John Cockcroft, the man who insisted that the windscale nuclear power plant chimney stacks be fitted with high performance filters that saved much of norther England from becoming a nuclear wasteland after the reactor caught fire was mocked for his caution before the accident.

Windscale fire

The Windscale fire of 10 October 1957 was the worst nuclear accident in the United Kingdom’s history, and one of the worst in the world, ranked in severity at level 5 out of a possible 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The fire took place in Unit 1 of the two-pile Windscale facility on the northwest coast of England in Cumberland (now Sellafield, Cumbria). The two graphite-moderated reactors, referred to at the time as “piles”, had been built as part of the British post-war atomic bomb project. Windscale Pile No. 1 was operational in October 1950 followed by Pile No. 2 in June 1951.

The fire burned for three days and released radioactive fallout which spread across the UK and the rest of Europe. The radioactive isotope iodine-… Continue Reading (24 minute read)

6 thoughts on “John Cockcroft, the man who insisted that the windscale nuclear power plant chimney stacks be fitted with high performance filters that saved much of norther England from becoming a nuclear wasteland after the reactor caught fire was mocked for his caution before the accident.”

  1. AmericanWasted

    This title reads like a sentence you need to correct on a test

  2. Actually_a_dolphin

    Wow! So in an alternate universe, northern England could have been the same as it is now?

  3. JPDueholm

    It was NOT a nuclear power plant.

    It was a plutonium production plant for the atomic bomb program. It was a PRODUCTION reactor, a simple aircooled pile.

    This plant had NOTHING to do with a civilian nuclear power plant.

    It did NOT generate electricity, and its an extremely misleading headline.

    It is like saying, cars killed 100.000 people during WW2, if you by car mean a tank.

  4. afriendlydebate

    “Nuclear wasteland” seems like a gross exaggeration.

  5. tfrw

    In fairness to the doubters, the original reason he insisted they put them there (evidence of contamination at a plant in America), turned out to be incorrect. That being said, it is an amazing story 🙂

  6. GeorgeEliotsCock

    Why would you mock a reactor? I dont think they’re sentient, its not gonna care.

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