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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Celebrity scientist Brian Cox opens Cumbrian museum exhibition

“Science is the candle in the dark”, and the new look Beacon is lighting the way.

Brian Cox photo
Professor Brian Cox at the augmented reality station

So says celebrity scientist Professor Brian Cox, who officially unveiled the Sellafield Story at the museum on Whitehaven Harbour yesterday.

The Beacon, which was facing closure, was re-opened after a revamp and the pledge of £1.6m over the next five years from Sellafield Ltd.

There is now a whole floor dedicated to taking visitors through the last 60 years of nuclear energy in west Cumbria with interactive activities and easy-to-understand science.

Professor Cox, who was joined at the official opening by Baroness Verma, a minister in the Department of Energy and Climate Change, is an advocate for the work done at Sellafield.

“Nuclear is the best sustainable form of energy,” he said.

“Countries with innovative power supplies tend to have lower mortality rates; this is because people are making advances in science which helps in other aspects of their life.”

Talking near the ‘augmented reality station’, a 3D TV which lets visitors watch an atom explode, Professor Cox said: “People are curious.You can’t just say something – you need to explain the whys and The Beacon is doing this.

“It is really brilliant in taking visitors from the very beginning of the nuclear industry and not hiding the history, which was used in the production of weaponry.

“But showing the development right through to the present day.”

He said: “Science is the candle in the dark, illuminating the way with knowledge. West Cumbria is a pioneer for nuclear excellence for fellow industries worldwide, and there is 50 to 60 years’ of knowledge and experience of nuclear expertise at Sellafield, showcased in this exhibit.”

Baroness Verma was “thrilled” to be in Whitehaven, she said. “This is a fascinating exhibition.

“The fact it is so interactive makes it accessible for all ages, everyone can learn at a level that suits them.”

“Transparency is the key and Sellafield is using the museum as platform to showcase the interesting work it is doing.”

Professor Cox gave two lectures on the day, one for pupils from Whitehaven Academy and West Lakes Academy, Egremont, and another for members of the public. The first 75 people in the queue got in to listen to his talk.

Les Coan from Beckermet was first in line.

She said: “I have read his books and watched him on the TV, he is a really fascinating man.”

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