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Atomic Achievement


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Duration 19min 14sec
Release Date 1956
Sponsor Central Office of Information for Overseas Deparments and British Council
Text version of this film




In the 1950s nuclear power stations were seen as the future, providing a clean alternative to fossil fuels. The ‘Atomic Achievement’ film triumphantly celebrates the advances in nuclear power; an energy source that today produces 20 per cent of this country’s electricity.

Although the United Kingdom’s civil nuclear industry has its origin in the military programme of the 1940s and 1950s, its peaceful applications were soon harboured. The industrial benefit of atomic power led many to believe it offered, as the film shows, a ‘second industrial revolution’.

On 17 October 1956 HM Queen Elizabeth II opened the United Kingdom’s first commercial nuclear power station at Calder Hall, Cumbria. After 40 years generating electricity, Calder Hall power station was decommissioned.

This film not only explains how nuclear power works, but also visits places that became synonymous with the UK’s atomic energy; Harwell, Dounreay, and Windscale (later renamed Sellafield).


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