Nuclear adverts axed

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The Independent Online
NICHOLAS SCHOON

Environment Correspondent

Britain's nuclear industry has withdrawn at the last minute pounds 200,000 worth of press advertising to promote underground disposal of radioactive waste, because it decided the timing was wrong.

The advertisements, designed and written by Saatchi & Saatchi, would have taken five full pages in each of today's Independent, Daily Telegraph, Times and Guardian.

They were created for Nirex, the nuclear industry's waste disposal body, which wants to build a repository in hard rock half a mile beneath the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria. The advertising would have swallowed more than one-tenth of Nirex's public relations budget.

"We've reflected, and decided this is not the right time for the campaign," Taryn Rock, a Nirex spokeswoman, said.

A public inquiry into Nirex's plans for an underground "rock characterisation" laboratory ended two weeks ago. The company says this laboratory is needed for essential safety investigations before the full-scale, long-term repository can be approved.

The inquiry inspector will now make his recommendation to John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, who will make the final decision on the laboratory in several months' time.

Friends of the Earth claims the advertisements have been withdrawn because Nirex now realises there is a real chance Mr Gummer will reject its plans.

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