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Heysham Power StationSet like a jewel in the tiara of the Fylde coast, the unmistakeable silhouettes of nuclear reactors Heysham 1 and Heysham 2 at Half Moon Bay can be seen for miles in all directions.

And what a place to take the kids with just so much to see and do and so much fun. If you pop down to Lancaster's Maritime Museum there's a big expensive display to explain it better than I ever could, why having 2 nuclear reactors in our very own back yard is such a major benefit, not only to us locals, but to you, the environment, and well, the whole future of the universe, really.

licensed siteUnfortunately, due to one or two teensy technical problems there hasn't been as much output as they'd hoped (but hey, we're all still here...) and British Energy has had to dig deep into our pockets to keep it all going. The Arts sponsorships (we live in hope), the M6 Link Road Campaign funding, the schools 'educational' packages - distracting folk from nuclear power all costs us a lot of money if it's going to be done right.

Difficulties meeting the council tax bill back in 2004 led to Lancaster City Council allowing British Energy an extra 6 months to pay - something LCC aren't noted for, as local taxpayers can testify. They made this decision in secret - but Green Party Councillor Gina Dowding blew the whistle which resulted in her getting a brief suspension from the council and the local community avoiding a loss as BE then agreed to pay the interest which would have accrued as well as the outstanding balance.

Half Moon Bay is a great place for a nuclear reactor site because it's possible to suck up to 5 million litres of seawater a minute to keep the hot stuff cool. This has the extra advantage of heating up Morecambe Bay resulting in a massive increase in shellfish. Increased levels of radioactivitiy have been detected in mussels and shrimps in Morecambe Bay (10/7/03) - but the Heysham and Sellafield power stations have been cleared of responsibility - because all their discharges have been within authorised limits. The City's Environmental Agency officials are totally baffled over what could be the cause. So come on in, the water's lovely! (Just don't swallow any.)

Apparently the shellfish are quite safe to eat and are exported to Spain where they make delicious tapas. Despite the Chinese cocklers tragedy this led to a huge influx of cockling gangs with shellfish being hauled out in truckloads. The cockle beds are now more closely regulated.

safe to play?While not having quite the cachet of Sellafield up in Cumbria, Heysham's Power Stations used to be tourist magnets, attracting coachloads of children on school trips each year to find out just what Archie the Atom had mutated into next, but now the tours have been discontinued.
Just about the only place on the Fylde Coast you can't see the reactors from is Morecambe, which is a huge point in its favour. Sadly, many mums + dads don't seem to share the schools' view of the benefits of our high-tech neighbour. A pity, as you can still have a lot of fun with a geiger counter on the sands!

The nearby family holiday camp at Middleton Sands was also unable to exploit the closeness of the reactors - a factor which should have brought it up to a competitive level with foreign tourist resorts. But no, it closed and was demolished to make room for a retirement village named Lakeland View. Apparently the fishing's excellent!


Some HOT links if you want more!

Sunset over Heysham Power Station

Nuclear Inspectorate Reports

British Energy "Making a Powerful Contribution to the economy"

Heysham 1

Heysham 2

Pripyat, the ghost city . On the skyline you can see ChernobylPripyat is a ghost city. On the skyline you can see the reactors of Chernobyl.
You can't stay more than a few minutes. In a couple of thousand years it may improve.
Thousands died.
Some of the casualties haven't been born yet.
You can see photos from Pripyat here




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