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Canadian and British Early Atomic Energy Reports (1940-1946)

Contributed by M.M.R. Williams

This collection has been made available to the OECD-Nuclear Energy Agency for general access and dissemination on 29 July 2002.

Heritage lost?

I recently published an article describing in some detail the problem I encountered when attempting to retrieve some old World war II Canadian Atomic Energy reports. The details of this search may be found in Progress in Nuclear Energy, vol. 36, 239-322 (2000). Suffice it to say here that it was with great difficulty and a certain amount of luck that I was able to track down those old Canadian "MT" reports.

As an exercise, and out of genuine interest, I decided to find out how easy it would be to locate some of the old Manhattan District project reports and particularly those referenced in Robert Marshak's famous article "Theory of the slowing down of neutrons by elastic collision with atomic nuclei", published in Reviews of Modern Physics, vol. 19, 185-238 (1947). In this list of references, Marshak mentions A-27 by Gregory Breit and A-25 by Georges Placzek. I once owned a copy of A-25, but it disappeared. It was a delightful article that was in the nature of a review together with original work. I have been unable to get a copy, or, indeed, find out where to get a copy.  The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) Web sites are less than helpful, and colleagues at Los Alamos have been unable to locate the reports. It is not as though they are classified in any way, so where are they? As with my quest for the Canadian reports, I expected such historic documents to be fully archived and readily accessible. I am sure if these reports were work of art or literature, they would be kept in fully climate-controlled conditions, but it seems that works of science are not so highly valued. I bring this matter to the attention of members of ANS so that they can ponder the way their nuclear heritage is gradually being lost.

Of course, I would be delighted to be proved wrong, and if any reader knows where I can gain ready access to the Manhattan District A series of reports, and also the later AECD and AECU reports, then I would be very pleased indeed.

M.M.R. Williams
Emeritus Professor of Nuclear Engineering
University of London, UK
And ANS Fellow

permission by M.M.R. Williams - Letter to ANS News

Additional documents available

A note from the compiler of these reports.

M.M.R. Williams: The Development of Nuclear Reactor Theory in the Montreal Laboratory of the National Research Council of Canada (Division of Atomic Energy) 1940-1946. Progress in Nuclear Energy, Vol. 36, No. 3, pp. 239-322, 2000

M.M.R. Williams: Corrigenda and Addenda

Alvin Weinberg's Comments and historical background (8 September 2000)

Full list of Montreal Theory Reports

If you wish to obtain a copy of all these reports, go to its abstract

MT-1       G. Placzek
The Functions of En(x)=Integral(e-xuu-ndu){1,infinity}

MT-4       G. Placzek and G.M. Volkoff
Notes on Diffusion of Neutrons without Change in Energy.

MT-5       G. Placzek and W.P. Seidel
Milne's Problem in Transport Theory.
(Physical Review, 72 (1947) 550-555)

MT-6       G. Placzek
The Angular Distribution of neutrons Emerging from a Plane Surface.
(Physical Review, 72(1947)556-558)

MT-7       G. Placzek
Boundary Conditions in Elementary Diffusion Theory.

MT-12      P.R. Wallace and J. LeCaine
Elementary Approximation in the Theory of Neutron Diffusion
(Nucleonics 4(2),30-35, 4(3), 48-67, 1949).

MT-13      G. Placzek and G.M. Volkoff
A Theorem on Neutron Multiplication
(Canadian Journal of Research, A25 (1947) 276-292)

MT-14      G.M. Volkoff
Analysis of Experimental Data on the Slowing-Down and Thermal Diffusion Lengths in Carbon.

MT-15      P.R. Wallace
Neutron Distribution in Adjoining Piles of Slightly Different Properties.

MT-16      G. Placzek
The Neutron Density Near a Plane Surface, I.

MT-17      R.E. Marshak
On the Slowing Down Length of Neutrons in Water.

MT-18      R.E. Marshak
On The Moments of the Distribution Function of Neutrons Slowed Down in Heavy Elements.

MT-19      R.E. Marshak
On The Slowing Down Length of Neutrons in Mixtures.
(MT-17, 18, 19 in Rev. Mod. Phys. 19(1947)185-238)

MT-20      G. Placzek
Diffusion of Neutrons without Velocity Change. (Not Issued)

MT-21      G.M. Volkoff
Critical Conditions for a Multiplying Spherical Core with an Infinite Reflector of the Same Scattering Properties.

MT-26      J.C. Mark
Milne’s Problem for Anisotropic Scattering.

MT-29      J. LeCaine
Critical Radius of a Strongly Multiplying Sphere Surrounded by a Non-Multiplying Infinite Medium.

MT-30      J. LeCaine and G.M. Volkoff
Application of “Synthetic” Kernels to the Study of Critical Conditions in a Multiplying Sphere with an Infinite Reflector.

MT-34      P.R. Wallace
Boundary Conditions at Thin Absorbing Shells and Plates.
Annals of Nuclear Energy 2001

MT-35      P.R. Wallace
Neutron Distribution in a Multiplying Exponential Pile with a Plane Source.

MT-38      G.M. Volkoff
Critical Radius of a Multiplying Spherical Core Surrounded by a non-Multplying Reflector of Finite Thickness.

MT-40      E.D. Courant
Production and Consumption of Fissile Materials in One Arrangement of a Producing Unit.

MT-49      R.E. Marshak and W.P. Seidel
Milne’s Problem for a Sphere.

MT-50      J.C. Mark
The Neutron Density Near a Plane surface II.
(Phys Rev 72 (1947) 558-564)

MT-51      G. Placzek
Energy Conversion Factors and Nuclear Constants.

MT-52      R.E. Marshak
Black Utilization. (Not Issued)

MT-53      R.E. Marshak
A Rigorous formula for the slowing down Length in an Element of Arbitrary Mass.

MT-54      R.E. Marshak
On the Slowing Down Length of Neutrons in Water: Supplement to MT-17.
(MT-53 and MT-54 published in Rev. Mod. Phys. 19(1947)185-238)

MT-55      R.E. Marshak
The Application of Variational Theory to the Determination of Asymptotic Neutron Densities.
(Phys Rev 71 (1947) 688-693)

MT-56      J.C. Mark,
Constants and Expansions of Wiener-Hopf Method. (Not Issued)

MT-59      E.D. Courant
Measurements in Finite System of the Total Number of Neutrons in an Infinite System.

MT-63      P.R. Wallace
On the Thermal Utilization of Plates in the Presence of Linear Anisotropic Scattering.

MT-65      G. Placzek
Report on Research in Theoretical Physics Feb. to July 15/44. (Not Issued)

MT-66      F.T. Adler and J.C. Mark
Milne’s Problem with Capture. (Not Issued)

MT-67      E.D. Courant
Diffusion Equations and Critical Conditions in a Medium with Varying Mean Free Path.

MT-72      F.T. Adler
Theory of the Diffuse Reflection of Neutrons by a Plane Surface of a Semi-infinite Capturing Medium

MT-88      B. Davison
Influence of a Small Black Sphere Upon the Neutron Density In an Infinite Non- Capturing Medium.
(an abridged version can be found in Proc. Phys. Soc. A LXIV, 1951, 881-902.)

MT-89      B.Davison
A remark on the Variational Method.
(Physical Rev. 71(1947)694-697)

MT-91      J. Stewart and G.M. Volkoff
Estimates of Critical Volume of Polymer for Pilot Plant Under Various Conditions.

MT-92      J.C. Mark
The Spherical Harmonic Method, I. (Re-issued as CRT-340)

MT-93      B. Davison
Influence of a Large Black Sphere Upon the Neutron Density in an Infinite Non-Capturing Medium.

MT-97      J.C. Mark
The Spherical Harmonic Method, II. (Re-issued as CRT-338)
Also AECL-490 (1958)

MT-106      P.R. Wallace
Moments of the Angular Distribution in the Asymptotic Region
(Canadian Journal of Research A26(1948)99-114)

MT-107      P.R. Wallace
Effect of Scattering on the Capturing Properties of Plates and Spheres.

MT-112      B. Davison
Angular Distribution due to an Isotropic Point Source and Spherically Symmetrical Eigensolutions of the Transport Equation.
(Progress in Nuclear Energy 36, 2000, 323)

MT-118      B. Davison and G.Placzek
Milne’s Problem with Capture and Production.

MT-119      J. LeCaine
Milne's problem with capture II.
(Canadian Journal of Research A28(1950)242)

MT-124      B. Davison
Large Spherical Hole In a Slightly Capturing Medium.
(an abridged version can be found in Proc. Phys. Soc. A LXIV, 1951, 881-902.)

MT-131      J. LeCaine
A Table of Integrals Involving the Functions En(x)

MT-135      B. Davison
Influence of a Large Black Cylinder Upon the Neutron Density in an Infinite Non-Capturing Medium.
(an abridged version can be found in Proc. Phys. Soc. A. LXIV, 1951, 881-902.)

MT-136      B. Davison
Neutron Density at the Centre of a Small Spherical Cavity.

MT-137      E.A. Guggenheim
Compressible flow of perfect gas with heat input distributed symmetrically about middle of channel.

MT-150      M.H.L. Pryce.
The Critical Size of a Multiplying system Surrounded by a Reflector of Different Scattering Properties.

MT-151      M.H.L. Pryce
The Evaluation of the Life Time of a Radioactive Substance from a Small Number of Observations.

MT-164      E.D. Courant
Requirements for the Maintenance of Critical Conditions with Changing Material Constants.

MT-166      E.A.Guggenheim, M.H.L.Pryce and G.M. Volkoff
Thermal Utilization in Some Systems having Axial Symmetry.

MT-169      P.R. Wallace and B. Carlson
Determination of 'f' for spheres.

MT-173      E.D. Courant
On Seeding Depleted Piles.

MT-196      J.M.G. Fell and G.M.Volkoff
Capture of Neutrons by Cylindrical Absorbing Rods Placed Around a Pile.
(Annals of Nuclear Energy, 2001)

MT-197      J.M.G. Fell
A Note on the Temperature Distribution Inside Uranium Rods with Variable Heat Source Density and Variable Conductivity.

MT-199      E.A.Guggenheim and M.H.L.Pryce
Fast Fission in Tubes. (Re-issued as AECL 92)

MT-201      F.T. Adler
Reduction of the Two-Group Model to an Equivalent One-Group Model.

MT-202      (Anon)
Efficiency of Control Rods Absorbing Thermal Neutrons Only. (Not Issued)

MT-207      B.Davison, W.P. Seidel and S.Kushneriuk
Influence of a Small Black Cylinder Upon the Neutron Density in an Infinite Non-Capturing Medium.(Proc. 2nd Canadian Mathematical Congress, Vancouver, B.C. 1949)

MT-208      M.Goldstein and E.A.Guggenheim
Effect of Xenon Poisoning on Uranium-Graphite Piles.

MT-214      B.Davison and S.Kushneriuk
Linear Extrapolation Length for a Black Sphere and a Black Cylinder.

MT-220      E.A. Guggenheim
Thermal Utilization in a System Con-taining Two Moderators. (Re-issued as AECL-63)

MT-221      V.H. Rumsey and G.M.Volkoff
Diffusion Theory Expressions for the Thermal Utilization Factor f in Cells with Slab, Cylindrical and Spherical Geometry.

MT-222      F.T. Adler
Efficiency of Control Rods as a function of their Position in a Cylindrical Pile in the One-Group Picture. (Re-issued as AECL 253)

MT-223      E.D.Courant and P.R.Wallace
Fluctuations of the number of Neutrons in a Pile.
(Physical Rev. 72(1947)1037-1048)

MT-232      B. Davison
Influence of an Air Gap Surrounding a Small Black Sphere upon the Linear Extrapolation Length of the Neutron Density in the Surrounding Medium.

MT-240      H.H. Clayton
Critical Laplacian and Neutron Densities in the NRX Pile.
(Re-issued as AECL 376)

MT-241      H.H. Clayton
Fate of Neutrons in NRX Pile and Production Rates of 49 and 23.
(Re-issued as AECL 377)

MT-242      M.Goldstein, M.Wales, A.S.Lodge
Fast Fission In Tubes: A Numerical Supplement to MT-199.

MT-243      A.S. Lodge
The Temperature Distribution in an Infinite Medium due to a Spatially Uniform Plane Source of Heat

MT-245      B. Davison
Linear Extrapolation Length for the Neutron Density at the Surface of a Large Hollow Cylindrical Shaft

MT-249      J.M.G. Fell
Effect of the Presence of Fast Neutrons on the Utilization of Neutrons by Absorbing Rods Around a Pile.

Early British Atomic Energy Reports on Reactor Theory

These reports are the records of work done, either before the Montreal Theory team was set up, or carried out in parallel with it in Britain. In general, the dates are consistent because Davison's work was done in 1943 and 1944 and he did not arrive in Montreal until late 1944. Similarly Pryce's work on criticality was done in 1943 and his name does not appear on Montreal reports until 1945. The other authors either went directly to Los Alamos (e.g. Klaus Fuchs ) or remained in the UK (e.g. Dirac).

MS-1 On the Possibility of a Slow-Neutron Chain Reaction.
R. Peierls (1940)

MS-2 Speed of Reaction in a Chain Reactor with Slow Neutrons.
R. Peierls (1940)

MS-8 The Effect of Expansion of the Sphere.
R. Peierls (1940)

MS-P2a Critical Conditions in Neutron Multiplication.
M.H.L. Pryce (1943)

MS-85 Effect of a Scattering Container on the Critical Radius and Time Constant.
K. Fuchs (1943)

MS-89 A Comparison of the Approximate Methods of Calculating the Critical Size of a Sphere.
A.H. Wilson (1944)

MS-91 A Reduction in Neutron Density Caused by an Absorbing Disc.
T.H.R. Skyrme (1944)

MS-97 The Critical Radius and the Time Constant of a Sphere Embedded in a Spherical Scattering Container.
B. Davison and K. Fuchs (November, 1943)

MS-100 Critical Radius for a Hemisphere with a One-Sided Infinite Container.
B. Davison (November 27, 1944)

MS-102 The Effect of Small Departures from the Spherical Shape upon the Critical Size and Time Constant of a Sphere.
A.H. Wilson (March, 1944)

MS-105 The General Properties of the Transport Equation and its Use in Determining the Multiplication in Bodies Having Spherical Symmetry.
A.H. Wilson (January, 1944)

MS-106 The Effect of Inelastic Scattering on the Multiplication in a Sphere.
A.H. Wilson (January, 1944)

MS-111 The Critical Size and Time Constant of a Spheroid.
H. Fairbrother (June, 1944)

MS-112 Critical Radius of a Hemisphere Completely Surrounded by a Container.
P.D. Preston and B. Davison (July, 1944)

MS-113 The Effect of Anisotropic Scattering on the Multiplication in a Sphere.
A.H. Wilson (July, 1944)

MS-115 A New Method of Determining the Time Constant of a Sphere in a Container.
A.H. Wilson (August, 1944)

MS-D5 (Parts I and II) Approximate Rate of Neutron Multiplication for a Solid of Arbitrary Shape and Uniform Density.
P.A.M. Dirac (1944)

Some additional reports included are:

CP-644  The effect of fast fission on k (May 4th, 1943)
H. Castle, H. Ibser, G. Sacher and A.M. Weinberg

LA-756  The Serber-Wilson Method Formulae and Computation Methods.
Bengt Carlson

MDDC-295_LADC-243   Some neutron diffusion problems (September 11, 1946)
R.E. Marshak

MDDC-72  Theoretical Discussion of a Small Homogeneous Enriched Reactor (June 18, 1946)
R.F. Christy

TPI-5  Terms in an Expansion of the Wiener-Hopf Solution of Milne's Equation for Small Values of the Argument (October 25, 1943)

TL-1 to TL-6    Volkoff Lectures on Reactor Physics, 1944
George Volkoff

Additional bibliography:

  • A detailed discussion of slowing down and diffusion of neutrons can be found in:
  • "Introduction to the Theory of Diffusion and Slowing Down of Neutrons" by R.E. Marshak, H. Broks, H. Hurwitz Jr

    Nucleonics 1949

    May vol 4, No 5, pp10-22
    June vol 4, No 6, pp43-49
    July vol 5, No 1, pp53-60
    August vol 5, No 2, pp59-68

  • The seminal paper on integral transport theory is one by Rudolph Peierls
  • "Critical conditions in neutron multiplication"

    Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 1939, vol 35, pp 610-615

    Last modified: 06 November 2018

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