Construction Project: Atomic Bomb
Worldwide controversy has been generated recently by
several United States government websites removing, or restricting
access to, material regarding technical aspects of nuclear weapons; specifically,
how to make an atomic bomb. The reason usually given by the Administration
is that National Security would be compromised if such information
were generally available. But, since it is commonly known
that all of the information is publicly available in most
major metropolitan libraries, obviously the Administration's officially
stated position is covering up a more important factor; namely,
that such atomic devices would prove too difficult for the
average citizen to construct. The United States government cannot
afford to insult the vast majorities by insinuating that they
do not have the intelligence of a cabbage, and thus the "official"
press releases claim National Security as a blanket restriction.
The rumors that have unfortunately occurred as a result
of widespread misinformation can (and must) be cleared up
now, for the construction project this month is the construction
of a nuclear device, which will hopefully clear up
any misconceptions you might have about such a project.
We will see how easy it is to make a device of your very
own in ten easy steps, to have and hold as you see fit,
without annoying interference from the government or the
The project will cost between $5,000 and $30,000 dollars,
depending on how fancy you want the final product to be.
Since last week's column, "Let's Make a Time Machine", was
received so well in the new step-by-step format, this month's
column will follow the same format.
- CONSTRUCTION METHOD
1. First, obtain about 25 pounds (~10 kg) of
Plutonium239 at your local supplier (see NOTES 1 & 2). A nuclear power
plant is not recommended, as you'll have to extract and separate
it from spent fuel rods, and it's a messy job. Besides, large
quantities of missing Plutonium
tends to make plant engineers unhappy. We suggest that you
contact one of the former Soviet Republics, or perhaps the
Junior Achievement in your neighborhood.
Fig. 1The sheet metal and the completed enclosure. A small rolling toolbox was chosen for the design, because of the ease of transport. Note the various stickers, which add believability to the disguise.
2. Fashion together a metal enclosure to house the device (Fig. 1). Most common varieties of sheet metal can be bent to disguise
this enclosure as, for example; a briefcase, a lunch pail,
or a Buick. Do not use tinfoil or gum wrappers.
3. Arrange the Plutonium into two hemispheral shapes (Fig. 2),
separated by about 4 cm. Use rubber cement to hold the Plutonium
A Plutonium sphere for illustration purposes. Yours will look slightly different.
4. Now get about 100 pounds (44 kg) of trinitrotoluene
(TNT). Gelignite is much better, but messier to work with.
Your helpful hardware man or local Bomb Depot store will be
happy to provide you with this item.
5. Pack the explosives around the hemisphere arrangement constructed
in step 4. If you cannot find Gelignite, feel free to use
TNT packed in with Playdoh or any modeling clay. Colored
clay is acceptable, but there is no need to get fancy at
6. Wrap this entire structure very tightly with duct tape (Fig. 3). Use a whole roll.
This shall be the neutron reflector and inertial containment.
7. Insert the assembly from step 6 into the enclosure
made in step 2. Use a strong glue such as "Crazy Glue" to
bind the hemisphere arrangement against the enclosure to
prevent accidental detonation which might result from vibration
8. To fabricate a detonator for the device, obtain a radio controlled
(RC) servo mechanism, as found in RC model airplanes and
cars. With a modicum of effort, a remote plunger can be
made that will strike a detonator cap to effect a small
explosion. These detonation caps can be found in the electrical
supply section of your local supermarket. We recommend the
"Blast-O-Mactic" brand because they are no deposit-no return.
9. Now hide the completed device from the neighbors
and children. The garage is not recommended because of high
humidity and the extreme range of temperatures experienced
there. Nuclear materials corrode easily, and devices have been known to spontaneously
detonate in these unstable conditions. The hall closet or
under the sofa will be perfectly suitable.
10. Now you are the proud owner of a working nuclear
device! It is a great ice-breaker at parties; is nice to cozy around on a cold night; and in a pinch,
can be used for National Defense.
Wrapping the explosive assembly with inertial confinement material, which also acts as a neutron reflector.
THEORY OF OPERATION
Oversimplified, the device basically works when the detonated TNT compresses
the Plutonium into a critical mass (smaller sphere). The critical mass then
produces a nuclear chain reaction similar to the domino chain
reaction (discussed in this column, "Dominos on the March",
February). The chain reaction happens really, really fast, which promptly produces a
big explosion. And there you have it, a 10 kiloton party favor!
1. Plutonium (PU), atomic number 94, is a radioactive metallic
element formed by the decay of Neptunium and is similar in
chemical structure to Uranium, Saturnium, Jupiternium, and
Marsium. Not to be confused with Unobtanium or Balonium.
2. Please remember that Plutonium, especially pure,
refined Plutonium, is somewhat dangerous. The shavings and
dust have a nasty habit of igniting spontaneously, and are practically
impossible to extinguish with materials found around the house.
Some Plutonium dust ignites spontaneously in a lab accident.
Wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling the material, and
don't allow your children or pets to play in it or eat it.
Any leftover Plutonium dust is excellent as an insect repellant.
You may wish to keep the substance in a lead box if you
can find one in your local junk yard, but an old coffee
can will do nicely.
NEXT MONTH'S COLUMN
In next month's column, we will learn how to clone your
neighbor's wife in six easy steps. This project promises to
be an exciting weekend full of fun and profit. Common kitchen
utensils will be all you need. See you next month!
PREVIOUS MONTH'S COLUMNS
1. Let's Make Test Tube Babies! May
2. Let's Make a Solar System! June
3. Let's Make an Economic Recession! July
4. Let's Make an Anti-Gravity Machine! August
5. Let's Make Contact with an Alien Race! September
The above paper was adapted from The Journal of Irreproducible
Results Volume 25/ Number 4. P.O. Box 234 Chicago Heights, Illinois 60411