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Lost Nazi nuke-project uranium found in Dutch scrapyard
The Register ^ | 19 Feb 2010 | Lewis Page

Posted on 02/23/2010 8:45:53 AM PST by Palter

Atomic CSI team fingerprints 1940s 'Joachimsthal' metals

EU nuke boffins say that mysterious bits of uranium found last year in a Dutch scrapyard originated in the Nazi nuclear-weapons programme of the 1940s.

Forensic nuke scientists at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) traced two pieces of metal - described as a cube and a plate - back to their exact origins and dates. Apparently both came from ores extracted at the "Joachimsthal" mine in what is now the Czech Republic, though the two are from different production batches.

The cube, according to specialists at the JRC's Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU), was produced in 1943 for the Nazi nuclear programme and was used in the lab of famous boffin Werner Heisenberg (of uncertainty principle fame). The plate was apparently part of experiments by Heisenberg's collaborator Karl Wirtz.

Most historical analysis, with hindsight, suggests that the Nazi nuclear research programme never got very close to developing an atomic weapon. There was no equivalent of the Manhattan Project; rather, different lines of research were followed in different labs. Furthermore the Germans were hampered by having driven many top physicists out of the country with their anti-Semitic policies, and also by drafting other boffins into the army to fight as ordinary soldiers.

Not content with that, the Nazi leadership also chose to clash with the few top brains they had left. At one point Reichsfuhrer Himmler suggested that Heisenberg should be treated as a "White Jew", with presumably fatal consequences. Himmler later changed his mind, but this climate can hardly have encouraged Heisenberg to do his best work.

The halting progress of the Germans was largely unknown to the Allies, however, a factor which prompted the crash efforts of the Manhattan project. In particular, German plans to acquire large quantities of heavy water from Norway for use as a reactor moderator aroused intense worry among the Allies. A sequence of clandestine operations and bombing raids - by the French and British secret services, Norwegian resistance fighters, spec-ops troops and allied air forces - took place, which saw heavy water and its production tech stolen, repeatedly blown up and in one case sunk aboard a sabotaged ferry.

Though the Telemark operations were some of the greatest spec-ops successes ever seen, they may not in fact have been all that critical. After the war, Heisenberg said that he and his colleagues had always been doubtful of the potential of nuclear fission as an explosive. Furthermore, they had taken good care not to big that aspect of the research up to their Nazi masters, for reasons of self-interest.

"We definitely did not want to get into this bomb business," said Heisenberg. "I wouldn't like to idealize this; we did this also for our personal safety. We thought that the probability that this would lead to atomic bombs during the War was nearly zero. If we had done otherwise, and if many thousand people had been put to work on it and then if nothing had been developed, this could have had extremely disagreeable consequences for us."

Nowadays the Allied nations are once again deeply concerned about hostile countries developing nuclear weapons. According to the Euro nuke-forensics team at the JRC-ITU:

A key international topic today is the work of preventing the spread of nuclear weapon technology and illicit trafficking of nuclear materials that can be used for the production of nuclear weapons or so-called dirty bombs.

They've just set up a new "large geometry secondary ion mass spectrometer" which they're very proud of, which should be very handy for nobbling nuclear malefactors.


TOPICS: History; Military/Veterans; Science
KEYWORDS: atomic; nazi; nuclear; uranium

1 posted on 02/23/2010 8:45:53 AM PST by Palter
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To: SunkenCiv

Ping!


2 posted on 02/23/2010 8:49:10 AM PST by Pyro7480 ("If you know how not to pray, take Joseph as your master, and you will not go astray." - St. Teresa)
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To: Palter

“The cube . . was used in the lab of . . Werner Heisenberg.”

Are they certain?


3 posted on 02/23/2010 8:49:54 AM PST by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: Palter

All nukes leave a unique signature.


4 posted on 02/23/2010 8:51:22 AM PST by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: Jewbacca

It was one of a pair ... there were two of them under the “H-bar”.


5 posted on 02/23/2010 8:52:50 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Palter

Interesting use of ‘big’ as a verb. Never saw that before.


6 posted on 02/23/2010 8:53:10 AM PST by rahbert
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To: Palter
Most historical analysis, with hindsight, suggests that the Nazi nuclear research programme never got very close to developing an atomic weapon.

Uh huh. And Iran wants nuclear energy to power goat warmers. Just keep telling yourself that evil psychotics don't want to incinerate you, and everything will be fine.


Frowning takes 68 muscles.
Smiling takes 6.
Pulling this trigger takes 2.
I'm lazy.

7 posted on 02/23/2010 8:54:18 AM PST by The Comedian (Evil can only succeed if good men don't point at it and laugh.)
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To: Palter
Boffin
8 posted on 02/23/2010 8:54:52 AM PST by wideminded
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To: Palter

Now if someone can find the Amber room.


9 posted on 02/23/2010 8:56:11 AM PST by Vaduz
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To: Jewbacca

the closer they get to figuring out when it was made, the less certain they are as to where it came from.


10 posted on 02/23/2010 8:57:27 AM PST by RC one (WHAT!!!!)
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To: Vaduz
Found it:

The Amber Room

11 posted on 02/23/2010 9:04:30 AM PST by P8riot (I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

I understand a cat found it.


12 posted on 02/23/2010 9:06:01 AM PST by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: Palter
Apparently both came from ores extracted at the "Joachimsthal" mine in what is now the Czech Republic

Jáchymov in Czech. The mine was named after the spa near it. A beautiful area. Not from from Carlsbad. Communists turned the town into a slave labor camp to operate the mine. It was really a death camp. Average age of death was around 45.

13 posted on 02/23/2010 9:09:50 AM PST by Brugmansian
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To: Palter
If we had done otherwise, and if many thousand people had been put to work on it and then if nothing had been developed, this could have had extremely disagreeable consequences for us."

The key reason for free people triumphing over totalitarian regimes: The possibility of failure and living to try again.
14 posted on 02/23/2010 9:15:17 AM PST by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (IN A SMALL TENT WE JUST STAND CLOSER! * IT'S ISLAM, STUPID! - Islam Delenda Est! - Rumble thee forth)
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To: Jewbacca

After the cat found it, he wondered (with a heavy psi) the probability of finding the other one ...


15 posted on 02/23/2010 9:15:21 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: RC one

LOL!


16 posted on 02/23/2010 9:16:59 AM PST by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: ArrogantBustard

I actually saw the cat.

It was dead, but it still meowed.


17 posted on 02/23/2010 9:19:58 AM PST by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: P8riot

Say hay to Chef Chris Hatzis for me the next time you dine.


18 posted on 02/23/2010 9:20:39 AM PST by Vaduz
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To: Vaduz

Evidence suggests that they Nazi’s were building a nuke at the end of the war and may have even tested a low yield bomb on Jewish Prisoners (that I can believe). The bomb was to be used as a bargaining chip so top Nazis could escape justice but it failed as the Allies had the bomb. So much for rumor. I read they found a drawing of a German A-Bomb someplace and there were memos that they would have one ready to fly to New York by 1946. It seems that they might have been at work on such a weapon when the war came to an end.


19 posted on 02/23/2010 9:21:27 AM PST by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: Jewbacca

Did it wave?


20 posted on 02/23/2010 9:35:10 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Brugmansian

Joachimsthal mines were also famous for their silver. The coins produced there were called “Thalers” auf Deutsch, pronounced “tallers”, with an a as in alley, they were called “dollars” in English, cf. Marlowe’s Faust. (Thal is German for valley, roughly equivalent to dale in English.)


21 posted on 02/23/2010 9:50:58 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (The naked casuistry of the high priests of Warmism would make a Jesuit blush.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

No, I think it collapsed.


22 posted on 02/23/2010 10:06:19 AM PST by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: RC one

Bravo.

(I wish I had said that.)


23 posted on 02/23/2010 10:29:23 AM PST by Poincare
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To: Pyro7480

Dirty (non-nuclear) bomb project? The Germans tried to transfer V2 rockets to Japan via U-boat, in the hope that the Japanese nuclear bomb would be finished in time to deliver it via German missile after the fall of the Reich. The plan went awry in a couple of ways, including the Japanese loss of the port where the delivery was to take place.


24 posted on 02/23/2010 5:18:50 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Happy New Year! Freedom is Priceless.)
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