New proof reveals this uranium dice is probably going relic of Nazi A-bomb program

Extreme close-up photograph of a bluish cube.

Enlarge / That is seemingly certainly one of 664 uranium cubes from the failed nuclear reactor that German scientists tried to construct in Haigerloch throughout World Battle II. (credit score: John T. Consoli/College of Maryland)

For many years, the Pacific Northwest Nationwide Laboratory (PNNL) has been dwelling to an uncommon artifact from World Battle II: a small dice of strong uranium steel, measuring about two inches on either side and weighing slightly below 2.5 kilograms. Lab lore holds that the dice was confiscated from Nazi Germany’s failed nuclear reactor experiments within the 1940s, however that has by no means been experimentally verified.

PNNL scientists are creating new nuclear forensic methods that ought to assist them affirm the the pedigree of this dice—and others prefer it—as soon as and for all. These strategies might additionally ultimately be used to trace illicit trafficking of nuclear materials. PNNL’s Jon Schwantes and graduate pupil Brittany Robertson offered a few of their preliminary findings this week on the fall assembly of the American Chemical Society (a hybrid digital/in-person occasion).

College of Maryland physicist Timothy Koeth is among the many outsider collaborators on this ongoing analysis. He has spent over seven years monitoring down these uncommon artifacts of Nazi Germany’s nuclear analysis program, after receiving one as a present. As of 2019, he and a UMD colleague, Miriam Herbert, had tracked down 10 cubes within the US: one on the Smithsonian, one other at Harvard College, a handful in personal collections—and naturally, the PNNL dice.

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