[ RadSafe ] Uranium, Mercury

Joseph Preisig jrpnj01 at gmail.com
Sat Dec 12 23:36:16 CST 2015


     google uboat and mercury
                 uboat and uranium

     Apparently German WW2 Uboats were carrying mercury and uranium oxide
(tons of it) for use in weapons or other purposes.  Mercury can be used to
make weapons or possibly could have been used to make spheres of mercury
for Electromagnetic propulsion.  Upon diffusion, or some other process
---laser separation--- U-235 could be made to create a fission weapon.
Some of the submarines were headed to Japan with blueprints for weapons,
disassembled jets and rockets etc.  Some of these submarines were sunk in
transit.  Apparently WW2 Germany had diffusion technology, had some idea
what a reactor was (for production of Plutonium) and had a captured
Cyclotron in Paris to possibly accelerate particles for studies, and
perhaps make U-235 for weapons.  A cyclotron might be an improvement over
the Calutron (with no strong focusing or alternating gradient (magnetic
field)) technology.  I believe the calutron had large beam pipes (something
like heating ducts?) with some external magnets.  Similar accelerators were
the Cosmotron at Brookhaven Lab or the Zero Gradient Synchrotron at Argonne
Lab.  The calutron was at Oak Ridge.  US Production Reactors have been at
Hanford and/or Savannah River.
     WW2 Germany had people working on a fission device, but apparently not
with the level of effort the USA had.  I heard on TV tonight or on the
internet that Szilard was the idea person behind the nuclear chain-reaction.
     Clearly, early on the USA was using graphite reactors, perhaps with
additional water cooling and various material control rods.  Graphite was
fairly easy to come by.  Early on, Heisenberg and/or other German
scientists were using D2O as a reactor moderator, and that was hard to come
by.  WW2 German heavy water was coming from Norway and this D2O plant was
eventually destroyed by persons loyal to the Allies.  The need of WW2
Germans to have D2O probably slowed their reactor building efforts
      I guess one could make a Uranium fission weapon fairly readily just
by separating the U235 from the U238 (via diffusion).  However. once the
U238 is separated out, it is just sitting there, and probably could be
fully used to make Plutonium in a reactor.
     I hear stories that North Korea claims to have a working Fusion weapon
(hydrogen bomb).  Maybe they found that old back issue of Popular
Science/Popular Mechanics describing how to make a rudimentary hydrogen
     Joe Preisig

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