Queen Elizabeth II’s nuclear delusion


“This new power, which has proved itself to be such a terrifying weapon of destruction is harnessed for the first time for the common good of our community.”

Those were the hopeful but delusional words spoken in 1956 by the British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth the Second, who died last week at the age of 96. The occasion was the official opening of Calder Hall in northeast England, the world’s first full-scale commercial nuclear power station.

This misplaced optimism about the benefits of nuclear power followed on from the immortal and equally mistaken pronouncement in 1954 by then Atomic Energy Commission Chairman, Lewis Strauss, who described the future of nuclear energy as “too cheap to meter.”

Will King Charles III, known to be an outspoken environmentalist, say ‘no’ to nukes? Unlikely, as his new position will muzzle him on many issues. This week’s Hot Story on Nuclear Hotseat explores the role, if any, of royalty and others as influencers on the world stage.

And Libbe HaLevy talks to two of the now freed Kings Bay Plowshares 7 — Martha Hennessy and Patrick O’Neill — about their symbolic act of protest, their time in prison, and what’s next.


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