The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
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williamjpellas
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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by williamjpellas » 08 Sep 2018 14:49

Genro wrote:
06 Sep 2018 20:19
So Heisenberg discussed a ‘super bomb’ on his visit to Japan in 1929. Since this was at the invitation of Yoshio Nishina he no doubt discussed this with him. This sounds very interesting but are we talking about a fission bomb or something more exotic?
Chadwick announced the discovery of the neutron 10 May 1932 and Hahn and Strassman announce the discovery of fission on 17 November 1939.
Remember the journalist’s moto ‘never let the fact get in the way of a good story’.

Hahn and Strassman announced the discovery, that is true. But many physicists had posited the idea of nuclear fission well before it was actually documented in a laboratory experiment, as I think you know full well.

It is possible that Nishina, Heisenberg, et al were "talking about...something more exotic" than what we know today as an atomic fission bomb. This was not uncommon at the time. Mark Twain and Nicola Tesla talked about exotic weaponry, or the possibility of it, in their long correspondence, and that was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

But the main point here is Shimatsu's allegation that a German-Japanese consortium began mining uranium-bearing ores in Japan following Heisenberg's 1929 visit to the Riken, and also his statement that the WWII Japanese nuclear weapons projects infrastructure included Hungnam. All of which is entirely consistent with Wilcox and his book. Monazite ores often contain uranium deposits, and there is monazite on Mount Uzumine and throughout the nearby Abukuma Mountains. Surely uranium mining would point not to "something more exotic", but rather to definite interest in nuclear fission for weapons and for motive power.

https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/canmin ... m=fulltext

PS No true journalist would put a story before the facts. A propagandist or an ideologue or demagogue would, or what they used to call a "yellow journalist". Not a true journalist.
Last edited by williamjpellas on 08 Sep 2018 18:15, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by williamjpellas » 08 Sep 2018 15:04

Genro wrote:
08 Sep 2018 09:14
Fukushima Disaster Exposed Japan’s Nuclear Armament
By Yoichi Shimatsu
I hope you have read his article. Any comments ?

I have read other articles alleging the existence of a clandestine Japanese nuclear weapons program in the present day but have drawn no firm conclusions just yet. An alleged current effort by Japan to build atomic bombs is usually said to be associated with Fukushima in some way, though in the opinion piece I linked upthread Shimatsu states that the underground weapons facilities are not part of the Fukushima plant complex itself, but separate from it, if still nearby. Certainly it would make sense to have a warhead workshop located near a source for fissile material if you were going to try to build them. I have not yet read the article you just mentioned, but I would be happy to add it to the others and then see what there really is to see, if anything. Thus far I have not looked into that story in sufficient depth to sort through the sources or alleged sources for the information to determine their reliability, but it's not news, anyway. It is well documented that Japan wanted to build nuclear weapons fifty years ago, in the late 1960s, during the Sato government. The US bought Japan off at that time with a combination of 1) guarantees of Japan's security and territorial integrity through the so-called "nuclear umbrella", and 2) the official sort-of return of Okinawa to Japanese control---but with the understanding that the US would retain its sprawling military bases on that island along with the right to stage nuclear weapons from "Japanese soil" if necessary.

Honestly, I would be shocked if Japan did not have nuclear weapons in 2018. Frankly, just from a prudent national defense standpoint, she should have them, given the belligerence of nearby China and Russia and the general volatility of the western Pacific Rim. The Federation of American Scientists website states that Japan is "the turn of a screwdriver away" from nuclear weapons, and other sources say that Japan "has a bomb in the basement". I would personally say that that is the bare minimum, whether there is any truth to the Fukushima-as-clandestine-nuclear-weapons-facility story or not.

http://qr.ae/TU1hEt

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by Genro » 08 Sep 2018 18:42

The geology of the area referred to was known for some time as indicated in the following references;
East of Shinakawa and Sukagawa, Ishikawaite ( Yuji Shibata & Kenjiro Kimura 1922 )
North of Nakatsugawa, Uranuthorite UO3 9.05% , discovered by H. Awazu 1913.
The area between the Tanakura shared zone and the Pacific coast i.e. the Abukuma belt is made up of Cretaceous granitoids. In the case of the older granitoids, nearly all contain Uranium.to some degree. For my knowledge of this, I am grateful to the director of the Ishikawa Mineralogical Museum, Fukushima Ken. He has made a study of the area and particularly that related to war time activities. His ‘tome’ on the subject would if translated be a mine of information.
Interestingly he has a copy of the American SCAP (1944-45) inventory of uranium stocks which show some 100 tons of 2 - 3% uranium. Apparently a similar amount had already be shipped for processing. This would have yielded 4 – 5 tons of uranium or 30 to 45 kg U 235. ( about 2 critical masses )
In the section of the Tonzo document titled ‘On Uranium’ , five sources of uranium in Japan are listed along with one in Manchuria. The later might be the one that Kazuo Kuroda’s referred to in his memoirs when he says his job was to extract uranium from 600 tons of euxenite ore from Manchuria.
Much has been written about Japan’s failure to develop the bomb due to a shortage of uranium but the real bottle neck was the separation of U 235. Though Nishina had two diffusion columns and one at lease achieving 10% enrichment, what was needed was a thousand or more of them. A point Nishina makes at the first meeting on 2nd July 1943.
In November 1944 Tatsusaboro tries to set up a similar diffusion column at Osaka University but without success and the Osaka centrifuge remained only on the drawing board.
The technology and enormity of the project was not appreciated further up the hierarchical chain of command. One only has to read ‘Japan’s Longest Day’ to realise the historic and inherent Choshu – Satsuma animosity that existed between the army and navy.
Then there is the German submarine shipment of some 500 kg or so of uranium which would seem unnecessary for the bomb program as there was adequate supplies. Another possible use which has been suggested and seems more probable is as a catalyst for the Haber process. The German supplies of Guano were cut off by the British navy during the WW1. To counter this Haber developed a means of fixating atmospheric nitrogen for explosives etc., which initially used Osmium as a catalyst. Osmium being so rare he found uranium just as effective and more easily obtained. Later a less expensive Nickel Cobalt catalyst was developed.
Now this should give plenty to argue about!

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by williamjpellas » 08 Sep 2018 18:58

Great post, genro. I agree entirely that "Much has been written about Japan's failure to develop the bomb due to a shortage of uranium but the real bottle neck was the separation of U235". Which leads directly to the various attempts by German U-boats and Japanese I-boats to take uranium in some form from German-occupied Europe to Japan. It is indeed strange that Germany would do this given Japan's considerable stock of uranium and thorium-bearing ores. And yet the nuclear cargo missions continued. The logical conclusion must surely be that whatever was going to Japan was at least in a more advanced state of separation-enrichment than Japan was able to manage on her own. (Carter Hydrick makes this argument in his book, Critical Mass.)

The idea that the uranium or uranium oxide was actually intended for jet fuel or explosives manufacturing has been suggested before. I don't believe that, but yes, uranium can be used for those applications.

Suzuki's separators, according to Wilcox, were manufactured and installed at Osaka University, but as you say, not in anything like the numbers that would have been required---unless there was additional industrial power and infrastructure in Korea that had been built and dedicated to the nuclear weapons project. Regarding the Osaka centrifuge, I think you mean Arakatsu's Navy project design. Wilcox writes that one (1) of these had just been completed but that it was destroyed by US bombers at a railroad siding after being loaded onto a train. Presumably it was intended to ship it to Korea. As for additional centrifuges, there is some evidence that the design for at least one of the devices produced by Paul Harteck's branch of the German nuclear effort was given to Japan. Whether any completed machines also made their way to Korea or were built there under license (or even under personal German supervision), I don't know.

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by Genro » 09 Sep 2018 13:02

The most probable use, in my opinion, of 560 Kg of uranium oxide was as a catalyst for the removal of sulphur from low grade hydrocarbon fuel which would have improved the octane value.

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by Genro » 09 Sep 2018 16:26

Perhaps I should have expanded on this thought. Marine bunker fuel has a nimiety of sulphur even today ship are forbidden to use while in port. As the war was in it closing stages and the Japanese navy was effectively finished, the only long ranged defensive forced was the Kamikaze an essentially navy operation. It has been note that many pilots lack enough training due to the shortage of aviation fuel. What stock of marine fuel that the navy still had could be cracked to produce an suitable aviation fuel but would still need the sulphur content removed.
While the army would appear to have the uranium for its needs, inter service animosities would have made it impossible for the navy to request some uranium for a sulphur catalyst. The transfer of the 560 Kg of uranium oxide from Germany to Japan was effectively a navy only operation.

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by Genro » 10 Sep 2018 10:14

Hydrodesulfurization of petroleum.
Production of refined hydrocarbon oils. Patent US1932186A.
Standard IG CO, Linden N.J. (I G Farben ? )
Files 19-11-27.
M. PIER' E T AL PRGDUGTI'GN OF REFINE!) HYDROCARBON @ELS Vil/ PRESSURE vFiled Nov. 15. 1928 HND HYDROGE N Patented Oct. 24, 1933 PATENT OFFICE 1,932,186 PRODUCTION OF RglllgED HYDROCARBON Mathias Pier, Heidelberg, and Friedrich Ringer and Walter Simon,
Catalysts consisting of or containing metals of the sixth group of the periodic system, such as, molybdenum, chromium, uranium or tungsten or the compounds thereof or mixtures of those substances are also particularly suitable.
. Excellent catalysts are likewise molybdic acid with about 10 per cent of chromium oxid or of vanadium oxid, molybdic acid with about 10 per cent of uranium oxid or of thorium oxid or of manganous oxid, furthermore, tungstic acid containing about 10 per cent of chromium oxid or of a mixture of uranium oxid, cobalt and a small amount of chromium oxid .

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by Genro » 10 Sep 2018 11:48

Standard IG Co is IG Farben.
In 1941, an investigation exposed a "marriage" cartel between John D. Rockefeller's United States-based Standard Oil Co. and I.G. Farben. It also brought new evidence concerning complex price and marketing agreements between DuPont, a major investor in and producer of leaded gasoline, United States Industrial Alcohol Company and its subsidiary.

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by Genro » 11 Sep 2018 09:44

This is an excellent article on this period of time.

I. G. Farben’s Japan Strategy: The Case of Synthetic oil.
By Akira Kudo, University of Tokyo.

I.G. Farben failed to conclude a single contract with a Japanese firm in this area until January 1945when it reached a licensing agreement with the Imperial Army.

The Japanese Navy had finally succeeded in getting an experimental fuel project running at its Tokuyama Fuel Depot and was strongly urging the South Manchurian Railway and the Japan Nitrogen Fertilizer Company to move into synthetic fuel production.

There were many attempts to sell foreign hydrogenation technology in both Japan and Manchuria. The Army and the president of the South Manchurian Railway ,Matsuoka ,were both enthusiastic about the prospect .But the Navy's confidence in the level of the technology it had developed and the exacting terms attached to import contracts prevented any agreement in this regard ,and no new technology was ever introduced.

Production Law had guaranteed prices and markets for producers. But since this meant that the government would be the major consumer of the product, the guarantee was meaningless even if synthetic fuel producers were successful, as long as the Navy, which accounted for the greatest source of demand, remained opposed. The Navy was even able to influence to whom the Imperial Fuel Industry Company invested and lent the funds at its disposal. Thus the Navy decisively affected the ability of Ogura Oil and others to obtain funding and out lets for their products.

The idea that the consignment of uranium oxide on the submarine U234 was destined for the development of an atomic bomb is too simplistic.

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by williamjpellas » 11 Sep 2018 18:03

The idea that the consignment of uranium oxide on the submarine U234 was destined for the development of an atomic bomb is too simplistic.

No, it's quite obviously not.

What you have done is put forward a plausible use for the German uranium on board U-234 other than for nuclear weapons. And you have provided documentary evidence of Japanese interest in synthetic fuels in WWII. Some processes for making synfuels include uranium as an "ingredient". All well and good, but it does not follow, ipso facto, that your thesis is automatically correct. Nor that it necessarily excludes a bomb effort even if some of the materials going from Germany to Japan really were intended for synfuel production. Especially given the obvious and well-documented Japanese interest in atomic bombs and the considerable research and development that Japan conducted toward the attempted manufacture and field deployment of those weapons.

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by AginAf » 13 Sep 2018 03:53

As I understand it, we discovered at the onset of occupation in 1945, that the Japanese had had two nuclear weapon development programs on going at surrender. As was typical of them, one was conducted by the Imperial Army, and was based at several sites in Tokyo. The other was the Imperial Navy's, and was based in the port Wonsan Korea near the source of uranium in Manchuria.

Our experts were able to determine that the Army program was not very well along - years away from test. But we were unable to determine what the Navy had going because Wonsan and all of North Korea were occupied by the Soviets at the end of hostilities.

Then, in 1950, a Japanese nuclear physicist was granted an exchange with the University of Arkansas in the US' He disclosed that he had worked on the IJN's program during the war, and that they had successfully tested a breadboard bomb in the week between our first strike on Hiroshima, and our second on Nakasaki. US intelligence was unable to confirm this, and the Soviets, out to develop their own bomb thanks to secret data passed them by US & UK communist traitors, were not going to enlighten us.

The US AEC finally drew the conclusion that at best, the test was a low order explosion, but that is a guess

IF this is all factual, and the Japanese were enriching Manchurian U-235, then the IJN would have had no need of the U-234's cargo, because the Sons of Nippon were on the cusp of developing a weapon made from East Asian sources. One wonders how long it would have taken them to develop a weapon they could have loaded in one of their newly developed jet powered Baka kamikaze planes or their new 6 engine heavy bomber, or one of their suicide submarines and popped it in in the 7th fleet anchorage, thus turning the tide of the war.

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by Genro » 13 Sep 2018 10:05

Japan’s uranium stock.
Ishikawa mine SCAP report; 100 tons 2-4% U 28 – 42 Kg U 235.
Dispatched for processing; 100 tons 2-4% U 28 – 42 Kg U235.
Kazuo Kuroda, euxenite 600 tons 0.4 -1.2 % U 17 – 57 Kg U 235.
Estimated total stock of U 235 approximately 100 Kg.
U 234 cargo, 560 Kg uranium oxide 2.6 Kg U235.
Foot note; Post 1945: Japan, Ningyo-toge mine 1957-1987 U3O8, 86 ton Uranium/ 86,000 tons ore ie approx. 1%. Would yield about 550 kg U235.

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by Genro » 16 Sep 2018 10:48

U-PULVER.
The only authentic record concerning the uranium that I know of is telegraph message from the dockyard referring to the uranium as U-Pulver (U-powder).
Interestingly, in a U-tube documentary we are told “finally the Americans find the cargo manifesto, Item 38; 500 Kg Uranium Oxide”. We are then shown a yellowish faded sheet with a crudely typed manifesto; No:38…560.0 URANIUM OXIDE JAP ARMY.
If this was indeed the German cargo manifesto it should have read; .560.0 URANIUM OXID JAP ARMEE.
The patent filed in America by IG Farben on removing sulphur from petroleum is in English but though out uses the German spelling of ‘oxid’.
Uranium oxide is a generic term and can cover UO2, UO3 and U3O8. The most probable contents was yellow cake, a uranium concentrate consisting of mainly sodium diuranate and for 560 Kg would contain 2.6 Kg U 235. Such a concentrate would pose no radiation or toxic/corrosive hazard.

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by Genro » 20 Sep 2018 13:00

Simple question, if Japan had built a U 235 atomic bomb in Korea as may believe, then why was it necessary to test it ?

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Re: The Japanese nuclear weapons program

Post by williamjpellas » 25 Sep 2018 22:35

Genro wrote:
20 Sep 2018 13:00
Simple question, if Japan had built a U 235 atomic bomb in Korea as may believe, then why was it necessary to test it ?
Maybe---if it existed and the test actually happened---it was an implosion bomb, or a related German concept explored by the heereswaffenamt that migrated over to Japan. The Schumann-Trinks bomb schematic was clearly an attempt at utilizing boosted fission and included the implosion of a U-233 core. I say that this was "a related...concept" rather than simply an implosion bomb because it also included the firing of lithium-6 and deuterium into the presumably-already-fissioning U-233.

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