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Development of British atomic energy

After the war, Clement Attlee's Labour government decided to continue with a British atomic energy programme. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 empowered the Minister of Supply to promote and control the development of atomic energy. Various facilities for the production of uranium and plutonium, including Windscale, were constructed in Britain during the late 1940s. As a result, Britain exploded its first atomic bomb at Monte Bello, off the north west coast of Australia, in October 1952. The government was increasingly interested in the civil use of nuclear power, particularly in the generation of electricity.

UK Atomic Energy Authority

The ability of the Ministry of Supply to effectively oversee the atomic programme was controversial. In 1952, a Cabinet committee decided in favour of transferring the programme to a public corporation. A committee under Lord Waverley made recommendations on how the transfer should be achieved. 
 
As a result of these deliberations, a White Paper recommended the creation of an Atomic Energy Corporation, which would assume control of all elements of the atomic energy programme. A senior cabinet minister would be responsible for the corporation and the related policy decisions. Under the Atomic Energy Authority Act of 1954, the UK Atomic Energy Authority was established to research and produce atomic energy.

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