Pylon of the Month - November 2021
November 22, 2021
November's pylon comes from Kent, or to be more specific Dungeness which according to Wikipedia is formed largely of a shingle beach in the form of cuspate foreland. I can probably safely assume that the intelligent readers of this blog are well acquainted with cuspate forelands, but just in case the definition isn't on the tip of the tongue, they are "geographical features found on coastlines and lakeshores that are created primarily by longshore drift". More to the point from a pylon perspective, Dungeness is also the site of two non-operational nuclear power station. The first (Dungeness A) is an old Magnox reactor which was commissioned in 1965 and went out of service on the last day of 2006. Dungeness B was an Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor (AGR) that was commissioned in 1983 and eventually shut down for good in 2021. AGR reactors never lived up to the hype that accompanied them in the early days:
In May 1965 Fred Lee, minister of power in Harold Wilson’s Labour government, announced that the next phase of Britain’s nuclear power programme would be based on the British-designed advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR), in preference to the water-cooled reactors that were available from the US. Britain, Lee said, had “hit the jackpot”, with a design that was clearly superior on economic and technical grounds to its American rivals.
The quote above is an excerpt from a review in the Financial Times of 'The Fall and Rise of Nuclear Power in Britain' by Simon Taylor and it looks like an interesting if sobering read especially if like me you think that nuclear energy has a key role to play in decarbonising energy generation in the UK.
Anyway, back to the pylons and the rather magnificently moody picture of them marching across the landscape. The picture was sent in by someone who confessed in the email by which they arrived, to having developed an irrational fear of pylons. A trip to Dungeness where you "can touch them, giant gangly bloody things like huge Crane Flies. Buzzing and crackling away" was the therapy and I only hope it worked. The email was sent back at the beginning of 2021 and I'm not sure where the closure of the nuclear power stations now leaves these pylon lines. Perhaps I'll pop down to Kent to investigate when I get a chance. If you've already got information to pass on about the lines you can always get in touch with me on Twitter or Instagram.