Calutron uranium enrichment, 1940s

Calutron uranium enrichment, 1940s

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Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory/US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Calutron uranium enrichment. Calutrons are a type of mass spectrometer, with the name deriving from the location (California University Cyclotron). This alpha track calutron was constructed at the Y-12 site at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA. This site was used for uranium enrichment by electromagnetic separation processes during the Manhattan Project. This was part of the complex methods of producing the fuel for the first atom bombs used by the US military. The uranium-235 produced here was used in the Little Boy atomic bomb that was detonated over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

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