"Less than a week before a Town Meeting Day vote on the future of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, a David-and-Goliath-style public relations war is heating up between the multibillion dollar corporation that owns the plant and a small group of volunteers who want the plant closed in 2012," writes Eesha Williams.
"If war again comes to Iraq, depleted uranium munitions will be a mainstay of the American arsenal. For years, the Pentagon has discounted reports that the shells and bullets, made of solid nuclear-waste byproduct and used for the first time on a large scale in the Iraq war, bore calamity. ... 'There just isn't any scientific foundation to draw a connection between exposure and the incidents of leukemia, other cancers or birth defects,' said Michael Kilpatrick, deputy director of deployment health support at the Pentagon. ...
For years the US media has failed to report adequately on NASA's growing practice of launching radioactive materials into space. The explosive breakup of the shuttle Columbia is getting massive coverage, but the media is not drawing attention to two upcoming launches that will contain nuclear materials.
The Federal Government of Australia has given the Hill & Knowlton PR firm a $300,000 contract to to promote a controversial national nuclear waste dump planned near Woomera in South Australia.
Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee (ENVY), which owns a nuclear power plant near Brattleboro, VT, has been conducting an opinion poll using leading questions designed to influence public opinion, not measure it. "They were trying to sneak in some propaganda disguised as an objective poll," said one local resident after being called. "They claimed they didn't know who was paying for the poll." ENVY has been fighting to keep the plant open as town meetings convene to discuss its fate.
In our book, Toxic Sludge Is Good For You, we reported on the U.S. government's disastrous PR campaign to build public support in Nevada for a high-level nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain. Now two workers at the Yucca Mountain Project to dispose of high-level nuclear waste say they were fired or transferred after raising concerns about the project's safety.
The recently cleaned-up Weldon Spring site in St. Charles County, Missouri is now open to tourists. As part of its reclamation project for the hazardous waste site, the Department of Energy has opened an interpretive center at the base of "a seven-story high tomb of radioactive waste." The St. Louis Post Dispatch writes, "The mountainous site covers 45 acres and stores 1.5 million cubic yards of material.
"Burson-Marsteller is handling the public and media uproar over the safety of New York's Indian Point nuclear plant for the facility's owner Entergy Corp," O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports. "Activist groups and the media have criticized the safety record of the plant and its potential vulnerability to an attack by an airliner in the wake of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center tragedy. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in its annual review of the nation's 103 reactors released last month, gave the Indian Point 2 reactor its lowest performance rating.
The proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository is keeping lobbyists and PR firms busy on both sides of the issue. New York Times reporter Evelyn Nieves writes: "In an effort to counter the nuclear industry's own deep-pocketed Washington lobbyists -- John Sununu, chief of staff for the first President Bush, and Geraldine Ferraro, the onetime vice-presidential candidate, have been enlisted in the pro-Yucca fight -- Nevada is planning a multimillion-dollar advertising and publicity campaign intended to stoke opposition to the plan beyond Nevada's borders.
"Former Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro is lobbying for the Alliance for Energy & Economic Growth, which defines itself as a 'broad-based coalition of over 1,300 members that develop, deliver and consume energy from all sources,'" O'Dwyer's PR Daily writes. "Her topic is the Alliance's Yucca Mountain Initiative. That's the plan to build a centralized national nuclear waste repository inside that Nevada mountain.