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Public Radio’s BURN: An Energy Journal Wins 2012 American Association for Advancement of Science Kavli Science Journalism Award

Part One of Documentary Specials Titled “Particles: Nuclear Power After Fukushima” Is Praised as “Gripping, Informative and Thorough – Radio Science Journalism at Its Best”


Los Angeles – November 14, 2012 – Peabody Award-winning SoundVision Productions’ © BURN: An Energy Journal has been awarded the prestigious 2012 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The awards, which have been administered by AAAS since their inception in 1945, go to professional journalists for distinguished reporting for a general audience. Independent panels of science journalists pick the winners, who will receive $3000 and a plaque at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston in February, 2013. The Kavli Foundation supports the awards. BURN: An Energy Journal is hosted by veteran radio journalist Alex Chadwick.

The awards announcement singles out for recognition the first of four BURN documentary specials, titled Particles: Nuclear Power After Fukushima, which was broadcast nationwide over the public radio network on March 11, 2012, the first anniversary of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. It states that the program “featured an interview with an American nuclear technician who was working inside the plant when the tsunami and earthquake struck. It also included tape recordings from inside the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Emergency Operations Center as officials struggled to shape America’s response to the Fukushima disaster.”

Seth Borenstein, a science reporter for the Associated Press, said the broadcast was “gripping, informative and thorough — radio science journalism at its best.” Larry Engel, an associate professor in the American University School of Communication and a freelance broadcast producer, said the program had “an excellent combination of story reporting, writing, character development, and sound recording and editing.”

This is the second AAAS award won by a SoundVision Productions team. Bari Scott, executive producer at SoundVision and of the BURN series, said: “We’re honored that AAAS has recognized BURN’s debut program. By showing energy issues through the lens of personal experience, BURN aims to help people let go of preconceived notions and take in new information.”

The award-winning BURN: An Energy Journal story on the Fukushima disaster is available in the following formats:

View Host Alex Chadwick’s exclusive video interview HERE with the American engineer who was on-site at the Daiichi nuclear plant when the earthquake and tsunami struck. Carl Pillitteri, a maintenance supervisor and one of 40 Americans in Fukushima on that fateful day, describes his terrifying ordeal as he desperately attempted to lead his men to safety through the enormous, shuddering turbine buildings in total darkness.

The citation honors SoundVision Productions’ Executive Producer Bari Scott, Host Alex Chadwick, Managing Producer Mary Beth Kirchner, Senior Producer/Editor Robert Rand and Technical Director/Mix Engineer Robin Wise. Other award-winning team members include Producer Sean Collins, Producer/Reporter Loretta Williams and Reporter Cori Princell. PBS Newshour Reporter and former CNN correspondent Miles O’Brien also contributed to the hour-long special with reporting from Japan.

Particles: Nuclear Power After Fukushima was produced by SoundVision Productions in partnership with American Public Media’s Marketplace, WUNC’s “The Story” and PBS Newshour, with a grant from the National Science Foundation. The BURN radio specials are distributed by American Public Media.

BURN: An Energy Journal is produced by SoundVision Productions in partnership with APM’s Marketplace with a grant from the National Science Foundation. The BURN radio specials are distributed by American Public Media. Share your ideas and opinions with BURN on Facebook.

For media inquiries, contact Scott Busby at or 310.475.2914. For more information about BURN: An Energy Journal, go to our website or contact Managing Producer Mary Beth Kirchner at

View Press Release as a PDF here.