How to avoid the development of nuclear bombs, if nuclear fission still discovered.

So, I'm currently reading up on nuclear fission and nuclear weapons, for a timeline I'm planning and I was wondering, nuclear fission was discovered after decades of experiments in 1938, and within a few years we had the atom bomb.

If there was no war, would there have been an atom bomb developed still, to give a country an advantage over an enemy?

I ask because I'm trying to come up with a way in which we avoid the development of the a-bomb and what to explore what consequences there are from this.

Would it be better to have the discovery of nuclear fission delayed a few years/ decades alongside there being no WW2?

Thanks.
 
easy. Simply have no big war going on at the time fission is discovered. imo you could have had the nuclear bomb come 20-40 years AFTER development of fission and nuclear power if it hadn't come in wartime.
 
easy. Simply have no big war going on at the time fission is discovered. imo you could have had the nuclear bomb come 20-40 years AFTER development of fission and nuclear power if it hadn't come in wartime.
Interesting, that could work quite nicely.

I suppose that there's no way to stop the bomb being developed if there is an awareness of nuclear fission.
 
Have a radiation accident kill some of the scientists making it so top brass and politicians grow wary the bomb falls under the category of a chemical weapon. Although it was not illegal at the time to build and stockpile chemical weapons, it could be deemed as too limited in value (since it was illegal to actually use one) so military funding of the research goes into things like ship propulsion instead.
I suppose that there's no way to stop the bomb being developed if there is an awareness of nuclear fission.
Probably not, but they could be lumped in under the header of chemical weapons which would still limit their actual use and research. It's very possible that by delaying nuclear weapons 20-30 years (but not fission/nuclear propulsion), smaller nuclear weapons are built (analogous to chemical weapons programs OTL) but larger ones remain strictly theoretical and they still are never used in warfare.

Although I could see something like Saddam Hussein using a tactical nuke on that Kurdish town instead of gassing it, but I don't think that would make this ATL world hate/fear Saddam any more than they did TTL given he still killed a lot of people using a weapon he could theoretically use on enemies like Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Israel. But this sort of chemical warfare attack is thankful rare OTL so I'd expect a nuclear attack would similarly be rare TTL and paradoxically, there may be more incidents of nuclear bombs used on civilians yet fewer casualties (since no major city would be attacked) than OTL. It's also very possible that major powers like the United States or Russia would have far fewer nuclear weapons in their arsenal than OTL, and these weapons would be on the level of tactical nukes.
 
Have a radiation accident kill some of the scientists making it so top brass and politicians grow wary the bomb falls under the category of a chemical weapon. Although it was not illegal at the time to build and stockpile chemical weapons, it could be deemed as too limited in value (since it was illegal to actually use one) so military funding of the research goes into things like ship propulsion instead.

Probably not, but they could be lumped in under the header of chemical weapons which would still limit their actual use and research. It's very possible that by delaying nuclear weapons 20-30 years (but not fission/nuclear propulsion), smaller nuclear weapons are built (analogous to chemical weapons programs OTL) but larger ones remain strictly theoretical and they still are never used in warfare.

Although I could see something like Saddam Hussein using a tactical nuke on that Kurdish town instead of gassing it, but I don't think that would make this ATL world hate/fear Saddam any more than they did TTL given he still killed a lot of people using a weapon he could theoretically use on enemies like Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Israel. But this sort of chemical warfare attack is thankful rare OTL so I'd expect a nuclear attack would similarly be rare TTL and paradoxically, there may be more incidents of nuclear bombs used on civilians yet fewer casualties (since no major city would be attacked) than OTL. It's also very possible that major powers like the United States or Russia would have far fewer nuclear weapons in their arsenal than OTL, and these weapons would be on the level of tactical nukes.
Okay Intetesting that works very nicely for what I’ve got planned, thanks :)
 
Meh. No.
Having a bomb come later than it did is easy. No WWII and it might well be 1950 before anyone tests a bomb.
But a bomb is 'easy'. Getting a nuclear reactor that's safe and economic is much harder.
One could aguably maintain that the 'economic' part has never been achieved iOTL.

Once a bomb is obviously possible, governments WILL spend money on it. No way the Soviets will let the US have a monopoly, and vice versa, and France and Britain will follow later to prove they're great powers.

With a PoD after the discovery of fission, the only way to avoid a bomb for decades or more is total economic collapse globally. E.g. caused by an Ebola level severity disease with flu-like transmission.
 
Meh. No.
Having a bomb come later than it did is easy. No WWII and it might well be 1950 before anyone tests a bomb.
But a bomb is 'easy'. Getting a nuclear reactor that's safe and economic is much harder.
One could aguably maintain that the 'economic' part has never been achieved iOTL.

Once a bomb is obviously possible, governments WILL spend money on it. No way the Soviets will let the US have a monopoly, and vice versa, and France and Britain will follow later to prove they're great powers.

With a PoD after the discovery of fission, the only way to avoid a bomb for decades or more is total economic collapse globally. E.g. caused by an Ebola level severity disease with flu-like transmission.
Hmm I see so the pod would need to be in 1938 or before to prevent the bomb
 
I think that it was pretty inevitable after founding of fission. Even if you avoid WW2 you are lucky if you can delay nukes to 1960's.
 
The only chance to prevent a nuclear bomb being (openly) developed is iron tight international treaties banning it and requiring severe punishment of any country caught doing so, up to and including military intervention to prevent it. All nuclear reactors would have to be subjected to regular and rigorous international inspection to prove they are not being used to produce weapons. Now how you get such treaties signed by the great powers is another question and probably needs some great disaster to horrify public opinion.
 
The only chance to prevent a nuclear bomb being (openly) developed is iron tight international treaties banning it and requiring severe punishment of any country caught doing so, up to and including military intervention to prevent it. All nuclear reactors would have to be subjected to regular and rigorous international inspection to prove they are not being used to produce weapons. Now how you get such treaties signed by the great powers is another question and probably needs some great disaster to horrify public opinion.
Chernobyl on steroids I presume.
 
Chernobyl on steroids I presume.

Probably it should be much worse than even Chrnobyl and Fukushima combined since there is not any attempts for international anti-nculear power treaty.

Probably some large city should be destroyed and radiated for several years.
 
Probably it should be much worse than even Chrnobyl and Fukushima combined since there is not any attempts for international anti-nculear power treaty.

Probably some large city should be destroyed and radiated for several years.
Ahh I see
 
Probably it should be much worse than even Chrnobyl and Fukushima combined since there is not any attempts for international anti-nculear power treaty.

Probably some large city should be destroyed and radiated for several years.
Somebody tries something like this in the late 30's and it goes about as badly as it could and can't be hidden from the international press.


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Interesting, that could work quite nicely.

I suppose that there's no way to stop the bomb being developed if there is an awareness of nuclear fission.
No atomic bombs developed => no (or less) perceived need for Uranium or Plutonium => fission reactors mostly use the safer & cheaper fission of Thorium, which can't be used in bomb-making => people largely become accustomed to thinking of fission only in that context?
 
No atomic bombs developed => no (or less) perceived need for Uranium or Plutonium => fission reactors mostly use the safer & cheaper fission of Thorium, which can't be used in bomb-making => people largely become accustomed to thinking of fission only in that context?
This works for me
 
So, I'm currently reading up on nuclear fission and nuclear weapons, for a timeline I'm planning and I was wondering, nuclear fission was discovered after decades of experiments in 1938, and within a few years we had the atom bomb.

If there was no war, would there have been an atom bomb developed still, to give a country an advantage over an enemy?

I ask because I'm trying to come up with a way in which we avoid the development of the a-bomb and what to explore what consequences there are from this.

Would it be better to have the discovery of nuclear fission delayed a few years/ decades alongside there being no WW2?

Thanks.
This is a very interesting proposition.

I know very little about physics but from what I read on the Internet, highly enriched uranium (HEU) for use in civilian nuclear reactors requires a purity level of U-235 to be at least 20%, whereas for use in atomic weapons, it had to be at least 90% (though some sources state 80%).

Is it possible for draconian government censorship to work in such a way that generally, most countries know how to get to 20% refined levels, but not 80%? Off the top of my head, my sense that it is not possible, unless governments keep such a tight lid on the entire knowledge base on nuclear physics such that only a few select governments even know how to enrich but I simply don't know how that works.

There was a Sci-Fi novel, called "The Gordion Protocol" by David Weber that explored such a scenario, in a timeline where nuclear proliferation was non-existent but I only skimmed it through briefly and did nor understood the mechanics fully.
 
You could certainly delay it a long time - say there's no Manhattan Project, and so the most famous nuclear program is the failed German one. The British give up on Tube Alloys post-1945 because of budget cuts and Stalin demands Beria stop wasting his time with this cockamamie story. "are we to summon the ghost of Parzival next, comrades? Pfaugh!"
 
This is a very interesting proposition.

I know very little about physics but from what I read on the Internet, highly enriched uranium (HEU) for use in civilian nuclear reactors requires a purity level of U-235 to be at least 20%, whereas for use in atomic weapons, it had to be at least 90% (though some sources state 80%).

Is it possible for draconian government censorship to work in such a way that generally, most countries know how to get to 20% refined levels, but not 80%? Off the top of my head, my sense that it is not possible, unless governments keep such a tight lid on the entire knowledge base on nuclear physics such that only a few select governments even know how to enrich but I simply don't know how that works.

There was a Sci-Fi novel, called "The Gordion Protocol" by David Weber that explored such a scenario, in a timeline where nuclear proliferation was non-existent but I only skimmed it through briefly and did nor understood the mechanics fully.
Civilian light water power reactors use uranium around 3-5% enriched. Canadian heavy water reactors use natural uranium with no enrichment. Military reactors have a very high enrichment level to allow for longer periods between refueling. New reactors like on the Virginia’s are designed to last the life of the sub.
As soon as any physicist determines that each fission gives off ~200 MeV and does the math, countries will be trying to get a nuclear weapon. You don’t need reactors for uranium gun type weapons. Little Boy wasn’t tested, they knew it would work. IMHO this Genie is way too powerful to keep in the bottle.
 
Is it possible for draconian government censorship to work in such a way that generally, most countries know how to get to 20% refined levels, but not 80%? Off the top of my head, my sense that it is not possible, unless governments keep such a tight lid on the entire knowledge base on nuclear physics such that only a few select governments even know how to enrich but I simply don't know how that works.
No, it is not possible. The hard part is getting from natural uranium (0.72% U 235) to a moderate level of enrichment (such as 20%). Getting from that enriched level to high enrichment is much, much easier because of how enrichment works; you're trying to separate compounds with a uranium atom in them based on the very small difference between the mass of the U 238 and U 235 isotopes. The more of the latter there is, the lower the chance of an "error" there is and so it becomes easier and easier to get an ever more pure output stream out (up to a certain point where it becomes hard again, of course)
 
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