"The Windscale Nuclear Reactor Accident – 50 Years of Investigations"
Professor Richard Wakeford of the Dalton Nuclear Institute, The University of Manchester will speak about the worst accident in the history of the UK's nuclear industry.
In the late-1940s two nuclear reactors were built at Windscale Works, Sellafield, to produce plutonium and other materials for the UK nuclear weapons programme. In October 1957 the core of one of these reactors, Windscale Pile No. 1, caught fire releasing radioactivity into the environment − this remains the largest accidental release of radioactivity that has occurred in the West. The lecture will examine the background to the fire and its development, the release of radioactivity and its consequences, and will also present recent work on the atmospheric dispersal of the radioactive material using modern computer models and detailed meteorological data.