Fusion Message Board

In this space, visitors are invited to post any comments, questions, or skeptical observations about Philo T. Farnsworth's contributions to the field of Nuclear Fusion research.

Subject: Re: Early Fission's COP
Date: Oct 17, 12:04 pm
Poster: Jim Lux

On Oct 17, 12:04 pm, Jim Lux wrote:

>The first pile (Chicago-Fermi) used natural uranium. The costs in energy and cash to create the infrastructure there were very small for the power out (if looked at it over the long haul). The natural uranium in the thousands of pounds was simply refined to the oxide and stuffed in graphite blocks with control rods in place. All that was needed to get ever more power is remove more and more rods.

Actually, it was moderately expensive (albeit not by weapons development standards), for a variety of reasons.. They went through a lot of hassles getting sufficiently pure graphite (as did the Russian effort). Rhodes ("The Making of the Atomic Bomb")cites $6K for 4 tons of graphite for early experiments (p333) On p395, 30t of Graphite with 8t of UO is cited as an early design. The final CP-1 contained about 375t of graphite, 40t of UO, and 6t of U, and cost $1M to build (p436 in Rhodes).. $1M was a substantial amount in 1942... But that may also include the diagnostic equipment, and almost certainly includes labor costs (for Fermi, et al, as well as the several dozen construction workers)
What are the prices these days for graphite and U?

>How many trillions of KWH were expended over the 2 years of hard effort at Oakridge and Hanaford?

I believe it was Bohr who commented that it would require turning the entire country into a factory to make an atomic bomb, and that's what the Manhattan project essentially did.

I've also read a number of $1B for the cost of Manhattan project...