12. The U-Bomb [chapter]

2022 Atomic Bill  
The United States had made tremendous technical strides toward a hy drogen bomb, but the scientists and engineers still had not yet produced a practical, deployable weapon. An atomic test in the South Pacific on March 1, 1954, code-named Castle Bravo, was both a tremendous success and a catastrophic disaster for the nascent US weapons program. Bravo also triggered a different type of chain reaction-a cascade of events that would undermine Laurence's standing with his editors and contribute to
more » ... e end of his career as a daily-news reporter. Previously, the Ivy Mike test on November 1, 1952, had demonstrated the feasibility of a thermonuclear explosion, but the device it used was impractical as a weapon because it relied on supercooled liquid hydrogen stored in a huge refrigerated mechanism. A practical weapon that could be delivered by a bomber or a missile needed to be much smaller, lighter, and more storable. Castle Bravo's compact fusion device demonstrated a technology that fit the bill. Rather than using liquid hydrogen as its fuel, it used a solid compound called lithium-6 deuteride; because lithium-6
doi:10.1515/9781501766008-013 fatcat:ojnzss4qrzelxglhjnntvggkky