Nuclear RFP eyes revival for industry

WASHINGTON: The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is soliciting help from PR agencies to assist in removing all major legislative and regulatory impediments to a nuclear renaissance.

WASHINGTON: The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is soliciting help from PR agencies to assist in removing all major legislative and regulatory impediments to a nuclear renaissance.

The centerpiece will be a plan to bolster public support for the development of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, NV. The total budget for the campaign, which is expected to run for about 14 months, will be $8 million, according to the RFP.

The nuclear industry is riding a wave of renewed optimism as Congress, in a comprehensive energy bill passed late last month, approved insurance and loan provisions that could entice utilities to place orders for new reactors.

In the RFP, which went out July 12, NEI emphasized it wants to expand support for nuclear power by engaging sympathetic groups, including selected members of the academic, public health, and environmental communities.

As many as eight agencies, including Ogilvy PR, Burson-Marsteller, and Dittus Communications, responded to the RFP, an industry official said. The winning contract will be awarded by August 15.

Ten years ago, many energy analysts believed nuclear power was a moribund industry. But as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission started to grant license extensions to existing nuclear reactors, and as fossil fuel prices surged, nuclear power regained its footing.

"It's an American technology that has proven itself over the past 25 to 30 years to be a well-managed and safe technology," said Jim Cunningham, MD at Burson. "Unfortunately, in some circles, the fears that are promulgated by the anti-nukes get more attention."

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