Nuclear energy organization contends more facilities needed

WASHINGTON: Hill+Knowlton Strategies is helping the Nuclear Energy Institute get its message out that more nuclear power plants should be built to keep up with the growing need for electricity.

WASHINGTON: Hill+Knowlton Strategies is helping the Nuclear Energy Institute get its message out that more nuclear power plants should be built to keep up with the growing consumer need for electricity.

The organization launched a campaign this week that highlights the positive economic, environmental, and employment benefits of nuclear energy. The NEI hopes it will lead to the creation of new facilities, said Scott Peterson, SVP of communications at NEI.

Four nuclear energy reactors are in the early phases of construction in Georgia and South Carolina, which Peterson said are creating thousands of jobs. However, the NEI contended that more needs to be done for the country to increase its use of nuclear energy.

“It's an important time for us; we need to make sure policymakers and business leaders value the nuclear industry going forward,” Peterson said.  

This has prompted the organization to spend “double what it usually spends” on its campaigns with a budget of more than a $1 million. The multi-dimensional effort includes reporter and policymaker outreach that has spurred articles on Bloomberg.com and in The Hill and National Journal. Smith & Harroff created the advertising components of the campaign and also works on PR initiatives for the organization.

The effort also features social media, mobile-optimized outreach, and advertising components, Peterson said. In terms of digital outreach, the company has expanded its use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs.

“This is where [our audience] is spending a lot of its time,” Peterson said.

The campaign will run through the end of the year. However, the NEI is frontloading much of its outreach to ensure it reaches legislators before they go on recess this summer, Peterson said.

The firm has helped the NEI reach out to various stakeholders, from consumers to policymakers, to emphasize the safety of nuclear facilities in US since the disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant last March.

“We've been working for them for a while now to rebuild trust and support and to get stakeholders to understand the importance of nuclear power,” said Duncan Burns, EVP and global energy practice director at H+K Washington.

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