In October 1945 the Government decided to establish a Research Establishment to investigate all aspects of atomic energy: prior to that time Britain's effective contribution to such research had been made by the seconding of research teams to the U.S. atomic energy project and by co-operation with the Government of Canada in development the Chalk River Laboratories of the National Research Council.
The Harwell Air Station of the R.A.F was chosen as the site and the R.A.F handed over to the Ministry of Supply on 1 January 1946 although the Director, Dr. J D Cockcroft, and some of the senior staff stayed on in Chalk River for a time. The existing buildings of the Harwell airfield were converted into Physics, Chemistry, Engineering and Biological Laboratories and building began on GLEEP (Graphite Low Energy Experimental Pile) and BEPO (British Experimental Pile).
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