Battle to build

Anyone who has worked in the corporate world knows all too well how organizations jostle to control anything exciting. At the beginning of 1955, Great Britain was embarking on a build of what became Calder Hall, part military plutonium producer, part reactor supplying the electricity for the nation’s near-monopoly, British Electricity Authority. Something completely airbrushed out of nuclear’s history is the fight to control the construction: BEA or Christopher Hinton’s Risley organization? Here we read a draft of a secret “teleprint” (I guess that’s a telegram) from Hinton to his boss, Plowden. I don’t want to belabor the point but you can see that Hinton will not cede authority.

Hinton draft telegram

I have considered the secret teleprint which you sent me last Friday. The letter [from BEA] is cleverly worded and seeks to undermine all the conditions which we laid down to enable us to have some control on the method of doing the whole of the power plant.

Hinton, Christopher. 1955. Hinton to Plowden, Feb. 14, 1955. AB 19/13. National Archives, Kew, United Kingdom.