Is it possible for terrorists
to develop an atomic bomb?
Jul 9, 2001
By Miles Stair
We have been told that the development of an
atomic bomb is too vast a project, highly technical, and far
too costly for all but a large and wealthy government to even
Everyone is familiar with the development of
the atomic bomb. The Manhattan Project was the largest,
longest, most costly development program in history, and under
the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The Project developed
an atomic bomb which was tested in the desert near Alamagordo,
New Mexico on July 16, 1945, and two of these bombs were
dropped on Japan, first on Hiroshima on August 6th, then
Nagasaki on August 9th. This is what our history books tell us.
But is it right? No. Not at all.
At the urging of Leo Szilard and Enrico
Fermi, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt
on August 2nd, 1939, to urge the development of an atomic bomb
before Germany did. Einstein and his fellow physicists did not
know what specific use such a bomb could have to the military,
so he said in his letter, This new phenomena would also lead
to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable - though
much less certain - that extremely powerful bombs of a new type
may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by
boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole
port together with some of the surrounding territory. However,
such bombs might very well prove to be too heavy for
transportation by air.
Without realizing it, Einstein set in motion
two very different projects. The first was the development of
an airplane big enough to carry a nuclear bomb the B-29. The
B-29 was the most technologically complex mass-production
aircraft of World War II. The program to built it also
represented the largest commitment of resources to a single
military aircraft up to that time. Initiated in 1940, the
program eventually cost over $3 billion one (1) billion more
than the Manhattan Project!
The second effect of Einstein s letter was a
direct opening for the Navy. Navy Captain William J. Parsons
designed the first atomic bomb, using uranium 235 from the
Hanford reactor on the Columbia River in a project started in
1939. Oppenheimer s Manhattan Engineering Project did not get
started until late in 1941, and was headquartered at Los Alamos
Laboratories, NM, using plutonium from Oak Ridge, Tenn. Captain
Parsons had a two year head start on the Manhattan Project!
Captain Parsons had a simple mandate: build
a bomb that could be used by the U.S. Navy, and do it quickly.
Oppenheimer, however, was to build an implosion bomb using
plutonium, a giant technical breakthrough, developing research
which could be used for the development of future bombs of
various sizes and yields. The two projects thus had virtually
nothing in common except the end result of an atomic explosion,
and were indeed totally separate developmental projects.
Captain Parsons designed a gun bomb. At
Hanford, U-235 was separated from U-238, a slow and laborious
process, as U-235 exists in a proportion of one part to 140
parts U-238. Raw uranium was mixed into a slurry, then a
chemical and mechanical filter system was used for the element
separation. To make plutonium, the U-235 must be bombarded with
more neutrons in a nuclear reactor, then another element
separation needed to get the pure plutonium. But plutonium has
four phase transformations and can go critical all by itself,
so it needs to be mixed with gallium for stabilization.
Obviously, Parsons had an easier task than did Oppenheimer.
Captain Parsons did not have Oppenheimer as
a cooperative partner he had British scientists for help.
They helped develop the overall concept and fusing
requirements. The specifications for the U-235 gun-bomb used at
Hiroshima were complete by February, 1944, according to the
Manhattan District History. Hardware for at least three (3)
uranium-235 guns was ordered at the end of March, 1944.
Basically, the gun-bomb was a 155 mm howitzer breech and 6 feet
of barrel, with a ball welded to the end of the barrel. Inside
the steel ball was a sphere of U-235 with a conical hole
centered on the barrel. The howitzer cartridge was loaded with
a pure U-235 bullet with a matching conical nose or point.
When fired electrically, the bullet hit the ball of U-235 at
high speed, critical mass was achieved, and a nuclear chain
reaction resulted in an explosion.
The finished design weighed approximately
9,000 pounds and could be delivered by a B-29. However, it was
a Navy weapon, and the British scientists pointed out that the
outstanding difficulty of the scheme was that the main
principle could not be tested on a small scale it had to be
tested at full design size and yield. It was assumed that the
design would yield an explosion equivalent to 1.5 tons of
On May 5, 1943, the Military Policy
Committee met and discussed where to use the gun-bomb. The
first choice was the Japanese fleet concentration in the Harbor
of Truk, but General Styer suggested Tokyo harbor, where it
would land in water of sufficient depth to prevent easy salvage
if it failed to work. The Japanese were selected for the first
use as they would not be so apt to secure knowledge from it as
would the Germans, should the bomb fail and be recovered.
Ultimately it was realized a test was required before the
gun-bomb could be used on the Japanese, and the result of that
decision is shocking.
The SS E.A. Bryan victory ship was selected
for the test. The ship was first loaded with the gun-bomb, then
conventional ammunition and bombs were loaded into the ship
over the gun bomb as an intentional cover story for the main
blast. At 10:00 PM on July 17, 1944 at Port Chicago,
approximately 35 miles northeast from San Francisco, the U-235
gun-bomb was tested by the U.S. Navy. The resulting explosion
had an explosive yield exceeding 20,000 tons of TNT, with a
nominal yield for the gun-bomb being estimated at 15,000 tons
of TNT. White hot chunks of metal the size of houses blew up
past aircraft at 9,000 feet near the detonation site. The SS
E.A. Bryan, the pier, a 220 ton locomotive on the pier, and
approximately 320 black ship munitions loaders were instantly
vaporized not a single piece of the locomotive or the ship
were ever found. The world had witnessed the first explosion of
a nuclear bomb, had seen the unique double flash signature and
then the mushroom cloud, but believed the cover story of a
conventional munitions explosion. Remember, this was war time
and rigid censorship was in place, and no one had ever seen the
unique "double flash" signature of an atomic explosion or a
The gun-bomb designed by Captain Parsons was
a success, was called Little Boy, and the two remaining bombs
were ultimately shipped on the cruiser USS Indianapolis to
Tinian Island (remember, it was a Navy bomb!), and one of them
was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 by the B-29 Enola
Gay. The records of the Navy/Parsons gun-bomb project were
declassified in 1981.
The Navy eventually bought out the town of
Port Chicago, and the depot itself was incorporated into the
Concord Naval Weapons Station.
Within a week of the test of his gun-bomb,
Captain Parsons was promoted to the rank of Commodore and
assigned to Los Alamos as Deputy Director under J. Robert
Oppenheimer. After Hiroshima, Parsons was elevated to the rank
of Rear Admiral. Parsons died in 1952.
Meanwhile, back at Los Alamos, things were
not going well. There was only 74 kilograms of U-235 available
by December, 1943. Effective August 1, 1944, Los Alamos
Laboratories were reorganized, all work on the U-235 gun-bomb
curtailed, and efforts were concentrated on the plutonium-239
Nagasaki bomb, with Commodore Parsons as Division Leader for
the Ordnance Engineering Division.
The Fat Man Nagasaki bomb, with a ball of
plutonium-239 exploded by means of an implosion caused by
shaped charges of conventional explosives, was more difficult
to build, and no one knew if it would actually work. It was
tested on July 16, 1945, at Alamogordo, New Mexico. It had an
estimated yield of 21,000 tons of TNT. Within two weeks, two
additional bombs were built. The second plutonium bomb was
loaded on a B-29, but it crashed at an air base between San
Francisco and Sacramento, and the bomb was lost. The third
bomb, separated into various components, was successfully flown
by several B-29's out of Roswell AAB, NM to Tinian Island. At
1:45 AM, August 6 the B-29 Enola Gay took off from Tinian
Island; at 8:15 it dropped Little Boy on Hiroshima, killing
78,150 Japanese. Three days later the plutonium bomb was
dropped on Nagasaki, killing 23,753 more.
The U.S. Navy--Parsons gun-bomb has
virtually disappeared from mainstream history, and it is
assumed that all atomic bombs are plutonium-239 weapons. Rear
Admiral Parsons has lost his place in history as the developer
of the world s first atomic bomb. Very clever terrorists,
however, know how to access the internet and find all the
information they need to build it. Even though obsolete and
inefficient, it works and works well. This letter, however, is
proof that information on the gun-bomb exists!
In the late 1980's, the Japanese cult Aum
Shinrikyo began a project to built weapons of mass destruction.
Aum Shinrikyo gained notoriety in 1995 when it released
extravagant quantities of the nerve gas sarin into the Tokyo
subway system, killing twelve people. A search of their records
revealed that Aum Shinrikyo had purchased land in the vast
Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia -- which had a
uranium deposit. Aum Shinrikyo hired Russian nuclear scientists
in 1990, and they duplicated the Parsons gun-bomb from raw
uranium in the Australian outback At 11:03 PM on May 28, 1993,
they successfully tested their gun-bomb, completely unnoticed
by anyone!!! Seismograph needles all over the Pacific region
noted the very large-scale disturbance near a place called
Banjawarn Station, and some prospectors later reported seeing a
flash in the sky, but the explosion had no obvious explanation,
so it was filed away as an unexplained curiosity.
Fugitive Saudi terrorist-sponsor Osama bin
Laden is a billionaire, has an intense hatred of the Great
Satan the United States. Bin Laden certainly has the assets
and motivation required to build a gun-bomb even if he could
not purchase a nuclear weapon from one of the former Soviet
states. He knows they can be used on ports and harbors, and
getting a fishing vessel loaded with an atomic weapon into a
U.S. harbor would be incredibly easy. New York, Washington, DC,
and Miami are likely targets for bin Laden, as they represent
not only the heart of the United States financial and
governmental systems, they also have a large population of
another group of people he loathes Jews. It s just a matter