Nuclear options - EDF holds its website nerve

Editorial Director

I love it when a plan comes together. This week EDF Energy went live with a site about the choices we face when choosing our energy sources.

It’s the culmination of a year’s work by an ‘A’ team of content mercenaries, working on site alongside EDF Energy’s brand team. They took a bit of persuading, some of them, to accept the mission. Growing up as I did in the long shadow of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, I think they felt they were taking the King’s shilling in helping to promote nuclear power to the public.

The content strategy we developed was to explain the problem – a looming energy gap, as Britain’s power stations near the end of their life – and set out the possible solutions in unbiased fashion, warts and all.

But I think we all expected that the most disfiguring warts on the face of nuclear power – what to do with the waste being the most prominent – would be airbrushed out of the final site. Why otherwise go to so much effort?

We were wrong. To the indignation of scientific colleagues who are passionate advocates of nuclear power, the Brand team listened to its focus groups which told them that readers would switch off and switch out of EDF Energy if they felt they were being fed a line.

The result is a site that treats its audience as grown ups, takes no position, ensures that every claim is scrupulously fact-checked, and leaves us to make up our own minds how best to provide clean, secure, affordable, plentiful and predictable energy – with all the trade-offs that list implies.

It’s a timely contribution. In the year we have been working on the site (see Matt’s blog), high-profile UK sceptic George Monbiot has become a born-again nuclear supporter, while a major world economy built on nuclear energy is considering pulling out altogether.

The Japanese tsunami hit mid-project. It remains to be seen whether Fukushima leaves as lasting an impression on the psyche of future generations as Chernobyl has on mine.

See the site at


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