Article ID: CBB263518570

An inter-country comparison of nuclear pile development during World War II (2021)


Between the time of the discovery of nuclear fission in early 1939 and the end of 1946, approximately 90 “nuclear piles” were constructed in six countries. These devices ranged from simple graphite columns containing neutron sources but no uranium to structures as complex as the water-cooled 250-MW plutonium production reactors built at Hanford, Washington. This paper reviews and compares the properties of these piles.

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Authors & Contributors
Yamazaki, Masakatsu
Walker, Mark
Grunden, Walter E.
Rowland Wynne
Peter B. Thompson
Olson, Steve
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Physics in Perspective
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Structural Chemistry: Computational and Experimental Studies of Chemical and Biological Systems
Oxford University Press
World Scientific
Washington State University Press
W. W. Norton & Co.
Verlag für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik
University of Wales Press
Atomic, nuclear, and particle physics
World War II
Nuclear weapons; atomic weapons
Cross-national comparison
Science and war; science and the military
Williams, Evan James
Peierls, Rudolph Ernst
Seaborg, Glenn T.
Oppenheimer, J. Robert
Meitner, Lise
Heisenberg, Werner
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
20th century, late
United States
Soviet Union
Berkeley (California, U.S.)
Hanford Nuclear Site (Washington)
Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory
University of California, Berkeley
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (U.S.)
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission

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