UK 1st in Nuclear Fusion - (Not Fission)

Others do their fighting on their behalf! Seriously?

Again, simply read the Lend-Lease Act, particularly in conjunction with the Neutrality Act.

The US loaned kit to where such a loan was vital to the defence of the US, and the UK repaid some $7.5bn in principal and interest.
 
The US atempted to prevent Britain developing nuclear weapons by withdrawing all co-operation.
They only changed their minds when it was clear Britain was doing it independently anyway

Britain and Canada rolled all its nuclear efforts in to the Manhattan project during the war on the understanding that the technology would be shared.
The US decided they weren't going to do that.
Clement Attlee was fairly outraged and decided Britain would do it alone (which it did) and the US only decided to share after it was clear we were oing it without them.

Had Britain not developed our own nukes the US would have continued to withhold all co-operation

Brief Wiki synopsis-

End of American cooperation​



President Harry Truman and prime ministers Clement Attlee and Mackenzie King boarding USS Sequoia for discussions about nuclear weapons, November 1945

With the end of the war, the Special Relationship between Britain and the United States "became very much less special".[42] The British government had trusted that America would share nuclear technology, which it considered a joint discovery.[43] On 8 August 1945 the Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, sent a message to President Harry Truman in which he referred to themselves as "heads of the Governments which have control of this great force".[43] But Roosevelt had died on 12 April 1945, and the Hyde Park Agreement was not binding on subsequent administrations.[44] In fact, it was physically lost. When Wilson raised the matter in a Combined Policy Committee meeting in June, the American copy could not be found.[45]

On 9 November 1945, Attlee and the Prime Minister of Canada, Mackenzie King, went to Washington, D.C., to confer with Truman about future cooperation in nuclear weapons and nuclear power.[46][47] A Memorandum of Intention they signed replaced the Quebec Agreement. It made Canada a full partner, continued the Combined Policy Committee and Combined Development Trust, and reduced the obligation to obtain consent for the use of nuclear weapons to merely requiring consultation.[48] The three leaders agreed that there would be full and effective cooperation on atomic energy, but British hopes were soon disappointed;[49] the Americans restricted cooperation to basic scientific research.[50]

The next meeting of the Combined Policy Committee on 15 April 1946 produced no accord on collaboration, and resulted in an exchange of cables between Truman and Attlee. Truman cabled on 20 April that he did not see the communiqué he had signed as obligating the United States to assist Britain in designing, constructing and operating an atomic energy plant.[51] The passing of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (McMahon Act) in August 1946, which was signed by Truman on 1 August 1946, and went into effect at midnight on 1 January 1947,[52] ended technical cooperation. Its control of "restricted data" prevented the United States' allies from receiving any information.[53] The remaining British scientists working in the United States were denied access to papers that they had written just days before.[54]

This partly resulted from the arrest for espionage of British physicist Alan Nunn May, who had worked in the Montreal Laboratory, in February 1946, while the legislation was being debated.[55] It was but the first of a series of spy scandals. The arrest of Klaus Fuchs in January 1950,[56] and the June 1951 defection of Donald Maclean, who had served as a British member of the Combined Policy Committee from January 1947 to August 1948, left Americans with a distrust of British security arrangements
I wrote a long post on another thread about the UK-Canada nuclear program and its relationship with the US nearly a year ago. I won't repeat it, but here's a link.

US cooperation with the UK/Canada program was an on again, off again affair during the course of the war. At the start the US were keen on cooperation as the UK were ahead of the US in nuclear research. When the US caught up, their interest in cooperation cooled.

The big falling out came during the war and it seemed to be related to patents. A top French scientist working on the UK program, Halban, held patents on some of the most important uses of nuclear energy and he had sold or licensed rights to ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries). The US were concerned that ICI would have an effective monopoly over many key civilian nuclear technologies. The Americans insisted that Halban be excluded from the UK program before the US would resume cooperation. The objections to Halban came from the US science team managers, not US security people.

Cooperation resumed after the UK-Canada program announced they were going ahead with construction of a heavy water reactor. The Americans then agreed to resume cooperation, provided non-British subjects were not involved. So, Halban was excluded, but Halban's subordinate, Kowarski remained involved in important roles, so the objection to non-British subjects appeared to be mainly directed at Halban. To clarify a point here, at this time Canadians were still classified as British subjects, as Canadian citizenship didn't come into existence until after WWII.

The joint UK-Canada program was run in Montreal originally, later being moved to Chalk River, near Petawawa (north of Otttawa). Chalk River remained the centre of Canadian nuclear research after the war time program was replaced by a program oriented to civilian applications. The first heavy water reactor at Chalk River went critical in September 1945, three days after Japan signed the surrender documents. I don't know how long it would take to go from reactor to bomb, but heavy water reactors can be used to produce plutonium without needing uranium enrichment facilities. I don't know the details of what the plans for producing bombs were, but the focus on heavy water suggests a plutonium bomb may have been the preferred route.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think the joint UK-Canada program was either entirely or mainly financed by Canada, with the UK providing their personnel and the research they had done in the UK. Canada was very interested in the commercial applications of nuclear energy. The commercial applications were seen by may people as revolutionary in economic terms, with perhaps an overly optimistic view of how readily the hurdles could be overcome. This should be kept in mind when looking at motivations. The post-war economic advantages were definitely a consideration.

Sir John Cockroft was in charge of the later part of the joint UK-Canada program, and a document he wrote is referenced in the post I linked above. At the end of the war the UK wound up their involvement in Canada and their scientists returned to the UK.

Sir John Cockroft then assumed leadership of the UK weapons program back in the UK. The main problems he had at that point appeared to be that the UK were broke and he was working on a shoestring budget for years. The fundamental problems of the nuclear science had been solved by that point, as well as a lot of the engineering technology of refining and handling the nuclear materials during the course of the work in Montreal and Chalk River. I suspect the main issues at that point would have been those of turning the science and basic engineering into an actual bomb, and doing it on a shoestring.

Canada continued on with its side of the nuclear program, but focused on commercial applications. This eventually turned into the CANDU reactor design, which provides a significant share of Canada's electric power today and was exported to other countries as well. This is a heavy water moderated reactor that used natural (non-enriched) uranium.
 
Well, the idea came from the Lend-Lease Act, which states that the US could lend or lease war supplies to any nation "vital to the defence of the United States".

It's really quite simple.
Or was it political language to get the public onboard with the plan of providing aid to a foreign country who was about to fold?

Remember we also had War Plan Red to deal with the U.K. prior to 1939.

Joe public was loathe to get involved in another European adventure and sort things out again.

But it did lead to a course correction post WW2 for those on that side of the pond.
 
the US could lend or lease war supplies to any nation "vital to the defence of the United States".

What that means is The President had the authority granted to him by Congress to divert weapons and supplies and any other war materials as he saw fit that would usually be used in the defence of the Nation.
 
I wonder if Hitler ever regretted the Tripartite Pact. I mean just barely six months earlier he had kicked off in Russia and now under the terms of the pact he has to declare war on the U.S.

One of those oh fvck moments so to speak.
 
I guess they learned a lesson from the first time the Germans were made to pay reparations for a war. Look at how that worked out.

That‘s greedy fücking France for you and they are still capitulating to the Germans.
 
As far as the Manhattan project was concerned Canada and the UK did a lot of the theoretical heavy lifting. What the US provided was manufacturing.

That "manufacturing" piece... it was a tad more than assigning a foundry to make the bomb casings, as an example.

It involved building the worlds largest building. 44 acres of floor space.

It involved building 2 hydroelectric dams, which impounded rivers to make lakes, each of which is larger than all the lakes in England combined. Another 2 existing dams also contributed. There are five in total today.

It involved building a town to house 75,000 people. 300 miles of roads, 60 miles of railway. 60,000 acres overall.

The chemical process required nearly 15000 tons of silver.

It's not far from me, and we built our house on one of the lakes. Financed by a credit union linked to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Which still makes nuclear weapons components, until recently had the world's most powerful supercomputer, and is shortly to regain the crown.

The scale of the enterprise is astonishing.
 
That "manufacturing" piece... it was a tad more than assigning a foundry to make the bomb casings, as an example.

It involved building the worlds largest building. 44 acres of floor space.

It involved building 2 hydroelectric dams, which impounded rivers to make lakes, each of which is larger than all the lakes in England combined. Another 2 existing dams also contributed. There are five in total today.

It involved building a town to house 75,000 people. 300 miles of roads, 60 miles of railway. 60,000 acres overall.

The chemical process required nearly 15000 tons of silver.

It's not far from me, and we built our house on one of the lakes. Financed by a credit union linked to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Which still makes nuclear weapons components, until recently had the world's most powerful supercomputer, and is shortly to regain the crown.

The scale of the enterprise is astonishing.
There were two routes to making a practical nuclear bomb, one using uranium-235 enriched to a high degree as mentioned in your post and the other using plutonium, produced in a reactor moderated by graphite or heavy water. The US pursued both routes simultaneously. The bomb dropped on HIroshima was a U235 bomb, and the one dropped on Nagasaki was a plutonium bomb.

The U235 enrichment took place at the location in Tennessee as you described. The plutonium production reactor was in the interior or Washington state and was a graphite moderated reactor. The latter required far, far, less effort to produce fissile material, but at the time the projects were initiated it was thought that a uranium bomb would be easier to build (the bombs themselves worked on different principles).

The UK-Canada project appears to have been focused on plutonium and so wouldn't have needed the huge facility you described.

As a side note, the reactor sold by Canada to India and used by the latter produce plutonium for their first nuclear bomb was a derivative of the war time reactor design effort in Montreal and Chalk River.
 
Would be curious to know more, I have no knowledge on that at all

Any pointers?
Linky please.

It's in my last book, but I feel guilty about plugging it so often.

The short version is:

The US and the UK agreed that the UK would develop an ATGM, as we'd already started on it, and were the more advanced. Malkara, Orange William to name a couple of our previous, and we were already working on Swingfire. This was around 1961. The US would restrict itself to 'Assault Weapons', basically dumb rockets. The agreement stated, essentially, the US will not undertake research that conflicts with Swingfire. This suited us as our Infantry Atk weapon Red Planet had failed, and we'd been buying US stuff for a while in the field. The US would then adopt the ATGM, and NATO would standardise to it. Hence the 66mm Light Assault Weapon.

Within months of the agreement the US announced plans for a 'Heavy Assault Weapon', and had three companies working on it. Now while the launcher was separate to the projectile, you could load a dumb rocket into it, HE, chemical and HEAT warheads were planned. However, most of the work was with guided missiles, directly in contradiction to the Rubel-Zuckerman agreement. The US argument was 'Yes it is an assault weapon, says so in the name, and it can fire dumb rockets, so we're not technically violating the terms of the agreement.' When we point to the guided missile part the US response was 'Oh look a squirrel!'. By May 62 the US was suggesting that the UK leave the field of research as the French had the SS11 B2, and the US had the HAW project, so why do we need to be expending all that money, wouldn't it be simpler just to rely on us, poor little Britain? The fact that the French were a very politically shaky and undesirable prop to lean on, and the SS11B2 was vastly inferior to the Swingfire was beside the point. Things got so heated the President and PM got involved and had words.

The eventual winner was Hughes with their HAW-88, which we know today as the TOW. The need to be able to load dumb rockets into it a bit like a gun explains why the TOW ground mount functions the way it does, instead of the much more common CLU/disposable missile tube approach everyone else uses. Lo and behold, the US swamped the market with free/discount TOW's (Swingfire's troubled development may also have contributed here). The agreement was pretty much dead at birth, we just didn't know about it, as it was still kicking for a few months.

On the plus side the documentation means I have some cracking assessment of the US programs, including technical descriptions of how the Hughes, McDonnell and Martin projects worked. Dumbest one was the McDonnel one which dropped as it flew, then the CLU detected the drop and bounced up again. This meant every 400m it'd suddenly jump-up by 2ft, then start dropping again.
 
There were two routes to making a practical nuclear bomb, one using uranium-235 enriched to a high degree as mentioned in your post and the other using plutonium, produced in a reactor moderated by graphite or heavy water. The US pursued both routes simultaneously. The bomb dropped on HIroshima was a U235 bomb, and the one dropped on Nagasaki was a plutonium bomb.

The U235 enrichment took place at the location in Tennessee as you described. The plutonium production reactor was in the interior or Washington state and was a graphite moderated reactor. The latter required far, far, less effort to produce fissile material, but at the time the projects were initiated it was thought that a uranium bomb would be easier to build (the bombs themselves worked on different principles).

The UK-Canada project appears to have been focused on plutonium and so wouldn't have needed the huge facility you described.

As a side note, the reactor sold by Canada to India and used by the latter produce plutonium for their first nuclear bomb was a derivative of the war time reactor design effort in Montreal and Chalk River.

Immediately postwar, the UK built a large uranium enrichment facility at Capenhurst, which then produced the fuel for the initial nuclear power stations, which, being MOD-owned, were used for production of plutonium and tritium.

Uranium enrichment by diffusion was a very inefficient process, which required multiple stages of enrichment, hence the large size of these facilities for relatively small output.
 
Immediately postwar, the UK built a large uranium enrichment facility at Capenhurst, which then produced the fuel for the initial nuclear power stations, which, being MOD-owned, were used for production of plutonium and tritium.

Uranium enrichment by diffusion was a very inefficient process, which required multiple stages of enrichment, hence the large size of these facilities for relatively small output.


Capenhurst isn't really a big site though, you wouldn't describe it as huge
 
I wrote a long post on another thread about the UK-Canada nuclear program and its relationship with the US nearly a year ago. I won't repeat it, but here's a link.

US cooperation with the UK/Canada program was an on again, off again affair during the course of the war. At the start the US were keen on cooperation as the UK were ahead of the US in nuclear research. When the US caught up, their interest in cooperation cooled.

The big falling out came during the war and it seemed to be related to patents. A top French scientist working on the UK program, Halban, held patents on some of the most important uses of nuclear energy and he had sold or licensed rights to ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries). The US were concerned that ICI would have an effective monopoly over many key civilian nuclear technologies. The Americans insisted that Halban be excluded from the UK program before the US would resume cooperation. The objections to Halban came from the US science team managers, not US security people.

Cooperation resumed after the UK-Canada program announced they were going ahead with construction of a heavy water reactor. The Americans then agreed to resume cooperation, provided non-British subjects were not involved. So, Halban was excluded, but Halban's subordinate, Kowarski remained involved in important roles, so the objection to non-British subjects appeared to be mainly directed at Halban. To clarify a point here, at this time Canadians were still classified as British subjects, as Canadian citizenship didn't come into existence until after WWII.

The joint UK-Canada program was run in Montreal originally, later being moved to Chalk River, near Petawawa (north of Otttawa). Chalk River remained the centre of Canadian nuclear research after the war time program was replaced by a program oriented to civilian applications. The first heavy water reactor at Chalk River went critical in September 1945, three days after Japan signed the surrender documents. I don't know how long it would take to go from reactor to bomb, but heavy water reactors can be used to produce plutonium without needing uranium enrichment facilities. I don't know the details of what the plans for producing bombs were, but the focus on heavy water suggests a plutonium bomb may have been the preferred route.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think the joint UK-Canada program was either entirely or mainly financed by Canada, with the UK providing their personnel and the research they had done in the UK. Canada was very interested in the commercial applications of nuclear energy. The commercial applications were seen by may people as revolutionary in economic terms, with perhaps an overly optimistic view of how readily the hurdles could be overcome. This should be kept in mind when looking at motivations. The post-war economic advantages were definitely a consideration.

Sir John Cockroft was in charge of the later part of the joint UK-Canada program, and a document he wrote is referenced in the post I linked above. At the end of the war the UK wound up their involvement in Canada and their scientists returned to the UK.

Sir John Cockroft then assumed leadership of the UK weapons program back in the UK. The main problems he had at that point appeared to be that the UK were broke and he was working on a shoestring budget for years. The fundamental problems of the nuclear science had been solved by that point, as well as a lot of the engineering technology of refining and handling the nuclear materials during the course of the work in Montreal and Chalk River. I suspect the main issues at that point would have been those of turning the science and basic engineering into an actual bomb, and doing it on a shoestring.

Canada continued on with its side of the nuclear program, but focused on commercial applications. This eventually turned into the CANDU reactor design, which provides a significant share of Canada's electric power today and was exported to other countries as well. This is a heavy water moderated reactor that used natural (non-enriched) uranium.

Thanks for that Terminal, makes interesting reading
 
Aye and at the time the US the UK and Canada were riddled with Soviet agents and home grown traitors so it's hardly surprising cards were being held very close to the chest.

The patent given away wasn't done out of the goodness of the heart, Britain was pretty much skint after WWII so following up on those patents wasn't going to happen anytime soon.
Sadly, uncle Joe got all of his nuclear secrets from American spies.

it was one of the driving factors for the red scare.

non of the allies spied on the Soviets in WW2.
 
Sadly, uncle Joe got all of his nuclear secrets from American spies.

it was one of the driving factors for the red scare.

non of the allies spied on the Soviets in WW2.

Nah they didn't just get all their info from the Yanks. As I said above after the defection of Igor Gouzenko, Canada made over 30 arrests of people within their nuclear industry for spying for the Soviets. Both the US and British were similarly infected with the same Soviet spying problems.
 
Capenhurst isn't really a big site though, you wouldn't describe it as huge

We did a school visit there as kids, the gaseous diffusion plant was winding down at the time. It was still pretty big, though nothing like Oak Ridge. Oak Ridge had several plants, some of which were on the Clinch River, which somewhat enlarged the necessary size of the overall reservation.

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to visit ORNL (US Dept of Energy side, not Y-12/DoD), and from the main gate to the main buildings was quite a drive. Like most US installations, they're deliberately built on very large reservations.
 
If we invented or discovered anything world changing in energy, the US, Russia and China would obliterate us.

Best thing we do is keep it quiet, develop it, then obliterate every cnut except for Australia, Brazil and Sweden (but obliterate tower hamlets, Birmingham and ROI).

World would be awesome!
 
Nah they didn't just get all their info from the Yanks. As I said above after the defection of Igor Gouzenko, Canada made over 30 arrests of people within their nuclear industry for spying for the Soviets. Both the US and British were similarly infected with the same Soviet spying problems.
Wide scale problem from WW2. Just read a book about wW2 subterfuge by Max Hastings.

The communists felt they were in it together for a philosophical belief.

the much vaunted French resistance in the early days were all communists. It was only after people realised that the Germans were loosing did the resistance as we know it show up
 
It's in my last book, but I feel guilty about plugging it so often.

The short version is:

The US and the UK agreed that the UK would develop an ATGM, as we'd already started on it, and were the more advanced. Malkara, Orange William to name a couple of our previous, and we were already working on Swingfire. This was around 1961. The US would restrict itself to 'Assault Weapons', basically dumb rockets. The agreement stated, essentially, the US will not undertake research that conflicts with Swingfire. This suited us as our Infantry Atk weapon Red Planet had failed, and we'd been buying US stuff for a while in the field. The US would then adopt the ATGM, and NATO would standardise to it. Hence the 66mm Light Assault Weapon.

Within months of the agreement the US announced plans for a 'Heavy Assault Weapon', and had three companies working on it. Now while the launcher was separate to the projectile, you could load a dumb rocket into it, HE, chemical and HEAT warheads were planned. However, most of the work was with guided missiles, directly in contradiction to the Rubel-Zuckerman agreement. The US argument was 'Yes it is an assault weapon, says so in the name, and it can fire dumb rockets, so we're not technically violating the terms of the agreement.' When we point to the guided missile part the US response was 'Oh look a squirrel!'. By May 62 the US was suggesting that the UK leave the field of research as the French had the SS11 B2, and the US had the HAW project, so why do we need to be expending all that money, wouldn't it be simpler just to rely on us, poor little Britain? The fact that the French were a very politically shaky and undesirable prop to lean on, and the SS11B2 was vastly inferior to the Swingfire was beside the point. Things got so heated the President and PM got involved and had words.

The eventual winner was Hughes with their HAW-88, which we know today as the TOW. The need to be able to load dumb rockets into it a bit like a gun explains why the TOW ground mount functions the way it does, instead of the much more common CLU/disposable missile tube approach everyone else uses. Lo and behold, the US swamped the market with free/discount TOW's (Swingfire's troubled development may also have contributed here). The agreement was pretty much dead at birth, we just didn't know about it, as it was still kicking for a few months.

On the plus side the documentation means I have some cracking assessment of the US programs, including technical descriptions of how the Hughes, McDonnell and Martin projects worked. Dumbest one was the McDonnel one which dropped as it flew, then the CLU detected the drop and bounced up again. This meant every 400m it'd suddenly jump-up by 2ft, then start dropping again.

Don't feel guilty about plugging a book Listy
We all gain enough info from your posts here to be more than a fair tradeoff :-D
 

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