This Week In London’s History
Random London Fact Of The Week
We may have briefly mentioned before that, until 1996, there was a fully operational nuclear reactor housed within the Royal Naval College buildings in Greenwich.
Codenamed JASON, the reactor was originally installed in the college’s King William Building in the 60s, for the purpose of training naval personnel in the area of nuclear propulsion. In 1996, in preparation for the sale of the building to non-military ownership, the reactor was shut down and a 3-year decommissioning plan was put into place.
By all accounts, this was not to be a trivial job. In 1995, the Independent wrote:
The reactor… has been operational in Greenwich – which proclaims itself a nuclear-free zone – since 1963. Its weapons-grade uranium is 90 per cent enriched – 30 times more radioactive than that used in commercial reactors. "It's incredibly radioactive fuel," says Mr Large, an expert in nuclear systems. "It's not a power reactor, it's more like a neutron radiation facility. It's a very potent piece of radioactivity in the middle of a civilian area. To move it would be quite an undertaking."
However it was successfully decommissioned, and the reactor (along with 270 tonnes of radioactive waste and 300 tonnes of steel and concrete cladding) was removed by the end of 1999. The full scale of the decommissioning project is documented here.
London’s Weather This Week
At least for the first part of this week, the forecasters promise that it will be dry and bright (if somewhat chilly and foggy at night). Make the most of the sunshine.
Picture courtesy of Fin Fahey’s Flickr photostream.