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Quote:In his book The Virus House, British researcher and journalist David Irving writes:
In June 1940, when battle had ceased in France and occupation reigned for four years, Germany’s positions in the nuclear race were very impressive and even frightening: Germany did not have large stores of heavy water, but to make up for this she seized the only heavy water factory in the world; she became the holder of thousands of tons of very pure uranium compounds and established control over an almost completed cyclotron; she had at her disposal cadres of physicists, chemists, and engineers not yet robbed of their vitality by all-out war; and her chemical industry was the most powerful in the world.”
If the Germans had managed to create an atomic bomb before the Americans and then put two or three bombs into two or three of the many hundreds of A-4 rockets launched at Britain, the world today might look completely different.
It is surprising that the primary reasons for the slow pace of work on the German atomic project were not technical. The lack of progress resulted instead from conflicts among high-level scientists and the regime’s arrogant and conde-scending attitude toward a discipline that lacked rocket science’s active promoters. From the first days of the war, the German economy was consumed by the imme-diate needs of one blitzkrieg after another.The Germans’ early military successes in Europe and the Soviet Union led the Germans to believe in the complete superi-ority of their military technology. And if that was the case, then why spend funds and divert efforts to new labor-intensive developments and scientific research proj-ects aimed at creating an even more perfect weapon?
But that was not the single cause of the German physicists’ failure. On this point I concur with the very competent research of David Irving, who writes in The Virus House, “In late 1940, German physicists had not foreseen any serious difficulties on the way to the military use of atomic energy....Having rejected graphite in January 1941, German scientists committed a fatal mistake. Now it is well known.” This error worked to the advantage of missile specialists because there clearly was not enough graphite in Germany for both fields of endeavor. We and the Americans also used graphite control surfaces to control missiles up until the mid-1950s. Now it is well known that it is better to use other meth-ods instead of control vanes of any material. But more than ten years of persist-ent work by specialists from the USSR and United States were required to switch to this method.
Who knows how the situation would have turned out if the mistake had been corrected in a timely manner. This mistake, which was fatal for the German atomic project, proved to be fortunate for humankind. It became the main obstacle and hindered the Germans from creating a critical reac-tor using graphite and uranium, in other words, the same type of reactor as the first operating reactor in the world, which the Americans created two years later . . .
As far as one can tell from the published research, neither Russian nor Ameri-can postwar researchers have fully appreciated how the Peenemünde rocketeers’ invention of graphite control surfaces saved humankind. The Germans were forced to use up their extremely limited stores of pure graphite.
Rockets and People: Volume I (NASA History) Paperback – April 29, 2013, p247-249.
Quote:Boris Evseyevich Chertok was a prominent Soviet and Russian rocket designer, responsible for control systems of a number of ballistic missiles and spacecraft. Chertok was born in 1912 in Poland, and his family moved to Moscow when he was three years old. Academician Chertok began his career as an electrician in Moscow before joining the aircraft design bureau of Viktor Bolkhovitinov in 1934.
In 1946, he joined the newly established NII-88 institute as head of the control systems department and worked hand-in-hand with famed Chief Designer Sergey Korolev.
Chertok became one of Korolev's closest aides in developing control systems for ballistic missiles and spacecraft, eventually becoming deputy chief designer of the famous OKB-1, the design organization that spun off from NII-88 in 1956 and was responsible for a remarkable string of space firsts of the early Soviet space program. Chertok participated in every major project at OKB-1, now the S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, until his retirement from active work in 1991. Among his many contributions to the Russian space industry, he was closely involved in the launch of the world's first satellite, Sputnik, on October 4, 1957 and the first human spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961. Following his retirement, Chertok served as a senior consultant at RSC-Energia and published a series of memoirs, "Rockets and People," chronicling the history of the Russian space program.
http://web.archive.org/web/2019110707385...www.amazon DOT com/Rockets-People-I-NASA-History/dp/1484842677
Quote:The enrichement of Uranium-235 must of course reach 3% to 5% (low enriched uranium, LEU) to be used in nuclear reactors.
Uranium enriched to more than 20% uranium-235 is defined as highly enriched uranium (HEU). All HEU is weapons-usable, but the lower the enrichment level the greater the amount of material required to achieve a critical mass—the amount of material required to build a bomb.
States with nuclear weapons typically use so-called weapons-grade HEU, which is typically defined as 90% HEU or above, to minimize weapons’ size. Smaller and lighter nuclear weapons are much easier to deliver; ballistic missiles in particular can only deliver highly miniaturized nuclear weapons.