Dr. Peter Feuz (Born 1935 – Died 2013): A giant of the European Nuclear Society has passed away
The former Secretary General of the ENS, Dr. Peter Feuz, a giant of the European nuclear community, passed away in hospital in his home town of Bern (Switzerland), on 10 April 2013, after a brave and lengthy battle against debilitating illness.
Peter Feuz was Secretary General of the European Nuclear Society for 14 years, from 1982 - 1996. His Central Office, backed up by its small and effective secretariat, worked at the specialist financial company ATAG Treuhand Bern, which later became part of Ernst & Young. Peter held leading positions within the company for 37 years before retiring to open an art gallery, thereby transforming his great passion for art into a new professional challenge.
After graduating in political sciences, Peter joined ATAG in 1961, as Chief Editor of the publication of the Swiss Nuclear Association. He was soon appointed Secretary General of the association. He persuaded several Swiss and international energy-related organisations to transfer their secretariats to ATAG – and at the same time he launched ATAG´s PR activities and proved his talent for innovation by, for example, creating quality control departments. After 17 years of hard work Peter turned his attention to developing the international side of ATAG’s business. He was in charge of the Technische Organisationen (technical organisations) unit. His many qualities and talents led to him eventually becoming a partner of ATAG Bern.
During his time as Secretary General of the ENS we got to learn first-hand just how effective Peter was and what a great personality he had. He developed ENS into a leading international organization active in the nuclear field. From the 1980s onwards, he organized, together with Foratom, several European Nuclear Conferences (ENCs). He also developed close contacts between ENS and the American Nuclear Society (ANS). When I served as Chairman of the Information Committee of the ENS, from 1988-1994, we co-operated in a seamless way to develop “tools” for defending nuclear energy against the backdrop of the very negative atmosphere that was generated by the Chernobyl accident. The scope of the Society’s publication Nuclear Europe was extended to become Nuclear Worldscan. We also set up Nucleus, a leaflet that popularised nuclear news. NucNet, the world´s first independent communications network for nuclear energy, was established in 1991.
During Peter’s time as Secretary General of the ENS the annual PIME (Public Information Material Exchange) conference and exhibition was created especially for communications and PR professionals working in the nuclear field. It has developed in to a regular and unique fixture on the nuclear events calendar. Participants from across Europe and beyond, known as ‘Pimers,’ are given a platform for exchanging ideas and views, creating new PR activities, designing new information materials, networking and sharing communications best practices and tools. The fact that PIME is still going strong today, 26 years later, is an eloquent testimony to Peter’s innovative leadership, drive and energy.
Women in Nuclear (Win) was established in 1992 with the aim of creating a worldwide network of women professionals working in the fields of nuclear energy and radiation in order to disseminate fact-based and businesslike information about nuclear energy and radiation. For the past 20 years, WiN has continuously expanded and today counts some 4,500 members in more than 100 countries. Also the concept of the Young Generation Network (young professionals working in the nuclear field), was conceived and launched during his tenure. It is no surprise that the YGN has since greatly expanded into the effective international lobbying network that we know today, promoting nuclear energy among young professionals both nationally and internationally.
After retirement Peter redirected his considerable focus and energy to pursuing his great personal passion - antique sculpture and renaissance art. In 1997, Peter and his wife Ulrike, who had built up an extensive collection of works of art, established their own art gallery, called the Triple Gallery, which is located today in their home, in Bremgarten, Bern. The motto of the art gallery is “Purely Classical – the world of ancient antiquity lives on”. Over a period of 16 years Peter developed the gallery’s business in three distinct areas - antiquities, prehistoric idols and 16th to early 20th Century masterpieces. In order to add new works to the collection he was a regular bidder at auctions in international art houses such as Sotheby´s and Christies in London.
And now, that great organizer and personality who was known personally by so many ENS members, has left us. But Ulrike still keeps their great shared passion, the Triple Gallery, very much alive as a tribute to Peter. On October 10 2013, she organised a preview of the gallery’s current exhibition entitled Weibliche Schönheit und Erotik as a memorial for her late husband. About 70 people participated. I had the honour to be among them and was privileged to be able to talk to those present about Peter´s illustrious international career, especially his many productive years at the helm of ENS; years that helped shape the Society into what it is today.
I am sure that I speak on behalf of many colleagues when I express a shared sense of loss and sadness at the passing of a talented and industrious leader and a great personality. He has left an indelible mark on the history of the European nuclear science community.
Juhani Santaholma (former Chairman of the ENS Information Committee and a close friend of Peter Feuz)