The transformation of West Cumbria from a sparsely populated farming community into a hotbed of scientific pioneering has been revived by the Beacon museum in Whitehaven.
A new exhibition marking 60 years since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opened the world’s first full-scale nuclear power station, Calder Hall at Sellafield, will be open to the public from Saturday 1stOctober.
“The Calder Hall power station transformed West Cumbria physically and socially overnight,” said David Moore a lifelong Seascale resident, a local councillor, and Chair of the West Cumbria Sites Stakeholder Group, who was with his mother on the public track close to the Sellafield train station when the Queen arrived.
“Not many local people realise that it turned our quiet farming communities into thriving villages that we live in to this day.”
The 60th anniversary exhibition offers visitors the chance to find out about the power station’s rich history and see previously unseen photographs and memorabilia from the site and surrounding communities.
David adds: “Large estates were built within many of our towns and villages. Sellafield at that time had a housing policy that was decided upon by the type of work individuals were carrying out.”
Calder Hall led the way for the UK in the use of nuclear fuel to generate electricity. Operating safely for 47 years, it was a feat of British engineering. The station was built to the best engineering standards of its time and would go on to safely generate electricity for 47 years, with the last reactor stopping operations in 2003.
Phil Hallington, Sellafield Ltd’s head of policy, watched the opening of Calder Hall from his father’s shoulders, and is now watching on as it is decommissioned, he said: “ The Calder site is offering a wealth of learning for our teams, making them world renowned experts on the making safe of older nuclear facilities. One of its reactors is already empty of fuel, and the other threeshould be empty by 2019.
“The station continues to blaze a trail, this time in nuclear decommissioning. As the new exhibition shows, the clean-up of the iconic station is well underway.”
The Calder Hall 60th anniversary exhibition will run at the Beacon museum on Whitehaven’s harbour from Saturday 1st until Sunday 30th October.