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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Navy Yard

Philip Abelson conducted research on the liquid thermal diffusion method of isotope separation at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. This process was utilized for the S-50 Plant at Oak Ridge.

In September 1944, two workers were killed while trying to fix a clogged tube in the transfer room of the liquid thermal diffusion semi-works at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.









Photo Gallery:

Photograph of Angela N. H. Creager, historian of science, presenting in the Synthesis lecture series, May 29, 2014, at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Courtesy of Science History Institute

Related Video:
Philip Abelson first became involved in uranium enrichment while a graduate student at the University of California-Berkeley, working with cyclotrons under Ernest O. Lawrence. He explains how he came up with the idea that liquid thermal diffusion could enrich uranium-238 to U-235, how this process was implemented first at a factory at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and later at the S-50 Plant in Oak Ridge, and the important role the S-50 Plant played in the uranium enrichment process.