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Taking up Hilda’s Torch: Robert Green’s account of his contribution to the 1988/9 Hinkley C Inquiry.

4th February 2023

This is an interesting insight both into the Inquiry and the background to nuclear power in the UK.  The information and comments are as relevant today as they were all those years ago. TakingUpHildasTorch.

Hilda Murrell (born in 1906) was a British rose grower, naturalist, diarist and campaigner against nuclear power and nuclear weapons.  She was murdered in 1984 in disputed circumstances.

Having predicted the 1973 oil crisis, Murrell became increasingly concerned by the hazards posed by nuclear energy and weapons. She began to research this highly technical field and in 1978 wrote a paper entitled “What Price Nuclear Power?” in which she challenged the economics of the civil nuclear industry.  After the 1979 US accident at Three Mile Island, she turned her attention to safety aspects and homed in on the problem of radioactive waste, the disposal of which she concluded was the industry’s Achilles’ heel.

In 1982 the Department of the Environment published a white paper on the British Government’s policy on radioactive waste management.  Murrell, now in her late 70s, wrote a critique of it which she developed into her submission “An Ordinary Citizen’s View of Radioactive Waste Management” to the first formal planning inquiry into a nuclear power plant in Britain, the Sizewell B Pressurised Water Reactor in Suffolk.

She was scheduled to present her paper at the Sizewell B Inquiry, but on 21 March 1984 her home in Shrewsbury was burgled and a small amount of cash was taken.  She was then abducted in her own car.  Though the vehicle was soon reported abandoned in a country lane five miles outside Shrewsbury, the Police took another three days to find her body in a copse across a field from her car.  Who killed her – and why – has been the subject of books and films.  The conviction in 2005 of a man for her abduction and murder failed to answer many of the questions surrounding her death.

The reasons for this enduring enquiry are exposed at length in ‘A Thorn In Their Side’, a book published in 2012.  The author is Hilda’s nephew, Robert Green, with whom she had a close relationship and who was a commander in naval intelligence during the Falklands war. He has followed and chronicled the case meticulously.

Was this just a random, bungled burglary by a lone 16-year-old – as the police would have it – or was it an operation involving several individuals on behalf of a government agency, namely the security services?  Read more: The Guardian March 2012

Also see:


February 6, 2023 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK

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