Nuclear trade group shakes up leadership

Nuclear trade group shakes up leadership
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The nuclear power industry’s Washington trade group is shaking up its leadership and consolidating numerous executive positions.

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) said Thursday that it's consolidating its governmental affairs, communications and policy offices into one operation.


Alex Flint, the group’s top lobbyist who has been there for a decade, will leave this fall, along with Scott Peterson, the head of the communications shop, who has worked for the NEI since it was formed in 1994. The NEI will look to hire a new leader for its external affairs operations.

The moves come at a pivotal time for the nuclear industry, when many of the fewer than 100 reactors in the country are closing due to increasing costs and competition from cheap natural gas and only a small handful of new plants are being constructed or even planned.

“The nuclear energy industry is facing one of the most transformational periods in its history. Additionally, 2017 and 2018 lie ahead as a critical window for us,” Marvin Fertel, NEI’s president, said in a statement.

“The new presidential administration will be in place, providing a valuable opportunity to change the dialogue on the importance of nuclear energy to our economic and environmental goals. Given the change in leadership and looking at this pivotal period for our industry, we are acting now to better position NEI to have enduring impact in the political and policy arena.”

Fertel himself is retiring at the end of the year.

The shakeup is happening as the industry has a number of important matters on which they are pressing lawmakers to act.

The industry's congressional allies are expected next year to make a new push to enact nuclear waste legislation that could lead to construction of the Yucca Mountain waste site in Nevada, along with short-term disposal areas.

The industry is also pushing for renewal of a tax credit for newly built nuclear plants that has not yet been used.

The NEI spent about $2.35 million in federal lobbying last year, according to disclosures it provided to Congress.