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Episode 262

S-50 (Manhattan Project)
Mon, 2018-Jan-22 01:02 UTC
Length - 2:35

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Monday, 22 January 2018 is S-50 (Manhattan Project).

The S-50 Project was the Manhattan Project's effort to produce enriched uranium by liquid thermal diffusion during World War II. It was one of three technologies for uranium enrichment pursued by the Manhattan Project.

The liquid thermal diffusion process was not one of the enrichment technologies initially selected for use in the Manhattan Project, and was developed independently by Philip H. Abelson and other scientists at the United States Naval Research Laboratory. This was primarily due to doubts about the process's technical feasibility, but inter-service rivalry between the United States Army and United States Navy also played a part.

Pilot plants were built at the Anacostia Naval Air Station and the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and a production facility at the Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This was the only production-scale liquid thermal diffusion plant ever built. It could not enrich uranium sufficiently for use in an atomic bomb, but it could provide slightly enriched feed for the Y-12 calutrons and the K-25 gaseous diffusion plants. It was estimated that the S-50 plant had sped up production of enriched uranium used in the Little Boy bomb employed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by a week.

The S-50 plant ceased production in September 1945, but it was reopened in May 1946, and used by the United States Army Air Forces Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft (NEPA) project. The plant was demolished in the late 1940s.

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