Born: November 28, 1924;

Died: March 3, 2015

Ron Campbell, who has died aged 90, was an engineer who led some of the main developments in nuclear power in the UK. He was a chief engineer of the 250MW Fast Reactor at Dounreay in Caithness and later moved in to the broader power business with Babcock Energy at Renfrew, and other Babcock companies.

He attended Kilmacolm Public School, then Greenock High School, and went on to Glasgow University gaining a first class honours degree in engineering at the age of 20. He was always proud of his Scottish origins; he had an austere childhood being brought up with his two brothers Willie and John in a tenement in Kilmacolm where the only bedroom was rented out to a tenant, and the family of five lived and slept in the kitchen and sitting room. One of the highlights of his childhood was when his father, a merchant seaman, brought home a monkey, which used to like to sit on the pulley in the kitchen, bombarding the family below.

After graduation in 1944, he joined Rotol and then the Dowty Group and, later, Sperry Gyroscopes, applying his engineering knowledge and intelligence to solve flight problems, boosting the effectiveness of ancillary equipment for aircraft by the heating of propeller blades and providing power-assisted flying controls. He was also involved in uprating guidance systems for intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In 1959 he joined the UK Atomic Energy Authority focusing on the development of the advanced gas-cooled reactor at Windscale/Sellafield, rising to become chief engineer of the 250MW Fast Reactor at Dounreay; and was later promoted to director and general manager of The Nuclear Power Group (TPNG) until it merged with the other nuclear consortium to form the National Nuclear Corporation in 1975.

The more general area of power generation then attracted him, and he moved into the boilermaker business becoming the managing director of Babcock & Wilcox in 1978. He was MD of Babcock Power and then Babcock Energy in the mid-80s, with overall responsibility for the Renfrew factory at a time when (as now) there was considerable debate about the future of nuclear power, and the need for greater certainty in energy policy to help maintain supply in the UK and sustain the workforce.

He also sat on the main board of Babcock International between 1981 and 1988 and undertook a lot of productive international travel to consolidate business agreements in Mexico, USA, Japan, India, China, Hong Kong and South Africa. During his time at Babcock, he was a strong supporter of the company's involvement in the raising of the Mary Rose in 1982.

He retired from full time work in 1988, but continued to work as a consultant for around another ten years, contributing a dissenting view to the 1995 report on radioactive waste disposal, and supporting international work to help manage Chernobyl.

His national contribution to nuclear power was recognised with an OBE in 1967. His longstanding engineering excellence led to his election as a fellow of the Fellowship of Engineering in 1981.

He had much influence via many government committees in the 1980s and '90s covering nuclear safety, offshore energy, economic development - contributing his expertise as a problem solver, commitment to national safety, experience of engineering and nuclear power. He was made Freeman of the City of London in 1984. He was widely regarded as having integrity, the ability to get on with people, clear-sightedness, persistence, creativity, decisiveness and self-reliance.

Not all his life achievements related to work. There was golf too. His brother John was his mentor. Whilst in the RAF John won the Northern Rhodesian Championship when stationed there, reached the semi-final of the Amateur Championship in 1947 and was capped for Scotland. John became the golf reporter for the Daily Telegraph. Starting as a caddy as a teenager in Renfrewshire, Ron went on to play 'serious club golf' in his thirties and his best ever handicap was a three whilst a member of Mere Golf and Country Club in Cheshire. He was a very good long iron player and an effective putter. His single mindedness and inexhaustible energy helped him to win; he disliked being beaten but when he did lose he was said to have endured it with a studied grace. He was captain and president at Mere in the 1960s-70s.

He was very proud of his family - his wife Hilda who accompanied him on his international business travel and two children Ruth and Ian. He coached Hilda to play golf and she succeeded in becoming lady captain at Mere Golf Club in the 1970s. Ian and Ruth both studied medicine and became doctors in radiotherapy and general practice respectively; Ruth was awarded an OBE for services to primary care.

Ron is survived by his children, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.