German WWII Atomic Bombs

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RyanC

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That's nice. Now Accession number?

For christ's sake, there are tens of thousands of boxes at the National Archives (I've actually gone there); and they're not numbered chronologically. There's thousands upon thousands of "box number one".

This is just an attempt to sound like you know something -- that it's all based on FACTS....it sounds all officious like "Box G-112 of Oak Ridge Collection".

I could make up something like that but for UFOs.

"Based upon Project BLACK SKY report found in Box F-121 (LeMay Collection)"

And it would sound impressive enought to fool gullible idiots.

It's just too bad I've been to the National Archives many many times and thus know how the system works there.
 
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Kiwiguy

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So how many nations use this 'ultracentrifuge' today?

Centrifuge method was used by South Africa and Pakistan to enrich Uranium for their A-bomb projects. It is currently being used by Iran which at latest estimates now have 3000 centrifuges.

A comment earlier criticised the likelihood of developing an A-bomb due to the complexity. One has to understand that there are two different types of A-bomb researched by both the Allies and the Germans.

(1) Plutonium Bomb favoured by Houtermanns, Schintlemeister, Heisenberg etc which required development of a breeder reactor and then complex technology to obtain sychronised implosion of the A-bomb core. That was way beyond germany's resources and Germany ran out of time to even consider this option.

(2) Uranium A-bomb. Easy and straight forward to build. Uncomplicated device and the critical mass required and even issues of using tampers were well understood by late 1941. The challenge for a Uranium bomb was enrichment of sufficient Uranium 235 before the war ended.

I have to apologise to Ed West as I was not persuaded for many years of Karlsche's claims. Even though I knew of Germany's nuclear projects, I was persuaded by other claims that there was some other explanation, including one that Mercury, Uranium and coal dust were mixed in a manner which excited mercury to flouresce and create a pinkish FAE mixture. My mistake

Yildirim said:

If you mix coal dust and enriched uranium you are not going to get a pink liquid. In the real world, uranium is a metal, and it looks like a metal. Yellow cake is as about as exciting as it gets with uranium. I know that in si-fi you have cool looking translucent, incandescent radioactive material, but that's the movies. Sorry to disappoint.

Subsequently I have been persuaded by my own research. I feel that Karlsch identified some real events at Rugen and Thuringa, however he was then led to believe that ipso facto it corroborated other evidence of a proposed Plutonium bomb. There is no secret that German scientists proposed a Plutonium bomb, but the radionuclides found in the soil at Ohrdruf do not match residue of a plutonium explosion. Whilst I do not accept all of Karlsch's conclusions, he has however uncovered important events in WW2 which merit serious study.

We know this because we have radionuclide fall out surveys from Nagasaki (Plutonium bomb) and from Hiroshima (Uranium bomb) Journal of Radiation Research, Vol.24 , No.3(1983)pp.229-236 [Hiroshima fall out study] and findings of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) reported in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine Vol 26, #8 August 1985 pp. 842-844

Nagasaki left detectable quantities of Plutonium 239, Plutonium 240 and Americium 241 in the soil which were absent at Hiroshima.

Surprisingly in a radionuclide fall out study performed at Hiroshima in 1983 Uranium 235 was almost undetectable, but there were high levels of Caesium 137. This matches the profile of soil samples taken from Ordruf.

Whilst the evidence for a Uranium bomb at Ohrdruf is not conclusive, suggestions that the Caesium 137 at Thuringa arise from Chernobyl fall out are not proven either. Most interestingly A survey report intended to disprove Karlsch failed to return results for other radionuclides which one would have expected to find from Chernobyl fall out.
 

edwest2

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I am currently following research in Austria regarding their contribution to the German atomic project. I am hoping to see an initial report soon. The project started only last year. I don't know what list of German atomic experts you have but some were from Austria (at that time, part of the greater Reich). The OSS produced such a list. I would like to point out that intelligence documents are strictly factual so I view the word experts as a deliberate usage.

Also, like Germany, Austria was divided into occupation zones. Unlike Germany, little has emerged as to what was found there. The Institute for Radium Research in Vienna appears to have played a role, but I'll wait for an official report before adding more.
 
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Kiwiguy

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Hi Ed. I just emailed you the JOIA list of all German and Austrian nuclear scientists in WW2 plus a PDF of the Soviet ALSOS mission to capture Nazi scientists for work on Russia's bomb. Hope that helps?

Regards the PBT report on samples at Ordruf. A more meaningful result would be to appraise the ratios of Caesium 133, 134, 135 and 137 because that would then help to date whether the origin was 1945 or 1987 ?

Various decay chains work like stopwatches from the moment the radionuclides were ejected from their nuclear birthplace.

Another more meaningful study with these samples would be to establish the ratios between Caesium 137 and Barium 137.



I am of the view that the blasts at Rugen and at Ohrdruf were fizzled nukes.

Readers may recall the test blast in north korea a few years ago which fizzled from too much Plutonium Pu240 contamination?

I think Rugen was a Uranium weapon which was sub critical when triggered. I suspect either the Uranium 235 was not enriched to high enough percentage, or that a critical mass was not obtained or both.

I suspect Harteck was hard pressed to obtain enough U235 from his Mark III-B ultracentrifuges which Gerlach had referred to in October 1944 in a letter to Goering's private secretary Gonnert.

I suspect even the Ohrdruf blast lacked critical mass, but used a large U238 tamper around the warhead to compensate.

In the Hiroshima blast even with sufficient critical mass (but an unknown level of U235 enrichement) only 1.16666 % of the entire U235 core was consumed by fission.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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You might want to move this discussion to email as it seems to have become a private conversation.

I have also received several complaints (as usual) and am suspending the topic for now.
 

Justo Miranda

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Slightly off-topic but, some years back, I noticed a colleague with notorious book by English researcher about the Nazties' nuclear program, anti-gravity etc etc.

The infamous glowing 'Bell' report caught my eye. IMHO, it had nothing to do with claimed anti-gravity and/or nuclear piles, but was a small calutron, barely evolved beyond its ancestral cyclotron...
 

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edwest2

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What ever the the 'Bell' was, it story was told by a man with no technical knowledge, trying to talk his way out from a Execution...

I have no reason to believe that. Interrogators with the requisite technical knowledge needed a way to verify the information given to them. So, if physical artifacts and documents were missing, the person being interrogated had to demonstrate his knowledge. The British, for example, were highly skeptical of claims made during interrogations but would add positive comments regarding the device being described. If the person being interrogated could demonstrate no technical skill, he could be dismissed.
 

T. A. Gardner

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Yea, this is like the Germans having built and tested a nuclear bomb stuff when they didn't even have a working reactor, and the one they were about to test was an utter and complete death trap.

1625280528961.png
 

edwest2

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Yea, this is like the Germans having built and tested a nuclear bomb stuff when they didn't even have a working reactor, and the one they were about to test was an utter and complete death trap.

View attachment 659985


That is totally inaccurate. The specialized reactor found at Haigerloch was designed for a specific purpose. It used natural metallic uranium cubes arranged in a precise way. Two photographs of the Americans on site at the time showed them wearing no protective clothing. These cubes were produced by the Auer company which the Americans bombed.

To those who have never seen an intelligence report, the wording of the title and contents were precise. In the case of a German atomic bomb, it existed and a man who had witnessed a test had been located and interrogated.

A response from the U.S. National Archives:

"... the cover sheet was signed by U.S. Navy Captain R. F. Hickey on January 24, 1946. The subject of the report is listed as “Investigations, Research, Developments and Practical Use of the German Atomic Bomb,” and the enclosure is labeled “A.P./W.I.U. (9th Air Force) Report No. 96/1945.” We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Top Secret Reports of Naval Attaches, 2/1944-8/1947 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) that includes the file Document 2644 (Enclosure) - German Atomic Bomb, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, London, 24 January 1946."

And:


"Plus, we located the series Sources and Methods Files, 1941-2002 in the Records of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) (Record Group 226) that contains the file Volume 2 - "War Report: Office of Strategic Services: Operations in the Field", which includes discussions of German atomic research and mentions Rugen Island. This file has been digitized and may be viewed online via the Catalog. Please contact RDT2 for additional assistance with these records."
 

T. A. Gardner

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Yea, this is like the Germans having built and tested a nuclear bomb stuff when they didn't even have a working reactor, and the one they were about to test was an utter and complete death trap.

View attachment 659985


That is totally inaccurate. The specialized reactor found at Haigerloch was designed for a specific purpose. It used natural metallic uranium cubes arranged in a precise way. Two photographs of the Americans on site at the time showed them wearing no protective clothing. These cubes were produced by the Auer company which the Americans bombed.

To those who have never seen an intelligence report, the wording of the title and contents were precise. In the case of a German atomic bomb, it existed and a man who had witnessed a test had been located and interrogated.

A response from the U.S. National Archives:

"... the cover sheet was signed by U.S. Navy Captain R. F. Hickey on January 24, 1946. The subject of the report is listed as “Investigations, Research, Developments and Practical Use of the German Atomic Bomb,” and the enclosure is labeled “A.P./W.I.U. (9th Air Force) Report No. 96/1945.” We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Top Secret Reports of Naval Attaches, 2/1944-8/1947 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) that includes the file Document 2644 (Enclosure) - German Atomic Bomb, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, London, 24 January 1946."

And:


"Plus, we located the series Sources and Methods Files, 1941-2002 in the Records of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) (Record Group 226) that contains the file Volume 2 - "War Report: Office of Strategic Services: Operations in the Field", which includes discussions of German atomic research and mentions Rugen Island. This file has been digitized and may be viewed online via the Catalog. Please contact RDT2 for additional assistance with these records."
The cubes were not the danger. It was how the reactor was to operate. The cubes in those necklaces were to be manually lowered into the tank below them containing heavy water. As the cubes entered that heavy water they would have started to undergo fission and release neutrons and gamma rays. The water would begin to heat up releasing some portion as steam.
The more of the blocks entering the water, the more fissions you have.
Anyone standing nearby would have gotten a massive dose of radiation and probably ingested some of the steam (gaseous water) released that was no radioactive.
Operation of that reactor would have killed everyone near it and contaminated the location with very high levels of radiation.

You might use the US Army's SL-1 accident as a guide to what would have happened.


As for a Nazi nuclear bomb, I would suggest reading this thread as it pretty much definitively crushes that theory completely

 

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Various groups in Germany had begun negotiations with the Americans shortly after the war for the return of captured documents. Eventually, documents related to German atomic research and developments were shown in a special exhibit at the Deutsches Museum in 2001 and a CD-Rom was produced. These documents were a small percentage of those held in their archive. The Deutsches Museum tells us on their own website that the Alsos Mission only managed to stop the deployment of an atomic weapon.

"ALSOS Mission​

"At the beginning of 1945, the US military and American researchers knew practically nothing about the state of nuclear research in Germany. With America itself working intensively to create an atomic bomb, the same was thought to be true of Germany. The aim of the military officers and scientists who made up the ALSOS task force was to gather information on the German nuclear programme, capture top research scientists and seize important equipment, thus ultimately preventing the deployment of an atomic weapon. By the end of 1945, the task force had essentially fulfilled its mission."
 

iverson

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I have never read any plausible accounts of a Nazi nuclear bomb. Nor can I see how Nazi Germany could have managed one, given the resources that the US had to commit to the task. As I have noted before in other contexts, Germany simply did not have the natural and industrial resources needed for the war they were actually fighting, much less for the high-tech fantasies that charlatans attributed to them after the war. Even if it had been otherwise, the Nazis had systematically driven the required scientific talent out of Europe and to the United States: Einstein, Fermi, and Bohr are only the most prominent. Anti-Jewish racism trumped everything else. The Nazis only had Heisenberg and Hahn left.

From the first, Heisenberg himself concluded that a bomb, if it were possible at all, was not possible given the lack of resources in wartime Germany. And by 1942 or so, the Nazis abandoned nuclear weapons research altogether in favor of more practical, near-term work. So, in 1945, when Heisenberg and his confederates heard about Hiroshima while imprisoned in the UK, recordings of their private conversations showed their astonishment and disbelief.

>>That is totally inaccurate. The specialized reactor found at Haigerloch was designed for a specific purpose. It used natural metallic uranium cubes arranged in a precise way. Two photographs of the Americans on site at the time showed them wearing no protective clothing.<<

The Nazi's uranium-cube contraption was not a reactor at all--useless even for the nuclear power research they were doing at that time. But it was a pretty clear indication that they did not understand the practicalities involved. I don't know what degree of radiation hazard the thing caused. But lack of protective clothing is hardly evidence: the extreme hazards posed by nuclear radiation were closely guarded secrets in the US military until years after Hiroshima. So, while the Americans at the site might have known about Mme. Curie, they would not have known anything about how they could protect themselves or why.

>>To those who have never seen an intelligence report, the wording of the title and contents were precise. In the case of a German atomic bomb, it existed and a man who had witnessed a test had been located and interrogated.<<

"Had witnessed" or said he had witnessed? Intelligence reports are not facts. They are stories at best, commonly no more than rumors, and at worst deliberate disinformation spread by hostile agents. At the end of WW2, Europe was crawling with war criminals, common criminals, black marketeers, and spies peddling stories. If it were 1946 and you were an SS death-camp functionary on a Russian wanted list, a story about a Nazi bomb might seem just the ticket for avoiding a one-way rip to the Russian Zone--until it fell apart under the rigorous interrogation and cross-checking that wartime intelligence officers were known for. Mention of a bomb may well be found in one or two old reports. But the fact that everyone now discounts any possibility of a Nazi nuclear bomb is a pretty clear indication that their claims did not stand up to close inspection.
 

edwest2

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Regarding the cubes used in the reactor at Haigerloch. Most of the cubes were found buried nearby by the Americans. Those operating the reactor were aware of its operational aspects and function. The original cubes were removed to deny them to the Americans. As I wrote, American personnal were shown without protective gear as they dismantled the reactor. Two photos exist. One is the censored version which shows a black circle. The other shows what is actually there - the upper support assembly.
 

edwest2

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I have presented document names and their location.

Heisenberg is mentioned often but he was not the only researcher involved in the German atomic project. When a document title includes the phrase "Practical Use of the German Atomic Bomb," it means what it says. Practical use means practical use. Intelligence reports with supporting documents are facts. Otherwise, they would have thrown them in the dustbin. The people writing these reports were not present-day nutters but trained personnel who understood the technology.

The German atomic research program was widely spread out. There was uranium in Austria and Czechoslovakia.

From the Nonproliferation Review, Summer 2000.

"The Russians seized a 60 ton cyclotron and a plasma-ionic isotope separation installation at the workshop of Manfred von Ardenne. In Austria, the Russians acquired nearly 340 kg of metallic uranium."

The German atomic program was under the Army Weapons Office (HWA), the Reichspost and the SS Technical branch. From the book, Atomversuche in Deutschland by Günter Nagel, a long list of important German atomic scientists is given, along with locations:

Phy. Inst. d. Univ. Köln - Doz. Prof. Riezler
Phys. Inst. d. TH. Darmstadt - Doz. Dr. Marer
Phys. chem. Inst. d. Univ. München - Doz. Dr. Starke
Phys. Techn. Reichanst. Staatsrat - Prof. Dr. A. Esau
KWI f.medizin. Forschung, Heidelberg - Prof. Dr. Bothe
1 bis 3, Phys. Inst. d. Univ. Wien - Prof. Dr. Stetter
Inst. f. Theoret. Pys. d. Univ. Strassburg - Prof. v. Weizsäcker

There are many more.
 

iverson

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Regarding the cubes used in the reactor at Haigerloch. Most of the cubes were found buried nearby by the Americans. Those operating the reactor were aware of its operational aspects and function. The original cubes were removed to deny them to the Americans. As I wrote, American personnal were shown without protective gear as they dismantled the reactor. Two photos exist. One is the censored version which shows a black circle. The other shows what is actually there - the upper support assembly.

The Haigerloch uranium cubes were all unenriched, natural uranium, not the highly enriched uranium used in bombs. The Germans never figured out to do the enrichment, even though they tried several methods. Without enrichment, no chain reaction, and no explosion.

Again, they simply lacked the development resources. One of the Alsos team scientists that looked at the Nazi research facilities, including the Haigrloch lab, estimated that the Nazis spent less on their entire nuclear program than the US spent on Alsos missions alone.

A couple of photos exist of the same US Army Engineers from the Alsos team digging up those uranium cubes in the fields. The soldiers are again not wearing protective gear of any kind. The material was probably not all that radioactive, even if some of the Alsos team members were aware of radiation hazards. Besides, I can't see what sort of protection you could have, except, perhaps, a gas mask to protect against breathing too many alpha particles, followed by a long shower and a change of clothes. Nothing will protect you against gamma radiation.
 

T. A. Gardner

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While this takes this thread kind of far afield, the following is pertinent at this point:

Refined uranium metal is a low grade alpha radiation emitter. It is only a danger to someone if you eat it. A chunk sitting on your desk is not particularly dangerous to anyone. Anyone who knows how radiation works would agree. Recently, a bucket of uranium ore was found at a museum near the Grand Canyon in AZ. It was adjudged the same, not a serious health hazard.

The reactor shown works as I outlined. Unenriched uranium will fast fission in heavy water just as in a graphite moderated reactor (Fermi's original "pile" at the university of Chicago or the Chernobyl reactor for that matter). How evenly and well the rather poorly configured German one would have worked is speculative, but it likely would have had some degree of fission going on.

Once it stated fission the radiation from neutrons and gamma released would have quickly jumped to thousands or REM at a minimum. That would have pretty much killed everyone nearby within days, if not hours, or even immediately. There was no way to moderate the reaction rate like with control rods or a carefully set geometry of the fuel in position to other blocks. So, the rate of reaction would be uneven and you would get some steam from the water PDQ. The only way to stop the reaction would have been to withdraw the core (uranium) or for the heavy water to boil off.

So, that reactor would have killed off the German nuclear research personnel watching and likely set their program back years.
 

iverson

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I have presented document names and their location.

Heisenberg is mentioned often but he was not the only researcher involved in the German atomic project.

No, but, he, Hahn, and Weisaeker were the only widely recognized ones. Fifteen Nobel winning physicists and chemists left Germany as a result of the racial laws, along with many of their best students. The lesser lights that remained often faced suspicion over Jewish ancestry or spouses. The conservative "Aryan Physics" movement denounced modern theories like relativity and quantum physics as "Jewish Physics", and persecuted even Heisenberg. University postions when to those with good connections in the Nazi Party hierarchy, rather than to academics. Moreover, all of the lesser figures connected with physics research were constantly being drafted into the army by a bureaucracy that did not understand what they were doing.

When a document title includes the phrase "Practical Use of the German Atomic Bomb," it means what it says. Practical use means practical use. Intelligence reports with supporting documents are facts.

You are being far too credulous. The report itself is the fact, not the story it tells. The existence of a report proves nothing except that someone said something that someone else felt it necessary to write down. If the subsequent record shows no extensive followup--no independent corroboration, no subsequent records, etc.--the report was almost certainly judged worthless.

Wartime intelligence reports record rumors, stories, jokes--anything that just might possibly contain some scrap of truth. Those reports then go to intelligence analysts who cross check them against other intelligence sources, known capabilities, scientific plausibility, and plain common sense. When they can, intelligence professionals get the supposed witnesses and interrogate them, testing them to see if they have sufficient knowledge to be plausible, have ulterior motives that might confirm or undermine their claims, etc. The interrogators often put witnesses together in bugged rooms to see what they said to each other when supposedly out of the hearing of their interrogators--as Alsos did with the captured Nazi physicists. Then the analysts decide whether the claims are credible enough to be followed up or incredible enough to be filed.

Otherwise, they would have thrown them in the dustbin. The people writing these reports were not present-day nutters but trained personnel who understood the technology.

Note that I said "filed" above. I only know the US, but I assume that military and government bureaucracy is the same everywhere: nothing ever, ever, gets "thrown ... in the dustbin." It gets typed in triplicate and filed in three different registries. So the presence of a few reports does not prove that they were considered valuable, much less true. Instead, the scarcity of such reports suggests the very opposite,

The German atomic research program was widely spread out. There was uranium in Austria and Czechoslovakia.

From the Nonproliferation Review, Summer 2000.

"The Russians seized a 60 ton cyclotron and a plasma-ionic isotope separation installation at the workshop of Manfred von Ardenne. In Austria, the Russians acquired nearly 340 kg of metallic uranium."

No one doubts that the Nazis had uranium (or cyclotron particle accelerators) or that the project was spread out. The US Army's Alsos teams seized hundreds of tons of Nazi uranium from the Union Miniere processing plants in Belgium and from depots in France, as well as smaller amounts from other German research facilities. USAAF B-17s destroyed the Auergesellschaft uranium refinery in Oranienburg on the express orders of Gen. Grove.
 

Orionblamblam

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When a document title includes the phrase "Practical Use of the German Atomic Bomb," it means what it says. Practical use means practical use

Just as a document titled "practical use of a wormhole" or "practical use of an antimatter bomb" or practical use of a warp drive" means what is says... the practical use of a theoretical device or object.
 

Zoo Tycoon

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The cubes were not the danger. It was how the reactor was to operate. The cubes in those necklaces were to be manually lowered into the tank below them containing heavy water. As the cubes entered that heavy water they would have started to undergo fission and release neutrons and gamma rays. The water would begin to heat up releasing some portion as steam.
The more of the blocks entering the water, the more fissions you have.
Anyone standing nearby would have gotten a massive dose of radiation and probably ingested some of the steam (gaseous water) released that was no radioactive.
Operation of that reactor would have killed everyone near it and contaminated the location with very high levels of radiation.

Not quite that bad.

The Haigerloch B8 pile was a critically experiment, very similar to the Canadian Zero Energy Experimental Pile (ZEEP)*;-https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZEEP

These early piles were intended to validate theoretical calculations and by intent, produced virtually no excess energy (note the name). The reaction being studied is detectable before it becomes particularly hazardous**. Conversely they couldn’t produce more than a few pico grams of reaction product. Hence B8 could not produce Plutonium for a bomb, as some have claimed. Sure there was a bit of radiation but not enough to prevent the ZEEP and CP1 from being manually disassemble with minimal protective gear at the end of their usefulness.

Don’t get me wrong, the Haigerloch B8, or any other German WW2 never achieved criticality.

(*A great example of entirely independent co invention;- although the Canadian one worked, as I’m sure the next B8 evolution would have;- CP1 was built, torn down, rebuilt in a slightly different geometry multiple times before it achieved criticality)

** when CP1 first achieved criticality there was no shielding to protect those in the squash court with it and there were two people standing on top of the pile.
 
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Aubi

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I highly doubt any significant amount of Uranium was mined in Austria, altough I found one mine mentioned there. Most came from Jáchymov, which is almost in my backyard.
 

edwest2

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The usual nonsense. The Deutsches Museum now has the documents the Americans found. Argue with them. And their 2001 exhibit of select documents was an exhibit of nothing? https://www.deutsches-museum.de/en/archives/archive-online/secret-documents/

The chemical reactions involved in atomic research were known at the time. The Germans had the world's largest chemical cartel at the time, IG Farben.
 

T. A. Gardner

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The usual nonsense. The Deutsches Museum now has the documents the Americans found. Argue with them. And their 2001 exhibit of select documents was an exhibit of nothing? https://www.deutsches-museum.de/en/archives/archive-online/secret-documents/

The chemical reactions involved in atomic research were known at the time. The Germans had the world's largest chemical cartel at the time, IG Farben.
Chemical reactions don't get you to fissionable product research. Knowing the chemical and metallurgical properties of uranium gets you to refined uranium. Enrichment is a whole 'nother animal. Getting it to fission and knowing how that process works is taking things into a completely different area of science, and one that the Nazi government frowned on to begin with.
 

Orionblamblam

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The usual nonsense. The Deutsches Museum now has the documents the Americans found. Argue with them.

Great! Please point us to the documents that say "we set of an atom bomb at this place, that time, with this yield." A followup with American documents from researchers saying something to the effect of "we went there, and, yup, there's a radioactive crater."

I'm sure you have them book marked.
 

iverson

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The usual nonsense. The Deutsches Museum now has the documents the Americans found. Argue with them. And their 2001 exhibit of select documents was an exhibit of nothing? https://www.deutsches-museum.de/en/archives/archive-online/secret-documents/

The chemical reactions involved in atomic research were known at the time. The Germans had the world's largest chemical cartel at the time, IG Farben.
Chemical reactions don't get you to fissionable product research. Knowing the chemical and metallurgical properties of uranium gets you to refined uranium. Enrichment is a whole 'nother animal. Getting it to fission and knowing how that process works is taking things into a completely different area of science, and one that the Nazi government frowned on to begin with.

Perhaps Mr. Gardner's point is the key to a basic misunderstanding underlying the above argument. So I'll try to clarify it before I exceed the limits of my knowledge and succumb to boredom with this topic.

Enrichment is not a chemical process like refining or purifying. Chemical processes work by separating the uranium metal, which has one set of chemical properties, from impurities, which have different chemical properties. Typically, you dissolve an amalgam of differing substances--like an ore--using reagents that can dissolve or otherwise react with elements that have certain chemical properties while leaving other elements alone. You repeat the process under varying conditions until you have separated the pure, refined element--uranium metal in this case--from the other substances in the original rock.

But isotopes of an element are chemically identical. Naturally occurring uranium consists of uranium 238 (>99.2%), uranium 235 (~0.7%), and uranium 233 (<0.1%). All have the same chemical properties. So you cannot separate them using chemical means: they have the same number of electrons orbiting the atomic nucleus (which determines chemical properties) and differ only in the number of neutrons in the nucleus. Yet only the uranium 235 atoms in uranium metal (0.7% of the whole) are useful for initiating a practical fission reaction.

To enrich uranium metal to the point where it contains enough uranium 235 to support a fission chain reaction is thus extremely difficult. One has to exploit the very slight difference in mass between the isotopes. To do this, one can convert the metal to uranium hexaflouride gas and either diffuse the gas through filters or use a centrifuge to separate the heavier uranium 238 from the lighter uranium 235. Alternatively, one can vaporize and ionize the metal and then project it through magnetic fields that deflect the less massive U-235 more than the U-238 (reportedly a more expensive and less efficient method). In either case, one has to deal with tiny differences between product and waste, tiny outputs, and huge volumes of waste material. Worst of all, for a practical bomb, one needs to enrich the material to 85% or more while attaining a yield of at least 50 pounds (~24 kg) per 1940s-era bomb.

Germany pioneered isotope separation in the lab during the 1930s (before most of the most talented physicists left). But Nazi Germany was never able to productionize the process. Doing so in the 1940s required a huge, dedicated, highly specialized industrial base and a lot of tolerance for waste, errors, and experimentation. Nazi Germany simply did not have the means available. It was never able to increase the percentage of the U-235 isotope in uranium metal above the natural, much less to the 85% or more needed for a bomb.

The British were just able to productionize the enrichment process on a small scale, and even then decided to hand off the work to the United states. The US was very ood at mass production and had enormous resources available, compared to the overstretched Europeans. As a result the US was able to both produce U-235 on a massive industrial scale and breed plutonium 239 from the left-over uranium 238. It produced and deployed both uranium and plutonium weapons before the end of the war. But even then, despite having all the resources of the US and Britain combined, plus most of the world's most capable nuclear scientists, the US only just managed the task, late in 1945, and had made only a handful of devices even then.
 

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You are being far too credulous. The report itself is the fact, not the story it tells. The existence of a report proves nothing except that someone said something that someone else felt it necessary to write down. If the subsequent record shows no extensive followup--no independent corroboration, no subsequent records, etc.--the report was almost certainly judged worthless.

Wartime intelligence reports record rumors, stories, jokes--anything that just might possibly contain some scrap of truth. Those reports then go to intelligence analysts who cross check them against other intelligence sources, known capabilities, scientific plausibility, and plain common sense. When they can, intelligence professionals get the supposed witnesses and interrogate them, testing them to see if they have sufficient knowledge to be plausible, have ulterior motives that might confirm or undermine their claims, etc. The interrogators often put witnesses together in bugged rooms to see what they said to each other when supposedly out of the hearing of their interrogators--as Alsos did with the captured Nazi physicists. Then the analysts decide whether the claims are credible enough to be followed up or incredible enough to be filed.
This is absolutely correct. Intel reports record ANYTHING that might be a of value. If it turns out to be of value there will be extensive followups. In the same way UFO believers use early Air Force and FBI reports made during the Flying Saucer Wave of the late 40's and early 50's as proof that ET visitation is real just because there were official government documents talking about it. With what we now know about the German atomic program is that they could not produce weapons grade uranium or plutonium. No BOOM! there. They might have been able to make a radialogical device, a "dirty bomb" with radioactive material and a conventional explosive to spread it.

If we are to believe these intel reports, then we have to believe the Japanese set off an atomic bomb of their own just days before the attack on Hiroshima at a test site in present day North Korea. After all it was also in an intel report based off testimony of a captured Japanese who was interrogated by military intelligence. Although the Japanese were researching atomic weapons like the Germans they never even got as far as they did due to lack of resources and materials.
 

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A very small clarification: isotopes do have small physical / chemical differences, usually with small reaction rate differences. Hence Oxygen isotope ratios may be used for ice-core archeo-thermometry, as warmer seas allow more of the heavier H2O^ to evaporate. Such subtle O^ depletion also alters its proportion in eg fossilised sea-shells from that era...

IIRC, the only isotopes with significant phys/chem differences are those of hydrogen. Hence electrolysis of water tends to remove lighter hydrogen, concentrating deuterium in what's left. Still appallingly inefficient. By the time you get to Uranium, you need a Calutron, serial counter-flow membranes or a cascade of centrifuges.

Um, IMHO, there's possibility of efficient selection using miniscule photo-ionisation differences and a very precisely tuned laser, but...

Given the hazards of radioactivity were not well known nor understood 1930s~~1950s, even a 'dirty bomb', with toxic salts explosively dispersed, seems unlikely...

As always, YMMV...
 

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You are being far too credulous. The report itself is the fact, not the story it tells. The existence of a report proves nothing except that someone said something that someone else felt it necessary to write down. If the subsequent record shows no extensive followup--no independent corroboration, no subsequent records, etc.--the report was almost certainly judged worthless.

Wartime intelligence reports record rumors, stories, jokes--anything that just might possibly contain some scrap of truth. Those reports then go to intelligence analysts who cross check them against other intelligence sources, known capabilities, scientific plausibility, and plain common sense. When they can, intelligence professionals get the supposed witnesses and interrogate them, testing them to see if they have sufficient knowledge to be plausible, have ulterior motives that might confirm or undermine their claims, etc. The interrogators often put witnesses together in bugged rooms to see what they said to each other when supposedly out of the hearing of their interrogators--as Alsos did with the captured Nazi physicists. Then the analysts decide whether the claims are credible enough to be followed up or incredible enough to be filed.
This is absolutely correct. Intel reports record ANYTHING that might be a of value. If it turns out to be of value there will be extensive followups. In the same way UFO believers use early Air Force and FBI reports made during the Flying Saucer Wave of the late 40's and early 50's as proof that ET visitation is real just because there were official government documents talking about it. With what we now know about the German atomic program is that they could not produce weapons grade uranium or plutonium. No BOOM! there. They might have been able to make a radialogical device, a "dirty bomb" with radioactive material and a conventional explosive to spread it.

If we are to believe these intel reports, then we have to believe the Japanese set off an atomic bomb of their own just days before the attack on Hiroshima at a test site in present day North Korea. After all it was also in an intel report based off testimony of a captured Japanese who was interrogated by military intelligence. Although the Japanese were researching atomic weapons like the Germans they never even got as far as they did due to lack of resources and materials.

Your comment about the Japanese atomic bomb is false. See Japan's Secret War, Third Edition, by Robert Wilcox.
 

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This is absolutely correct. Intel reports record ANYTHING that might be a of value. If it turns out to be of value there will be extensive followups. In the same way UFO believers use early Air Force and FBI reports made during the Flying Saucer Wave of the late 40's and early 50's as proof that ET visitation is real just because there were official government documents talking about it. With what we now know about the German atomic program is that they could not produce weapons grade uranium or plutonium. No BOOM! there. They might have been able to make a radialogical device, a "dirty bomb" with radioactive material and a conventional explosive to spread it.

If we are to believe these intel reports, then we have to believe the Japanese set off an atomic bomb of their own just days before the attack on Hiroshima at a test site in present day North Korea. After all it was also in an intel report based off testimony of a captured Japanese who was interrogated by military intelligence. Although the Japanese were researching atomic weapons like the Germans they never even got as far as they did due to lack of resources and materials.

Both those "theories" essentially based on extremely strange assumption that USSR somehow did not notice nuclear detonations on Rugen or in North Korea. Not to mention that Rugen was a particularly bad place for nuclear testing ground; it was quite populated, there were tens of thousands peoples living here in 1940s. It's kinda hard to imagine that nuclear bomb could be detonated here without anyone noticing.
 

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The Atlanta Constitution
October 3, 1946

"Japan Developed Atom Bomb; Russians Grabbed Scientists"

Article title: "Actual Test Was Success"

It occurred off the coast of Hungnam (Japanese name: Konan).
 

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The Atlanta Constitution
October 3, 1946

"Japan Developed Atom Bomb; Russians Grabbed Scientists"

Article title: "Actual Test Was Success"

It occurred off the coast of Hungnam (Japanese name: Konan).
This is the test a few days before Hiroshima that I mentioned. The newspaper story was from an intel report based off testimony of a captured Japanese who was interrogated by military intelligence. There never was any kind of of corroborating evidence, least of all any radiation detected. I have read Wilcox's book. He doesn't believe it happened either but only related the story of the report in the newspaper. He does give a good recounting of the Japanese effort to research and develop a weapon, but his conclusion was that they were not even as far along as the Germans. I will not comment any further on this as a mod has warned us to stay on topic.
 
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Orionblamblam

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The Atlanta Constitution
October 3, 1946

"Japan Developed Atom Bomb; Russians Grabbed Scientists"

Article title: "Actual Test Was Success"

It occurred off the coast of Hungnam (Japanese name: Konan).

Good thing newspapers never print anything inaccurate.

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Had the Japanese actually set off a nuke and one newspaper broke the story, all the other newspapers would have fallen all over themselves to report more on it.
 
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