The Guardian has today revealed that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills contacted the Nuclear Industry Association two days after the disaster, suggesting ‘we need to all be working from the same material to get the message through the media and the public.’
A meeting was subsequently held by the Office for Nuclear Development on 7 April, at the NIA headquarters to ‘discuss a joint comms and engagement strategy aimed at ensuring we maintain confidence among the British public on the safety of nuclear power stations and nuclear build policy’.
The news was attacked by Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, who sits on the Commons environmental audit committee, who said ‘the Government has no business doing PR for the industry’.
However, a Department for Energy and Climate Change spokesman has informed PRWeek that there was no actual ‘comms strategy’ document produced as a result of the meeting between DECC and the nuclear industry.
The spokesman added that on 29 March, DECC Minister Lord Marland chaired a meeting with NGOs including Greenpeace, DECC officials and regulators to discuss the impact of Fukushima.
Portland partner George Pascoe-Watson said that Government officials would have been ‘failing in their duties’ had they not considered the impact on their flagship policy of the Japanese disaster.
‘It's the job of any communications consultant to keep an eye on the environment surrounding their strategy. And it's also their job to react accordingly when events change that environment.
‘I'd have been astonished if the government and energy companies hadn't had these conversations.’