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|This article is part of a series on the|
2005-2006 national debate on nuclear
power in the UK
|For more articles on this topic,|
see the NuclearSpin website
Keith Parker is chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association.
A brief biography on the NIA's website gives the following details :
- 1980s: worked in the Department of Energy on the public inquiries into Sizewell B and Hinkley Point C.
- Early 1990s: Private Secretary for two years to Tony Baldry MP and David Heathcoat-Amory MP, Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State at the Department of Energy. According to the NIA, "During this period he was closely involved in policy formulation and decision making in the areas of nuclear power, coal, electricity generation and energy efficiency."
- 1990s: Private Secretary to Robert Key MP, Minister at the newly-created Department of National Heritage.
- Dec 1995: joined the NIA from the DTI
- March 1997: became Head of Corporate Communications at the NIA
- Sept 2003: Appointed Chief Executive of the NIA
Parker calls the 2004 general election an 'opportunity'
According to Jonathan Leake and Dan Box writing in the New Statesman:
- Keith Parker, chief executive of the NIA, confirms that the industry carefully co-ordinated and exploited the build-up to the election. "We discussed these things a lot," he said, "and we did see the election as an opportunity. There were several other things coming at the same time, such as the government's review of renewables [due out in June]. It gave us a good chance to raise the profile of nuclear power." The campaign co-ordinated by the NIA was designed to focus not on the historically dubious benefits of nuclear power but on the shortcomings of all the alternatives.
Parker's statement appears at odds with comments made a few months earlier by an NIA spokeswoman. Chris Grimshaw of Corporate Watch reported that:
- They [the NIA] denied conducting any proactive media relations work at all. They claim that their PR strategy is purely reactive, simply handling inquiries from journalists. Spokeswoman Ruth Stanway insisted that there is â??no dark machiavellian conspiracyâ? pushing for new nuclear power stations. She attributed the high media profile of the issue to rising oil prices, Russia's signing of the Kyoto Protocol and Lovelock's public utterances.
And Parker himself protested in October 2005 that "we haven't launched a concrete campaign" .
"Creating the environment in which private sector investors would feel comfortable"
In an October 2005 interview with The Guardian, Parker admitted that new nuclear build in the UK would require government subsidies:
- [Parker] accepts that new nuclear cannot be built in Britain without government money and public subsidies. He calls this "creating the environment in which private sector investors would feel comfortable".
- The industry needs four things, he says. It needs the government to change the rules so that planning permission for nuclear power stations can be granted more swiftly. It needs government money for inspectors to certify new reactor designs for use in Britain. And it needs the government to guarantee a minimum price for nuclear electricity to prevent it being rendered unprofitable if other ways of generating power turned out to be cheaper.
Email: keith.parker AT niauk.org 
- Energy Review (UK 2006)
- National debate on nuclear power (UK 2005-2006)
- Nuclear Industry Association
- ^ Parker's biography on the NIA website. Undated, accessed February 2006.
Letters by Parker
- ^ Keith Parker, "Letter: Nuclear rethink", The Independent (UK), September 17, 1999.
- Keith Parker, "Letter: Reasons to go nuclear", The Independent on Sunday (UK), July 4, 2004.
- ^ Chris Grimshaw, "It's official: no dark Machiavellian conspiracy for new nuclear power", Corporate Watch newsletter, issue 21, December 2004.
- ^ Jonathan Leake and Dan Box, "The nuclear charm offensive", New Statesman, May 23, 2005. Subscription req'd after first page view. Available without restrictions at the Australian Financial Review.
- ^ James Meek, "Back to the future", The Guardian, October 4, 2005. Features an interview with Parker.
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