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Much of the information recounted here about the Harteck Process can be found in the meticulous research of author David Irving in his book the "Virus House" which can be downloaded online. The same book is also known by another title "Hitler's Atomic Scientists." The following is based on notes from the book and other sources.
The Harteck Process is named after a German nuclear scientist Dr. Paul Harteck. Harteck headed the Heereswaffenamt ("HWA") or Army Department's efforts to enrich uranium during World War II. Harteck reported to the German Army's chief physicist Kurt Diebner
His role had no direct connection with the better known civil nuclear program of Prof Werner Heisenberg for the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft ("KWG") in the Berlin suburb of Dahlem, aimed at sustained nuclear reaction, better known as a nuclear reactor.
Heisenberg's efforts to sustain nuclear reaction would have ultimately resulted in breeding Plutonium for yet another A-bomb project headed by nuclear physicist Fritz Houtermans. In Nazi Germany, Plutonium was known variously as "super uranium," or "eka Rhenium" (super Rhenium). Deibner of the HWA project is known to have had input with the KWG project of Heisenberg.
The so called Harteck Process evolved from the Isotope sluce which Erich Bagge created at Kiel Unavernan in 1942. The prototype centrifuge was built by the Kiel firm Anshultz & co. In 1942 Reichs Armaments Minister Albert speer cancelled funding and directed it all to reactor research. Walter Groth and Paul Harteck approached both Martin Bormann and Hermann Goering to fund the continuation of uranium enrichment from Nazi party funding. These talks also involved nuclear physicists Kurt Diebner, Klaus Clusius, Karl Wirtz, Erich Bagge, Bornhoffer and the chemists Albers and Schmitz-Dumont.
The isotope sluce itself, resembled a tall thin washing machine tub spun at an amazing 600rpm. The bowl at the bottom was heated by induction. Uranium dioxide through a process of mixing with fluorine gas produced uranium hexafluoride which was fed into the centrifuge. Lighter isotopes of Uranium 235 which made up only 0.7% of uranium in nature would boil to the top and concentrate there where it was physically sluced or scooped from the top. This process might be repeated through several generations to result in bomb grade uranium (90-95% U235).
The Kiel laboratory with its "isotope sluce" was destroyed by allied bombing in 1943. From there it was shifted to the army explosives research centre at Kummersdorf. The original isotope sluce at Kiel had exceeded expectations. In August 1943 Dr Seibert of BMAG Meguin received an order for more centrifuge machines to be built.
These were located at the university town of Freiburg under the codename "Volmer's Furniture Factory." The various German nuclear projects however were compromised by British spying. The SIS spy Paul Rosbaud who worked for Metallgesellschaft AG Frankfurt, on the science magazine Metalwirtsschaft had unparalleled access to Nazi nuclear projects and reported developments to project Epsilon in Stockholm. The consequence was that allied bombing crushed successive attempts to enrich uranium at different sites.
Following destruction of the facility at Freiburg, Dr Paul Harteck received "DE priority to build more uranium centrifuges for a plant at Kandern in Germany, codenamed "Angora Farm". In April 1944 he let a further contract to BMAG Meguin for reichsmarks RM 265,000 to build further machines. By contrast, Heisenberg's funding was only RM 8,500.
Much of the enrichment technology appeared to be shared with Japanese nuclear scientists from 30 September 1944 by Hitler's orders under FHQU 219/44. Japan had a parallel nuclear project under Yoshio Nishina. Uranium oxide was being shipped to Japan by U-boat from late 1943.
Following the war, South Africa in the 1970s also used the Harteck Process to develop a nuclear weapon. According to a former South African Naval Intelligence officer living in New Zealand under discreet diplomatic threats by USA, South Africa was forced to abandon its nuclear weapons project.
Pakistan also used the Harteck Process more recently to acquire nuclear weapons and now Iran has a uranium centrifuge plant at Netanz dedicated to enrichment of uranium to bomb grade.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Harteck_Process". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|