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Tuesday, 30 October, 2001, 15:05 GMT
Atomic centre reveals its secrets
Harwell Archives
The Harwell archive contains material going back over 50 years
Historians in Oxfordshire can use previously unseen archive material housed at a site that for decades was at the heart of Britain's atomic research.

A state-of-the-art 1.5m archive centre has been opened at Harwell by the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

It houses everything from the history of the site, to photos dating back to when Harwell used to be an RAF base during the Second World War.

The UKAEA base is currently being converted from a nuclear research centre into a business park.

World-famous

The centre will house all the records for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy's Harwell site as well as all the photographic and film archive for the whole of the UKAEA.

The Photographic and Film Archive has stills and film of UKAEA's research and development into nuclear power from 1946 up to the present decommissioning programme.

A spokesman said: "In total there are over one million negatives and hundreds of miles of film, making this archive of national importance."

Harwell was world renowned as a centre for nuclear research and development.

Dismantled plant

But over the past six years, UKAEA has been dismantling it's unused nuclear facilities to make way for an international commercial centre.

The opening of the archive took place on Tuesday, the 65th anniversary of the atomic establishment opening in 1945.

The move follows a decision to turn the site near Didcot into a thriving natural habitat.

Earlier this year Harwell achieved the international environmental management accreditation.


Click here to go to BBC Oxford Online
See also:

02 Oct 01 | England
Nuclear site goes natural
22 May 01 | Business
AEA quits nuclear facility
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