The price of the Manhattan project

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Cardus

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The price of the Manhattan project

As there there was always been a lot of speculation about the development of the A-bomb in WWII, from another thread I am taking the chance to post here my find my data on the subject.

For developing the A-bomb ones needs to check 1) the money invested, 2) the access to the required raw materials (e.g. heavy water and uranium) and 3) the scientists.

Regarding:
1) From a research I made long time ago (if you can find different data please post it), the cost of Manhattan project was 0.6% of the total cost for the United States of World War II (i.e. $341 billion including $50 billion for lend-lease). For comparison Germany and Italy together spent $366 billion. 2 billion in 1945 dollars was a LOT of money but it was affordable by all majors provided they had foresight of the outcome (a terrific bomb). Otherwise no country, apart from Germany and the USA, would have invested in a SINGLE project that much money.
2) I think that it's quite easy to check if a country/an alliance had access to the raw materials
3) If I am not mistaken before WWII 2/3 of Nobel laureates were from Europe (this is what I remember, if you find different information please post it). Because of both: the war and nasty ideologies many emigrated to the USA.



SOURCES AND DATA

1) Regarding the first point I have found some new sources (If you find better ones please quote them): https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS22926.pdf https://caseagainstbush.blogspot.it/2005/04/financial-cost-of-world-war-ii1u.html http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/2013/05/17/the-price-of-the-manhattan-project/

The price of the Manhattan project was $1.9 billion. That is:
HTML:
    Country    Financial cost of WWII    Cost of A-bomb development (%)
1    U.S.            $341 billion in 1945    0.56%
2    Germany         $272 billion in 1945    0.70%
3    Soviet Union    $192 billion in 1945    0.99%
4    Britain         $120 billion in 1945    1.58%
5    Italy            $94 billion in 1945    2.02%
6    Japan            $56 billion in 1945    3.39%

2) About resources

2.A) Electric energy- The consumption in the USA was (200 MkWh/22,700 MkW) = 0.0088, or about 0.9% of national capacity http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum...f-the-manhattan-project.963949/#post-21729467 - credits to NettiWelho
2.B) Uranium - The biggest mines were in Congo (a Belgian colony), Canada started mining at beginning of 1930's and by mid 1930's they had a significant production. Smaller mines were in Czechoslovakia and (very small) in Portugal. 1200 tonnes was captured by the Germans in Belgium.

3) According to my information (please post here if you have different info) on scientific research the Axis had an edge as Europe had much more scientists and Nobel laureates than the USA. BUT as the Axis had a nasty ideology and Europe was unsafe, many brilliant scientists fled to the UK/USA or they didn't come back to their original country (Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Emilio Segrè, Franco Rasetti, Leo Szilard, Klaus Fuchs, Otto Robert Frisch, Rudolf Peierls, Hans Bethe, Felix Bloch, Victor Francis Hess, Peter Debye, Hans von Halban, Lew Kowarski, etc.). In addition to that, some other scientists didn't participate to German research or they boycotted it (e.g. Frédéric Joliot-Curie, Irène Joliot-Curie who were active members of French resistance).
So the point in game's terms is the following:
1) Historical: Germany has harsh policy (i.e. nasty ideology/harsh occupation law) and the gap in its favor in research is increasingly diminishing. OFF TOPIC: Because of that behavior, for German's allies, at the end, it was better to loose than to win the war
2) A-historical BUT plausible: Germany doesn't exploit both conquered countries and allies. Therefore the country has LESS means for the war but it keeps the edge on scientific research and its allies are not upset.
 
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NettiWelho

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How about access to electricity? I remember reading Manhattan project used more power than what was available to entirity of 3rd reich at its peak.
 

Cardus

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How about access to electricity? I remember reading Manhattan project used more power than what was available to entirity of 3rd reich at its peak.
Can you please show/post some evidences about this?
 

NettiWelho

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This is what I was recalling
In his 1987 autobiography, Manhattan District Engineer Colonel Kenneth Nichols (1907-2000) gives a statistic that is impressive even by Manhattan Project standards: that by the time the CEW was fully operational, it was consuming one-seventh of the electric power being generated in the United States at that time [1]. The same figure also appears in various editions of a Department of Energy booklet on the Project, attributed to Nichols [2].

however it appearantly wasn't the wholy story. https://www.aps.org/units/fhp/newsletters/spring2015/oak-ridge.cfm

When I first encountered this claim, it struck me as improbable: the Clinton complex was enormous, but could one facility have really been consuming some 14% of the electricity being generated in the entire country at a time when industries were working flat-out in support of the war effort? A bit of sleuthing through available records on national electricity generation and Oak Ridge power consumption shows that Nichols’ figure is grossly in error.
[...]
Statistics on national generating capacity can be obtained from online back issues of the Statistical Abstracts of the United States [4]. Figures published in the 1949 edition of the Abstracts indicate that generating capacity grew rapidly during the early years of the war, but from 1943 to 1945 remained fairly steady at an average of about 272.8 billion kWh per year. One month’s worth would be about 22.7 billion kWh, or 22,700 MkWh. The August, 1945, CEW fraction would then have been (200 MkWh/22,700 MkW) = 0.0088, or about 0.9%. One percent of national capacity is still impressive, but a far cry from the one-seventh claimed by Nichols.

My bad I guess.
 
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This is about uranium

During the 1920s and 1930s the Belgian rate of production was limited neither by the capacity of the Congolese mines nor by that of the Olen refinery, but only by the funds available to hospitals and the needs of the market for luminous paint. The Congo mine was closed in 1937, as by that time more than 2000 tonnes of ore containing 65 per cent U3O8 were stockpiled, enough for probably 20 years of world radium consumption.

This stockpile was transferred directly from the Congo to the United States at the end of 1940, and provided the initial supply of uranium for the American atomic bomb project. Meanwhile, about 1200 tonnes of uranium in various compounds stored at the Olen refinery was captured by the Germans after the invasion of Belgium in 1940, only to be recovered in Germany by US troops at the end of the war.

The Belgians had lost their monopoly when the Canadians entered the radium market in the mid 1930s, making use of the pitchblende deposit discovered in 1930 at the Great Bear Lake. Competition forced the Belgians to lower their price repeatedly. When the Canadians could no longer compete, Union Minière formed a cartel in 1938 with the Canadian producer, Eldorado Gold Mines, with 60 per cent of the market for the Belgians and 40 per cent for the Canadians. They were able to raise the price of radium to US$25000 per gram, after earlier threats to cut it to below US$10000. However, the cartel was short lived and ceased operating when Belgium was occupied in May 1940.

Far away from the competition of the major producers, uranium production at Joachimsthal had continued uninterrupted. The mines had changed their name and their ownership in 1919 following the creation of Czechoslovakia. As the State Mines of Jáchymov they operated at a loss, producing about ten tonnes of uranium colouring compounds and three grams of radium per year. The mine in Cornwall, which had an even smaller capacity, was closed in the early 1930s because it was almost exhausted. Small-scale production also continued in Portugal during this period

http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~rochlin/ushista.html
 
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Cardus

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This is about research (which was in the 1930s essentially a continental European matter)

Following this, from March 1934 to January 1939, there was an extraordinary mixture of competition and collaboration between the European laboratories involved in the study of the atom in Rome, Berlin, Paris and Copenhagen. They were searching for the solution to a precise and limited problem, the complexity and the far-reaching consequences of which no-one had predicted.

The problem was the identification of the surprisingly large number of artificial radioactive elements formed during the bombardment of uranium by the neutron flux emitted by a radium-beryllium source. It was to be the last episode in the uranium-radium saga, and appropriately both the ancestor element and its descendant were experimentally involved.

This work was initiated in 1934 by Enrico Fermi and his team in Rome, and was taken over in 1935 by Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassmann in Berlin. The Berlin team were convinced that transuranic elements were being formed, and believed that they had identified them after three years of investigations.

However, their results were disproved by Irène Curie and Pavel Savitch in Paris, who, although they did not find the solution to the enigma, put Hahn and Strassmann on the right track and allowed them to produce chemical proof of fission during the last days of 1938. A few days later, the explanation of the physical process was produced in Sweden by Meitner, by then a refugee from the consequences of the Nazi racial laws, and her nephew Otto Frisch. Frisch then carried out experiments to provide physical proof of fission in Niels Bohr's laboratory in Copenhagen on 15 January 1939.

In all, eleven scientists of five different nationalities (Austrian, French, German, Italian and Yugoslav) were involved in the experiments. This does not include the German chemist Ida Noddack, who had suggested in September 1934 that elements in the middle of the periodic table were being formed as uranium broke up on the introduction of a neutron into its nucleus. However, nobody had taken her suggestion seriously at the time as it was contrary to all conventional thinking, and she did not even try to verify her theory.

During the same period, mass spectrography studies of uranium in the United States revealed its isotopic composition. The presence of uranium-235 was discovered by Arthur Dempster in 1935, and the exact proportion formed by this isotope, 0.7 per cent, was determined by Ernest Niehr in 1938.

http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~rochlin/ushista.html
 
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