Portal:Nuclear technology

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Trinity Detonation T&B.jpg
Trinity was the code name of the first detonation of a nuclear weapon. It was conducted by the United States Army at 5:29 a.m. on July 16, 1945, as part of the Manhattan Project. The test was conducted in the Jornada del Muerto desert about 35 miles (56 km) southeast of Socorro, New Mexico, on what was then the USAAF Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range, now part of White Sands Missile Range. The only structures originally in the vicinity were the McDonald Ranch House and its ancillary buildings, which scientists used as a laboratory for testing bomb components. A base camp was constructed, and there were 425 people present on the weekend of the test.

The code name "Trinity" was assigned by J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the Los Alamos Laboratory, inspired by the poetry of John Donne. The test was of an implosion-design plutonium device, informally nicknamed "The Gadget", of the same design as the Fat Man bomb later detonated over Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945. The complexity of the design required a major effort from the Los Alamos Laboratory, and concerns about whether it would work led to a decision to conduct the first nuclear test. The test was planned and directed by Kenneth Bainbridge.

Fears of a fizzle did lead to the construction of a steel containment vessel called Jumbo that could contain the plutonium, allowing it to be recovered, although ultimately this was not used in the test. A rehearsal was held on May 7, 1945, in which 108 short tons (96 long tons; 98 t) of high explosive spiked with radioactive isotopes were detonated. The Gadget's detonation released the explosive energy of about 25 kilotons of TNT (100 TJ). Observers included Vannevar Bush, James Chadwick, James Conant, Thomas Farrell, Enrico Fermi, Richard Feynman, Leslie Groves, Robert Oppenheimer, Geoffrey Taylor, Richard Tolman, Edward Teller, and John von Neumann.

The test site was declared a National Historic Landmark district in 1965, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places the following year. (Full article...)

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Ames Process pressure vessel lower.jpg
Credit: Unknown (see OTRS)
A pressure vessel being lowered into a furnace during the Manhattan Project for reduction to uranium metal. Uranium halide and sacrificial metal are in the vessel. This is part of the Ames process.
Attribution: The Ames Laboratory, USDOE (http://www.ameslab.gov/)

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Robert F. Bacher.GIF
Robert Fox Bacher (August 31, 1905 – November 18, 2004) was an American nuclear physicist and one of the leaders of the Manhattan Project. Born in Loudonville, Ohio, Bacher obtained his undergraduate degree and doctorate from the University of Michigan, writing his 1930 doctoral thesis under the supervision of Samuel Goudsmit on the Zeeman effect of the hyperfine structure of atomic levels. After graduate work at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he accepted a job at Columbia University. In 1935 he accepted an offer from Hans Bethe to work with him at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, It was there that Bacher collaborated with Bethe on his book Nuclear Physics. A: Stationary States of Nuclei (1936), the first of three books that would become known as the "Bethe Bible".

In December 1940, Bacher joined the Radiation Laboratory at MIT, although he did not immediately cease his research at Cornell into the neutron cross section of cadmium. The Radiation Laboratory was organized into two sections, one for incoming radar signals, and one for outgoing radar signals. Bacher was appointed to handle the incoming signals section. Here he gained valuable experience in administration, coordinating not just the efforts of his scientists, but also those of General Electric and RCA. In 1942, Bacher was approached by Robert Oppenheimer to join the Manhattan Project at its new laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. It was at Bacher's insistence that Los Alamos became a civilian rather than a military laboratory. At Los Alamos, Bacher headed the project's P (Physics) Division, and later its G (Gadget) Division. Bacher worked closely with Oppenheimer, and the two men discussed the project's progress on a daily basis.

After the war, Bacher became director of the Laboratory of Nuclear Studies at Cornell. He also served on the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, the civilian agency that replaced the wartime Manhattan Project, and in 1947 he became one of its inaugural commissioners. He left in 1949 to become head Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy at Caltech. He was appointed a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) in 1958. In 1962, he became Caltech's vice president and provost. He stepped down from the post of provost in 1970, and became a professor emeritus in 1976. He died in 2004 at the age of 99. (Full article...)

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3 November 2021 – Nuclear program of Iran
Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri announces that negotiations to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will begin on November 29 in Vienna, Austria. (Al Jazeera English)

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