Reactors in cities

When the United Kingdom formally commenced its atomic pursuits at the beginning of 1946, before the expert triumvirate of Cockcroft, Hinton, and Penney established their empires, plenty of naive ideas were tossed around. Here is one expressed in a meeting of a secretive Cabinet committee (called Gen 112) on January 28:

The atomic power stations of the future could quite safely be placed in large towns. It was true that at present there was some anxiety about certain fission products which were given off as a gas, and that for this reason it was not felt proper to site piles nearer than some ten to fifteen miles to a large town. The technical problems involved in safe dispersal of the fission products were, however, certain to be solved within a few years.

Cabinet Atomic Energy (Gen 112). 1946. Meeting 4 of 5, Jan. 28. CAB 130/8, National Archives, Kew, United Kingdom.