Category Archives: POWER

Nuclear Weaponry Development

Brigadier General Leslie R. Groves was presented with an enormous task. He had to lead and coordinate a project that would take newly discovered principles and theories of nuclear interactions and translate them into manufactured military weapons. The work had to be done under emer­gency conditions and in total secrecy, using scientists recently imported from enemy-held territory. He had multiple […]

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MAX PLANCK (1858-1947) AND THE ELEMENTARY QUANTUM of Action

In 1879, most physics was experimental, and Max Karl Ernst Planck, Ph. D. in physics, found himself the only theorist in the Berlin Physical Society. A principle or finding that was first predicted mathematically was consid­ered “spooky” in this German gathering, and purely theoretical studies had yet to achieve their full recognition as an essential part of the advance­ment of […]

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EARLIEST CONCEPTS OF ATOMIC STRUCTURE

There has always been a need to analyze things and substances down to component parts in order to explain material characteristics in terms of combinations of some simpler, basic pieces. Near the beginning of civili­zation, as writing, fixed agriculture, and manufacturing became human activities, a common theory of element analysis seemed to appear in sev­eral places. This practical, working theory […]

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FIRST WORK AT THE LOS ALAMOS LABORATORY

The program to develop nuclear weapons was designed with two parallel paths, and only one had to succeed. Path 1 was to build a weapon using uranium purified to at least 80 percent fissile U-235. In path 1 were two parallel, independent sub-paths, designated Y-12 and K-25, to be imple­mented at Site X, or the Clinton Engineering Works at Oak […]

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THE COPENHAGEN INTERPRETATION

Niels Bohr (1885-1962) was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, to Christian Bohr, a devout Lutheran and professor of physiology at the University of Copenhagen, and Ellen Adler Bohr, from a wealthy Jewish family engaged in Danish banking and politics. Young Niels and his brother, Harald, played soccer with a passion, but he had an even greater interest in science and studied […]

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THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY AND LONG-TERM SPENT-FUEL STORAGE

A secondary engineering challenge for nuclear power production has been the safe handling and long-term storage of the dangerously radioactive products resulting from nuclear fission. The fission of a uranium nucleus results in two new lesser nuclei, of roughly half the weight of the original nucleus. These newly formed elements are always neutron heavy, having more neutrons than would normally […]

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