In England, the national policy tension between mastering nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors, and ballooning costs, was to preoccupy politicians and public servants from the 1960s, but I enjoyed finding an early sign of concern. The British triumvirate of Christopher Hinton, John Cockcroft, and William Penney was nigh impossible to subject to budgetary control, but on January 26, 1954, private commentary by a civil servant on a Cockcroft expansion request muses:
I feel the time has come when we should have some regard to expenditure in the atomic energy programme both of money and effort and endeavour to concentrate on a limited number of schemes.
France, R. E. 1954. France to Perrott, Jan. 26, 1954. AB 41/641, National Archives, Kew, United Kingdom.