That’s the French screwed then

We must not allow a potentially hostile foreign power gain a grip over our nuclear industry

After all, we’ve been at war with them rather more than we have with China….

18 thoughts on “That’s the French screwed then”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    All Britain’s wars with France and against Germany turn out badly. All our wars against France and with at least a good chunk of Germany work out fine.

    All our problems come down to choosing poorly in 1914.

    That said, into the 1920a and maybe 1930s the budding RAF openly referred to France as the likely enemy.

  2. They’re still the enemy. Even if they have cowered behind us these last 100+ years as we kept rescuing them from the Germans.

    They know it, we know it.

  3. Have no fear. The “power station” they are building at Hinkley is the 3rd of the design, neither of the other 2 are working yet, and the first, in Finland, was started decades ago. Still not working.

    There is no possibility of this ever being finished and turned on.

  4. @ Gamecock
    We used to have – until Tony Benn decided to abandon the SGHWR programme writing off three years development work.

  5. So another British sector fucked over by the 2nd Viscount Stansgate? He really did more damage to British industry than did the Luftwaffe.

  6. Gamecock

    “You have a nuclear industry? Who knew?”

    Well we did open the world’s first commercial nuclear reactor at Calder Hall in 1956.

    Our nuclear engineers are (were) great. Our politicians and civil servants, not so much.

  7. Our politicians and civil servants, not so much.

    Is there a country on the planet where that is not true?

  8. @TimTheCoder,
    “There is no possibility of this ever being finished and turned on.” – yes, neither of the european ones are yet operational, however the chinese have built two of the same and they are up and running ( ). Personally, I feel that we seem these days unable to build these things, so we should not bother. This presumably leaves us with ‘renewables’, smart grid and deep gas backup.

  9. @Gamecock

    You have a nuclear industry? Who knew?

    We did, until Gordon Brown sold it to Japan

    Sensible action would be to buy a few from South Korea, cheap and work

  10. There is internet chatter about Rolls-Royce developing a small modular reactor. Even from Rolls-Royce. But it all seems to be just chatter. Even RR website is just word salad.

    It has become one of those blog topics that come around every few years that sends people scurrying to snopes to see if there is anything to it.

    Seems like a good idea, but I don’t think it’s any more than an idea.

  11. @Gamecock
    It’s RR’s tried, tested, reliable & safe military submarine nuclear reactors. One has been running safely in Derby for decades

    RR’s obstacle is regulatory over-reach and naive public opposition: Nuclear = Hiroshima

  12. NFW, Pcar. Military reactors use HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM. ABSOLUTELY UNSUITABLE FOR CIVILIAN USE. You’d have to have a military company guarding it.

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    I am sorry but military reactors do not use highly enriched uranium as a general rule. Some Soviet ones did – with really cool but highly dangerous metal coolants.

    But most military reactors, even Soviet ones, are Pressurised Water Reactors, PWRs. VVER in Russian.

    Because they are cooled with light water they cannot use natural uranium like Canada’s CANDU or the Soviet’s RMBK reactors do. But they use slightly enriched uranium – to about 3-5%.

    Ironically the place you are mostly likely to find highly enriched uranium is in a research reactor. Probably one near most of us reading this. Most of them civilian. Many of them on a university campus. Virtually none of them guarded.

  14. Gamecock: I’d argue that military reactors only need highly enriched uranium if you want them to go without refuelling for say the lifetime of the submarine. If you can refuel them every one or two years, low enriched uranium is fine.

  15. Exactly, Boganboy.

    From a design standpoint, the requirement to refuel drastically changes how the reactor will be constructed.

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    One of the problems with Rickover’s baby is that naval reactors have to produce a lot of power from a small volume – relatively speaking.

    This is fine until something goes wrong and you do not have enough buffering to prevent something very bad going wrong.

    But the Navy paid for the PWR development and so they dominated the civilian market too. Even though the larger BWR probably is safer and we might prefer an even larger reactor core still.

    Adding highly enriched fuel just makes all those problems worse. They will generate even more power from that small volume making control harder. The Soviets had to switch to liquid metal coolants because they produced just too much power per cubic foot. These reactors had lots of problems.

    Low enrichment is fine and what people prefer.

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