Bell Pottinger retains grip

Bell Pottinger Group has seen off competition from three undisclosed short-listed agencies to maintain its hold on the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's comms account.

As well as strategic advice and PA, the agency’s new remit covers regeneration activity in communities affected by the closure of nuclear power stations.

Its contract will span the next 12 months with the chance to renew for a further two years.

Chairman Kevin Murray leads the £150,000 account, reporting to NDA head of comms Bill Hamilton and London-based director of comms Jon Phillips.

The review process got under way last summer (PRWeek, 4 August 2006).

The NDA is responsible for decommissioning 20 nuclear power stations in the UK over the next 150 years.

Situated in rural areas, the closure of nuclear power stations can cause high levels of local unemployment. The NDA is developing training programmes to help those aff­ected find work elsewhere.

‘We are setting up a Nuclear Skills Academy, where school-leavers and older people who want to retrain can learn practical skills and take up apprenticeships,’ Hamilton said.

The NDA was set up in 2005 to oversee a tender for clean-up work. However, it already faces an estimated funding shortfall of almost £200m.

Further quandaries for the industry include the disposal of radioactive waste. Existing proposals include burying nuclear waste deep underground. Yet the pit required for the safe disposal of existing plants’ waste  would need to match the volume of the Royal Albert Hall – at a cost of around £75bn.

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