Science: Atomites at Work

Most U.S. weapons plants were closed or reconverted. Not so the atomic bomb industry. The most warlike of them all was still almost in full production.

At Richland, Wash., the plutonium piles, strangest, most ominous factories on earth, cooked their uranium rods in fires of darting neutrons. A full crew of 5,000 workers operated the piles and refineries. Sentries still paced their beats at the City of Pluto; patrols still scoured the surrounding desert. Army airplanes patrolled overhead, trying to avoid radioactive gases from the stacks. What happened to the product—the man-made element...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!