The World's First Plutonium Production Reactor

[ pour la version française ] [enlarge the photo ]

The Hanford "B" reactor was the first plutonium production reactor in the world. Built in secrecy at Hanford, Washington, during World War II, it used graphite as a moderator, and it was fuelled with natural (unenriched) uranium that had been refined at Port Hope, Ontario. (This same combination of unenriched uranium fuel and graphite moderator was used in the reactors at Chernobyl in the Ukraine.) Inside the "B" reactor, some of the uranium-238 atoms were transmuted into plutonium-239 atoms; the spent fuel was then reprocessed and the plutonium was chemically extracted for use in the Trinity and Nagasaki bombs.
photo by Robert Del Tredici from his book entitled
At Work In The Fields Of The Bomb (Harper and Row, 1987)

[Hanford "B" Reprocessing Plant ] [Breeding plutonium-239 ]
[ Plutonium Sub-Directory ] [ COMPLETE DIRECTORY ]

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