Ideal or even suitable sites for nuclear generating stations do not exist in abundance. Positive requirements include a large area of level ground, a firm foundation, preferably rock to carry the great weight of the reactor buildings, proximitly to a plentiful supply of cooling water virtually on a level with the site to minimise the need for the pumping and a substantial supply of fresh water for boiler make-up purposes. In addition it is desirable to site the station reasonably near the load centre.
The Hunterston site, an area of 160 acres on a promontory of the Ayrshire coast near West Kilbride fulfiled the main requirements. It was a magnificent site, sheltered on the landward side by Goldenberry Hill and facing out across the Firth of Clyde to the islands of Cumbrae and the peaks of Arran.
Inevitably there was those who thought that it was too good and that it should be ruled out on the ground of high amenity value.
Opinion was tested at a lenghy public enquiry in the course of which it was agreed on all sides that the amenity of Hunterston, both public and private, was of very great value and merited the most anxious consideration.
In the end, in July 1957, consent to the Hunterston project was granted, subject to certain conditions which were all met.
The report of the inquiry described the main station buildings of being "of greater mass and proportions of anything of which we have experience in the United Kingdom" and observed that all the planners and architects were in agreement that the proposed exterior design of the buildings was very fine indeed.
Today the buildings are still very fine indeed. Despite their size they blend with their surrpundings like a sundial in a country garden. On this world famous stretch of the Clyde they have become something of a tourist attraction.