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Wikileaks Releases Early Atomic Bomb Diagram 429

Posted by Soulskill
from the some-assembly-required dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wikileaks has released a diagram of the first atomic weapon, as used in the Trinity test and subsequently exploded over the Japanese city of Nagasaki, together with an extremely interesting scientific analysis. Wikileaks has not been able to fault the document or find reference to it elsewhere. Given the high quality of other Wikileaks submissions, the document may be what it purports to be, or it may be a sophisticated intelligence agency fraud, designed to mislead the atomic weapons development programs of countries like Iran. The neutron initiator is particularly novel. 'When polonium is crushed onto beryllium by explosion, reaction occurs between polonium alpha emissions and beryllium leading to Carbon-12 & 1 neutron. This, in practice, would lead to a predictable neutron flux, sufficient to set off device.'"
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Wikileaks Releases Early Atomic Bomb Diagram

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  • Well, (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daimanta (1140543) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:46AM (#22765194) Journal
    I have tried to make a bomb with this diagram and I have had no problems with the designs. I guess it must b[NO CARRIER]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:47AM (#22765198)
    Ok we get it, wikileaks has a lot of cool shit to check out, but this is getting redundant.
    It's not news to say "Hey look wikileaks has XXX up". People can goto wikileaks themselves and see without you guys posting it like its real news.
  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:49AM (#22765206)
    But I thought the mechanics of such a device were pretty well understood? Don't they just divide a sphere with sufficient critical mass into "pie" pieces and then just use explosives to force all the pieces together at the appropriate time? (I'm sure it's not quite THAT simple.)

    Cheers,
    • by Hatta (162192) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:54AM (#22765248) Journal
      Yeah, and you'd think a country like Iran would have other ways to get this kind of information. Like, I dunno, stealing it from Pakistan [cbsnews.com].

      The nuclear cat is out of the bag, and as long as the US has a single nuke, they have no place to lecture others about non-proliferation.
      • by gnick (1211984) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:03AM (#22765286) Homepage

        Yeah, and you'd think a country like Iran would have other ways to get this kind of information. Like, I dunno, stealing it from Pakistan.
        Yes, most of the information is public domain [nuclearweaponarchive.org] at this point. Although, I've never seen a sketch with specific weights in the wild before. Those you would need to "steal" from Dr. Khan [wikipedia.org].
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
        The nuclear cat is out of the bag, and as long as the US has a single nuke, they have no place to lecture others about non-proliferation.

        Possession is not equivalent to proliferation. As long as the US isn't trying to sell the tech to other countries, I don't see the hypocrisy in this particular instance. Maybe the US is doing just that, I don't know.
        • by smallfries (601545) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:35AM (#22765492) Homepage
          That's a contorted argument designed to win a cheap point in an argument. You know exactly what the GP meant: The point of proliferation is that it leads to possession. A country possessing nukes cannot argue against proliferation without being a hypocrite - it is specifically arguing that other countries should not be able to do what it has.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by aurispector (530273)
            Sorry , I just cant agree. This argument assumes all regiemes are equal. Equating the US to Iran or North Korea is ludicrous in the extreme, and you know it.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by dfetter (2035)
              Absolutely right. Neither Iran nor North Korea have waged wars of aggression in the past 50 years. If you're alleging that the US hasn't done so, you're being extremely naïf.
              • by QuantumBritt (456422) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:31PM (#22765820)
                Uh, did you forget about that little 8 year long war they had against Iraq? Seriously, before making statements you should do a little research... while one might call the Iran - Iraq war a war of aggression on Iraq's part, they can only do so up until a certain point when Iran certainly was the aggressor.


                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Iraq_War [wikipedia.org]

                • by dfetter (2035) <david@fetter.org> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @03:53PM (#22767194) Homepage Journal

                  Uh, did you forget about that little 8 year long war they had against Iraq?

                  You mean the one Saddam started, using aggression as in unprovoked attack? The one we told him we'd be just fine with? That one?

                  Seriously, before making statements you should do a little research... while one might call the Iran - Iraq war a war of aggression on Iraq's part, they can only do so up until a certain point when Iran certainly was the aggressor.

                  Iraq was the aggressor, with our full blessings. Please to get your head out of your hat, or wherever it is that you've had it stuck.
              • by mc6809e (214243) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @01:51PM (#22766366)
                Neither Iran nor North Korea have waged wars of aggression in the past 50 years. If you're alleging that the US hasn't done so, you're being extremely naïf.

                While there hasn't been a lot of fighting, North Korea is still at war with the south, so why would they need to initiate another war? They've been at war for 50 years!

                And Iran invaded US territory when they took the US embassy in 1980. They've been fighting the US and Israel for 20+years since. Oh sure, there's been no official declaration of war. But you'd have to be extremely naif to believe they aren't actively participating, though indirectly, in a war against the US and Israel.

              • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @03:54PM (#22767206)

                Absolutely right. Neither Iran nor North Korea have waged wars of aggression in the past 50 years. If you're alleging that the US hasn't done so, you're being extremely naïf.

                You're right, sort of. Iran was invaded and fought with Iraq for 8 years. North Korea didn't exist until after the Korean war, and is held in check by the USA. They do, however, kidnap people from Japan and Korea as a matter of course. Sure, they haven't invaded anybody, but it's mainly because they haven't had the chance.

              • by sentientbrendan (316150) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @04:10PM (#22767296)
                >Neither Iran nor North Korea have waged wars of aggression in the past 50 years.

                North Korea hasn't waged a war of aggression in the past 50 years... for a reason. The korean war ended with the south free because there were US troups at the border to keep north korean troops from taking the south.

                Iran I agree may be exaggerated as a threat, but you should consider the roll that America's wars have played in history over the past 50 years.

                Cold War Era:

                The Korean War
                Lebanon crisis of 1958
                Bay of Pigs Invasion
                Dominican Intervention
                Vietnam War
                Tehran hostage rescue
                Grenada
                Beirut
                Panama

                Post Cold War Era:

                Gulf War
                Somalia
                Yugoslavia

                Bush Era:

                Afghanistan
                Philippines
                Liberia
                Iraq

                A lot of these conflicts had minor US involvement, but I've listed them for completeness (Liberia involved sending "three warships with 2,300 Marines into view of the coast," and funding Economic Community of West African States troops.)

                What should be most notable about every last one of these wars, is that while some of them were major mistakes, all of them were in defense of pretty much every first world democratic country, and not just the united states.

                People seem to enjoy bashing the United States for it's mistakes, and sometimes we deserve it, but the truth is that the current balance of power has benefited pretty much everyone posting on slashdot. There have been no new world wars for a reason. The soviet union ended it's domination of europe, and was not able to press in further than they did for a reason. Every first world nation prizes it's military alliance with the US for a reason.

                The truth is that the roll that the US plays is maintaining a balance of power with democratic nations at the top, and dictatorial nations at the bottom. The truth is that without the US forces there to maintain that balance of power, this would end quickly. The other first world nations do not have comparable military forces, and largely don't have the forces necessary to defend themselves from their neighbors.

                Consider what would have happened without US forces to maintain the ballance of power:
                1. In the cold war, pretty much all of Europe would have ended up in soviet hands.
                2. South Korea would fall to North Korea *immediately* if US forces weren't there to back them up.
                3. Taiwan would end up in Chinese hands *today* if the US wasn't committed to defending them from invasion.
                4. Pakistan would have difficulty surviving without US military aid.
                5. Israel probably wouldn't survive without US backing.

                Israel is probably the most controversial of those choices, and a lot of people, myself included, are pretty unhappy with how they treat the palestinians, but I don't think anyone wants to see Israel destroyed (well... except for the people trying to destroy it) as that would cost considerably more lives than the current conflict.

                So while it may be reasonable to criticize specific US actions, it's pretty ridiculous to act like you don't want the US there defending your interests, or that you're unhappy with the status quo.
            • by fbjon (692006) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:58PM (#22765960) Homepage Journal
              Yes, Iran and North Korea (e.g.) aren't quite trustworthy when it comes to implements of destruction. However, you're making the assumption that the US is the opposite. That's where the hypocrisy lies.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Deagol (323173)
              Equating the US to Iran or North Korea is ludicrous in the extreme, and you know it.

              Indeed. The US is the only one of those countries to actually *use* a nuclear weapon against another country. The US's own "downwinders" don't count here.

          • by DaHat (247651) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:08PM (#22765668) Homepage
            If you think it a hypocritical stance or a double standard you don't understand the standard very well.

            Lets consider a simpler example... I am a gun owner who is very pro-gun and support the second amendment... does that mean I'm a hypocrite because I am all for the barring of certain people from legally owning firearms?

            In this country we limit the rights of certain people... such as minors and felons, people who we as an ordered society have deemed either not yet mature enough to handle the responsibility or have shown themselves to be irresponsible through the commission (and conviction) of a very serious crime.

            The same thing is seen when the United States (and others) try to stop other countries from developing/processing nuclear weapons. We don't do it arbitrarily and say "Nyeh, we want to be the only ones with the bomb"... instead we do it to generally unstable nations who are less likely to act responsibly with it.
            • by smallfries (601545) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:29PM (#22765800) Homepage
              No this is completely wrong. Non-proliferation is completely unilateral and is aimed at preventing all non-nuclear states from developing the bomb. Have a read [wikipedia.org] if you are unsure of the terms - but don't make up half-baked analogies to support your incorrect assumptions.

              So in your terms, the signatories to the NPT who possess nukes are saying "Nyeh, we want to be the only ones with the bomb". Which is why the poster that I replied to was making such a contorted point, why the US is hypocritical in its policy, and why you are flat out wrong.
          • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @01:15PM (#22766056)
            No.
            The point of non-proliferation is that unlike the U.S. who used the weapons twice and then stopped because they were horrified, there are a lot of crazy fucks on this planet who know what nukes do and would love to use them.

            Nukes and biological warfare are likely end scenarios in our lifetime. As it gets easier and easier to do this kind of thing, smaller and smaller groups can pull it off. I'm certain within my life time some terrorist organization is going to release a deadly flu or enhanced disease into the US using suicidal (or unwitting) humans to transport into the target country.

            Do you think the US, Russia, China, or any other rational country is going to use Nukes first again? I think not.

            Do you think there are many terrorist organizations that would use nukes if they had them? I think so.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ceoyoyo (59147)
          Neither North Korea nor Iran are trying to sell nukes to other countries. In fact, I can't really imagine a country doing such a thing, with the possible exception of the US and Israel.

          They ARE (if you believe the US... they do have rather a track record of being wrong) trying to learn how to build nuclear weapons, just like the US did in the 1940's.

          I don't think it's a particularly good idea for everybody to have nukes, but I think there are better ways to decide who should and shouldn't have them than le
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dachannien (617929)

        The nuclear cat is out of the bag, and as long as the US has a single nuke, they have no place to lecture others about non-proliferation.
        If you believe that nuclear weapons proliferation invariably decreases worldwide stability, then you should be all in favor of any nation, including the United States, attempting to dissuade other nations from trying to obtain nuclear weapons.
    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:00AM (#22765268) Journal
      To quote the analysis by Wikileaks:

      This diagram is not really a secret to foreign intelligence services; nobody is going to be surprised by this design, just by the fact that it's appeared in public. Open sources have speculated on these matters for a long time (see nuclear weapons design article in Wikipedia), and this just confirms that they were right. (The structure of the neutron initiator is elegant, and interesting, however.)

      This is a crude, but effective, plutonium based design. Devices that are orders of magnitude more efficient are possible. A disclosure of, for example, the plans of the W-88 or a Russian equivalent, would be far more threatening, as there are actually real secrets involved there not known to all the NWS (the Big-5 + India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea) or Virtual NWS (Germany, Japan, Sweden, South Korea, Canada, Ukraine, Taiwan, Italy, Spain...to name a few) intelligence agencies. After 1949 or so, disclosure of this would not have been a real threat to U.S. national security.

      The real problem about building one of these designs is the rarity (at least outside of NWS nuclear facilities) of plutonium and polonium, as well as the ability to fabricate sophisticated high explosives to exacting specifications. We're not talking about IEDs here. To build a nuclear weapon requires a state.
      I do still think (as they say) that it is interesting that the documents have surfaced at all. I am very impressed with the even handedness that Wikileaks shows in providing possibilities for a hoax but also potential evidence to the contrary - it's somewhat of a breath of fresh air compared to much of the sensationalism that we are often subjected to on subjects much more trivial than this.
    • by FudRucker (866063)
      you take a ball of uranium and shoot it with a bullet made of uranium...
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:19AM (#22765394)

        you take a ball of uranium and shoot it with a bullet made of uranium...

        You just described the "Little Boy" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_boy/ [wikipedia.org]). The document in question describes the "Fat Man" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_Man [wikipedia.org]), a wholly different design.

    • by arivanov (12034) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:05PM (#22765654) Homepage
      Exactly, nothing particularly novel about the initiator.

      The world and its dog knows that it is Be + Alpha emitter. In fact, the first time I read it was in high school.

      Po is not the only option here. Ra will also work, so will a few others. In fact if anything makes me doubt this document is exactly this. The Hirosima and Nagasaki bombs were manufactured before the radioactive isotope industry came online. In those years everything was geared towards plutonium and U235. Very few resources were devoted to other stuff. So I would have expected to see Ra there, not Po because Ra was retrieved as a byproduct of the mining and did not require special manufacturing. IIRC the Kurchatov's first Russian bomb was with a Ra/Be initiator, not Po/Be.
      • by eebra82 (907996) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:59PM (#22765968) Homepage
        You seem to know your way around making bombs. Say, would you be interested in moving to Tehran?

        If so, drop me a message.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by arivanov (12034)
          Things like that are studied in school in Eastern Europe. If that was what it took to build a bomb the Ayatollah's would have had it long ago.

          The reality is that none of these are key steps. They are common knowledge. Now the enrichment is a different story. It takes a lot of design work to get a good centrifuge going. And this is also where the west failed. If we did not tacitly approve the theft of centrifuge design by a "scientist" from Pakistan, if we did not tacitly approve him building a bomb and sell
      • Po is not the only option here. Ra will also work, so will a few others. In fact if anything makes me doubt this document is exactly this. The Hirosima and Nagasaki bombs were manufactured before the radioactive isotope industry came online. In those years everything was geared towards plutonium and U235. Very few resources were devoted to other stuff. So I would have expected to see Ra there, not Po because Ra was retrieved as a byproduct of the mining and did not require special manufacturing.

        Sometimes I find the arrogance of Slashdot incredible. It doesn't matter what history records - the document can't be correct because you "wouldn't expect" the configuration it shows. You can't even be bothered to google or do any other research.
    • by mikerich (120257) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:10PM (#22765674)
      The Trinity design, and by extension the first Soviet and British weapons, was a solid sphere of plutonium at the centre of which was the neutron source known as the initiator, or by its designers - the Gadget. There was a subcritical mass of plutonium in the bomb, but if it was compressed it would become supercritical and explode (compressing, reduces the distance between nuclei making it more likely that a neutron from one fissioning nucleus will hit another and propagate a chain reaction).

      The compression was achieved using a sphere of high explosive lenses which when detonated acted to symmetrically squeeze the plutonium core into a tiny fraction of its original volume. At the same time, the initiator would be crushed, rupture and begin spilling additional neutrons into the core of the bomb. The timing here is crucial, there is actually only a tiny tiny fraction of a second for the bomb to reach optimum conditions for fission, so even though the initiator spits out billions of neutrons, only ten or so are present at the crucial moment!

      The Trinity design was pretty much obsolete in the US from about 1948 when the US exploded a series of bombs in Operation Sandstone. These weapons used a so called levitated core - a hollow core of plutonium rather than a solid core. The hollow core allows for much greater compression and allows plutonium to go much further. It also led to smaller, lighter weapons that could be put on a missile.

      The broad design of Trinity has been known for some time now, but what has been much less understood are the designs of the explosive lenses, the detonators for the lenses and perhaps most secretive - the initiator.

      Knowledge of the initiator design was crucial for the Soviet Union to explode Joe 1 in 1949, they got that from spies within the Manhattan Project, including Klaus Fuchs who had been on the initiator design team. When the US excluded the UK from nuclear weapons research (despite the UK providing them with many of the key technologies), Fuchs and co. went on to help design the first British weapon, Hurricane, which was detonated in 1952 a few days before America exploded Mike, the first true hydrogen bomb.
      • The broad design of Trinity has been known for some time now, but what has been much less understood are the designs of the explosive lenses, the detonators for the lenses and perhaps most secretive - the initiator.

        Maybe for amateurs. Folks who actually study nuclear weapons have known pretty much everything on the diagram and everything you describe as "less understood" for years now.
         
        For the same reason, much of the amateur commentary on the Wikileaks page makes me gag.
         
        "Diagram Roughly to scale. No easy feat in days prior to computerized drafting tools." WTF? Making a diagram to scale, even roughly, is trivial. I was doing it in the sixth grade (1974!) with little plastic ruler and a cheap metal compass. "High Explosives & Miznay/Schardin effect (e.g. shaped charge) Miznay/Schardin effect will work in this design, in all likelihood, though the additional layer of HE after the first layer of lenses is a surprise." Well, no - the second layer isn't a surprise. Richard Rhodes described it in the The Making of the Atomic Bomb" in 1986! "Neutron Initiator Theoretically workable." Well, duh. This has also been widely described in the literature - I'd have been surprised to find if it weren't as diagrammed.
         
        Etc... etc..
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vertinox (846076)
      From my understanding, the bomb itself is not that complicated. One of bombs dropped on Japan was pretty much a bullet of uranium fired into a core.

      The sticking point is that its rather difficult to refine the uranium and then the plutonium used in more powerful bombs.

      So if you have the industrial capacity to create the uranium, the bomb itself is quite simple to assemble. If Wikileaks had an article posted about "How to refine uranium with sea water, bottle of bleach, and a house hold blender" then I would
  • Hmmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by ozmanjusri (601766)
    Excellent!

    Now where did I leave my spare polonium?

  • *Yawn* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:51AM (#22765218) Journal
    Having the plans, and having the tooling and know-how to actually follow the plans to get a working device are two hugely different matters.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Not that anyone said anything else than that most obvious fact.
  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:58AM (#22765254) Homepage
    I'm not terribly happy seeing nuclear weapons plans on the internet. Even if all this stuff is theoretically "already known," I'd be happy with a layer of security through obscurity; it's now "known" to about half a billion more people than it had been. But I did look at it.

    I expect that this is going to get Wikileaks a lot of publicity, but I think it may be harmful publicity-- whenever they try to claim that they're doing a useful service, people are now going to point at this and say "yeah, and also publishing plans for weapons."

  • that mass quantities of crude fission weapons have their uses. For example, if we ever get invaded by technologically-advanced, elephantine aliens, we'll need them as fuel for our gigantic spacegoing attack platform.
  • by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:59AM (#22765264)
    "When polonium is crushed onto beryllium by explosion, reaction occurs between polonium alpha emissions and beryllium leading to Carbon-12 & 1 neutron. This, in practice, would lead to a predictable neutron flux, sufficient to set off device."
    Wikipedia gives the half-life of the most commonly used Polonium isotope with about 138 days:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polonium [wikipedia.org]
    This may be fine for a bomb that is to be used shortly after manufacture, but not for a warhead that is supposed to sit in a missile silo for years. Of course, the USA wanted to use the bomb on Japan, so long-term storagewas not an issue ;-)
    • by MWoody (222806) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:22AM (#22765420)
      I think you win for the most wildly inappropriate use of the winking smiley in Internet history.
    • by petes_PoV (912422) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:30AM (#22765468)
      You're right - but I think it's a myth that nukes and their delivery systems can be set, waiting without maintenance for years until somone just presses the button. Maybe that's the real reason there aren't any space-based weapons.

      In practice (I'm no expert, but this is the internet!) when you take the serviceability of weapons, missiles, communications, bunkers and all the other pieces into account, I'd be surprised if more that 1/4 of any major nuclear force could be launched on any particular day, unless there was a lot of build up time to get all the parts reassembled and tested. Just look at how long it takes to get a satellite launch vehicle or the scuttle ready to go.

      That does lead to the rather worrying question of just how many nukes are in transit between their SILOs and the (re)manufacturing facilities on any given day.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DerekLyons (302214)

        You're right - but I think it's a myth that nukes and their delivery systems can be set, waiting without maintenance for years until somone just presses the button.

        And you base this belief on what exactly?

        In practice (I'm no expert, but this is the internet!) when you take the serviceability of weapons, missiles, communications, bunkers and all the other pieces into account, I'd be surprised if more that 1/4 of any major nuclear force could be launched on any particular day

        That's why there

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheHawke (237817)
      Partly why Gen. Groves wanted to drop it after it was put together. That and politics as well. He wanted to show Truman that his device could do what he promised and convince Truman not to commit on the invasion.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mentaldrano (674767)
      There were problems with more than just storage - after WWII was over, nearly all the nuclear physicists and engineers who had built these bombs (BY HAND) left to return to universities. This left the US nuclear stockpile at a surprising level: ZERO. We literally had no reserve and no capacity to build any more - the huge fear was that the Russians would find out about this and invade western Europe before we could build any more bombs.

      The Manhattan project gets all the press for producing the first bombs
  • Novel? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by deglr6328 (150198) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:00AM (#22765270)
    What exactly is so "novel" about the description of the neutron initiator? This design of the "urchin" has been known for decades and hasn't been novel since the 50's. No one even uses them anymore due to unpredictability, all implosion weapons use pulsed neutron generators based on fusion of deuterium with tritium. If anything, the document merely serves to confirm that we've been right about our ideas on how the thing originally worked.
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:01AM (#22765272)
    Back in the mid 70's, Electronics Australia (hobbyist HAM radio and electronics magazine - now defunct) did a mock project that showed you how to make a non-portable atomic bomb. The design was based on firing a large uranium bullet at a uranium target. The target was encased with several tonnes of concrete in order to contain the critical mass long enough for an explosion to occur. In the article they talked about how construction of the bomb would basically kill the workers, which at the time seemed stupid, but in these days of suicide bombers seems reasonable.
  • by acehole (174372) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:02AM (#22765274) Homepage
    ...until the design which involves a pringles can is available.
  • Propaganda (Score:3, Funny)

    by einar2 (784078) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:13AM (#22765340)
    "...atomic weapons development programs of countries like Iran"

    Starting to believe in your own propaganda can be an indicator that there is something in your tap water.
  • Aha! (Score:5, Funny)

    by RealGrouchy (943109) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:21AM (#22765408)
    Now that Wikileaks has the bomb, people will think twice about trying to shut it down!

    - RG>
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:23AM (#22765426) Homepage

    This isn't complete. It omits an important detail that has never appeared in US open publications but has appeared in some materials from the former USSR.

    What this looks like is close to what Klaus Fuchs gave to the Russians when he was spying at Los Alamos. A similar rough sketch was published decades ago, but not one with dimensions.

  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:24AM (#22765436) Homepage

    Wikileaks has released a diagram of the first atomic weapon, as used in the Trinity test and subsequently exploded over the Japanese city of Nagasaki, together with an extremely interesting scientific analysis.

    Thank you for contributing to nuclear weapons proliferation... Looks like you did...

    Wikileaks has not been able to fault the document or find reference to it elsewhere.

    Hopefully, there is, indeed, a fault in there somewhere, which Wikileaks were either sincerely unable to find or are simply lying about having missed.

    These — along with their recent run-in with the judge — raises important questions, however. Are there secret documents in existence, that WikiLeaks would refuse to make available if given?

    I mean, if it is not an ancient (though just as deadly) nuclear bomb design, but something more recent? How about plans for America's invasion of Iran or North Korea? What about the plans for our defense of Taiwan — there must be some uncomfortable answers to ugly questions in there...

    What about civil government? A police-department's plans for riot-prevention, or a coordinated anti-drug raid?

    What about "personal" secrets? How about a politician's diary? How about that of a CEO of a big corporation — he may have recorded private thoughts in there, such as whether his secretary is genuinely more affectionate to him, than his wife?

    When does "strong transparency" turn into treason, obstructing justice, or invasion of privacy?

    • by Goonie (8651) <[gro.arbmaneb] [ta] [lekrem.trebor]> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:48AM (#22765562) Homepage

      Thank you for contributing to nuclear weapons proliferation... Looks like you did...
      I doubt it very much. There doesn't appear to be anything at all new here, just a pencil sketch of the basic implosion design that's been known for many years.

      The hard part of making a nuclear weapon is getting the raw materials and the means to shape them precisely enough.

    • by Oktober Sunset (838224) <sdpage103NO@SPAMyahoo.co.uk> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:32PM (#22765824)
      When making a nuke, the design is not a major obstacle, a handful of smart guys n gals could come up with a design from scratch pretty easy. It is the refinement of the delicious weapons grade nuclear material that is the problem. I say: Lets all share the love, nukes all or for none. If you want to blame someone for nuclear proliferation, blame the US govenment, they've given away a lot more nuclear secrets.

      wait, lets go thru those 1 by 1. New nuke design: I you have the resources to make it, getting a design for free is just a little bonus, so who cares. Plans to invade Iran/Korea: The US has plans when it invades places? seriously tho if the US invades Iran or North Korea, that would be bad and wrong, I hope any plans are exposed, the US shouldn't do it. Defense of Taiwan plans: lets be brualy honest, the plan is: fuck 'em, let the chinks take it.


      ok ok, seriously, joking aside. The answer to all these is basiclly this: Do you not think that if someone can hand these to wikileaks, they could and would sell it the chinese just as easily? Wikileaks exposes not just the data, but the insecurity of the system.

      What would you prefer:
      Scallywag gives Tiawan defence plans to wikileaks, controversy ensues, generals get kicked in the balls for poor security, plans are rewritten, security tightened. US happy.
      OR
      Traitor gives Tiawan defence plan to Chinese, US doesn't know, wallows in self satisfaction, US gets pwned.

      As for police roit control plans, they should be released, fact is if an angry mob is about to go on the rampage, some nerd isn't going to pop up his head in the middle and say 'quick everyone down this street, the police will be waiting if we go that way' and have the crowd follow. However, if the police plan to use it against a peaceful protest, then the people ought to know how the police plan on attacking them so they can avoid being oppressed. And if the plan involves beating down and teargassing people who aren't doing anything wrong, people ought to know.

      As the a drug raid, two words: Legalise It.

      Personal secrets, now theres a lamo one. Do you think this stuff wouldn't be published by newspapers? If the government is going to stick thier noses into our lives they should expect the same. Don't want it to get out out you banged your secretary? shouldn't have banged her then. Personally, I like to hear about it when politicians fuck underage kids, or if they have a secret diary full of racist comments. I think its generally a good thing to know if the people who make our laws are liars, or racists or paedophiles.

      Also, may I add, one final note, warning someone the pigs are after them is not obstructing justice.
    • by ChronosWS (706209) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @01:38PM (#22766262)
      Well, there's the rub. We might all be able to agree that some information should reasonably be kept secret. But what we can't agree on is which information, and often why. The principle of state secrets is one which is usually only truly upheld by those who believe government can and should be trusted. In America, it should be damn near treasonous to believe that, given the principles on which we are founded.

      The case for secrecy is often made, but it's made not with examples of where failure to keep secret has harmed us. It's made using fear of what MIGHT happen if those secrets were revealed. We all have vivid imaginations and can think of worst-case scenarios to scare ourselves with what MIGHT happen. But it's far more useful for us to live in reality. I don't think we've ever become a weaker nation for our transparency.

      Security through obscurity, as we all know, is no security at all. When did we forget this?
  • by peterxyz (315132) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:48AM (#22765554) Homepage
    for all of those complaining about the publication of this, you're about 30 years behind the times.
    In a high-profile First Ammendment case Howard Morland and the Progressive tried to publish Fusion-bomb (aka "Hydrogen bomb") design details in 1979. The government eventually dropped its case

    Here's the book; http://www.amazon.com/Secret-That-Exploded-Howard-Morland/dp/0394512979 [amazon.com]
    and a background artcile by Howard on his deductions and something of the legal case http://www.fas.org/sgp/eprint/cardozo.html [fas.org]

    oh yeah - even Greenpeace seem to have pretty pictures - wouldn't trust those guys to assemble one though http://archive.greenpeace.org/comms/nukes/fig05.gif [greenpeace.org]

    peter xyz

  • by Goonie (8651) <[gro.arbmaneb] [ta] [lekrem.trebor]> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:02PM (#22765632) Homepage
    Ah, found it. It seems to be from the Nuclear Weapon archive [nuclearweaponarchive.org]. It doesn't appear to be an American document at all, rather something that a British scientist, William Penney, prepared to inform the British government what would be required to build its own bomb.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheHawke (237817)
      Penny's design was a copycat from the Teller/Oppenheimer implosion design. In reality there was no way possible to improve upon perfection with the materials they had at the time. When the 50's rolled around, they simply took the basic sphere design and added more heavy metals and "tampers", added a cyclotron called the "zipper" and turned it into a 3 stage Hydrogen or "Super" device. It took awhile though.
  • Oppenheimer (Score:3, Informative)

    by aitikin (909209) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:14PM (#22765706)
    It's a shame this development came 40 some years after J. Robert Oppenheimer's death. He pushed to have this controlled by the U.N. and, because the American Government was so open minded, he lost all of his security clearance.
  • Providence (Score:3, Funny)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:29PM (#22765804)
    I was wondering what to do with my little brother for his 6th grade science competition. Thanks Wikileaks!
  • by jafiwam (310805) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:40PM (#22765862) Homepage Journal
    All those parts, they are part of a pinball machine.

In 1869 the waffle iron was invented for people who had wrinkled waffles.

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