CVAN visit to Sellafield, June 16th 2017


As luck would have it the CVAN event (Bivouac#2 hosted by Eden Arts) I had booked myself on some time ago happened to include a visit into Sellafield. This was an excellent research opportunity complimenting my previous visit to the area. The CVAN event was very well organised and comprised of a full afternoon of discussions on Thursday 15th, plus an evening of presentations, followed by a day trip on the Friday. I made some great connections with various other artists and a very enlightened scientist, all of whom I hope to keep in touch with.

At Sellafield we were hosted at a visitor reception centre outside of the high security area where we had tea and coffee and were given our security passes. We were then bused through the gates once our passes were physically inspected and the bus checked over.

We were taken to the viewing gallery of the waste reception and indoor pond storage site, the newer one not the legacy ponds which have had so much media attention over the years. We were given a lot of information about the history of the site and the waste processing systems.

We were then put back on the bus and given a tour of the entire site from the bus before being taken back to the reception centre for lunch. Our guides were very open to questions and generous with their information. Alas no photographs, as no phones or cameras are not allowed in with visitors.

I am still processing all the information from that visit, but immediate impressions were that the site is a very compact history of the nuclear story from the military beginnings at Windscale though to the UK’s first civil nuclear power station at Calder Hall all the way through to the waste storage facility and the long term issues yet to be resolved here.

Once again timescales and thoughts beyond the human are raised here. The flasks that were on display for the containment of reclaimed Plutonium were particularly striking to me. They made me think of canoptic jars, except instead of hieroglyphics there are bar codes…plutoniumflask


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