HAFNIUM-178 BOMB: SOME BELIEVE IT, BUT FEW HAVE SEEN IT

(via APS – What’s New by Bob Park – October 24, 2003)


Some in the Pentagon apparently choose scientific beliefs the way they choose to be Methodists, or Democrats or Chicago Cubs fans. Claims that the Hf-178 isomer can be triggered to release its stored energy by irradiating it with X-rays found plenty of fans in the Pentagon. The energy would lie somewhere between chemical and nuclear. That is, it would if it was so. A group using the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne tried to repeat the isomer-triggering effect reported by Carl Collins and colleagues at U. of Texas at Dallas, using a borrowed dental X-ray machine. Despite a far greater X-ray intensity, the APS group, led by John Schiffer and Don Gemmell found no effect (WN 15 Aug 03). Still, some at the Pentagon call for a costly program to make Hf-178.

Maybe I should try to ge the Pentagon to fund my research on weaponizing Illudium PU-36.

5 thoughts on “HAFNIUM-178 BOMB: SOME BELIEVE IT, BUT FEW HAVE SEEN IT”

  1. Some people presume that one negative experiment doth a conclusion make. Seems that this gamma source is pretty straightforward technology if you know what you’re doing.

  2. Of important note here, the so-called “intensity” of an x-ray beam is not, in itself, merely one factor. You will be *forced* to adjust for the different material you x-ray. You cannot just raise the mA and leave the KVP where it is or vice versa. KVP itself is uniquely vital to the interactions with different Zs.

    Despite this, the above expirement is clearly wrong. You *WILL* achieve an effect from bombarding an atom, any atom, with ionizing radiation if you’re operating at the right levels. Here you should see vast Compton scattering, for instance. You will need sufficient KVP to disrupt orbital electrons, and of particular interest, k-shell electrons. The implications of whether you will yield high levels of gamma radiation from hafnium, I do not know, but I’m certainly fascinated, and given the oppertunity, would love to see this in person.

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