Heathrow’s Phillips to take nuclear hot seat

The new public body charged with cleaning up Britain’s discredited nuclear programme has poached Heathrow Airport’s head of communications Jon Phillips to deal with the potential controversy.

He leaves Heathrow owner British Airports Authority, after 12 years, in March to join the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) as director of comms, ahead of its April launch.

During his time at Heathrow, Phillips handled public protests and media scrutiny around the expansion of one of the world’s busiest airports.

At the NDA, Phillips will establish a ten-strong team to handle PR for its supervision of nuclear installations, such as British Nuclear Fuels’ reprocessing plant Sellafield in Cumbria. The body will also oversee the decommissioning of power stations.

Phillips said the NDA would hire an agency for public affairs support.

Created by the 2004 Energy Act, the Government-funded NDA falls under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry.

From 1 April it will own the assets and liabilities of BNFL and the liabilities of the DTI-administered UK Atomic Energy Authority, although these organisations will still run the sites.

Phillips became Heathrow’s PR chief after Jenny Bradley’s retirement in 2003. He has also been the airport’s head of media relations and led BAA’s successful campaign to win backing for a fifth terminal.

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