1957 ... remove BB's before detonation!



... in the late 1950's Great Britain was struggling to develop it's own H-bomb. The US had been rather ticked off at the amount of atomic secrets that British double agents had stolen from the WWII 'Manhattan Project' and subsequently had shared very little with out English allies in terms of information or resources. 'Blue Violet' (they had a strange code-name system) was an interim design. An interesting feature was that the hollow core was rendered 'safe' by filling it with ball-bearings which would prevent it from imploding to create a critical mass. Presumably ground-crews would have performed the needed arming operation (as described above) before the V-bombers took to the air. After which everyone would have been slipping, falling and swearing all over the tarmac!



4 comments:

Stephen Beres said...

I'd imagine that the BBs would become radioactive from contact with the enriched fissile material.

veep said...

What was the source of the two drawings?

james vaughan said...

probably from the Atomic Scientists site or FASM

veep said...

I'd imagine that the BBs would become radioactive from contact with the enriched fissile material.

Not necessarily. The fissile material would be cladded, not bare, so direct contact with and contamination by the Pu or enriched U pit would not be possible. Nor would it be likely that the neutron background would activate the BBs (much) since making sure the neutron background was minimal would be important for maintaining the stability of the device.