Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of many countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or having to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood. This post is from Pete
Sellafield nuclear power station is desperate for good PR. When we phone to ask if the visitors' centre is open they immediately send a minibus to pick us up from the suitably apocalyptic looking Sellafield station (where the rust on the phone - see pic - comes from sea storms rather than fall-out). Yes, we've all gone fission. Alan our driver has worked at Sellafield for 21 years and happily chats about his son. The plant still employs 9,000 local people even though it's being decommissioned and many Cumbrians are avidly pro-nuclear.
The Dr Who-like visitors' centre, all silver piping and corridors, contains more friendly staff and is free to enter. The children receive free pencils, wrist bands and 'bangers', pieces of card and paper that make a pleasing bang. It has interactive games (ie you jump on various circles to represent each power source) devised by the Science Museum and an area for the kids to make badges and draw.
The displays are surprisingly even-handed, with the argument that nuclear power is green carbon-free energy balanced by a section on the risks of nuclear terrorism; the 1986 Chernobyl accident in Russia that resulted in 28 immediate deaths and an estimated 10,000 cancers; Sellafield's (then Windscale) own near-catastrophe that may eventually result in an extra 30 cancers in the area; andthe fact that no-one knows how to dispose of nuclear waste safely for the next few thousand years. Should you go? Well there are few other visitors, you get loads of free gifts, a vague idea about atoms, and a lift back to the station. It's a surprisingly enjoyable trip. Plus of course, the kids all leave with a healthy glow.