Through the second half of the 1970s this Author/Blogger was employed by British Nuclear Fuels; mostly at its Uranium Enrichment facility at Capenhurst, Cheshire. During his final year as a “civil servant” he was assigned (promoted) to BNFL’s HQ complex in Risley, near Warrington, Cheshire. It was from Risley that “writerfx” made three (accompanied) visits to Windscale to gather data for new (minor) installations he was to contribute designs for.
During his first year with BNFL he performed routine maintenance work up and down Capenhurst’s massive UF6 Diffusion Plant, as well as twice monthly duties for Britain’s Admiralty in connection with nuclear powered submarines. This alone confirms he once held a full, UK security clearance.
During one night-shift, and overcome with curiosity, an unauthorized visit to the final stages of the original diffusion process that (prior to its mothballing and fencing off) produced circa 95 percent “enriched uranium” for atomic weapons, was made. The iconery was powerful, as were the echoes from an entirely different era.
In 1976, Glyn also witnessed the secret arrival of experimental UF6 Centrifuge units that were being tested (under wraps) just 80 metres from his assigned work station. He adds that in those days the centrifuge technology on display looked so advanced, it resembled a prop for an episode of Star Trek!
Born in northwest England, Glyn Rodney Wilson (writerfx) is a Licensed Engineer (Controls & Instrumentation) who has worked for some of the world’s major companies, including: Unilever, British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL), Alcan, Saudi-Aramco, Yanpet, Occidental Petroleum, Bechtel, and Repsol.
YANPET — equally owned by SABIC and Mobil Yanbu Petrochemical Company (a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation) — is one of the largest and most technologically-advanced petrochemical complexes in Saudi Arabia. The business was established in 1980 and commenced operations in 1985 in Yanbu, on Saudi Arabia’s western Red Sea coast. The Phase-1 venture operates an 800,000 metric-ton-per-year cracker to produce (mainly) ethylene, which is then used as feedstock for the on-site derivative units, such as the polymer (plastics) unit. The Yanpet complex produces polyethylene, ethylene glycol, polypropylene, and pyrolysis gasoline.
Glyn holds various technical qualifications, plus a Master of Science (MSc) Degree in “Artificial Intelligence with Engineering Applications”, gained (1994) with a leading UK (Russell Group) university.
Since January 1980 your Author/Blogger has visited 22 countries (or 24 territories) and worked in 9 of those. Other nations where Glyn has pursued gainful employment over the course of 30+ years include: Holland, all littoral Arabian Gulf countries (except Kuwait and Iran), India, Iraq, Libya, and Jamaica.
His prior writing experience includes:
- Detailed technical reports for dissemination amongst fellow professional engineers, and management;
- A short travelogue series (on India) for a popular UK Expatriate magazine;
- Master of Science Degree Dissertation (i.e., “Thesis” in American-English);
- Illustrated training manuals for Saudi Arabia’s premier utility company;
- Technical training courses (curricula) for Abu Dhabi’s State-Owned oil company;
- Operator Procedures for the world’s largest NGL plant (in Ras Laffan, Qatar);
- Illustrated marketing manual, in colour, for Exxon-Mobil in Doha (Qatar).
On the question as to whether nuclear power is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ … this Author/Blogger is mostly agnostic. Issues are considered on their technical and ecological merits.
Life improves only when Truth is allowed to stand on its own feet, and in full view.