This visit to Bradwell-On-Sea in Essex, on the remote South East coast of England in the UK was a kind of a return to home. This is the landscape of my childhood though this was my first-time to this particular part of the coastline. This remote part of Essex has a unique beautiful vast bleakness, marked by pill boxes, a RAF look-out tower, rusting Thames light barges and other remnants from previous eras. The Dengie peninsular with it SSI status, military history, rare fauna and flora has a varied and interesting past but the focus of my visit was the decommissioned nuclear power station.
Bradwell Power station is one of twelve Magnox ‘gas-cooled’ power station currently undergoing decommissioning as these relics from an earlier part of our nuclear age, go off-grid one-by-one go. Magnox nuclear power stations used natural uranium-235 for fuel rather the more expensive refined uranium, which as a by-product creates plutonium-239. What I was surprised to learn from this visit was that this was then sent to Sellafield to be further refined for the UK’s atomic bomb operations. Combining the industry of creating electricity and stock piling plutonium-239.
Also, there is another nuclear plant proposed next to the old site that has both has its opposition, in the form of BANNG, a local campaign group and those who are favour, mainly local businesses who see this boasting the local economy. However, what I found more interesting was how low-lying this site is and how the, as the owner of Bradwell Marina remarked on how the recent spring tide was a 4.9m nearly breached the 5m sea defences. Given the most recent nuclear disaster of Fukushima in Japan the rising sea levels with climate change these are valid concerns for this and other sites such as Hinkley Point C and the possible future nuclear fall-outs.