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Old 04-29-2016, 10:51 AM
bump bump is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 15,130
Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
This gets into the whole subject of marginal cost: how much it costs to make one more of something after you've already covered the cost of being able to produce any at all. Typically, investment-heavy items benefit from economy of scale.
That's essentially what I was getting at; the Manhattan Project didn't just yield Trinity, Fat Man and Little Boy; it yielded the entire uranium enrichment and plutonium generation and separation infrastructures and capability, as well as the industrial capacity to actually fabricate uranium and plutonium items, as well as a WHOLE LOT of basic scientific research into what is now basic atomic physics about the nature of atomic fission and radioactivity. So I'd argue that those costs are only partially applicable to Fat Man and Little Boy.

But even if you do count all that strictly as Manhattan Project costs, it wasn't spread across only the 2 combat bombs and one test bomb (Trinity). The US military used the Fat Man design for another 5 years, until 1950, and built a grand total of 124 weapons of that type (Trinity, Fat Man, the 2 used in Operation Crossroads (Able and Baker) and 120 stockpiled ones). So in total, that cost would be split by 125 (124 Fat Man bombs and 1 Little Boy bomb).