The politics of tech siting

I was writing up the highly politicized selection of Thurso, up in the very top tip of Scotland, for the Dounreay Fast Reactor, back in the early 50s. Remoteness was necessary: the DFR would be a fast reactor, very dangerous. But from all the remote sites on the island of Britain, Christopher Hinton, overlord of new reactors, was told to go for remote Scotland. Why? Job, jobs, jobs.

Mhoine peninsula

Just as I was finalizing that draft, up popped this article: “Residents of remote Scottish peninsula face up to its future as spaceport” by Severin Carrell. “The vanguard of a burgeoning industry firing microsatellites into near-earth polar orbit”: where shall we site it? Remote Scotland of course. Indeed the article’s map shows Thurso out east and the spaceport’s mooted location of the Mhoine peninsula on the same northern coastline but out westward. Why this location? Jobs, jobs, jobs. Interesting.