Skip to comments.The Demon Core
Posted on 07/25/2009 11:40:45 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
August 26, 1945. Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico.
Twenty four year old Harry Daghlian is working late, and alone. Both are violations of safety protocol, but Harry doesnt care. Hes good at his job, and hes careful. He doesnt have to be working this late, six days ago the Japanese surrendered, and the war is over. But, that doesnt mean his work isnt still important. The bombs he helped build won the war, and hes going to keep making them as long as he can.
This night, Harry is working on placing the final tungsten bricks in a neutron reflector around plutonium bomb core. The reflector would lessen the amount of plutonium needed for the bomb to go critical. When he was placing the final brick, his hand slipped. The small brick hit the core, and sent it critical. A blue light issued out from the core, dosing him with radiation. Frantic, Harry knocks off the brick in hopes that it will stop the reaction. Unfortunately, it doesnt and hes forced to disassemble much of the neutron reflector before the core retreats from criticality.
He saved the lives of everyone at the lab, but there was nothing to be done for Harry Daghlian. He died twenty one days later from accute radiation poisoning.
For many of those twenty one days, one of the old guard of Los Alamos, Louis Slotin, could be found by Harrys side. Louis was known informally as the chief armorer of the United States. He had built the test bomb that was detonated at Trinity. He wanted to get out of military work, but there wasnt anyone else with his experience or skill for building bombs.
Nine months after the accident that took the life of his friend Harry, Louis was working with the same core. Instead of using several tungsten bricks for the neutron reflector, the new construction relied on two beryllium hemispheres to encapsulate the plutonium core. The core was already placed in the bottom hemisphere as Louis moved the top into position. He was aligning the top with the use of his hand and a screwdriver, when he slipped. The top hemisphere struck the core, causing it to go critical. A burst of blue light and a wave of heat struck the scientists in the room. Instinctively, Louis pulled his hand up, his thumb still hooked into the beryllium hemisphere. The criticality was stopped, and the lives of the men in the room were saved. But, like his friend, Louis wasnt so lucky.
Louis Slotin died nine days later of acute radiation poisoning. Another victim of what came to be known as the demon core.
The assembly Louis was working on was to be the final test of the demon core. It was fitted into a bomb and used as the ABLE test during Operation Crossroads at the Bikini Atoll.
White Sands Missile Range is the gray area...
[... you’ll see the outline of a big circle and then inside that you’ll see an oval shaped outline. Trinity is inside that oval.
The “Oval” fenced in area...
[... you’ll see a rectangular light colored object, which is a low building which covers a large amount of Trinitite on the site. The small very dark object on the right side of the oval, is the shadow of the Trinity monument, which is the exact location of the nuclear bomb tower.]
By the way, I think, if my unusually retentive brain is working correctly, that I owe you a credit for the line I used in post #19.
One of your old taglines - yes?
White Sands Missile Range is the gray area...
Apparently, you have to set it to “maps” to get the gray area... so you can see it, not the satellite view...
[everybody better duck, now]
Where do the mutant cannibal people live that were in “The Hills Have Eyes”?
Klatu, Berunda, Nec...ummm...errr...mumble mumble mumble.
Klaatu barada nikto.
[you will need to perfectly memorize this should a giant robot named Gort decide to destroy the earth....or if the Evil Dead or Keanu Reeves shows up at your door]....;-D
I said that to my robot and he came back with these:
If any Freepers ever worked at West Fort Hood when it was an atomic storage facility known as as “Site Baker” or “Killeen Base,” it would be great to read any of your recollections of that place that you might be willing to share. Surely your pledges of secrecy are outdated now that the purpose of the site is generally known.
So am I reading this correctly? A piece of tungsten hitting into a piece of plutonium will cause a critical nuclear reaction?! What’s to keep terrorists from doing this today?
Thanks for that post, I remember the first time I read the book ‘Thirty Seconds over Tokyo’, it was a wartime edition with many of the names of the Chinese who helped our air crews escape from the Japs blanked out, likewise for many of the small villages where they traveled, and I remember that part about the crew chief revving the engines of the Ruptured Duck in a manner displeasing to Captain Lawson, lol (not funny at the time, but funny in retrospect now)
One of my great uncles was a welder in the Kaiser shipyards in California during WWII and as the story goes, he and other welders were approached and asked if they would volunteer for a secret welding job, they agreed, were given background checks, sworn to secrecy and then put on a bus with blacked out windows and driven for what seemed like an eternity to a place where they disembarked and told that they would be building a radio transmission tower out in the middle of nowhere (a desert), they built the tower, got triple wages for it in cash, and were driven back to California and told to never speak of it.
Years after the War ended, my uncle saw a picture of that radio tower in a copy of Life Magazine, and that’s when he realized that he had actually helped build the tower from which the Trinity device was detonated.
He only acknowledged it to family members, who mostly kept it to themselves over the years, never looked to cash in on it, or get a book deal, or be ‘famous’ on TV, he was just proud to have been part of it, and was grateful for having been generously compensated for his skills.
Reportedly one of the lines from the critters will be that
humans have torn horrid holes in the fabric of space/time with their atomic bombs and are putting the universe at risk . . . and so
be controlled by a world government etc. etc. etc.
The film “Fat Man and Little Boy” (1989) contains a scene based on these incidents:
They could be Trinitite collectors, too... :-)
I think I even scored some Trinitite... [... I glow at night, too... ]
Hopefully you don’t flash on and off at a rapid rate.
depends on how fast I blink my eyes... :-)
But, aside from all that... (... LOL ...), if anyone gets a chance, they ought to go down to Trinity at least once, sometime, on one of those two days a year, and stand on that spot where the first atomic bomb went off (and get irradiated and kill a bunch of germs in your body... :-) just kidding...).
A more traditional kind of zapping?
You asked — Where do the mutant cannibal people live that were in The Hills Have Eyes?
I don’t know for sure, but I was watching out for them as I was driving across White Sands Missile Range to see Trinity... LOL... (besides watching out for any live missiles flying over my head...)...