work at TRL no one wants to remember...
Telstra / Telecom have anything to do with nuclear solutions to our everyday
The 1970's and 1980's saw Telecom come under enormous pressure to provide a reliable telephone service to all members of the Australian community. So deeply embedded was this goal that it was part of the mission statement of the period. Such a noble cause gave many of the TRL boffins serious headaches, providing such a telecommunication solution to our remote rural comrades was not going to be easy. The battle cry from the crusty endomorphic public servant accountants went: "give me reliable, give it to me fast, and give it to me cheaply"
TRL initially suggested two options. Solar powered high speed microwave repeater stations at regular intervals in the outback, or a long extension lead. Not satisfied with either of these options (Solar power too expensive and unreliable, the extension cord was being used by the cleaner for the vacuum), the accountants demanded another alternative.
This is when
the nuclear suggestion arose. A visionary young TRL science chap suggested
developing a mini nuclear power plant, remotely monitored and controlled
via a command centre in TRL, Clayton. A plant big enough to power a remote
repeater station could feasibly be made small enough to carry to the location
on a semi trailer. This idea was very attractive; TRL was at the time
a world leader in remote monitoring and control of various installations
in the outback. Such nuclear technology would be very marketable elsewhere
in the world, where similar power requirements existed (such as Iraq or