BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Americas  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Saturday, 15 June, 2002, 07:48 GMT 08:48 UK
Hiroshima bomb parts cleared for sale
Clay Perkins holds two arming mechanisms from the Hiroshima atomic bomb
Mr Perkins said he was inspired by the atomic bomb
A US court has refused to block the sale of the only remaining parts of the atomic bomb that was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima at the end of World War II.

Two bomb plugs from the Little Boy atomic bomb
Two bomb plugs from the Little Boy atomic bomb
A judge in San Francisco rejected a US Government request for the sale of two electrical plugs - used to test and detonate the first nuclear bomb ever used in war - to be stopped on the grounds that they were classified secret material.

The plugs, from the Little Boy atomic bomb, had been sold at auction on Tuesday for $167,000 to a private collector.

Tens of thousands of people died in Hiroshima, on 6 August 1945, when the US B-29 bomber the Enola Gay primed and released Little Boy.

The plugs had been put up for sale by Morris Jeppson, a crew member of the Enola Gay who had taken the parts from the plane.

Enola Gay (Picture: Federation of American Scientists)
'Enola Gay': The B-29 bomber which flew the Hiroshima mission
The US Justice Department had contended that the two plugs' internal mechanisms - a green one to test the bomb's fusing mechanism and another red device used as a spare - were still regarded as a classified military secret.

However District Court Judge Susan Illston on Friday disagreed with the government's claims.

"I don't think you've made any showing, literally coming in here at the last moment. There's not a national security issue involved," she said.

The judge argued that the fact the plugs had been in the possession of Mr Jeppson for 57 years - and that only now had the US Government taken an interest - meant that the devices could not be regarded as a risk to national security if sold on.

'Inspired'

Butterfields auction house will now release the two plugs to retired physicist Clay Perkins, the private collector from near San Diego, in California.

Mr Perkins told local media that the creation of the atomic bomb had inspired him to become a physicist in his youth.

He said he believed it was impossible for anyone to develop an atomic bomb by studying the devices' internal mechanisms.

Mr Perkins said the artefacts would now go on private display in his home.

See also:

28 Mar 02 | Americas
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes