BNFL tech arm in nuclear lab drive

The technology and research arm of British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) – Nexia Solutions – is embarking on a campaign to convince the Government to build a national nuclear laboratory.

It is using retained PR and lobbying consultancy Weber Shandwick to handle the PA and PR drive.

Following the pending sales of the other companies operating under the BNFL umbrella (British Nuclear Group and Westinghouse), Nexia will be the only BNFL business left. The Government will then decide whether to sell it or use it to maintain a national nuclear laboratory.

Energy minister Malcolm Wicks revealed in March that the idea of establishing a national laboratory to train the next generation of nuclear scientists was ‘under active consideration’.

But there have been concerns that a skills shortage in the nuclear industry will mean there are not enough scientists and engineers to design future plants.

Weber Shandwick account director Paul Bowers said: ‘We will be showing that the myth of a lack of nuclear skills in the UK is just that – a myth.’

The account is led by Weber Shandwick North MD Jo Leah, based in Manchester, with public affairs handled from London by the agency’s managing director of corporate and public affairs Michael Prescott.

WS will set up meetings with ministers who are involved in the energy debate, such as those at the Department of Trade and Industry and the Treasury.

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