Nuclear Industry Association

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The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) is the trade association and "representative voice" of the UK’s civil nuclear industry. It represents almost 60,000 UK nuclear workers across more than 260 member companies.[1]

Contents

Spinning Fukushima

In June 2011, the NIA was involved in a public relations strategy to play down the Fukushima nuclear accident before the full extent of the radiation leak was known.

The Guardian revealed that an official at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills emailed the NIA and nuclear companies on 13 March 2011, two days after the disaster. The official argued it was not as bad as the "dramatic" TV pictures made it seem – even though two explosions at reactors on the site were yet to happen. The official said that if companies sent in their comments, they could be incorporated into briefs to ministers and government statements.

On 7 April 2011, the Department for Energy and Climate Change's Office for Nuclear Development invited companies to attend a meeting at the NIA's headquarters in London. The aim was "to discuss a joint communications and engagement strategy aimed at ensuring we maintain confidence among the British public on the safety of nuclear power stations and nuclear new-build policy in light of recent events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant".[2]

Access to Government intelligence

In December 2011, The Guardian revealed how the Office for Nuclear Development was "quietly exchanging intelligence on key policies" with nuclear companies and the NIA "in an effort to protect and promote their plans for new nuclear power stations".

It sent the body details of its court battle against Greenpeace, which was trying to block the Government's nuclear plans.[3] (Its action was dropped in October 2013).

Friends in high places

In May 2010, the NIA reacted positively to the formation of the Coalition government. Although worried by the appointment of the then Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, the NIA was “particularly pleased to see the appointment of Charles Hendry to the Energy job.”

At the NIA's Summer Party at the Royal Society, Hendry applauded the efforts of the industry in readying itself for "a nuclear renaissance". “I am always impressed by the nuclear industry. I have enjoyed working with many of you in my former role in opposition – and now that I am part of this new government I look forward to working with you to deliver a secure energy future for the UK,” he said.[4]

The NIA was quick to spin its low-carbon message to other members of the new Coalition government. Keith Parker, the head of the NIA said: “We will continue to get our key message, that nuclear should be at the heart of the UK’s low-carbon agenda, across to the most influential audiences.” The NIA’s Public Affairs and Communications teams were said to be “busy making contact to continue representing the industry to key policymakers and politicians of influence”. [5]

“Starting at the TUC in September and finishing with the Conservatives in Birmingham, in early October, the NIA will be exhibiting, debating, networking, defending and messaging on behalf of UK nuclear,” wrote the NIA’s then Head of Media and Public Relations at the NIA. [6]

A year later, the NIA was also extremely active at the Party Conference season. Its newsletter described how the “NIA descended on Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester for 3 weeks of engagement with politicians, grassroots party members and other organisations.” The NIA’s favourite minister, Energy Minister Charles Hendry MP spoke to a packed out room at Conservative Party Conference. His conference speech recognised nuclear energy to be “the cheapest low-carbon source of electricity, so it can keep bills down and the lights on."[7]

Working with the Government on the carbon floor price

Keith Parker was quick to let slip that the NIA was seeking to lobby the government on the carbon floor price, a key mechanism by which the government might surreptitiously subsidise nuclear. “We look forward to working with Chris Huhne and his team and we note the encouraging words on setting a carbon price, something the industry is supporting, to send a clear signal to investors that low carbon technologies including renewables and nuclear play the key role in delivering the UK’s energy future.” [8]

“We must learn lessons” of Fukushima

After the Fukushima disaster, Keith Parker, the head of the NIA wrote that the “UK has made huge progress in recent years in turning around what was generally regarded as a sunset industry, enduring a slow and not very graceful decline, into one with bright and optimistic prospects that is destined now to be a cornerstone of the nation’s energy needs well into the future".

Despite this, he praised the government’s “sensible and measured approach” in response to the catastrophic accident at Fukushima, arguing that “we have to be prepared to learn and apply the lessons of Japan just as we did the lessons of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.” [9]

"Support for nuclear new build now the highest it has ever been"

In spring 2012, the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) argued that “After the unprecedented tsunami in Japan last March and the damage inflicted upon the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, it was hardly surprising that a poll conducted in June 2011 saw a drop in public support for nuclear, with the results showing that people with favourable opinions about nuclear fell from 40% to 28% and unfavourable opinions increased from 17% to 24%.”

It continued: “However, a recent survey conducted in December 2011 by Ipsos MORI has indicated that the dip in support for nuclear energy has been short-lived, with figures all but returning to those marked in polls conducted before Fukushima - favourability towards the industry recovered to 40% and unfavourable opinions reduced to 19%.”

Keith Parker argued that, "The poll clearly shows that public opinion has not only recovered from last summer’s dip but it has also resumed its gradual year-on year improvement. The 50% support figure for new build is the highest it has ever been." [10]

However, Professor Nick Pidgeon, Director of the Understanding Risk Programme, Cardiff University, giving evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee argues that “a large proportion of recent support” for nuclear power “remain[s] conditional - a 'reluctant acceptance' at best" and added that "while many more in Britain have indeed come to support nuclear power over the past decade they do so while viewing it only as a 'devil's bargain', a choice of last resort in the face of the threat of climate change”. [11]

Nuclear revolving door

In mid-June 2011, the former Secretary of State for Energy, John Hutton, became the Chair of the NIA.

The NIA’s chief executive Keith Parker said, “We are at a key point for the development of the UK’s nuclear industry and we are delighted to welcome John Hutton as our chairman. In the wake of the events in Japan we must continue to move forward with confidence and credibility - and help the UK meet it’s security of supply and climate change goals. John Hutton is recognised internationally and he is the ideal person to lead the industry forward.” [12]

Labour government commends NIA for low carbon message

At the 2010 Energy Choices conference, the then Energy Minister Lord Hunt said: “I must commend the work of the NIA in helping to get the positive message across that nuclear is an essential part of a low carbon future for the UK.” [13]

People

Former personnel

NIA Members

ABB Limited | AECL | AK Engineering Services | Alpha Engineering | ALSTEC | AMEC Group | AMEC NNC | AN Technology | Arup | Ashurst | Atentis Limited | AT Group Ltd | Atkins Nuclear | AWE Plc | Bechtel Management Company Ltd | Birse Nuclear | BNFL | Boulting Group Plc | Bradtec Decon Technologies Ltd | British Energy Plc | British Shielding Windows Ltd | Brown and Mason Ltd | Canberra Harwell Ltd | Capula Ltd | Carillion Plc | Cee Vee Engineering Ltd | Centronic Ltd | CH2M Hill | CMS Cameron McKenna | Corbis Consulting Ltd | Corus Northern Engineering Services | Corus Process Engineering | Costain Oil, Gas and Process Ltd | Data Systems & Solution Ltd | Day & Zimmerman Ltd | DentonWildeSapte | Different by Design | DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary | E C Harris | Edmund Nuttall Ltd | Electrowatt-Ekono (UK) Ltd Energy Institute | Entec UK Ltd | Fathoms Ltd | FCx Thompson Valves | Fluor Government Group | Foster Wheeler Energy Ltd | Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer | GENII Engineering & Technology Training Ltd | Gleeds | Golder Associates (UK) Ltd | Gravatom Engineering Systems Ltd | H Smith (Engineers) Ltd | Halcrow Group Ltd | Hammonds | Herbert Smith | Hertel Services Ltd | Hochtief (UK) Construction Ltd | Hogan & Hartson | IJS Consultants | Imaging & Sensing Technology Ltd | IMI Components | Imperial College London | INBIS Group Plc | Jacobs Babtie Ltd | Jacobs Ltd | Jordan Engineering UK Ltd | KDC Group | Kier Construction | Laboratory Impex Systems | Lumis LLP | Marubeni Europe Plc | McGrigors | Mitsui Babcock Energy Ltd | MHF Logistical Solutions | Montgomery Watson Harza | Mott MacDonald | Mowlem Nuclear Services Ltd | Nirex | NIS Group | Northwest Development Agency | Norton Rose | Norwest Holst Construction Ltd | Nuclear Engineering Services Ltd | Nuclear Risk Insurers Ltd | Nuclear Technologies Plc | Nu-Tech Associates | [[One North East | Parsons Brinckerhoff Limited | Pinsent Masons Solicitors | Praxis High Intergrity Systems Ltd | Radwise Limited | Redcliffe Ltd | RM Consultants Ltd | RTS Innovation Ltd | RWE NUKEM Ltd | Scottish Enterprise Energy Team | SEC-UK Nuclear Ltd | Semple Fraser | Speechly Bircham | SERCO Assurance | Simmons & Simmons | Sinclair Knight Merz | Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd | SMT Consulting | Southern Scientific Ltd | Speechly Bircham | Studsvik UK Ltd | Syngensis Ltd | Taylor Woodrow Construction | The Engineering Business Ltd | Thermo Electron Corporation | Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc | Trinity May Ltd | UKAEA | Urenco Ltd | URS Corporation Ltd | VECTRA Group Limited | Washington E&C Ltd | Weir Strachan & Henshaw Ltd | Weir Valves & Controls UK Ltd. | WSP Environmental [16]

Evidence to government committees

Affiliations

Resources

Contact

Carlton House
22a St James’s Square
London SW1Y 4JH
UK
Tel: +44(0)20 7766 6640
Fax: +44(0)20 7839 1523
Email: info@niauk.org

Notes

  1. Home page, Nuclear Industry Association, undated, accessed 29 October 2012
  2. Rob Edwards, Revealed: British government's plan to play down Fukushima, The Guardian, 30 June 2011
  3. Rob Edwards, UK government shared intelligence with nuclear industry, documents show, The Guardian, 5 December 2011
  4. John McNamara, What a Party that Was!, IndustryLink, Issue No.29, Autumn 2010
  5. John McNamara, New friends in high places as government beds in, Industry Link, Issue No.28, Summer 2010, p5
  6. John McNamara, Editor’s Eye, IndustryLink, Issue No.29 Autumn 2010, p3
  7. IndustryLink, Political Conference Season 2011, Issue No.34 Winter 2011, p10-11
  8. John McNamara, New friends in high places as government beds in, IndustryLink, Issue No.28, Summer 2010, p5
  9. Keith Parker, From the Top, IndustryLink, Issue No.31 Spring 2011, p8
  10. NIA, Nuclear: What do the public think?, IndustryLink, Issue No.35 Spring 2012
  11. Science and Technology Select Committee, Devil's bargain? Energy risks and the public, 9 July 2012
  12. John McNamara, John Hutton announced as NIA chairman, IndustryLink, Issue No.32 Summer 2011
  13. John McNamara, NIA’s Energy Choices strikes a chord, IndustryLink 27, Jan/Feb/March 2010
  14. Gavin Stamp, Lib Dems face extra lobbying push, BBC News, in Liverpool, 20 September 2010, accessed 8 May 2010
  15. John McNamara, LinkedIn profile, undated, acc 4 October 2013
  16. The Nuclear Industry Association website is here, although the list was removed from the website in early 2006. This list was current up until January, 2006.
  17. Data from Internet Archive holdings of the Science Media Centre website, 2002-2013.

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