The Demon Core

On 21 August 1945, Los Alamos scientist Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. suffered fatal radiation poisoning after dropping a tungsten carbide brick onto a sphere of plutonium. The brick acted as a neutron reflector, bringing the mass to criticality. This was the first known criticality accident causing a fatality.

On 21 May 1946, another Los Alamos scientist, Louis Slotin, accidentally irradiated himself during a similar incident, when a critical mass experiment with the very same sphere of plutonium (see demon core) took a wrong turn. Immediately realizing what had happened he quickly disassembled the device, likely saving the lives of seven fellow scientists nearby. Slotin succumbed to radiation poisoning nine days later.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticality_accident

 

 

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About stevengoddard

Just having fun
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6 Responses to The Demon Core

  1. A shovel full of coal does the same thing. When you throw wood into a fireplace it happens too.

    ;O)

  2. Layne Blanchard says:

    This is why I don’t let the kids play with Plutonium.

  3. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Don’t you need one tiny piece of dust of it to die and these guys had a big ball of it.

  4. Blade says:

    It took some digging but the official source for that wiki content and the photos comes from this PDF:

    A Review of Criticality Accidents. 2000 Revision. Los Alamos [la-13638.pdf]

    Very interesting reading. Probably shouldn’t be declassified though.

  5. Valerie says:

    What was the point of the expirement? Especially when they knew the danger of it?

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