The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb

Part IV: The Manhattan Engineer District in Operation

X-10 in Operation: Fall 1943

The moment everyone had been waiting for came in late October when DuPont completed construction and tests of the X-10 pile at Clinton Engineer Works. After thousands of slugs were loaded, the pile went critical in the early morning of November 4 and produced plutonium by the end of the month. Criticality was achieved with only half of the channels filled with uranium. During the next several months, Compton gradually raised the power level of the pile and increased its plutonium yield. Chemical separation techniques using the bismuth phosphate process were so successful that Los Alamos received plutonium samples beginning in the spring. Fission studies of these samples at Los Alamos during summer 1944 heavily influenced bomb design.


Workers Loading Uranium Slug Into Face of Air-Cooled Pile.

Page 56 of 99 Previous PageNext Page

Company Logo About Us | | Support | Privacy | Site Map | Weblog | Support Our Site

© Copyright 1998-2015 AJ Software & Multimedia All Rights Reserved

National Science FoundationNational Science Digital LibraryNuclear Pathways Member SiteThis project is part of the National Science Digital Library and was funded by the Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation Grant 0434253