Dayton Project

Dayton Project

The Dayton Project was one of several sites involved in the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bombs. Charles Allen Thomas, an executive of the Monsanto Company corporation, was assigned to develop the neutron generating devices that triggered the nuclear detonation of the atomic bombs once the critical mass had been "assembled" by the force of conventional explosives.

Thomas established the project in the Runnymede Playhouse on the grounds of the Talbott family estate in a wealthy residential section of Oakwood, a suburb of Dayton, Ohio. The Playhouse was a leisure facility that included a ballroom, indoor squash and tennis courts as well as a stage for community theater. It was located at the intersection of Runnymede Road and Dixon Avenue. The Talbotts were among the heirs of the Delco (by then a part of General Motors) fortune. Before the war, Thomas worked as a chemist for Delco/GM and was married to Margaret Talbott. He promised his mother-in-law that he would return the building to the family intact after the war. He was unable to keep his promise because the building had become contaminated with radioactivity. The facility (also known as Dayton Unit IV) was in use for nuclear work until 1949 when Mound Laboratories was opened in Miamisburg, Ohio. The Playhouse was dismantled in 1950 and later buried in Tennessee.[1]

The neutron generator used on the implosion design (such as the Fat Man bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki) was coded named "Urchin". It was composed of alternating layers of polonium-210 (Po-210) and beryllium separated by gold foil. The initiator, located in the center of the bomb, was carefully designed to ensure that during the implosion of the bomb core, the polonium and beryllium mixed. Once the elements mixed, alpha particles emitted by the polonium were absorbed by the beryllium causing it to emit neutrons. The precise timing of the neutron pulse was necessary to avoid pre-detonation of the bomb which would have resulted in a "fizzle" rather than the desired blast. In modern nuclear weapons a pulsed neutron emitting tube has replaced polonium/beryllium initiators, as polonium-210 has a relatively short half-life and thus would need to be replaced every few months.


In 2007 Russian president Vladimir Putin posthumously awarded Zhorzh Abramovich “George” Koval a gold star making him a hero of the Russian Federation for his work as the GRU spy “Delmar”. Russian officials stated that the initiator for their Joe-1 bomb had been “prepared to the recipe provided by Delmar”.

Koval was a US citizen born in Sioux City, Iowa in 1913 to parents of Belorussian origin. In 1932 his family returned to the Soviet Union. In 1939 he was drafted into the Soviet Army, joining the GRU intelligence service. Koval returned to the US in 1940 and was drafted into the US Army in 1943. He was inducted into the Special Engineering Detachment of the Manhattan project. Koval was initially assigned to Oak Ridge where his job as a health physics officer gave him access to much of the plant. He began passing secrets relating to the production of polonium at Oak Ridge to his GRU handler code named “Clyde”. In 1945 Koval was transferred to Dayton. Again his job as a health physics officer gave him wide access to the secret installation.

In 1946 he left the Army. Koval returned to the Soviet Union via Europe in 1948. In 1949 the Soviets detonated their first atomic bomb. The FBI did not begin to suspect Koval until the mid 1950’s, long after he had left the US. In 2002 Vladimir Lota published “The GRU and the Atom Bomb” explaining Delmar’s role. Koval died in 2006.


Coordinates: 39°43′29″N 84°10′46″W / 39.724608°N 84.179499°W / 39.724608; -84.179499

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dayton, Ohio — Dayton redirects here. For the Dayton metropolitan area, see Greater Dayton. For other uses, see Dayton (disambiguation). City of Dayton   City   …   Wikipedia

  • Dayton's Bluff — is a neighborhood located on the east side of the Mississippi in the southeast part of the city of Saint Paul, Minnesota, which has a large residential district on the plateau extending backward from its top. The name of the bluff commemorates… …   Wikipedia

  • Dayton Masonic Center — U.S. Historic district Contributing property …   Wikipedia

  • Dayton Ballpark Village — was a 300,000 square foot (28,000 m2) mixed use complex planned to be developed in Dayton, Ohio. The plans for the project have been put on indefinite hold since the financial crisis of 2008. The Village was to be located in downtown Dayton,… …   Wikipedia

  • Dayton Baptiste — (b. 1965) is a Dominican politician in the Dominica Labour Party, and a former police officer in Antigua. He served briefly as an appointed senator in the Dominica House of Assembly in 2010, and has twice been an unsuccessful candidate for an… …   Wikipedia

  • Project Runway (Temporada 6) — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Project Runway season 6 Título original Proyecto Pasarela 6 Género Reality Show, Competencia …   Wikipedia Español

  • Project Excelsior — was a series of high altitude parachute jumps made by Captain (later Colonel) Joseph Kittinger of the United States Air Force in 1959 and 1960 to test the Beaupre multi stage parachute system. In one of these jumps Kittinger set world records for …   Wikipedia

  • Dayton International Airport — Coordinates: 39°54′09″N 084°13′10″W / 39.9025°N 84.21944°W / 39.9025; 84.21944 …   Wikipedia

  • Dayton's — This article is about the defunct chain of department stores. For the former parent company formed by the 1969 merger with Hudson s, see Target Corporation. Dayton s Industry Department store Fate Locations rebranded as …   Wikipedia

  • Dayton — /dayt n/, n. 1. Jonathan, 1760 1824, U.S. politician, Speaker of the House 1795 99. 2. a city in SW Ohio. 203,588. * * * City (pop., 2000: 166,179), southwestern Ohio, U.S. Settled on the Miami River in 1796 by a group of Revolutionary War… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.