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The uranium-based gun design was the fundamental approach of the project from the beginning. The "fat man" design used plutonium-239, a substance much easier to produce than uranium-235, but requiring a much more complicated implosion type warhead. It was not clear until 1944 that the implosion design would even work. John von Neumann essentially invented ...


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To simply say that they wanted to try out different types is to miss the point that weapons-grade uranium and plutonium have fundamentally different production methods and lend themselves to very different weapon designs. Uranium bombs require a very high percentage of the isotope U-235, which is only present in miniscule quantities in natural uranium. ...


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Wikipedia answers this rather well. Basically, a plutonium bomb is more complicated than a uranium bomb. However, weapon-grade plutonium is also easier to obtain than weapon-grade uranium, since the plutonium can be separated chemically from burnt nuclear reactor fuel, whereas uranium needs to be enriched in a costly process. In fact, all of the enriched ...


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Nuclear bomb making was a new endeavor and it was not clear which approach would be successful - cheaper, faster, more powerful, smaller, more reliable &c &c. They really had to try all feasible approaches before settling on one.



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