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Nuclear Fuel How-To

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the starting-your-own-regime dept.

Power 335

ATMosby writes "The BBC has an article that pretty much sums up everything you might need to know if you wanted to refine nuclear fuel and build some atomic weapons." From the article: "Uranium is the basic raw material of both civilian and military nuclear programmes. It is extracted from either open-cast pits or by underground mining. Although uranium occurs naturally all over the world, only a small fraction is found in concentrated ores. When certain atoms of uranium are split in a chain reaction, energy is released. This process is called nuclear fission."

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Fission? No kidding! (3, Funny)

sjbe (173966) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657096)

When certain atoms of uranium are split in a chain reaction, energy is released. This process is called nuclear fission.

Thanks for clearing that up for us...

Re:Fission? No kidding! (1)

pocketfullofshells (722066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657261)

You get a gold star!

Move to the front of the class!

ya think the rain will hurt the rubarb?

Re:Fission? No kidding! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657406)

It's not as simple as you think it is.

Only U-233 or U-235 is useful for fission reactions. While U-238 can fission, it requires at least 5 MeV of kinetic energy from an incident neutron, while U-233 and U-235 require no energy. This makes U-238 fairly useless for fission except in the case where plutonium is made (U-238 + n -> (U-239)* -> Np-239 -> Pu-239). Pu-239 requires no energy to fission (and this is general of all heavy nuclides with odd atomic masses).

U-235 is 0.65% naturally occuring, and U-238 is 99.35% naturally occuring. In order to make a reactor undergo a self-sustaining fission reaction, the concentration of U-235 in increased (enriched). This has to be done for reactors and bombs (though there are methods to make a self-sustaining reaction with natural fuel--very large reactors). Since U-235 requires no energy from the neutron to undergo fission, a slow neutron that spends more time passing by the nucleus will cause fission to occur more often. This is why nuclear reactors are moderated (typically with water, heavy water, or graphite).

If a nuclear bomb were moderated, the time to moderate (slow down the neutron to thermal energies) would allow heat transfer to occur. This would expand the bomb and destroy its geometry bringing the fission reaction to a halt. For this reason, nuclear bombs are designed to operate on fast fission reactions. This is also why a nuclear reactor cannot explode like a nuclear bomb.

To Slashdot, From Homeland Insecurity +1, True (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657412)


Dear Useless Slashdot Editors:

Post some real news.

The biggest threat to world peace is the White House [whitehouse.org]

Seditiously as always,
Kilgore Trout, CEO

Re:Fission? No kidding! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657441)

Don't be such a gobshite; not everyone knows this.

So? (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657099)

Big deal, my high school physics textbook had all this information as well.

I wonder how many people are going to think this is some sort of threat to 'national security.'

Re:So? (1, Informative)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657193)

I wonder how many people are going to think this is some sort of threat to 'national security.'

I wonder how many of those will be our beloved chimp for president.

yeah yeah, mod me flamebait

Re:So? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657288)

Your disgusting. Grow up and get some respect.

If you have a problem with this country save up and by a one-way ticket to somewhere else.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657323)

Just like the founding fathers who had a problem with living in a colony of England and just packed up and moved to Mexico... oh wait, that's not what they did.

Re:So? (1, Offtopic)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657378)


Your disgusting.

His disgusting what?

Grow up and get some respect.

Um...I think you meant to say show some respect...

If you have a problem with this country save up and by a one-way ticket to somewhere else.

No. I think I'll stay here in MY country and work for change. I'm sure you and the rest of your neo-conservative fascist mouth-breathing ilk would love it if people with ideologies slightly different from yours just ran away, but sorry...we're not going to make it that easy for you.

To sum up, you are a moron.
Log off before you hurt yourself.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657315)

A chimp for a president???? That's the most insulting thing I've ever read.

- A chimp

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657399)

Big deal, my high school physics textbook had all this information as well.

Actually, your high school physics book probably has *more* information. This "in-depth article" is nothing more than a few graphs and a description.

That being said, nuclear fission technology is stupidly simple in it theoretical foundations. Once one is able to build an atomic pile (demonstrating sufficient purity of U235), it's only a short period of time until a gun-type A-Bomb can be made. All you need is two sub-critical masses of U235 that add up to a critical mass. Mount one mass in a stationary (and strong!) holder. Take the other piece and mount in some sort of gun. The more force the gun can impart on the second piece, the better. Fire the first piece at the second, and viola! You're dead!

Ermm... I mean... you can see a pretty light show from the U235 compressing into a super-critical bundle.

Nuclear reactors and Implosion bombs are a bit more difficult, but not beyond any country with sufficient industrial capability. This article [progressive.org] from the magazine "The Progressive" tells you how to build a hydrogen bomb. Good luck on that, though. Implosion bombs aren't too bad with computer modelling, but H-Bombs are REALLY, REALLY tricky.

Of course, if a Slashdotter with no formal training in nuclear science can desribe how bombs are built, is there any question as to why nuclear materials are carefully controlled?

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657448)

s/Fire the first piece at the second/Fire the second piece at the first/g

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657525)

You are such a karma whore.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657495)

"That being said, nuclear fission technology is stupidly simple in it theoretical foundations."

I don't know which books on nuclear engineering you've been reading, but mine are not stupidly simple. Just because the concepts are sometimes easy to grasp, does not mean that the procedure that created the concept is simple. There is a reason why most of the great physicists of the last century studied nuclear physics, and it is not because it is simple.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657467)

I'm wondering why slashdot seems so impressed by this; this is all common knowlege (and very incomplete for the public domain). I mean, using language "This is then purified in a chemical process and reconstituted in a solid form known as "yellow cake" "? "A chemical process"? Can they get more vague? Why not just state some of the processes, like dissolution of the ore in strong acids (phosphoric, sulphuric, or nitric)? Heck, I once ran into a paper that discussed proper methods for manufacture of appropriate corrosion-resistant seals for gas centrifuges. :P

Here we go again: "converted into a gas, uranium hexafluoride". Why not just say how hex is produced - it is dissolved in nitric acid to produce uranyl nitrate, reacted with ammonia to produce ammonium diuranate, reduced with hydrogen to produce UO2, then converted with HF to UF4 (which is a nice storage method, because it can be readily converted to either hex, ceramics, or metal). You react the UF4 with fluorine to produce UF6.

Just stating the chemical pathway isn't giving away any sort of secrets; this is all public domain. The technical challenges are in setting up a large scale refining process, and not getting caught doing it, because large quantities of many involved chemicals (for example hydrofluoric acid) are monitored.

They only mention two enrichment methods (gas diffision and gas centrifuge), and ignore some of the newer methods in development (I'm rather fond of the LIS (Laser Isotope Separation) methods; they take advantage of the fact that the different isotopes of uranium ionize differently from different wavelengths of light. AVLIS works on uranium gas ionization, while MLIS works by encouraging the selective disassociation of U235 hex. There's a couple other methods in development as well.

Even what they mention of gas diffusion and gas centrifuges is vague. For example, the whole world was reading two years ago about the controversy over the "aluminum tubes" - the centrifuge rotors are flow-formed from tubes and welded to a central shaft, which spins on a fine bearing at the base and is magneticly suspended at the top. Because of the high forces on the rotors, you need high grade alloys. Iraq never had used aluminum - its imported designs called for maraging steel, and the aluminum was ill-suited for welding as well. This was all over the news - where were the editors then?

I could easily keep on going, but I think the point is made - why are the editors impressed by this article? It's nothing - they've clearly never bothered googling for uranium enrichment before.

How long? (1)

macaulay805 (823467) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657108)

How long before /. gets shut down for distributing this information?!

Re:How long? (4, Funny)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657400)

How long before /. gets shut down for distributing this information?!

Well, first it needs to start distributing information.

RE: Simple: and elegant. (1)

fshalor (133678) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657110)

Why does this read like an exceprt of that "terrorists handbook" that was getting passed around on unmarked 3.5" floppies in 1994. (With Castle Wolf, ironically!)

And as usual, most of the best places to get the materials you need are college campuses.

And while we're at it . . . (5, Insightful)

Maradine (194191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657114)

. . . let's be alarmist about it, because the info didn't [google.com] exist [wikipedia.org] anywhere [berkeley.edu] else. [nuclearweaponarchive.org]

Re:And while we're at it . . . (3, Informative)

Phil Karn (14620) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657253)

Not only that, much of the basic information about the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear weapons was openly published by the US decades ago in the book The Effects of Nuclear Weapons. [vt.edu]

You Forgot (3, Informative)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657270)

This [holysmoke.org] handy article on what to do with your plutonium once you've refined it. A must have for any organization interested in building such a device...

Girlfriend (4, Funny)

RancidMilk (872628) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657118)

Sounds like the same thing with my girlfriend. There is a tight bond, and when she is ripped off of me, lots of energy is released.

Re:Girlfriend (1)

Kookus (653170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657393)

I'm wondering how much energy is released?
But I guess that depends on how much air pressure you used.

Mod Parent UP! (1)

Phu5ion (838043) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657497)

That's priceless, and much more accurately portrays the Slashdot community.

Re:Girlfriend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657449)

Yeah right girlfriend, most people call it a computer

Re:Girlfriend (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657472)

Sort of a flubbery, flatulant sounding energy as she loses all her air, right?

Only in America... (4, Insightful)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657119)

Only in our beloved country could someone think that this set of pages "sums up everything you might need to know if you wanted to refine nuclear fuel and build some atomic weapons." The information presented is what anyone with a high-school level knowledge of science should know. It's what anyone old enough to vote should know. When Bush claimed that Saddam was buying yellowcake from Nigeria -- even if it had been true -- it should have been obvious that without a lot of additional sophisticated equipment, it was about as useless as talcum powder.

On the other hand, I did get a nice refresher on the process. You do forget a few things in 20 years. And I can use the site as a resource for my kids, since they'll be too busy being taught "Intelligent Design" to be bothered with anything as mundane as chemistry and physics.

As if (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657296)

Why is it that people can't understand that intelligently designing a universe requires knolwdge of chemistry and physics?

Re:As if (1)

jidar (83795) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657517)

That's not what people mean when they say intelligent design.
You bring up a good point though, we should probably change the name of the theory to something more suitable, like ignorant design.

Re:Only in America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657316)

I wish I was as smart as you.

first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657122)

Uranium is a dangerous element. They shouldn't be playing arounmd with it like this.

On the video phone to the UN now (1)

heauxmeaux (869966) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657123)

Can't wait for my....

One MILLION Dollars!

Bwahahahahhahahahah!

Article Text? (1)

sjwaste (780063) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657124)

Can someone post the article text? For some reason, BBC News is blocked at work.

Re:Article Text? (1)

dlZ (798734) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657186)

" Can someone post the article text? For some reason, BBC News is blocked at work."

Because they are the new source of terrorist information!

Re:Article Text? (1)

The Slaughter (887603) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657209)

Try the Fox News website.

If it's not also blocked, you need to quit your job.

Re:Article Text? (1)

OptimoosePrime (612749) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657322)

You aren't missing anything.

Re:Article Text? (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657331)

You're saying that slashdot isn't blocked, but the BBC is? Well, for whatever reason it is blocked, it's not blocked for productivity reasons, that's for sure. :-)

2003? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657126)

Boy /. is on the bleeding edge here! The Beeb rolls this one out whenever they have an article about N. Korea.

Off topic (1)

oskard (715652) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657127)

News flash, google also has a nuclear how to:
home made nuclear stuff [google.com]

Where does the fuel come from? (1, Troll)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657128)

Something that gets skipped over. At the moment, Canada, Australia and Kazakhstan are the largest producers.

I'm not sure being a fuel producer is necessarily a good thing given the USA's penchant for invading other countries. And Canada is so close after all.

Re:Where does the fuel come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657285)

Where do you think the USA buys most of its uranium ;)

Re:Where does the fuel come from? (1)

Kookus (653170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657454)

Michigan's state motto is:
First line of defense fromt he Canadians


To confirm you're not a script,
please type the text shown in this image: vkijgrd

Re:Where does the fuel come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657490)

Canada is an excellent target to invade as they also have the fields of hydroponic marajuana that need to be shut down.

Not That Easy (1)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657129)

First you have to enrich the fuel.
Then you have to irradiate the fuel.
Then you have to separate the uranium from the plutonium.
Then you have to build the device (tricky is an understatement).

If you just use uranium you still have to mine, extract, and enrich the fuel. Then you have to build the trigger and test.

None of this is cheap nor safe to do.

Re:Not That Easy (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657267)

They could pretty much dispense with steps 2 and onwards. They'd probably just pack the nuclear fuel round some conventional explosives, oil and ammonium nitrate mix and contaminate as large an area as possible. The centre of New York, Washinton, London is some very expensive real estate.

Re:Not That Easy (1)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657306)

They could dispense with all of the steps and follow your advice with a radioisotope source stolen from a commercial vendor.

No nuclear fuel needed.

The centre of New York, Washinton, London is some very expensive real estate.

Which means that it will be cleaned up quickly because it is so valuable.

Re:Not That Easy (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657370)

In this country, you gotta make the money first.
Then when you get the money, you get the uranium.
Then when you get the uranium, then you get the women.

Thanks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657133)

Well, I was wondering what to do this summer.

war... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657136)

Now the US will go to war with Great Britain for distributing plans to produce WMDs.

This just in (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657139)

Cheney has just announced plans to liberate the BBC from the terrorists overords , Tinky-winkie(of telytubies fame) was caught on cammera pleeding for American assistance to save him from the cruel opresive burocracy just moments before taking a barrage of rolland rats

Re:This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657263)

Above: hyperbole to exagerate the story in the same way that the submitter did .

Enrichment step helpful hints (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657148)

I've found than an off-the-shelf cotton candy machine can be used in place of a gas centrifuge in separating the u-238 from u-235.

Very old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657151)

There's tons of info on how to build atomic bombs and the science behind them on loads of sites like wikipedia, howstuffworks etc etc

It's not a question of if but when a dissadent terrorist group builds a working one. or two. or ten

When that happens we will see how well ID cards save us against the enormous explosion. Perhaps you can kind of use the ID card to deflect the blast somehow..

Re:Very old news (1)

bemenaker (852000) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657420)

I read the first two lines of your post, and thought to myself, "Oh god, not another Bushinite," then I read the third line of you post, and fell out of my chair laughing. Got weird looks from my cubineighbors.

this could be handy... (1)

zdr1977 (775284) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657152)

...for powering one of the 4-GPU motherboards....

And this article... (1)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657154)

Experts believe a crude plutonium bomb could be designed and assembled by terrorists possessing no greater level of skill than needed by the AUM cult to attack the Tokyo underground with nerve gas in 1995.

And don't forget to include this article...

lol (0, Redundant)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657156)

as if this information would be any bit useful in building a real nuclear weapon! hah!

Re:lol (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657372)

here's to the silly-ass mod who thinks that any comment posted within 10 minutes after the original article can be considered "redundant" given the comment lag. Moron.

Nothing new, check your encyclopedia (2, Interesting)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657168)

The article basically covers the same stuff that's been in encyclopedias for decades. I'm sure we'll get a bunch of posters nervously posting about how irresponsible it is to release this info, but it's hardly ground breaking.

The better informed the public is to how these things work, the better off we'll be in participating in our national policies. Saying that the information should be restricted is akin to arguing in favor of 'security through obscurity'. I argue that if you criticize both the BBC article and Microsoft for their security policies, then you're exhibiting traits of hypocrisy.

In the end, the part of the equation that's required is the presence of uranium. It's hard to get. It's even harder to mine/refine, especially in secret.

Re:Nothing new, check your encyclopedia (2, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657227)

It's even harder to mine/refine, especially in secret.

Bingo. Technologists, expecially computer geeks, seem to have a tendency (perhaps justifiably) to believe that mere knowledge of HOW to do something means that actually doing it is trivial. In this case, however, this knowledge is not a severe threat because its implementation remeans one of the most difficult, dangerous, and expensive processes known to man.

Re:Nothing new, check your encyclopedia (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657523)

most difficult, dangerous, and expensive processes known to man? sounds like finding a woman to be your partner to me

Hmmmm.... (1)

d474 (695126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657177)

BBC DIY U235

Not Even Close (4, Informative)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657184)

Sorry, but that site isn't even close to "everything you might need to know" about building a Bomb. That's more like the 5 minute capsule summary. If you really want to know everything about building a Bomb but don't want to get a security clearance, the best place to look is Carey Sublette's Nuclear Weapon Archive [nuclearweaponarchive.org] . It's amazing just how much non-classified information it contains.

Gone Fission (2, Funny)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657192)

(Oblig Simpsons Quote)

"Furious George! What have they done to you? Smithers, this monkey is going to need most of your skin."

Everything I need to know? (1)

Valar (167606) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657198)

If you could really get everything you need to know about making a nuclear bomb from one bbc article, everybody would have them. Maybe everything you need to know about how a bomb works, if you don't intend to actually design one, in one article. Heck, you couldn't even really learn how to design a _rifle_ from an article that size.

Enrichment in USA? (1)

bobbis.u (703273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657212)

From the article:
COUNTRIES WITH CENTRIFUGE PLANTS: Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Iran, Netherlands, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, UK

What does the USA use instead of centrifuge plants then?

Re:Enrichment in USA? (2, Informative)

jfmerryman (670236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657265)

I believe we use gaseous diffusion [nrc.gov] .

American Paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657215)

Scared ....the peopples of Amerika are.

Honestly... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657223)

Stupidest fucking slashdot story this year so far. Jesus H. fucking Christ, Zonk & company. This is *NOT* news. This is *NOT* groundbreaking. Any idiot who wants to know 10 times as much information about unriching uranium need only google or go to wikipedia.

I'm seriously fuming now.

Article is an excerpt... (4, Funny)

DaedalusLogic (449896) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657230)

From: "Nuclear Weapons for Dummies"

Chapters you'll get in the full book:

"Oppenheimer Shcmoppenheimer"
"Building Your First Triggering Device"
"Oops, Look at All the Fallout"

$14.95 US / $19.95 CAN

Errors I noticed (5, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657243)

-Enrichment levels for uranium meant for power plants is about 20% U-235, not 3%.
-The gun and implosion types of bombs aren't tied to the fissile type. You could use either type with either plutonium or uranium.
-They didn't mention confinement of the reaction on the gun type of bomb. If you don't try to hold it together with a heavy bomb casing, the bomb will blow itself apart as soon as fission begins, resulting in a really low yield.

If you were to try to build a bomb from these instructions, it wouldn't work.

Re:Errors I noticed (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657451)

> If you were to try to build a bomb from these instructions, it wouldn't work.

So is this an attempt by some unnamed organization to poision the information network?

This would make any information out there untrusted and require verification and tests before being trusted adding to the complexity of the process. Pretty good low cost method for reducing the value of information, (until critiques of its reliability get out anyways).

Re:Errors I noticed (1)

Nytewynd (829901) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657462)

Great. You just filled in the missing piece for the terrorists.

*Gets in bomb shelter*

Re:Errors I noticed (1)

ikandi (699246) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657499)

Another idiocy is the assertion that an Aum-level body could go plutonium. The detonation timing to achieve a perfectly spherical implosion and the precision milling / metallurgy required for the neutron reflector are a very very big deal which is why Iran is going for the U weapon. Anyone who has read a bit of Tom Clancy knows this :) Save your BBC News criticism for their apologist posture on religious fascism.

Funny (1)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657252)

Yesterday there was a small congressional hearing looking into nuclear weapons and their ability to be used by terrorists. During the hearing someone testified that you see declassified documents on the internet, but never anything comprehensive.

The congressmen, some, were asking their questions like they wanted the information to be out there and talked a lot of urban myths and so forth. They were almost let down when they found out the truth - it hasn't happened yet, "they" don't have a bomb.

Anyways, this reads like an encyclopedia article though...

Newsflash! (1, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657257)

AMAZING DISCOVERY!
Nuclear energy works by splitting atoms!
(continued on page 10)

Re:Newsflash! (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657311)

If they had a story on how to make a working fussion reactor then i might be a little intrested

You want fusion? You got it! (2, Informative)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657438)

> If they had a story on how to make a working fussion reactor then i might be a little intrested

"Good news, everyone!"
- Professor Hubert Farnsworth

Farnsworth Fusor [rexresearch.com] . More on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] .

Buildable and safely operable by any grad student. A non-fusing version (using only hydrogen) that serves as a proof-of-concept could be built and safely demonstrated by a group of bright, mechanically-inclined, and well-equipped high school student.

If, by "working", you mean "produces more energy than it takes to operate", the Farnsworth Fusor doesn't work. If, however, you mean "produces a neutron flux whose presence can only be explained by fusion", it works just fine.

Re:You want fusion? You got it! (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657463)

Acording to simcity though this isnt due till around 2050

Nothing New Here, Move on.... (1)

Nuclear Therapist (887219) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657272)

Already covered long, long ago... See "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" by Richard Rhodes.

Inconsiderate (4, Funny)

rlp (11898) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657287)

The Beeb could have at least provided a translation of the article in Farsi. :~)

Just another example (4, Insightful)

Wapiti-eater (759089) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657312)

of the decline of /. into a cespool of sensationalist pablum. This reads like it was published by the National Enquirer - not a "news for nerds" site. (maybe a 'news for n00bs' site)

Not news, not newsworthy, not even mildly interesting to anyone who was awake in 6th grade science class.

What's next? A front page story on the dangers and publich health threat of dihydrogen oxide?

Re:Just another example (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657376)

I think the BBC story is aimed at school children to give them a little information for school projects .
So either is slashdot is moving into new territorys or i would say its a little error

The Curve of Binding Energy (2, Informative)

KudzuKat (111605) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657319)

As many others have noted, the information in the BBC article is readily available from numerous sources. For a good understanding of the concepts and dangers, I recommend The Curve of Binding Energy by John McPhee.

How is this information of significance (1)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657327)

to any normal person?

Re:How is this information of significance (2, Insightful)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657361)

to anyone reading slashdot?

Way short of "everything"! (3, Informative)

abb3w (696381) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657367)

The article says nothing about the composition or manufacture of the membranes used in gaseous diffusion, how to handle the corrosive nature of U-hexaflouride, and mentions NOTHING about Laser isotope separation (let alone useful tidbits like the actual activation frequencies for U235 and U238 hex). The folk running the Manhattan project had better info than this even before they started. Buy a good introductory textbook [amazon.com] and you'll get way better instructions with far more technical detail.

I guess the slashdot editor thought it was a slow news day or something....

slow news day on slashdot... (3, Funny)

spirit_fingers (777604) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657373)

C'mon guys, this information is both old and public, and it's about as useful for making bombs as Monty Python's infamous guide to flute playing (blow in one end and run your fingers up and down the holes).

Let's have more stories about nude pictures on Yahoo!

everything? (3, Interesting)

Vilim (615798) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657386)

"The BBC has an article that pretty much sums up everything you might need to know if you wanted to refine nuclear fuel and build some atomic weapons."

This is true, in the same way

"Everything you need to know how to build a car is that pistons get pushed down by gas exploding which turns the crankshaft which turns the wheels"

is everything you need to know to build a car. Or

"Think of space as a sheet with masses as balls"

Is everything you need to know about general relativity

A general overview of anything is usually quite simple however in practise building a nuclear bomb is pretty difficult.

Oh come on... (2, Interesting)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657392)

I mean, the article is interesting enough, and relevant given the recent nuclear activities of Iran and North Korea, but this information is widely available and is far from technical. The principal thing that keeps everyone from possessing weapons-grade fissile material is the processing, a step "informatively" denoted with a pair of arrows.

If you want plutonium, you need to have a working fission reactor, which ostensibly makes you subject to regular inspection (and is hard to hide). If you want Highly Enriched Uranium, the enrichment process requires things like production scale mass spectrometers, giant centrifuges, and nasty chemicals (uranium hexafluoride, anyone?)- basically, a large amount of equipment that serves little other obvious purpose.

Of course, what we've seen with North Korea in particular is that the rest of the world knowing you're try to build nukes isn't always a deterrent to building nukes anymore, and in fact makes a handy bargaining chip where you agree to stop making plutonium in exchange for something you want, and then once you get it, continue making plutonium anyway.

Newcular World Order (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657397)

They left out the address of AQ Khan [globalsecurity.org] , who runs a mailorder nukes biz in Pakistan [saag.org] . Just put an account# from Libya, Iran or North Korea [washingtonpost.com] , or maybe Saudi Arabia [nti.org] on your order, and you can get all the tutorial you need. You'll still have to get the fuel from somewhere, but there's plenty of Russian, Kazakh [karabakh-terror.com] or even good ol' Italian [nti.org] mafia dealers. Try the Carlyle Group [ifrance.com] - they might be your one-stop-shop, including the negotiations that signal your initiation into the nuclear club.

Check the publication date? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657428)

Not that this is news anyway, but if you'd checked the original publication date of the article you'd see it's old "news".

This was written in 2003.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657453)

Ok, this was posted in 2003, this is an old news article. Why repost it?

News Flash (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657470)

News Flash: BBC publishes gradeschool physics document...

Nothing news here...

Is it a slow news day? (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657477)

There is nothing in this BBC story that is not in most collage text books that cover this aspect of chemistry and physics.

Re:Is it a slow news day? (1)

Insipid Trunculance (526362) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657513)

its either a slow news day or /. is getting behind the times even more than anybody could have thought possible.

This series of articles is from 2003.

Detailed reads... (2, Informative)

jpellino (202698) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657501)

"The Curve of Binding Energy" with Ted Taylor walking John McPhee through how much damage you could do for surprisingly little effort. Including a tour around southern Manhattan and speculation on using a poorly made nuke to topple a World Trade tower into the river...

That book inspired...

"Mushroom" by John Aristotle Philips about his paper at Princeton describing how to build a bomb. A student of Freeman Dyson, he got far more info than he ever dreamed he could get. The very impressive paper saved some less than stellar grades, and generated quite a buzz, more than a few cloaky phone calls and IIRC the paper got classified by the gummint.

last updated dates (1)

Fox_1 (128616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657512)

I clicked through some of the links, and while it's an interesting article there is nothing new and what's more interesting to me is the article is filed under in depth/world/2003/ on the bbc site. The most recent update I found to it was oct. 2004. As interesting as this is, I don't know how it's very relevant or topical for today's news, there really isn't anything NEW there that hasn't already been fully covered on the bbc site since at least 2003 and a myriad of other sources for much longer.
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