Nuclear Energy Institute
Public opinion towards nuclear power declined precipitously following the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. This steady erosion of public support resulted in a halt of the expansion of nuclear power in the U.S. and created political challenges that impacted the cost of electricity from existing nuclear power stations.
For more than 25 years, during the many challenges the industry has faced, S&H has been on the frontline of the nuclear energy debate. We are the advertising agency of record for the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the trade association and policy organization of the nuclear energy and technologies industry. We are also the advertising agency for Westinghouse Electric Company, the company with the greatest number of global contracts to build advanced reactors.
In 1995, NEI hired S&H as its advertising agency. During the first two years, advertising was directed at policy objectives such as passing nuclear waste legislation in the U.S. Congress.
In 1997, we launched a second advertising campaign that promoted the benefits of nuclear technology and nuclear power. The principal goal was to encourage policymakers and opinion leaders to take a fresh look at nuclear power. The primary message was the “clean air” benefit of greenhouse, gas-free nuclear energy, a message that is increasingly impactful as we struggle to control CO2 emissions while producing more electricity with American technology and fuel.
Survey research has demonstrated the positive impact of this campaign, even in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident in Japan, and the industry has approved a budget for a sixteenth year of advertising.
The Solution–Media Relations and Education
Utilizing industry engineers and scientists, we developed a highly successful national media and grassroots outreach effort. Originally named the Campus America Program, it was launched as a way to educate college students about energy issues and generate positive news coverage about nuclear power.
The program was so successful in increasing positive media coverage and building the credibility of the industry that the nuclear industry retained S&H to manage the program for 18 years. More recently, the Nuclear Energy Institute has retained S&H to reinstate a similar speakers bureau, now called the Clean Energy America program (www.cleanenergy4america.org). We are responsible for every aspect of the program, from selecting and training speakers, to scheduling their itineraries, to accompanying them during their travels. Each trip has produced valuable news coverage and has helped the public become better informed about nuclear power.
Public acceptance of nuclear power has climbed back to a point where a large majority of the public supports building new nuclear power plants. As of October 2011, three utilities have announced plans to build the next generation of nuclear energy facilities and twelve other projects are under review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
“Smith & Harroff has been a critical part of our success in building a positive, pro-nuclear environment inside the Beltway and throughout the United States. They helped create both an effective strategy and compelling ad executions. In addition, their management of our speakers bureau has been top notch.”
– Scott Peterson
Senior Vice President-Communications
Nuclear Energy Institute