At the Heart of the Atom

Did Physicists Recognize the Military Uses of Fission?

Why was plutonium used in bombs?

Plutonium is not found in nature, but it is produced in reactors by bombarding urani-um-238 with neutrons. Plutonium-239 (239Pu) can be fissioned by slow neutrons, and so could be used in weapons. In December 1942, Hanford, Oregon, was chosen as a site for reactors that would produce plutonium. Hanford was selected because it was isolated but also on the Columbia River, which afforded a source of cooling water.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Physics Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App