Case Study:

Nuclear Energy Institute

For over three decades, during the many challenges the industry has faced, Smith & Harroff has worked to promote the benefits of nuclear power and educate the public.

We have worked with the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the trade association and policy organization of the nuclear energy and technologies industry, individual nuclear utilities and corporations like Westinghouse Electric Company.

From Three Mile Island to Fukushima, S&H has been on the frontline of the nuclear energy debate for more than 30 years.

The Challenge

Public opinion towards nuclear power declined precipitously following the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island. 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.

Public Opinion

The nuclear industry has been studying public opinion for decades. Similar to other issues, there is a solid base of support for nuclear energy and an unwavering group in opposition. In the middle, are most Americans whose opinion can flip depending on what is happening in the world. However, one fact has always been true, the American public trusts our scientists and engineers. S&H was quick to recommend that the industry take advantage of this fact.

The Solutions

Solutions developed by S&H have included numerous advertising campaigns, grassroots outreach, media training, and media relations. Other initiatives included the management of a speakers bureau and various educational activities.

Campaign developed and produced by S&H - Nuclear. Clean Air Energy.


For 22 years, S&H provided NEI with print, radio, television and digital advertising. In the most recent campaign, the primary message was the “clean air” benefit of nuclear energy, a message that is increasingly significant as we struggle to control CO2 emissions while producing more electricity with American technology and fuel.

Other campaigns have highlighted the “Voices of Nuclear” and focused on topics related to innovation, education and economic development in the industry.

Media Relations & 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. In 2008, the Nuclear Energy Institute retained S&H to reinstate a similar speakers bureau, called the Clean Energy America Program. We were responsible for every aspect of the program, from selecting and training speakers, to scheduling their itineraries, and accompanying them during their travels. Each trip produced valuable news coverage and helped the public become better informed about nuclear power.

Media relations and education efforts managed by S&H

Clean Energy America Speakers Bureau

The Results

Public acceptance of nuclear power has climbed back to a point where a large majority of the public supports building new nuclear power plants. And even in the face of cheap natural gas prices, several utilities in the U.S. and dozens of other companies in other countries, have announced plans to build the next generation of nuclear energy facilities.

“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
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Former Senior Vice President-Communications
Nuclear Energy Institute

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