The Politics of Fading Dreams: Britain and the Nuclear Export Business

  • Robert Boardman
  • Malcolm Grieve


Britain’s nuclear programme has not on the whole enjoyed a good press. A world leader in the field in the 1950s, the country was struck early in the game by a sense of malaise that it has proved impossible to eradicate. Older criticisms of poor industrial and governmental organisation, of failure in the world’s export markets, and of errors of judgement in reactor choice were joined in the 1970s by the charge that in a crowded island the nuclear option was not a safe energy strategy. A former leading member of the Friends of the Earth (FOE), a group which took the key role in fighting plans for the Windscale reprocessing facility, has spoken of “the nuclear industry’s track record of over-optimism and misjudgment”,1 while The Times, from a somewhat different angle, has commented (in 1981) that “the history of the development of nuclear power in Britain over the past decade and a half has been a sorry tale of wrong decisions, missed opportunities and wasted money”.2 The author of a recent study sees the nuclear power question as part of a wider phenomenon: “Britain has settled for handling too many twentieth-century problems with nineteenth-century political and administrative attitudes and machinery, and this is one of the major reasons for her continuing decline”.3


Nuclear Weapon Nuclear Export Nuclear Power Station World Politics Nuclear Fuel Cycle 
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Copyright information

© Robert Boardman and James F. Keeley 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Boardman
  • Malcolm Grieve

There are no affiliations available

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