What’s in a name? From Calder Hall to Windscale and, finally, Sellafield

Britain goes nuclear

Calder Hall Atomic Energy Power Station, Cumberland, the first in history to supply electricity in marketable quantities to a national grid system, was officially opened by HM the Queen on 17 October.

Faced with some unusual problems in this pioneer venture the building and civil engineering contractor, Taylor Woodrow of London, by meticulous planning and close co-ordination with the other organisations involved, kept the work ahead of schedule – at times it was three months ahead. A second station ordered by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Calder Hall ‘B’, is about 75% complete and is due for inauguration by mid-1958.

The reactor buildings, two for each of the power stations, are 120ft high and contain thick and heavily reinforced concrete shields as a necessary protection against the emanations from the radioactive core.

Each reactor building was founded on a concrete raft, 130ft by 107ft across and 11ft deep, heavily reinforced in both directions. The volume of concrete in each raft was approximately 5,600 cubic yards, and the weight of reinforcing steel was 270 tons.

On the foundation rafts, work began on the octagonal “biological shields” , the first of their kind. The reinforced concrete walls, 7ft thick, rose to heights of 90ft above the rafts and the east and west faces were pierced with holes and ducts.With English Electric and Babcock and Wilcox (also involved at Calder Hall) Taylor Woodrow has formed a group ready to build similar atomic power stations anywhere in the world.