Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Building for the Nuclear Age (1960)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

The nuclear power station at Berkeley, large parts of which are constructed by John Laing & Son, is the first commercial nuclear power station in the world.

The overall layout and features of the build are shown on a model, concentrating on the two reactor buildings, cooling ponds and auxiliary buildings.

Prior to construction, the civil engineering planning includes setting up the site, arranging staff accommodation, plant and materials, constructing roads to facilitate access to the site, and excavation and drainage prior to construction.

Steel reinforcements are laid, and concrete foundations are poured in. A concrete batching plant is set up on site, to pour the retaining walls of the reactor. The reactor building and shielding are pointed out on a model.

The pressure vessel is built, together with its concrete biological shield. Tests are performed in the concrete laboratory. Cooling ponds store nuclear fuel. The boilers are erected, and the pile cap above the pressure vessel is constructed.

This is the first nuclear power station project on such a scale, and Laing is proud to be involved in such pioneering projects as this and the construction of the M1 motorway.