Nuclear Information Centre.

When you hear this sound (2022). (Duration 3m 24s)

Although not made explicit through listening, this audio exhibit comprises 260 overlayed repetitions of a section from the publicly available Sellafield site alarm information hotline, as well as exploring some imagined blurred boundaries between specific geographical and topographical aspects of the UK’s current civil and military nuclear activities.

The number 260 is important because it marks the limit on the number of active nuclear warheads the UK may maintain at any given time. Although this is significantly lower than the total number held during the Cold War, it represents the first increase to potential warhead numbers for several decades.

For additional clarity, the audio simultaneously situates you just outside the Sellafield site perimeter, where the River Calder meets the sea and on the shores of Gare Loch in Scotland, gateway for the UK’s Trident nuclear submarines as they set out from and return to the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane as part of the UK’s continuous at sea nuclear deterrent (CASD).

Luckily for us though, at both these sites, nuclear safety is always the overriding priority.

Note: The full Sellafield alarm telephone message may be heard by calling 01946 775 254 although the current recording is now different to the version from which the extract in this exhibit is taken.

Information last updated -  Fri 22 Sep 2023