Best of AP — Honorable Mention


Sites with radioactive material more vulnerable as climate change increases wildfire and flood risks

A general view shows an entrance to the Pantex Plant, Friday, March 1, 2024, in Panhandle, Texas. AP PHOTO / JULIO CORTEZ

AP24062586136000 (1)

Using extensive documents research and interviews with experts and government officials, The Associated Press reported exclusively on the mounting threats that climate-stoked flooding, deep freezes and wildfires pose to sensitive nuclear sites across the U.S.  

U.S. News Director Josh Hoffner asked climate team member Tammy Webber to explore whether climate change posed risks to radioactive material at sites around the country. Webber reached out to Pantex Plant and Department of Energy officials, receiving only vague information. But Webber kept digging. She found sites that had experienced wildfires and floods, read publicly available DOE documents — including those warning about climate change’s growing threat — and talked to experts and activists about potential dangers from wildfires, severe storms and flooding. Armed with new information, Webber went back to Pantex officials, who agreed to speak about their response to the Texas wildfires and earlier freeze and flood events that threatened the plant. Her story and an abridged version were accompanied by a strongly presented Ty O’Neil video, Julio Cortez photos at Pantex and a file photo from an earlier fire near another nuclear site. 

Visit to request a trial subscription to AP’s video, photo and text services.

For breaking news, visit

Contact us