Nuclear or environmental?

21 Feb

So, AEA Technology plc has been fined for a potentially fatal radioactive leak in 2002. At least it shows that health and safety regulators have teeth, even if the wheels of justice move slowly.

But here’s the mystery. The business was privatised as long ago as 1996 (when its prospectus declared it to have ‘no significant nuclear liabilities’ so as not to frighten investors); in 2000 it announced its strategy to exit the nuclear industry. Yet the newspaper cutting above still describes it as ‘an atomic energy company’. There are many more examples.

There’s been no news posted in 2006 on the corporate news page, so the company has nothing to say on this confusion. Yet it now wants to be seen as an environmental and rail technology business. In this case, silence is not so golden (though Rob Thomas was a very good advocate for the business on the TV yesterday). Declaration: I worked in corporate communications for AEA Technology for a period in the late 1990s.

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