1
$\begingroup$

Somehow when I google about the nuclear bombs I find a lot of books and resources that seem to explain everything about how those bombs are made. But sometimes I often hear that countries that want to make them usually don't have the technology to do them. But I always questioned myself, as why?! I mean it looks to me that almost all information are out there in books and research papers, so are there remaining secrets or so?!

EDIT: My question is not related to politics at all!!! What I meant by secrets, I meant physical secrets. I'm talking about scientific secrets that are still not exposed or people are unable to find solutions to.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Not a physics question, though! The other possible factors might be permissions and material or resources availible. $\endgroup$ – Shubham May 23 '14 at 10:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sorry -1. it is politics which plays the greater role, not technology or know how. The nuclear club is closed and does not want new members. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_club $\endgroup$ – anna v May 23 '14 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is about politics $\endgroup$ – anna v May 23 '14 at 11:05
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I voted to reopen, and my answer is that there are no physics secrets that cannot be solved by competent physicists and engineers, as long as they exist, in any country. Do you think that people gave the secrets to North Korea? $\endgroup$ – anna v May 23 '14 at 15:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AlexTwain so that the next generation of terrorists are not carrying nuclear bombs $\endgroup$ – anna v May 27 '14 at 16:40
6
$\begingroup$

One of the main factors is that producing sufficiently enriched uranium is rather hard. Natural uranium has about 0.7% U-235 where >20% is considered weapons grade. To increase the % you must separate the U-238 out. This is hard to do as they have similar atomic masses and is generally done in a gas centrifuge.

Alternatively you can use Plutonium-239. But this is primarily a by-product of nuclear power plants and you still have to do some more work to reduce the Pu-240 content.

While the design of the weapon itself is probably simpler than the fuel manufacture, it is not trivial. For a classic implosion style device you must design the bomb to create a shockwave that will result in fission. If you just pack some explosive around you will likely just result in a big (non-nuclear) bomb. The correct bomb design is going to require a fair bit of physics and engineering knowledge.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.