Article ID: CBB001422216

The Feed Materials Program of the Manhattan Project: A Foundational Component of the Nuclear Weapons Complex (2014)


The feed materials program of the Manhattan Project was responsible for procuring uranium-bearing ores and materials and processing them into forms suitable for use as source materials for the Project's uranium-enrichment factories and plutonium-producing reactors. This aspect of the Manhattan Project has tended to be overlooked in comparison with the Project's more dramatic accomplishments, but was absolutely vital to the success of those endeavors: without appropriate raw materials and the means to process them, nuclear weapons and much of the subsequent cold war would never have come to pass. Drawing from information available in Manhattan Engineer District Documents, this paper examines the sources and processing of uranium-bearing materials used in making the first nuclear weapons and how the feed materials program became a central foundational component of the postwar nuclear weapons complex.

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Authors & Contributors
Candela, Andrea
Eymann, Richard C.
Freeman, Lindsey A.
Pritikin, Trisha T.
Ciglioni, Laura
Olson, Steve
Physics in Perspective
Encyclopedia of the History of Science
Technology and Culture
Public Interest Report
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Journal of Cold War Studies
W. W. Norton & Co.
University Press of Kansas
University of North Carolina Press
Steerforth Press
Joseph Henry Press
Nuclear weapons; atomic weapons
Manhattan Project
Science and war; science and the military
Nuclear industry
Atomic, nuclear, and particle physics
Seaborg, Glenn T.
Rosenberg, Julius
Oppenheimer, J. Robert
Groves, Leslie R.
Fermi, Enrico
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
20th century, early
20th century, late
United States
Soviet Union
Berkeley (California, U.S.)
Ohio (U.S.)
Washington (state, U.S.)
Hanford Nuclear Site (Washington)
University of California, Berkeley
Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (U.S.)
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission

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