Mike Fox, supporter of nuclear issues, dies

Mike Fox, known for his outspoken support of nuclear issues and questioning the existence of human-caused global warming, died Friday.

Fox, 74, was in hospice care in Seattle after fighting cancer for several years.

Fox was a retired Hanford nuclear reservation chemist who lived in Richland until recently and spoke about the nuclear causes he believed in on behalf of the Eastern Washington Section of the American Nuclear Society and Citizens for Medical Isotopes. He addressed the Columbia Basin Badger Club as a global warming skeptic.

He was an ardent supporter of restarting Hanford's Fast Flux Test Facility, believing the nation needed it to produce difficult-to-access radioactive isotopes that could be used for treatment of cancer and other diseases.

In the 1980s he was one of the cofounders of "Hanford Family," which advocated to keep N Reactor operating and provide positive education on nuclear issues, said Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland.

"He was a voice and force dealing with science we all will miss in this community," Haler said.

Fox was a chairman of the American Nuclear Society's national public information committee and in 1985 was given the society's public education award. He also was a member of the American Chemical Society.

Fox grew up near Olympia and earned a doctorate at the University of Washington in physical chemistry in 1965. He worked at Idaho National Laboratory until moving to Richland in the early '70s and working at Hanford until about 15 years ago. He continued to work as consultant on energy and nuclear issues.

He enjoyed mountain climbing and handball, winning many Northwest handball tournaments. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and children Marianne, Michelle, Brian and Ryan.

A memorial service is planned at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at Central United Protestant Church in Richland.