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Monday, July 12, 2004

Bush Finally Finds Weapons of Mass Destruction Related Program Activities

These ones have been around for some sixty years, have been used to make thousands of bombs, including one which was used on an inhabited city, killing tens of thousands. Where? Oak Ridge, Tennessee, of course.

"So that's what real WMD development looks like!"

Oak Ridge was originally developed in the Manhattan Project as a massive uranium-enrichment facility. One of the two bombs dropped on Japan, I think the one on Hiroshima, was an enriched-uranium gun-style nuke. The other bomb was completely different, using plutonium extracted from reactor piles in Hanford, Washington. It used the implosion method for attaining critical mass, and was basically identical to the first nuclear bomb ever made, which was detonated at Trinity site in the New Mexico desert. (I'm writing this from memory based on the book The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, which I've read or listened to on tape two or three times. Fascinating reading if you like history, physics, or organizational theory, and you're not too squeamish reading about that topic. The book serves very well as a popular history of physics in the first half of the twentieth century. And as terrible as the product turned out to be, the Manhattan Project was still an amazing accomplishment of applied physics and teamwork. Many of the scientists involved had escaped from Hitler-controlled Europe and were driven by the fear that Hitler would get the bomb first. Some of them wanted to drop the project immediately when Germany fell in April/May 1945, but most were persuaded to continue on, and the first three bombs were ready that summer.)

No word yet as to whether Bush intends to invade eastern Tennessee.