How to Make an Atomic Bomb
How to Make an Atomic Bomb
A Construction Project
The following paper is taken from The Journal of Irreproducible Results,
Volume 25/Number 4/1979. P.O. Box 234 Chicago Heights, Illinois 60411
Worldwide controversy has been generated recently from several court
decisions in the United States which have restricted popular magazines
from printing articles which describe how to make an atomic bomb. The
reason usually given by the courts is that national security would be
compromised if such information were generally available. But, since it
is commonly known that all of the information is publicly available in
most major metropolitan libraries, obviously the court's officially
stated position is covering up a more important factor; namely, that
such atomic devices would prove too difficult for the average citizen
to construct. The United States courts cannot afford to insult the vast
majorities by insinuating that they do not have the intelligence of a
cabbage, and thus the "official" press releases claim national security
as a blanket restriction.
The rumors that have unfortunately occurred as a result of widespread
misinformation can (and must) be cleared up now, for the construction
project this month is the construction of a thermonuclear device, which
will hopefully clear up any misconceptions you might have about such a
project. We will see how easy it is to make a device of your very own
in ten easy steps, to have and hold as you see fit, without annoying
interference from the government or the courts.
The project will cost between $5,000 and $30,000, depending on how
fancy you want the final product to be. Since last week's column,
"Let's Make a Time Machine", was received so well in the new
step-by-step format, this month's column will follow the same format.
2. CONSTRUCTION METHOD
1. First, obtain about 110 pounds (50 kg) of weapons grade Plutonium
at your local supplier (see NOTE 1). A nuclear power plant is not
recommended, as large quantities of missing Plutonium tends to
make plant engineers unhappy. We suggest that you contact your
local terrorist organization, or perhaps the Junior Achievement in
2. Please remember that Plutonium, especially pure, refined
Plutonium, is somewhat dangerous. Wash your hands with soap and
warm water after handling the material, and don't allow your
children or pets to play in it or eat it. Any left over Plutonium
dust is excellent as an insect repellant. You may wish to keep the
substance in a lead box if you can find one in your local junk
yard, but an old coffee can will do nicely.
3. Fashion together a metal enclosure to house the device. Most
common varieties of sheet metal can be bent to disguise this
enclosure as, for example, a briefcase, a lunch pail, or a Buick.
Do not use tinfoil.
4. Arrange the Plutonium into two hemispheral shapes, separated by
about 4 cm. Use rubber cement to hold the Plutonium dust together.
5. Now get about 220 pounds (100 kg) of trinitrotoluene (TNT).
Gelignite is much better, but messier to work with. Your helpful
hardware man will be happy to provide you with this item.
6. Pack the TNT around the hemisphere arrangement constructed in step
4. If you cannot find Gelignite, fell free to use TNT packed in
with Playdo or any modeling clay. Colored clay is acceptable, but
there is no need to get fancy at this point.
7. Enclose the structure from step 6 into the enclosure made in step
3. Use a strong glue such as "Crazy Glue" to bind the hemisphere
arrangement against the enclosure to prevent accidental detonation
which might result from vibration or mishandling.
8. To detonate the device, obtain a radio controlled (RC) servo
mechanism, as found in RC model airplanes and cars. With a modicum
of effort, a remote plunger can be made that will strike a
detonator cap to effect a small explosion. These detonatior caps
can be found in the electrical supply section of your local
supermarket. We recommend the "Blast-O-Mactic" brand because they
are no deposit-no return.
9. Now hide the completed device from the neighbors and children. The
garage is not recommended because of high humidity and the extreme
range of temperatures experienced there. Nuclear devices have been
known to spontaneously detonate in these unstable conditions. The
hall closet or under the kitchen sink will be perfectly suitable.
10. Now you are the proud owner of a working thermonuclear device! It
is a great ice-breaker at parties, and in a pinch, can be used for
3. THEORY OF OPERATION
The device basically works when the detonated TNT compresses the
Plutonium into a critical mass. The critical mass then produces a
nuclear chain recation similar to the domino chain reaction (discussed
in this column, "Dominos on the March", March, 1968). The chain
reaction then promptly produces a big thermonuclear reaction. And there
you have it, a 10 megaton explosion!
4. NEXT MONTH'S COLUMN
In next month's column, we will learn how to clone your neighbor's wife
in six easy steps. This project promises to be an exciting weekend full
of fun and profit. Common kitchen utensils will be all you need. See
you next month!
1. Plutonium (PU), atomic number 94, is a radioactive metallic element
formed by the decay of Neptunium and is similar in chemical structure
to Uranium, Saturium, Jupiternium, and Marisum.
6. PREVIOUS MONTH'S COLUMNS
1. Let's Make Test Tube Babies! May, 1979
2. Let's Make a Solar System! June, 1979
3. Let's Make an Economic Recession! July, 1979
4. Let's Make an Anti-Gravity Machine! August, 1979
5. Let's Make Contact with an Alien Race! September, 1979