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Awards 2024
Calder Request 002

65 years on and Cumbria continues to lead the way

65 yrs ago on the 17 October 1956 at 1216hrs, Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II opened Calder Hall nuclear power station. In her own words, ‘This new power, which has proved itself to be such a terrifying weapon of destruction, is harnessed for the first time for the common good of our community’. Our very own Workington was the first town in the world to be supplied with nuclear-generated electricity from Calder Hall, the world’s first nuclear power station generating electricity for domestic use. Calder Hall was also the UKs first and only cogeneration nuclear power station, providing steam to a range of facilities and processes across the Sellafield site, an innovative solution for which the alternative would have been fossil fuel generation.

The design and construction of Calder Hall Magnox a graphite moderated, gas breathing behemoth, was overseen by Lord Christopher Hinton. It was the first of a further 22 Magnox reactors across 10 UK sites, two more Magnox units were exported to Tokai (Japan), and Latina (Italy). Calder Hall’s sister site was Chapelcross near Annan, Dumfries & Galloway, Calder Hall itself was operational for 47 years, ceasing generation in 2003, Fellside CHP subsequently providing Sellafield site with critical process steam.

Cumbria and the UK leading the innovation, development and implementation of new nuclear technology…

Today we have inherited a legacy of Calder Hall and the wider Magnox fleet - spent fuel and associated waste streams - demanding collaboration and innovation across the supply-chain, regionally, nationally and internationally. The reality is that regionally we are also highly-dependant on the decommissioning and waste economy, and as a result Sellafield site.

Personal experience has provided me tremendous opportunities from a career across nuclear new-build, operational and decommissioning reactor sites, and now nuclear waste management. I’m privileged to have operated as nuclear safety regulator, nuclear site-licensee, client, contractor and advisory capability. Experience tells me that all of our personal and corporate insight, experience and relationships are transferable.

Faced with the threat of a climate catastrophe, we pursue a sustainable future, in my view net zero needs nuclear. Huge expectations are on COP26 to change the game, Cumbria once again has a massive role to play in building a positive legacy, capitalising on the strength of our experiences to even develop innovative cogeneration solutions some 65 years after the first, producing low carbon electricity while capitalising on the generated heat for hydrogen production. We sit poised on the brink of a new era of nuclear gigawatt, SMR, AMR technologies and even the possibility of fusion technology on our doorstep. We shouldn’t be complacent, we continue to face challenges - design maturity, cost certainty, cost reduction through repeatability, public concerns over proliferation and waste management are understood – all things my conscience is comfortable we can address together here in Cumbria, for the common good of our community and future generations.

Mike Pigott

#nuclear #nuclearenergy #nuclearengineering #netzero #netzeroneedsnuclear #calderhall #step #fusion #rollsroycesmr #smr #cumbria #sellafield

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