Nuclear Energy Institute - Climate Investigations Center

Nuclear Energy Institute

The Nuclear Energy Institute is a trade association that promotes the interests of nuclear energy producers and regional utility providers.


Hill+Knowlton Contracts

Every year from 2008 to 2016, NEI has contracted one of the country’s oldest PR firms, Hill+Knowlton (H+K). From 2008 to 2016, NEI has paid H+K almost $22.7 million for their PR work. H+K was not listed on NEI’s 2017 990 as a contractor.

H+K is more widely known for assisting the tobacco industry in covering up the harmful effects of smoking, but they also participate in greenwashing and front group creation.

In 2006, H+K worked with NEI to create the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, a pro-nuclear energy front group that merged with Nuclear Matters in 2016.  

Total: $22.7 million


Smith & Harroff Contracts

Another long-running contract for NEI has been with Smith & Harroff, a Virginia based PR firm that specializes in trade association and political PR work. S&H has run various print, radio, and video campaigns for NEI, including greenwashing ads that claim “We can’t reduce CO2 enough without nuclear energy.”

Smith & Harroff posted this video as an example of the work they have done for NEI.

Total: $20.1 million


Kivvit Contracts

NEI has also been working with new-comer PR firm Kivvit, paying them $12.1m between 2015 and 2016.

On Kivvit’s website, the firm discusses their work on nuclear energy advocacy, without specifically mentioning their contracts with NEI. Kivvit highlights their campaign titled Nuclear Matters, where they “implemented a robust public affairs campaign, which includes advertising, sponsored event series, media relations, grasstops recruitment, third-party advocacy, and targeted social media engagement.” In a June 2014 campaign overview, Nuclear Matters is described as, “…a bipartisan campaign to engage and inform policymakers and the public about the need to preserve existing nuclear energy plants due to their critical role in America’s energy mix.”

 A Nuclear Matters campaign video titled Reliable nuclear power for communities.

Nuclear Matters was started by ASGK in 2014 and is now managed by Kivvit. ASGK and M Public Affairs formed Kivvit in their 2015 mergerNEI is the current trademark holder of the campaign. Nuclear Matters garnered positive news coverage in a 2014 Forbes piece and some negative coverage in another piece on Huffington Post, attacking it as an Exelon front group, but has otherwise gone under the radar.  Exelon is an electric utility with heavy nuclear power plant investments and a member of NEI.

Total: $12.1 million

NEI 990s: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Read more about NEI at Sourcewatch

Read more about NEI at DeSmog


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