic. Research other local groups
that seem like good matches. Partnering with these other groups such as civic
groups or academic programs may be helpful as you will be able to pool
resources. Attend their events, network, look for opportunities to partner, and be
sure to support their campaigns, because they are likely to support yours! PSR
leaders are a unique contribution to the advocacy movement because they add
the medical perspective to an otherwise policy-only advocacy strategy.


1) Engage your local government office

² Chances are if you get someone from
local or national government to attend an Best  Practices  
event, the media will cover it. This puts Consider the list of organi-
zations that PSR has histori-
bly will attract more members! Maybe
cally worked with, and find
a local chapter.
an SPSR chapter.
If the event was a success,
2) Co-chair events with other campus stay in contact with the
organizations ² Be sure to participate in group, inviting them to your
campus events that can give your chapter SPSR meetings or other
exposure to the student body, and find events.
groups that are interested in the same top-
ics as your group. This way, you can co- Always write a thank you
host your events with them, and have each note to the officers of the
RWKHU·VVXSSRUW club and anyone else who
helped make your event a
3) Media Outreach ² Build relationships success!
with your local media. The stronger the
relationship, the more likely they will come
cover your events. You can never have
enough media contacts!
Appendix Page 20

Appendix A
Example of Media Advisory
TO:  Oregon  media           Contact:  John  Smith  202-­666-­6661  
RE:  Media  Advisory  for  Feb.  26,  2010            Joe  Schmoe  202-­666-­6662  
                     Jane  Doe          202-­666-­6663  
Physicians  for  Social  Responsibility  (PSR)  releases  
EVENT:   At   a   press   briefing   in   Portland,   Oregon,   PSR   speakers   will   present   key  
findings   from   Degrees   of   Danger:   The   Health   Effects   of   Climate   Change   and  
Energy   in   Oregon,   a   new   report   alerts   Oregon   residents   to   the   health   effects   of  
climate  change.  
DATE/TIME:  Tuesday,  February  26,  2010  ²  10:00  am  
PLACE:  The  Galleria,  921  SW  Morrison  St,  Room  533  
x John  Smith,  Ph.D.,  Board  member  of  Physicians  for  Social  Responsibility.  
x Joe   Schmoe,   MD,   is   an   Internal   Medicine   physician   at   XYZ   University   and  
Board  member  of  PSR.  
x Jane  Doe,  MD,  is  an  Oncologist  in  California,  and  Board  member  of  PSR.  
Degrees   of   Danger   will   be   posted   on-­line   on   February   26.   An   embargoed   press  
release  and  report  can  be  viewed  by  request  prior  to  the  release.    
Page 21 Appendix

Appendix B
Example of Press Release
Defeat  of  Dirty  Air  Act  represents  a  big  win  for  safeguarding  public  
June  11,  2010  
Washington,   D.C.     -­     The   U.S.   Senate   defeated,   47   ±   53,   the   Murkowski   Dirty   Air   Act  
to  control  carbon  pollution.    By  rejecting  this  resolution,  the  majority  of  the  Senate  voted  
to  base  U.S.  climate  policy  on  the  burgeoning  scientific  evidence  that  climate  change  is  
underway,  that  human  activity  is  a  major  driver  of  carbon  pollution,  and  that  urgent  action  
is  needed  to  protect  human  health  and  the  environment.  
established   the   legal   basis   for   establishing   rules   to   limit   carbon   pollution   from   large  
emitters  of  CO2,  including  coal-­fired  power  plants,  heavy  industry  and  motor  vehicles.  
Physicians   for   Social   Responsibility   Executive   Director   Dr.   Peter   Wilk   had   the   following  
"The   Clean   Air   Act   is   our   most   successful   environmental   law   on   record   and   it   has  
effectively   controlled   many   dangerous   air   pollutants   for   the   past   forty   years.     We   must  
use   every   tool   available,   including   EPA   authority   under   the   Clean   Air   Act,   to   limit  
greenhouse   gas   emission   from   large   sources   immediately.     The   vote   today   echoes   the  
call  heard  across  the  country  for  action  to  limit  carbon  pollution.      In  an  ongoing  effort  to  
delay   capping   these   dangerous   pollutants,   Senator   Murkowski   attempted   to   obfuscate  
her   protection   of   Big   Oil   and   Dirty   Coal,   claiming   that   EPA   regulators   should   not   be  
setting   climate   policy.     This   vote   against   her   resolution   demonstrates   a   resounding  
rejection  of  her  intent  to  place  corporate  and  private  interest  politics  before  the  health  of  
our   nation.     PSR   is   grateful   to   all   the   Senators   that   voted   to   protect   current   and   future  
generations.    And  we  thank  all  our  PSR  members  whose  calls  to  the  Senate  helped  make  
this  happen."  
Kristen  Welker-­Hood,  kwelker-­,  202-­587-­5244  
PSR  is  the  medical  and  public  health  voice  working  to  prevent  the  use  or  spread  of  
nuclear  weapons  and  to  slow,  stop  and  reverse  global  warming  and  the  toxic  degradation  
of  the  environment.    For  more  information  on  the  work  of  the  largest  physician  led  
organization  in  the  country,  please  visit    
Appendix Page 22

Appendix C
Example of Letter to Editor
Dear  Editor,  
As  a  citizen  who  believes  that  nuclear  weapons  are  the  greatest  threats  facing  our  
country,  I  am  pleased  that  Senator  Corker,  as  a  critical  member  of  the  Senate  
Foreign  Relations  Committee,  joined  the  bi-­partisan  consensus  (from  Sam  Nunn  to  
Robert  Gates)  and  voted  in  support  of  the  New  START  Treaty.  It  is  reassuring  that  
we  have  leaders  like  Senator  Corker  who  put  national  security  over  partisan  politics  
and  provided  bi-­partisan  support  for  New  START.    I  hope  that  Senator  Alexander  
floor  of  the  Senate.  
Now  is  the  time  to  confront  the  dangers  of  nuclear  proliferation  head  on  ±  and  we  
the  New  START  agreement  to  be  held  hostage  by  the  reactionary  measures  and  
bitter  Senate  politics  that  have  characterized  other  issues.    Now  we  need  Senator  
START  comes  to  the  floor  of  the  Senate.  
[Your  name]  
[Your  address]  
Page 23 Appendix

Appendix D
Example of Op-Ed

Lessons  from  the  Gulf  for  nuclear  reactors  

By  Dr.  Jeffery  Patterson,  president  of  Physicians  for  Social  Responsibility  -­  07/16/10  12:09  PM  
One  crucial  lesson  from  the  BP  oil  spill  is  that  measures  to  speed  licensing,  cut  corners  on  
safety  and  undermine  regulation  can  lead  to  tragic  consequences.  Yet  Congress  appears  on  
the  verge  of  repeating  mistakes  that  led  to  the  environmental  catastrophe  in  the  Gulf.  

Federal  lawmakers  are  weighing  a  BP-­type  deregulation  of  new  nuclear  reactors  ²  the  one  
energy  source  in  which  damage  from  a  major  accident  could  dwarf  harm  done  by  a  ruptured  
offshore  oil  well.  

In  this  effort,  the  nuclear  industry's  backers  are  working  both  sides  of  the  street.  On  one  hand,  
they  proclaim  that  the  current  nuclear  regulatory  system  is  so  superior  it  could  well  serve  as  a  
model  for  regulating  the  petrochemical  industry.  

At  the  same  time,  those  nuclear  proponents  are  working  behind  the  scenes  for  regulatory  
rollbacks  that  would  dramatically  reshape  safety  and  environmental  requirements  for  new  
reactors.  These  provisions  might  be  incorporated  into  a  climate  bill,  or  into  a  narrower  "energy-­
only"  bill  that  could  be  voted  on  by  the  Senate  as  early  as  this  month.  

The  result  of  the  changes  making  the  rounds  of  Capitol  Hill  would  further  undermine  Nuclear  
Regulatory  Commission  (NRC)  safety  reviews  by  truncating  the  licensing  process  for  new  
reactors,  scaling  back  environmental-­impact  reviews,  and  limiting  public  transparency  in  reactor  
licensing  decisions.  All  are  bad  ideas.  

Here  are  a  few  of  the  problematic  provisions  proposed  in  draft  legislation  that  should  not  be  
included  in  a  final  climate  or  energy  bill:  

²  The  NRC  would  not  be  authorized  to  prevent  startup  of  a  new  reactor,  even  if  fundamental  
safety  components  already  inspected  were  later  compromised  in  the  construction  process.  

²  The  NRC  would  be  required  to  propose  and  implement  an  "expedited  procedure"  for  issuing  
construction  and  operating  licenses  for  new  reactors  under  certain  conditions.  

²  An  impossibly  high  standard  would  be  set  for  including  an  evaluation  of  the  need  for  power,  
the  cost  of  the  new  reactor,  and  alternative  energy  sources  within  the  NRC  licensing  process.  

²  The  NRC  could  no  longer  hold  a  mandatory  hearing  to  do  an  independent  safety  and  
environmental  review  in  new  reactor  licensing.
Appendix Page 24

Appendix D-2
Example of Op-(GFRQW·G

Nuclear  reactors  already  have  the  most  streamlined  licensing  process  of  any  type  of  industrial  
facility  in  the  United  States.  What  is  delaying  the  review  of  reactor  applications  isn't  the  
licensing  process,  but  the  fact  that  the  industry  has  been  unable  to  submit  adequate  design  
proposals  for  reactors  or  to  respond  to  the  NRC  in  timely  fashion.  

Rather  than  weakening  reactor  safety  rules,  Congress  should  send  the  NRC  the  right  message  
²  safety  over  speed  ²  by  strengthening  them.  

For  example,  the  NRC  should  be  required  to  take  into  consideration  "worst-­case"  accident  
situations.  The  NRC  has  resisted  pressure  to  analyze  risks  posed  by  terrorist  attacks  on  spent  
fuel  storage  casks,  although  such  an  attack  could  cause  a  severe  release  of  radiation.  As  with  
the  Deepwater  Horizon  offshore  drilling  rig,  mere  assurance  that  the  worst-­case  situation  won't  
happen  is  a  hollow  promise.  

The  notion  that  lack  of  a  recent  major  reactor  accident  makes  such  an  occurrence  a  "remote  
possibility,"  therefore  justifying  lax  safety  regulation,  is  the  same  illogical  and  irresponsible  
thinking  that  set  the  stage  for  the  BP  disaster.  

As  the  oil  spill  illustrates  all  too  well,  the  more  complex  the  technology,  the  greater  the  chance  
of  catastrophic  failure.  Because  of  human  error,  technological  failure  or  unforeseen  events,  it  is  
virtually  guaranteed  that  there  will  be  other  major  disasters.  The  catastrophic  effects  of  these  on  
human  health  and  our  environment  will  continue  for  generations.  As  we  have  seen  at  Chernobyl  
and  are  seeing  in  the  Gulf,  our  environment  cannot  sustain  this  continued  onslaught.  

We  must  drastically  change  the  direction  of  our  energy  future.  This  is  possible  through  the  use  
of  clean,  renewable  and  sustainable  technologies.  When  it  comes  to  disasters  caused  by  
technologies  such  as  deep  offshore  drilling  or  nuclear  power,  even  one  accident  is  one  too  

Patterson  is  president  of  Physicians  for  Social  Responsibility  and  a  professor  in  the  Department  
of  Family  Medicine  at  the  University  of  Wisconsin  School  of  Medicine  and  Public  Health  in  
Citations Page 25
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Sharma, Ritu R.. "What is Advocacy?". An Introduction to Advocacy, SARA/AED Advocacy Training
"The Press Advisory." Physicians for Human Rights. 2009. <