As the government’s decision to give the contract to build a new nuclear reactor at Hinckley Point to the Chinese and French, with an agreement to pay double the current market price for the energy it produces for the next thirty years, so nuclear power is under the spotlight as once more the pros and cons of reactor design, build, efficiency and safety are batted back and forth.
It is comforting to know that we live in a country where successive governments have put a premium on the public’s safety and complete transparency as far as the nuclear industry is concerned.
Or have they?
My Dad tells a story about his cousin’s husband, who after the War, worked at the Windscale plant in West Cumbria.
He remembers one Friday night in the mid-50’s, a knock on the door of the family home in Lancaster. It was my Dad’s cousin in law Dick. He had called in to drop off a bottle of his wife’s home made wine for the family.
‘I can’t stay’ He says ‘I’ve got a police escort waiting outside, I’ve got to take some plutonium down to Aldermaston’
And with that, he bundled back into his Hillman Minx and drove off, police outriders falling in around him.
And where do you suppose he put this nugget of weapons-grade material?
In the glove box of course.
© Andy Daly 2013
(Aldermaston: the UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment)