The UK’s favourite celebrity scientist, Professor Brian Cox, was in Whitehaven today to mark the official re-opening of the award winning Beacon Museum.
Professor Cox, famed for his hit BBC ‘wonders’shows, assisted Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change as she opened the museum’s exciting new exhibition, The Sellafield Story.
Baroness Verma said: “”I have visited Sellafield nuclear site a number of times and seen first hand the fantastic work being carried out there to manage the UK’s nuclear legacy. The Sellafield Story at the Beacon Museum really brings to life the challenges and the opportunities facing our nuclear industry in the past, present and future.
“I would encourage everyone to come along and experience this new interactive and educational exhibition for themselves.”
The exhibit charts the rich history of the Sellafield site, from its early days as a munitions factory and its role in supporting the development of a nuclear deterrent, through to the pioneering start of the UK’s civil nuclear industry, reprocessing and the decommissioning challenges that the site faces today.
The first seventy-five visitors through the door in the afternoon were given the opportunity to hear Professor Cox speak about the marvels of science and the universe, and also hear his views on the brand new interactive exhibition.
Professor Cox said: “The new exhibition is absolutely wonderful. It’s really important to engage young people with science and engineering, and this museum does that spectacularly well.
“It was fascinating to learn some new things about how the nuclear industry was pioneered in West Cumbria and I think people visiting the museum will be able to understand much more about the role nuclear power has played in our past, how safe it is and how important it is as part of the energy mix in the future.”
Starting with the area’s geology and early settlers, the re-vamped museum goes through history, including the Romans, onto the Lowthers and the development of the town of Whitehaven into one of the UK’s most prominent ports, before moving forward up to the borough’s involvement in the first and second World Wars.
Copeland Borough Council leader Elaine Woodburn said: “The Beacon Museum has been open to the public for a week now and the feedback they have received from visitors is fantastic. It is great to be here to see it officially launched and I’d like to thank Baroness Verma and Professor Brian Cox for taking the time to visit the area and enjoy the Copeland and Sellafield story.
“This marks the start of a pivotal year for Whitehaven, with Copeland Council at the heart of delivering a revamped Beacon Museum, Albion Square development, and townscape heritage development. These projects in combination will have a transformational impact on the town centre.”
Sellafield Ltd’s Deputy Managing Director, George Beveridge said: ” A little over a year ago, when Copeland Borough Council was first considering the implications of its new budget, an opportunity opened up for us to respond to this by bringing Sellafield to the heart of the community.
“The Sellafield Story is a fascinating one and its history and development is inextricably linked with the history and development of Copeland; making the Beacon Museum the best possible home for this exhibition.”
To find out more about The Beacon please visit www.thebeacon-whitehaven.co.uk