In 1939 just before the start of World War 2 Albert Einstein and several other scientists told the then president of the USA Franklin D. Roosevelt that Nazi Germany was putting efforts into purifying Uranium 235 which could be used to build an atomic bomb. The United States launched the Manhattan Project shortly after this which was committed to research and production that would produce a viable atomic bomb (Purohit V. 2004 Online “The Atom Bomb: A Brief History”).
How a Nuclear Fission Bomb works:
For a nuclear fission bomb to work the fuel needs to be kept in two subcritical mass chambers to avoid the premature detonation of the bomb. For the bomb to detonate the two subcritical masses must be brought together to form a supercritical mass, (Fruedenrich C & Fuller J, 2000 Online) this is usually done in two ways, a gun-triggered fission bomb and a implosion triggered fission bomb. The two subcritical masses are two parts of radioactive metal (often Plutonium or Uranium-235) which are held with in a sphere, with in this is a neutron generator to trigger a fission reaction.
Neutrons are introduced through the use of the neutron generator; the generator is a pellet of polonium and beryllium-9 separated by a layer of foil within the core of the fissionable fuel. When the foil is broken the two subcritical masses combine and the polonium begins to emit alpha particles. These alpha particles combine with the beryllium-9 to produce beryllium-8 and free neutrons. (Schlumberger Limited, 2009)
These free neutrons then are absorbed into the nucleus of the radioactive metal which immediately splits resulting in a smaller atom and the emission of 3 neutrons which again are absorbed into more atoms as it ...
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...g/nuke/control/npt/ (Accessed 25 May 2009)
New Internationalist – Nuclear Weapon Facts, 2008 (Online) Available at: http://www.newint.org/features/2008/06/01/nuclear-weapons-facts (Accessed 25 May 2009)
Nuclear Legacy – The Cold War 2008 (Online) Available at: http://www.atomicarchive.com/History/coldwar/page27.shtml (Accessed 25 May 2009)
Pike, J. 2009 Nuclear Weapons Testing (Online) Available at: http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/nuke-test-1.htm (Accessed 26 May 2009)
US Department of Energy – The Manhattan Project, 2009 (Online) Available at: http://www.cfo.doe.gov/me70/manhattan/nagasaki.htm (Accessed 24 May 2009)
Dickey, N. H. ed. 1986, Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia – Vol 7 COLOR-DALY , Funk & Wagnalls, Inc. USA
Dickey, N. H. ed. 1986, Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia – Vol 19 NEWJ- ORTH, Funk & Wagnalls, Inc. USA
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