By T. Fehner, F. Gosling
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Extra info for Atmospheric Nuclear Weapons Testing [1951-1963]
No one as yet knew whether an atomic bomb was even possible and, if it was, whether a bomb could be produced in time to affect the outcome of the war. Researchers discovered early on that uranium–238 could not sustain a chain reaction required for a bomb. Uranium–235, they knew, still might be able to, but separating uranium–235 from uranium–238 would be extremely difficult and expensive. The two isotopes were chemically identical and therefore could not be separated by chemical means. And with their masses differing by less than one percent, other means of separation would be very difficult.
Source: Argonne National Laboratory. to hydroelectric power. Three water–cooled reactors, designated by the letters B, D, and F, and corresponding separation facilities were built at the Hanford Engineer Works. Los Alamos scientists discovered, however, that the gun method would not work for plutonium. Impurities in the plutonium would set off a predetonation after a critical mass had been reached but before the optimum configuration had been attained. The result would be an ineffective, wasteful fizzle.
Baruch proposed establishing an international atomic development authority that would control all activities dangerous to world security and possess the power to license and inspect all other nuclear projects. The Soviet Union, the United States’s erstwhile ally during the Second World War, rejected the Baruch Plan because it wanted to develop its own nuclear weapons and would not give up veto power over the development authority’s activities. Bernard Baruch presents the American plan for international control to the United Nations, June 14, 1946.