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The S-50 Plant

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S-50 Rises to the Top
Discovering Liquid Thermal Diffusion
80 Days to Build
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Quick Fact:
The S-50 Plant used the liquid thermal diffusion method developed by Philip Abelson to enrich uranium. The theory behind investing in S-50 was that the enrichment process might work best if the three plants were used in a series. In practice, this proved to be correct. The uranium product was slightly enriched at S-50 (one to two percent U-235) and this was fed into the K-25 plant. The gaseous diffusion process raised the enrichment to about 20 percent. This was fed into the Y-12 plant for the final enrichment cycle. Through this serial approach, the first atomic bomb received its enriched uranium.