1941 A committee established by
Roosevelt concludes an
atom bomb could be produced in 4 years.
1942 The A-bomb
project was set up at us army's Manhattan project. The Project was
lead by Brigadier General Lesley Groves.
His first aim was to ascertain whether a self sustained
chain reaction could be initiated.
1942 Enrico Fermi (?) creates the
first atomic pile.
It cost 1 million dollars .
the control rods were removed the detectors
went off the scale....
Oppenheimer is appointed to develop the nuclear
reaction into a usable bomb
The project was assisted by many
scientists who had fled the Nazis.
secret sites were built ,by the end of the project
these sites employed over 100,000 people.
The final cost of Manhattan project was over $2
site at Hanford , Washington , Oak Ridge, Tennessee
and Los Damos, New Mexico continue to conduct
nuclear research even today.
make a bomb plutonium is needed. Hanford in Washington
had 3 large scale reactors. The plutonium used in the
Trinity Test and Fat Man bomb was produced here.
Today this location is one of the most contaminated
sites in the world.
X was used to separate uranium 235 from uranium 238.
Y 1,000 scientists + families. 2 types of bombs developed here, gun
type + implosion type.
1944 Allied army entered Strasburg documents recovered showed
Germans were 2 years behind the USA.
After the battle of
the Bulge it became clear A bombs would not be used against Germany,
In January of this year the first
batch of Uranium 235 was separated at Oak Ridge.
“Franck Report” proposed a demonstration of the A bomb to show
enemies what it could do. The war committee replied that it should
be used ASAP and without prior warning.
-Trinity gadget at 5.29 AM . Oppenheimer quoted from the Hindu text
Bhagavad-Gita “ Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”
nuclear age had begun.
Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki was same yield as gadget. The explosion
left a crater 10 ft deep and half a mile wide. The trinity site is
still occupied by military .It is only open to the public on the
first Saturday in October each year.
August 6th B-29 “Enola Gay” left Titian for Hiroshima. It
was piloted by Col Paul Tibbets.
Hiroshima chosen as it was mainly untouched by conventional bomb so
the impact could be better analysed. The uranium 235 gun-type bomb
(LITTLE BOY) exploded at 8.16 am . In an instant
80,000 - 140,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 were
seriously injured. All the wooden buildings within 1¼ miles were
destroyed. Glass is windows was shattered for a radius of 10 miles.
The shock was felt up to 37 miles away. The yield was equivalent to
12.5 kilotons of TNT. The co-pilot, Robert Lemis, commented,” My
God, what have I done ?” 2 square miles of city had been reduced to
ashes . Intense heat started fires 2 miles away.
August 9th B-29 bocks car left Trinity carrying Fat Man
( a plutonium implosion type bomb). The target of Kokura arsenal was
covered in cloud. The pilot choose the Mitsubishi Torpedo at
Nagasaki . The blast killed 74,000 and 75,000. Less damage was
caused as the bomb missed it’s target by 2 miles. It had a yield of
22 kilotons. By 1950 140,000 people had died as a result of the A
For a short time the
US had a monopoly on A bombs. The late 1940’s saw the start of the
cold war and an increase in tension between the superpowers.
1946 2 tests named operation Crossroads were conducted at Bikini
Atoll . The first test “Able” took place on July 1st .
The test was an air drop similar to N + H. The plane Dave,s Dream ?,
piloted by Major Swancott. 73 ships were anchored round the test
site to observe what would happen. The mushroom cloud rose 7 miles
into the sky.
The second test “Baker” was conducted under water 24 days later. It
sent a column of water 1 mile high.
400,000 tonnes of water was thrown into the air. After 1 second it
was 41,000 ft high. By 76 seconds after the explosion it was 76,000
The “Baker” test
unleashed the greatest amount of radiation known at that time.
NATO is established in April.
August USSR explodes
it’s first bomb. USA decided to build a hydrogen bomb. In this type
of bomb isotopes of hydrogen are fused into helium . There is no
limit to the yield of this type of weapon.
1950 The scientific
community in US split over the development of the H. bomb. President
Truman the announced work will continue.
Fuchs admits to
passing many nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union.
1951 Eniwetok(?) Atoll
selected to test nuclear fusion device.
October 3rd - Great Britain
explodes its first nuclear device on the Montebello Islands,
US detonated a 10.4 mt thermo nuclear bomb in a test code named
“Mike” . The island of Elugelob (?) Atoll is completely vaporised .
The bomb was 500 times more powerful than H. The radioactive
mushroom cloud produced reached 25 miles into the air, and left a
creator a mile wide.
GB- 2 more tests in
Great Victoria dessert.
The largest test ever carried out by the US took place on 1st
March at Bikini Atoll. Code name “Bravo” . A device with a 14.8mt
yield left a creator half a mile (?) wide and several hundred feet
Nearby islands had to
be evacuated as several million tonnes of radioactive debris were
sent into the air.
The first nulcear
powered submairine, USS Nautilus, takes to the seas.
The Soviet Union test their first
fusion device. It's yield is 1.6 Mt.
May 15th sees the British detonate
their first thermonuclear device at Christmas Island.
voluntary moretoroum on nuclear testing begins. It is to last until
September 1961 and is approved by the Soviret Union, America and
Antartic Treaty signed. This treaty
prevents the siting of militray establishments, nulcear weapons or
radioactive waste dumping in the Antartic Circle.
On the 13th February, France tests
its first atomic device in the Sahara Desert.
The first Polaris missile is
sucessfully launched from a submarine.
The Soviet union resumes nulcear
tesing on the 1st September.
A fortnight later America reactives
their nuclear tesat programme.
The electomagnetic pulse (EMP) from
high altitude America nuclear detonations turns off the street
lights in Hawaii.
The Hot Line Agreement
Signed between America and Soviet
Union. This provided a direct communications link to be used by the
Presidents of both Superpowers in times of emergency.
Limited Test Ban Treaty
A treaty signed by Soviet Union,
USA and United Kingdom which prevents any nuclear testing except
that which occurs below ground. In total 116 counties have now
signed up to this agreement.
16th sees China conduct its first nuclear weapon test.
The French successfully test their
first thermonuclear device.
tests its first thermonuclear bomb.
The yield is around 3 Mt.
1st July - The nuclear
non-proliferation treaty is re-opened to allow other countires to
sign up to it.
Talks begin in Helsinki leading to
the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT)
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty comes into effect. Within ten years
over 100 countries have signed up to it.
Soviet Union & USA sign up to SALT
on 26th May.
Almost immeidately negtiations begin for SALT II.
India conducts a test of a small
(10 kt) nuclear device underground.
and Soviet Union sign SALT II treaty in Vienna.
Strategic Arms Reduction Talks
(START) talks begin in Geneva.
President Ronald Regan announces,
on the 23rd March, the Stragetic Defence Inititive (SDI).
The so called "Star Wars" programme.
America breaks the rules of the
SALT II by deploying the 131st bomber to carry a nuclear payload.
Presidents Regan and Gorbachev sign
INF treaty on 8th December.
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
A bilaterial agreement (signed by the
USA and Soviet Union). It sets a limit of 1600 strategic nuclear
delivery vehicles for both sides.
The Gulf War begins.
1993 the UK Government decided that the threat of a nuclear exchange
had receded sufficiently to allow the closure of all regional
government and county bunkers. Over the next six years around 200 of
these sites were sold off. Today the only remaining operation
bunkers are the UK Combined HQ, the RAF Air Defence and Strike
Command HQ’s and the Navy and Army communications and radar early
warning establishments, used for national defence.
Nuclear material begin smuggles from the former Soviet Union
North Korea is suspected of constructing nulcear weapons.
SDI "Star Wars" programme is scaled back due to spiralling costs and
only limited success.
Islamic terrorists though to be
contemplating use of a "dirty" bomb. This is bomb which, although
has no nuclear reaction, scatters much radiation into the
North Korea defies World opinion
and restarts its nuclear reactors.
Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great
Britain, warns that the UK will face many difficult and often
dangerous challenges this year.
We shall see....