Sizewell Power Stations, East Anglia
The East Anglian fishing village of Sizewell has had its image swallowed whole by the two nuclear power stations. Sizewell A was opened in 1966 and has just recently begun decommissioning. Its large nondescript square concrete bulk sitting in drab contrast to Sizewell B's metal domed roof. Sizewell B opened in 1995 and is due to close in about 30 years.
Sizewell A and B dominate the village's beach and public image. They dominate the coast, sitting side by side, staring blankly out to sea.
Like middle class OAP's nuclear plants like living near the sea. Drawing in cold water for cooling and steam generation, often pumping out heated water back out to sea (just like a pensioner). Sizewell's inlets and outlets are marked by what look like two marooned seaside piers, which at night reassemble two skeletal fairground relics, details picked out once every two seconds by the blinking red light.
We visited at midnight. It would have been noisy trudging across the stones if it weren't for the loud evil growling sound coming from Sizewell A (which had yet to close). It sounded as though every single character from the Trap Door wanted to escape.
Standing on the beach between the power stations and the outlets is an eerie sensation. Beaches are supposed to be about fun and novelty. Sizewell beach is anything but, two grim concrete structures sat next to a shingle beach with two isolated piers and no ferris wheel. Even sand castles are unlikely as there's not much sand on the shore (although there's some attempt at sand dunes near the car park). Even if there was enough sand you wouldn't want to dig too deep when making the moats for your sand castles.
Had we arrived in the day our scope for entertainment would be just as limited, the visitors center has been closed amid fears of terrorism. It's a shame as I love a visitor center, with their bored staff and a few dusty interactive exhibits. At midnight the beach seemed popular with fishermen. I'm not sure how they dealt with the noise, perhaps their radioactive diet helped with that.
So go to Sizewell at midnight for the full other worldly experience. and leave the daytime trip for Sellafield and the chance to control a robot arm and buy an embossed leather bookmark.