Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fire at Oldbury power station

The reactor at Oldbury nuclear power station has been shut down until further notice following a fire at the plant, reports the BBC.

It sounds as though no serious damage has been done, but the incident has reminded me of my participation in one of the nuclear industry's more bizarre publicity stunts.

In 1977 the British Monopoly championships were held on top of the nuclear pile at Oldbury - the idea was that the location represented the Electricity Company on the playing board.

In reality the event was advertising for the nuclear industry and Waddington's. I must have qualified through some sort of trade competition - putting things in order and writing a slogan, as people did in the days before premium phone numbers.

But I didn't do too shabbily. I reached the last 12 and almost reached the final. I had serious property on Park Lane and Mayfair, my closest rival was heading round the board towards them... Then he drew a Chance card, went to gaol and I never got to charge him those huge rents.

The other thing I recall is that on the last day I was afraid of being left behind and didn't go through all the security procedures.

Even so, I don't think I suffered any ill effects. I count my toes regularly - it's easy when they glow in the dark - and there are still 10.

1 comment:

dreamingspire said...

In '54 or '55 a school trip took me to Calder Hall, where we were allowed to run around on top of that first reactor to generate commercial electricity (as a by-product) in the UK.

Oldbury's accident was a power transformer failure, well away from the reactor (the chain is: reactor, steam turbines, generators, transformer, out across the grid to you and me). As well as replacing the tranformer, they have to go through the long process of checking and then starting up the reactor before they can generate power again.