The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

“MILITARY PLUTONIUM To be manufactured at Hinkley”

“MILITARY PLUTONIUM To be manufactured at Hinkley”

The charade of Atoms for Peace, Dr David Lowry , 23 Feb 18, “……Atoms for Peace ( in reality a cynical project promoting  US  global nuclear technology  dominance launched by President Eisenhower at the UN in New York in December 1953)   using a special atomic train  taking nuclear scientists around the country promoting nuclear power.

But it was a charade. The first public hint came with a public announcement on 17 June 1958 by the Ministry of Defence, on:   “the production of  plutonium suitable for weapons in the new [nuclear ] power stations programme as an insurance against  future defence needs…” in the UK’s  first generation Magnox (after the fuel type, magnesium oxide) reactor.

A week later in the UK Parliament, Labour Roy Mason, who incidentally later became Defence Secretary, asked  (HC Deb 24 June 1958 vol 590 cc246-8246) why Her Majesty’s Government had

“decided to modify atomic power stations, primarily planned for peaceful purposes, to produce high-grade plutonium for war weapons;  to what extent this will interfere with the atomic power programme; and if he will make a statement.?” to be  informed by the Paymaster General, Reginald Maudling

“At the request of the Government, the Central Electricity Generating Board has agreed to a small modification in the design of Hinkley Point and of the next two stations in its programme so as to enable plutonium suitable for military purposes to be extracted should the need arise.
The modifications will not in any way impair the efficiency of the stations. As the initial capital cost and any additional operating costs that may be incurred will be borne by the Government, the price of electricity will not be affected.

The Government made this request in order to provide the country, at comparatively small cost, with a most valuable insurance against possible future defence requirements. The cost of providing such insurance by any other means would be extremely heavy.”

The headline story in the Bridgwater Mercury, serving the community around Hinkley, on that day (24 June} was:

“MILITARY PLUTONIUM To be manufactured at Hinkley”

The article explained:  “An ingenious method has  been designed  for changing the plant without  reducing the output of electricity…”

CND was reported to be critical, describing this as a “distressing step” insisting

 “The Government is obsessed with a nuclear militarism which seems insane.”

The then left wing Tribune magazine (on  27 June 1958) was very critical of the deal under the headline ‘Sabotage in the Atom Stations’:

“For the sake of making more nuclear weapons, the Government  has  dealt a heavy blow at the development of atomic power stations.

And warned:

“Unless this disastrous decision is reversed, we shall  pay  dearly in more ways than  one for the sacrifice  made on the grim alter of the H-bomb.”

The late Michael Foot, that great inveterate peace-monger, who later became Labour leader, was then the Tribune editor……..


February 24, 2018 - Posted by | spinbuster, UK

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