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Saturday, 5 May 2012

image for How to Make an Atomic Bomb Castlefield collery, Yorkshire

In the past, building an atomic bomb was something only attempted by terribly clever, brainy chaps who were good at doing really hard sums, and crossword puzzles in The Times. Now however, it's possible to build your own atomic bomb without any training, and at relatively low cost.

There really is no better way to pass a dreary bank-holiday weekend than by producing and detonating your very own box of instant sunshine.

You will need: A large tube of super-glue
Some mobile phone batteries
A box of shotgun cartridges
A bucket
A slack handful of ball-bearings
A Transit van
A large ball of string, and...
An upright piano.

Before we start, it might be a good idea to explain how an atomic bomb works. That way if anyone asks you what you are doing, you can speak with some authority and won't look like a complete pratt.

All explosions work by turning solid or liquid things into gas. So when you light a pile of gunpowder, the burning action turns the powder from a solid to a gas. As gas takes up more space than solids, it expands resulting in the thing going bang, or whumph, or poof, or whatever.

The thing about an atomic bomb is that it's primarily made from Uranium which is non flammable, and it doesn't matter how much you try to light it, the stuff simply won't burn. What you have to do with Uranium is to compress it together with Lithium until it becomes so dense that it explodes. A bit like the way a diesel engine works.

The best way to do that is to smack some Lithium into your uranium core at high speed, and at the same instant cause an explosion around the two materials in order to shove them together with colossal force causing the Uranium to reach a critical state whereby it explodes.

Hopefully that wasn't too complicated, and now that we have all of the difficult, technical stuff out of the way, we can begin to build our bomb.

Put your bucket into the back of your Transit van and head for France. This is because the only other thing that you need that isn't on the list above is some Uranium. And France is one of the few places in the World where you can pick the stuff up off of the ground.

The French stopped mining their Uranium at the end of the Millennium, but left all of the mines and quarries in place just in case they found that they ran a bit short one day. Because nobody works there any more there's generally only a night-watchman to look out for. And if you call at mid-day he'll probably be at home having his lunch anyway. Nip over the fence, and using your bucket, pick up a goodly amount of Uranium rock and sling it in the back of the van before heading back up to Calais to catch the ferry back to Blighty.

If you suffer from sea-sickness it may be possible to get hold of some Uranium by rooting through the dustbins at the back of Sellafield which would save you a sea crossing. But Sellafield is a damp, draughty, desolate place, and the food's not as good as you get across the Channel so it's hardly worth trying. Plus, of course you'll have to wade through not only all of the muck that gets empted into the bins from the work's canteen, but also broken biros, classified documents, old sanitary towels and the like, as what you're looking for is bound to be right at the bottom.

While you're waiting for the boat at Calais it may be a good idea to fill in any remaining space in the van with some cheap wine and cigarettes to off-set your fuel expenses.

Once you get back home, your next task is to find an assistant. So dress up well, comb your hair and go out on the pull. Try to find a well-built woman if possible as there will be a fair bit of manual work to do the following day. Ply her with wine and ciggies, and entice her with the promise of travel to faraway exotic lands.

The next morning, after she's cooked breakfast, help her to load the piano and all of the other stuff into the van, before the pair of you set off along the motorway for...South Yorkshire.

Once you get there, have a drive round until you find a disused coal mine. There's plenty about so it shouldn't take you too long. Go to the top of the mineshaft of your choice and using your bucket, chuck your stock of Uranium down the shaft.

Now unload your piano and place it close to the hole in the ground that you threw all of your rocks down. Using your super-glue, stick the mobile phone batteries (which is your source of Lithium) to one side of it. Then tie your length of string to the other end. Your basic bomb is now assembled, but we have to add the detonator, so unpack your shotgun cartridges and glue a ball-bearing to the base of each one where the firing cap is. Then glue the plastic end of each cartridge to the same side of the piano as the phone batteries. Unroll your ball of string to its fullest possible length and then keeping firm hold of the string, pull the piano until it falls into the mouth of the mine shaft with the battery/shotgun cartridge end pointing downwards.

You are now ready to explode your atomic bomb.

At this point you may well muse over the fact that you should have bought a longer piece of string with you.

When you do finally let go of the string, the piano will fall down the mine shaft and slam the Lithium batteries into the Uranium that's sitting at the bottom. At the same time the ball-bearings that are attached to the shotgun cartridges will also hit the rock and strike the firing caps.

If all goes well there will be a brilliant shaft of light coming out of the ground that looks something like the searchlight image from 'Batman' followed by a lot of smoke that will form into a pleasant looking mushroom shaped cloud somewhere above where you are standing.

Shake hands with your assistant, crack open a bottle of vin ordinaire, and spark up a Gauloise to celebrate.

There will however, be the odd occasion when your atomic bomb fails to explode, and all that occurs is the sound of a piano being dropped down a mine shaft. If this happens to you, then you may have to refine the design of your bomb. Perhaps different sized ball-bearings, or more phone batteries will do the trick. Have a play around with different patterns for your shotgun cartridges. A good start would be to use a larger piano.

British Atomic Bomb Owners Club - All rights reserved.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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