Monday, 19 October 2015

Nuclear's common military history in UK and China‏

Letter sent to The Times, 19 Oct

Your energy editor’s report on a prospective new era of nuclear power production in the UK recalls the special role of the Calder Hall reactors at Sellafield in Cumbria in Britain’s atomic history.("We're paying a high price for dropping the baton on nuclear power," Oct 19)
The article refers readers to the  opening by Her Majesty, the young Queen Elizabeth, of  Calder Hall on 17 October 1956 ( although it was first connected to the grid on
27 August 1956) . (
As some one who wrote a PHD thesis on the UK nuclear reactor design decisions from the early 1950s to the decision in 1979 to switch to an American reactor design (‘Nuclear Powers,’ Open University, 1987), may I draw readers attention to  The Times leading article on Calder Hall (‘The First Nuclear Station’, Leader, 17 October 1956).
This leader interestingly described Calder Hall as the "first full scale "nuclear plant, not, as most other news outlets of the day wrongly described the installation as, the world’s first "civil" nuclear power plant, as your energy editor erroneously does in his contemporary article. In identifying it as a "project of high priority," the leader rightly pointed out: "As well as the generation of electricity, it serves a military purpose – the production of plutonium."
Indeed, this is how Calder Hall was described in the official book, ‘Calder Hall’ published in October 1956 by the UK Atomic Energy Authority, written by Kenneth Jay, then a senior staff member at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell.

With China's President  about to join Chinese and UK nuclear industries together this week in a commercial co-operation agreement, it should not be overlooked that the main Chinese company, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC),  that will partner the British nuclear industry  in their joint atomic adventure, proudly promotes on its web site that it “successfully developed the atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb and nuclear submarines”.

1 comment:

  1. For a myriad of reasons, including British rate payers having to guarantee funding for the Hinkley C project even if it collapses, deceptive practices on the part of EdF, committing the UK to build an all Chinese reactor in the UK, crushing the UK renewables market and terrible pricing of electricity, this may well be the worst deal ever.