Public Affairs: Luther Pendragon takes on nuclear waste brief

The independent body set up to consult the public on how to handle the UK's nuclear waste has drafted in Luther Pendragon.

The move comes amid heightening public concern over the safety of nuclear energy following a leak at the Sellafield reprocessing plant in April and last month's London terror attacks.

The Committee for Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) brief covers the consultation's final phase to assess options for the long-term management of nuclear waste. The committee is also producing recommendations for the Government by July 2006.

Luther Pendragon partner Ben Rich said the process was aimed at reassuring people that their concerns were being addressed.

Senior consultant Adam Lewis said: 'We are working with engineers, lawyers and political stakeholders, including local authorities and government departments.'

The aim is to ensure everyone is aware of, and able to participate in, the consultation. Luther Pendragon will communicate the consultation to the public through media relations.

'If we tell people about the process (behind) the final recommendations, they will have faith in it,' said Rich. 'If we fail to tell people that, we will be stuffed.'

Luther Pendragon won the contract after a four-way pitch. CoRWM estimates the UK has 470,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste in temporary storage.

- Only one per cent of people trust the Government or MPs to tell the truth about the safety of nuclear power, according to a survey of 1,003 adults by Populus, commissioned by Media Strategy.

Fifty-nine per cent believe it would be irresponsible to build new nuclear power stations while waste disposal problems remain. Nearly four in five back renewables as the answer to the increasing reliance on imported energy, but only 18 per cent favour nuclear.

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