The British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) recently published ‘Golden Egg or Poisoned Chalice?: The Story of Nuclear Power in the UK’, by Tony Wooldridge and Stephen Druce. The book covers the civil nuclear programme from the early post-war years to the present day. The authors, who have both held senior roles in the nuclear industry, have lifted the lid on the factors that influenced policy decisions with the help of new evidence made available under the 30-year rule and freedom of information requests.
The book outlines how the UK – the first country to develop civil nuclear power – failed in its ambition to become a global leader in the industry through a series of poor decisions. The authors, who stress they are neither lobbying for or against nuclear power, identify a number of key lessons.
Professor The Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield says of the book: “In this timely and fascinating study, Tony Wooldridge and Stephen Druce trace with clarity and care the triumphs and tragedies of the UK’s civil nuclear history. It needs to be read by everyone involved in the latest wave of civil nuclear procurements.”
Whether one is enthusiastic or sceptical about nuclear power, this book provides an objective review of past policies and decisions and provides an essential background for all those interested in the future of the industry, both members of the public and those more directly involved.
Although this is not a book about non-destructive testing (NDT), the nuclear industry relies heavily on high-quality NDT, so much so that one of the major policy decisions in the UK – the adoption of the pressurised water reactor (PWR) – would not have been possible without the demonstrable improvements in ultrasonic inspection that made the UK a world leader in this area.