During WWII Billingham was one of the sites chosen for the world’s first atomic weapons project codenamed Tube Alloys. Development work for the top secret project took place at Billingham and a number of shadow factories in the Teesside area. Due to high costs, and the fact that Britain was within bombing range of its enemies, Tube Alloys was absorbed into the USA’s Manhattan Project, which led to the development of the world’s first atomic weapons.
In the 1970’s ICI purchased and installed a TRIGA Mk1 nuclear reactor at Billingham. The reactor produced radioisotopes for industrial use until it was decommissioned in 1988.