In Britain, there are two attitudes to nuclear power. Those, over 65, formed a view of nuclear power when it seemed the most promising solution to Britain’s energy needs. Furthermore and not to be discounted, it put this country alongside America and Russia as the third member of the ‘Big Three‘ with nuclear weapons. Then there are those under 50, who must have first heard of nuclear via the Three Mile Island Disaster and as they grew up, became conscious of the billions that were wasted in the commissioning of the long delayed Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors (AGR). These views were then reinforced by Chernobyl in 1986 and more recently by the calamity at Fukushima in 2011. But where do the two authors of Golden Egg or Poisoned Chalice: The Story of Nuclear Power in the UK stand? From their ages, both Tony Wooldridge and Stephen Druce come into the post 65 pro-nuclear category. Furthermore, Wooldridge was with the CEGB for many years before joining the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII), while Druce joined the UKAEA soon after getting his PhD and seems to have spent most of his career in the research side of the nuclear industry, before also ending up with the NII. Nevertheless, this book is as good a potted history as you’ll find about what has gone on in Britain – but not the UK as the title suggests, for it is a mercy that atomic power did not reach Northern Ireland. That would have been fun . . . for some!
Newcomen 31st Aug 2020 read more »