Nuclear Energy Institute CEO and president Marv Fertel talks to Jaimy Lee about reinforcing clean-energy and job-creation messaging.
What key points are your organization communicating to policymakers ahead of the climate bill?
Fertel: Nuclear is a significant contributor to producing energy without emitting greenhouse gases or other atmosphere pollutants. It provides greater energy security and is an extremely good job creator as we deploy new plants.Have these points been consistent over several years?
Fertel: They have. We didn't put as much substance into the jobs argument as we have over the past couple of years because of the economy.What primary tactics does the institute use to communicate that nuclear power is clean energy?
Fertel: We attempt to do that through multiple avenues: talking to general media and informing them, advertising on radio and in print, and forming coalitions.
We sponsor The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, which is headed by Patrick Moore and former [New Jersey] Governor Christine Todd Whitman. They are very effective in communicating that.
We're also talking to policymakers, think tanks, and interest groups about the role nuclear can play in the economy and helping the energy and environment situation.You mentioned coalitions. Do you have any organized outreach with environmental groups?
Fertel: Because of the climate issue in particular, we find ourselves working closely with some environmental groups. We also work closely with other clean energy organizations.
One commonality in the policy space with environmental groups is how you produce electricity without emitting carbon and greenhouse gases. For the other clean energy groups, such as wind and solar, it is policy issues such as how to make the federal loan guarantee program work.When did the institute begin to look at refining its job-creation message?
Fertel: We always talked about how nuclear is good with jobs, but once the recession hit last year we realized jobs would be very important.
We also started to move with building plants. That creates so many jobs, we began talking about it more. It was through media outreach and third-party activities. We're doing some studies to demonstrate the amount of jobs created.