Ooooh, nice try Mr. Lean, nice try

It is not alone in this, for nuclear operations around the world have poor records on public accountability. The three biggest nuclear accidents before this – Chernobyl, the 1957 Windscale Fire and a nuclear waste explosion in Chelyabinsk, Russia – were all initially kept secret.

The Chelyabinsk explosion (also known as Kyshtym and I\’ve driven through the affected area) was from the early Soviet attempts at bomb making. Similarly, Windscale was deliberately designed to maximise the plutonium produced, again for bomb making purposes.

It\’s ever so slightly naughty to point to failures of bomb making plants as failures of civilian nuclear power.

8 thoughts on “Ooooh, nice try Mr. Lean, nice try”

  1. Two of them were also in the Soviet Union, a state not known for open access to information. Perhaps that had more to do with it than the fact that nuclear power was involved.

  2. Note that also Chernobyl was a plant used for making weapon material; the production of plutonium for bombs (as well as better uptime) is the reason for the fuel rod change mechanism used in RBMK reactors.

  3. September 1957: a bittersweet moment for British science. Windscale blows up and men get sent in to poke out fissile material with scaffolding poles : on the other hand , news is coming through that ZETA at Harwell has achieved nuclear fusion opening an era of energy to cheap to meter.Except it had n’t.
    BTW Windscale was supposed to get its water not from the sea ,as is said to be essential on this blog,but from a nearby lake,it being the Lake District and all.

  4. The nearest lake is Wastwater and that is 8-10 miles away. Windscale/Sellafield is on the coast not amongst the Lakes. It would seem foolish to ignore limitless water 100 yards from their door to pump water from a lake.

  5. And on the nuclear fusion thing, I went to a lecture by some fusion scientist 2 years ago saying that they had got the fusion reaction sustained for a fraction of a second, 1000 times as much as they started with 60 years ago. I asked him when he expected to see a working fusion reactor. “In 50 years “he said–which is what they said 60 years ago. I w

  6. I would bet that in 50 years time, the govt science hacks at Harwell will still be saying the same. Govt science is a gravy train. Lawrence Livermore in the USA was getting 500 million dollars a year to achieve fusion back in the 70’s and I bet they are on a lot more now. If they succeed, however it’s p45(or the US equiv all round.

    Sorry for the split–pressed wrong button.

  7. @Mr E
    Foolish or not ,they did use Wastwater for cooling at Windscale.BTW there is some evidence that Sizewell was stress-tested for tsunamis( more like storm surges IMO).

  8. Well, yes: all UK nuclear plants are designed to withstand earthquakes, floods and hurricanes, for obvious reasons. Sizewell B’s design earthquake resistance is actually greater than Fukushima’s.

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