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British Industrial History

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James William Kendall

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James William Kendall (c1906-1957) of the UKAEA

1957 Obituary [1]

WE regret to record the sudden death of Mr. James William Kendall at his home at Penn, Wolverhampton, on Saturday, August 24, at the age of forty-nine.

Mr. Kendall received his early training at Woolwich Arsenal, and was subsequently with the site construction section of the Ministry of Works.

Between 1940 and 1946 he was Assistant Director, Filling Factories, working under Sir Christopher Hinton, and in February, 1946, Mr. Kendall became one of the team of twelve that was then formed at Risley to build up the production side of the new nuclear energy programme. Only one of the members had any knowledge of nuclear energy, but the Industrial Group of the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority grew from their efforts. The tasks allotted to the team included the production of uranium metal, the design of reactors for the evolution of plutonium, and the planning of a diffusion plant for the separation of uranium isotopes.

Mr. Kendall was given charge of the design group which gained its first experience in building a large experimental pile named BEPO at Harwell. The group then designed and built the two reactors at Windscale, and these have been producing plutonium since the end of 1950. The fast breeder reactor at Dounreay was Mr. Kendall's next assignment, and he continued on this until April, 1956, when he left the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority to become head of nuclear engineering development for John Thompson, Ltd., at Wolverhampton.

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