What has happened to the survivors of the early Los Alamos nuclear accidents Page: 3 of 35
This article is part of the collection entitled: Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports and was provided to Digital Library by the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE SURVIVORS OF THE EARLY
LOS ALAMOS NUCLEAR ACCIDENTS?
Louis H. Hempelmann, Clarence C. Lushbaugh and George L. Voelz
Two nuclear accidents involving a plutonium sphere
just subcritical in size occurred at the Los Alamos
Laboratory, LA-1 in 1945 and LA-2 in 1946. Each of the
so-called criticality experiments called for neutron
reflecting material to be placed around the sphere.
When enough of the neutrons which had leaked from the
sphere were reflected back into the sphere to allow a
self-sustaining chain of fission reactions, the
assembly was said to be in the critical state. Because
remote control devices were deemed unreliable at the
time, the tamper material (tungsten carbide bricks in
LA-1 and beryllium hemispheres in LA-2) was added by
hand with the operator standing next to the assembly.
In each case the critical size of the assembly was
accidentally exceeded and the resultant exponentially
increasing chain reaction emitted a burst of neutrons
and gamma rays.
Here’s what’s next.
This article can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Article.
Hempelman, L.H.; Lushbaugh, C.C. & Voelz, G.L. What has happened to the survivors of the early Los Alamos nuclear accidents, article, January 1, 1979; New Mexico. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1093988/m1/3/: accessed April 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.