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My father and I went on an equally in-depth guided tour of Hinkley Point station back in the mid '80s when I was a boy. We too got to walk on the reactor lid, view the cooling ponds, and meander underneath miles of thrumming piping. It was utterly fascinating and one of the very best memories I have of my childhood. Hinkley Point is a PWR rather than an AGR, but what the author writes about that collision of space age technology and Victorian plumbing definitely rings true.

Other highlights for me not mentioned in this article: a great video showing a high speed diesel train (not just the locomotive) crashing into a waste transport container; climbing around a whole fleet of tiny decontamination trucks with radiological protection gear for the drivers and manipulator arms for picking up material; and getting hands-on with the security system (not part of the tour; my dad made a friend) and broadcasting over the plant tannoy. No chance of any of that stuff happening for my kids, sadly.

I was happy to read this even if it is a repeat. A great write up that took me back.

Off-topic, but it's the first time I see somebody use "tannoy" in place of "PA" - really identifies you as a Brit :)


Guilty. I've lived in the US for a few years and my usage and spelling is hopelessly mixed up, but that kind of cultural thing is so deeply ingrained you could use it to catch spies.

Hinkley Point B is an AGR (or, more specifically, two AGRs). Hinkley Point A was an earlier Magnox station.

It's one of the leading sites for new-build nuclear in the UK, and if Hinkley Point C does happen, it'll be a PWR. Right now, the only operating civil PWR (naval reactors are a rather different matter) in the UK is at Sizewell.

I also had the Hinkley Point tour as a child and remember it fondly.

Thank you for the correction. I was relying on very old memory there.

Do you remember whether you toured A or B? I am pretty sure we only looked around one.

I'm fairly sure it was B.

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