Eco-nuclear publicity : a comparative study in Florida and Scotland
This comparative study of the corporate public relations strategies of the nuclear industry in the U.S. and Britain, specifically of Florida Power & Light (FP&L) in Florida and Scottish Nuclear Limited (SNL) in Scotland, examines the use of visitor centres and environmental messages as key components of advocational campaigns designed to influence public opinion and shape public policy in favour of a pro-nuclear agenda. The study would seem to confirm other research that draws a direct relationship between the function of public relations in an organisation and the degree of input by public relations into corporate policy-making. Moreover, the data also suggest that, given a prominent role within an organisation, public relations can and does develop strategies and programmes to pro-actively manage emerging strategic public policy issues in direct support of organisational objectives Such programmes, as the study reveals, have been designed specifically around visitor centres as communication vehicles for corporate pronuclear messages, carried directly to key publics without gatekeeping by the mass media. Moreover, it would appear that the nuclear industry has been intentionally 'greening' its corporate messages so as to capitalise upon the public's growing concern about the environment. The study also suggests that the nuclear industry is using such centres, as well as newer, emerging advocational initiatives, in a fully promotional sense to circulate and thereby enhance the reputation of the industry. A comparative analysis of corporate nuclear public relations in the U.S. and Britain suggests a 'cross-national' exchange of intelligence, and in some respects, an outright collusion of efforts. Moreover, it would seem that there exists a further government-industry alliance both within the U.S. and Britain as well as trans-Atlantically. This alliance represents a convergence of government and industry interests in the development of nuclear energy for military and civilian purposes, and further illustrates earlier research of collusion among politicaleconomic elites and the over representation of corporate interests at the expense of unorganised public interests in the government decision-making process. Finally, the study argues that upcoming public policy decisions on the future of nuclear power in each country will be a measure of the effectiveness of pro-nuclear campaigning in achieving its objectives. The public debate on nuclear power will represent a genuine test of the relative health of democracy in both the U.S. and Britain, nation-states in which, military-industry-government interests mostly have had their way as it has concerned nuclear energy.