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German Goncharov on: Radiation Implosion
Q: Let me try one more different angle on this. It seems clear now that the initial idea of radiation implosion was existing in Los Alamos in 1946 and was transmitted to Russia, to the Soviet Union in 1948. It seems equally clear that neither country pursued this idea at that time. Explain to me why.

GG: No, concerning the Soviet Union, as I have written about it in my second article, I found [Igor] Kurchatov's and [Iulii] Khariton's reviews on Fuchs' material of 1948. In his review, Khariton candidly articulated that we did not understand this concept yet. That is, we did not understand the mechanism of its operation. We did not understand the presence of this opaque casing for radiation and transparent tamper. That is, he simply admitted that we did not understand it yet, that we have to work, to examine. That is, it was not clear.

But, concerning the United States, as far as I understand, when after Truman's 1950 decision to continue the work on the hydrogen bomb and when it was unclear how to achieve this goal and the classical super with various alternatives for its ignition was everything they had; Teller, nevertheless, preferred the "George" design which was chosen for the first experiment. The "George" design was very similar to the [Fuchs] design using radiation implosion. That is why, I cannot say that Americans were not doing anything. Moreover, [Chuck] Hansen wrote that they had started studying this draft numerically in the fall, I think, in October of 1949. That is, they began to investigate it... The period of standstill, so to speak -- when they did not seriously work with it -- was in 1947-48. Apparently, for two and a half years it was on the level of theoretical thoughts. But already in October of 1949 the USA started investigating this concept numerically. And Teller liked it and adopted it as the basis for the "George" experiment, well, without realizing that it would lead to the Teller-Ulam configuration, after all.

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