chapter  9
15 Pages

Nuclear Power: AGR and BWR–A Question of Structure

WithChristopher Layton

The technology of both the British advanced gas reactor and the US water reactors had, in a sense, military origins. The US boiling water reactors and pressurized water reactors were developed originally to drive submarines and aircraft carriers. In 1963 the breakthrough into large-scale peaceful nuclear power began in America, when General Electric contracted to build at Oyster Creek a power station which would produce power competitive with conventional means. The sodium fast-breeder team has therefore been transferred to the nuclear power group, which thus becomes Britain's strongest enterprise in terms of reactor development, with an interest in both high-temperature gas reactors and sodium-cooled breeders. If industry is to become the main location for development of reactors, it is logical that it should be given the opportunity to share in the fuel business, through the new mixed company led by the AEA, British Nuclear Fuels.