Re: Unidentified deep well flatcar

Daniel A. Mitchell

Such vessels, including the shell for the “gadget”, were to contain the explosive force of the conventional explosives (TNT, whatever, used to compress the nuclear core material) … should the expected atomic reaction NOT take place. Once the real nuclear reaction actually occurs everything nearby is VAPORIZED. There’s no containing it.

I agree that the pictured item is a strange vessel, but it’s true structure cannot be seen here. We only see one side of it. There’s some kind of shell surrounding the vessel that does not look like it’s part of the actual device. A shipping jacket? Note that it’s being prepared to ROLL off the flatcar. The jacket protects the actual vessel during the roll. The bolted “cap” on the left side is mostly a lifting lug, so I expect that would be replaced with a different one when the device was assembled for use.

Whatever, it’s NOT a power reactor, so may not have needed any external cooling loop. LOTS of small reactors just operated in a big water bath. There were also lots of non-critical reactions to be studied.

Dan Mitchell

On Mar 11, 2019, at 9:35 AM, Bill Daniels via Groups.Io <billinsf@...> wrote:

Actually, Dan, there WAS a vessel designed and built to contain a nuclear bomb... strange as it may seem. Frankly, when I first read about it, I didn’t think it would work, and apparently it was never tested. It was written up a few years ago, when a lot of information from the Manhattan Project was declassified. It was designed to withstand the pressure of the explosion, however I believe that the extreme temperature of even the small yield A-Bomb of the day combined with the pressure would have overwhelmed the “containment” vessel. This photo may well have been of it. Additionally It does not look like any of the reactor vessels I am familiar with... there are no inlet and outlets for the primary coolant.

Bill Daniels
San Anselmo, California

On Mar 11, 2019, at 6:22 AM, Daniel A. Mitchell <danmitch@...> wrote:

Whatever it is, it’s NOT “the gadget”, the first A-bomb. It’s too large, and altogether the wrong shape. It looks like a pressure vessel, possibly a reactor containment vessel. "The Gadget” was assembled at Los Alamos, and detonated nearby. There are photos of it being hauled around by truck. The shell of it may have been shipped in by rail, but THIS is not that. There’s not much point in putting a pressure vessel around an A-bomb. Does it say WHERE the photo was taken. Hanford, WA, maybe?

As for nuclear bombs, they have to be moved "somehow”. Nobody but the government knows for sure. For years it’s been assumed the infamous “DOD white train” is used for this … nowadays mostly hauling ICBMs and warheads about. There are a lot fewer of them today than at the peak of the cold war. The missiles are also much smaller. 

Dan Mitchell
On Mar 11, 2019, at 8:17 AM, Donald B. Valentine via Groups.Io <riverman_vt@...> wrote:

Hi folks,

   Does anyone have any idea of what railroad owned the deep well flatcar in the photo attached
that the first A-bomb was being unloaded from in the desert? This is from recently released CIA
documents. Then, too, it could have been government owned. Presume such things are still
shipped in a similar manner. Just as long as they are not armed!

Cordially, Don Valentine


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