When Janet Freeman finishes her training at the end of the year, she will be in charge of 600 megawatts of electricity - enough to power four cities the size of Bristol. She will be the first woman in Britain to control a nuclear reactor.

If Freeman feels any impatience with the fears of the layman, particularly post Chernobyl, she hides it well.

"Because I work in physics, I know that sort of accident can't happen here," Freeman says. "But one of the problems with the public is that if you start to explain in detail you are accused of blinding them with too much science, and if you keep it simple you are accused of trying to cover something up."

"We do have high safety standards. But at the same time, I don't think that pressure groups do any harm. If someone is looking over your shoulder, it makes you more careful."

She remains unconvinced that there are links between nuclear power stations and the incidences of cancer such as leukaemia.

"I think sometimes people decide in advance what they want to see. I don't think people have looked hard enough to see whether there might be other causes, or have compared enough different areas."

She wears a special badge which is checked monthly to see how much radiation she has been exposed to. For any task which might involve a "hot" area, she would carry a Rad-80 digital monitor which gives an instant reading.

"A lot of other things are just as hazardous as radiation but because people are used to them they don't mind. And despite all the hazards that people do protest about, we are living longer all the time."

When she completes her training, she will control one of the nuclear reactors. There are three shifts a day - 8 am to 2 pm, 2 pm to 10.30 pm and 10.30 pm to 8 am, rotated on a five-week cycle - and she admits that this has its drawbacks. "I don't think anybody likes working nights. I certainly don't wander around in the middle of the night - I think I'm probably the only woman on site."

The Times, January 1994

Téléchargez le document au format Word Download document (Word format)



True or False ?

Match name and electrical appliance

Future in subordinate clauses


Identify the clauses

Fill in the clauses with the appropriate verb form