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
Norris, Robert S.
Ndiaye, Pap
Forster, Elborg
Kelly, Cynthia C.
Rhodes, Richard
Physics in Perspective
Environmental History
Journal of Cold War Studies
Diplomatic History
Public Interest Report
Technology and Culture
Steerforth Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
Joseph Henry Press
Carocci Editore
Nuclear weapons; atomic weapons
Manhattan Project
Science and war; science and the military
Atomic, nuclear, and particle physics
Nuclear industry
Groves, Leslie R.
Rosenberg, Julius
Oppenheimer, J. Robert
Fermi, Enrico
Seaborg, Glenn T.
United States
Soviet Union
Ohio (U.S.)
Berkeley (California, U.S.)
20th century
21st century
20th century, early
20th century, late
Hanford Nuclear Site (Washington)
Du Pont Company
University of California, Berkeley
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (U.S.)
Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory

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