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High Explosive Research

High Explosive Research.
High Explosive Research was the independent British project to develop atomic bombs after the Second World War. The decision to undertake it was made in 1947 and publicly announced in 1948. The project was a civil, not a military, one. Production facilities were constructed under the direction of Christopher Hinton, including a uranium metal plant at Springfields, nuclear reactors and a plutonium processing plant at Windscale, and a gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment facility at Capenhurst, near Chester. The first nuclear reactor in the UK went critical at Harwell on 15 August 1947. William Penney directed bomb design from Fort Halstead, and later Aldermaston in Berkshire. The first British atomic bomb was successfully tested in Operation Hurricane (pictured) off the Monte Bello Islands in Australia on 3 October 1952. Britain thereby became the third country to test nuclear weapons. The project concluded with the delivery of the first Blue Danube atomic bombs to Bomber Command in 1953.



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