Item #: SCP-057
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-057 is to be contained in a ten (10) meter diameter vault lined with forty eight (48) centimeters of neutron absorbing cadmium compound, and then a twenty (20) centimeter barrier of solid metallic lead. Encasing the vault is three hundred (300) meters of high density boron doped concrete. The vault is located approximately one point five (1.5) kilometers below the surface of the earth in the event the core causes a nuclear explosion. The object is monitored with alpha, beta, and gamma radiation counters, CCTV for observation and security, and a sophisticated neutron flux detector. If neutron flux exceeds threshold procedure 057-DELTA will be automatically enacted. Personnel are excluded from accessing the vault due to the hazards involved.
Description: The object is a six point two (6.2) kilogram spherical subcritical mass of plutonium. The object exhibits unique radiological properties, such that the criticality of the mass can change without any change in dependent variables such as mass, density, temperature, or neutron reflection. The dangerous property of reaching supercritical state in violation of our current understanding of nuclear physics makes it extremely hazardous to handle. Several incidents, some of them fatal, have occurred. Active experimentation on the mass or proximity by personnel seems to increase the probability of supercritical events.
In two (2) separate instances the object experienced criticality excursions at Los Alamos laboratory, in 1945 and 1946. Each incident resulted in the acute radiation poisoning and subsequent death of a scientist. After these incidents, the core was referred to as the Demon Core. Several other incidents also took place during the object's containment and transportation.
On August 21, 1945, the plutonium core produced a burst of ionizing radiation that irradiated Harry Daghlian, a physicist who made a mistake while working alone doing neutron reflection experiments on the core. The core was placed within a stack of neutron-reflective bricks, moving the assembly closer to criticality. Harry Daghlian, while attempting to stack another brick around the assembly, accidentally dropped one of the bricks onto the core causing the assembly to go supercritical. Despite moving the brick off the assembly quickly, Daghlian received a fatal dose of radiation.
Then on May 21, 1946, physicist Louis Slotin and other scientists were in a Los Alamos laboratory conducting an experiment that involved creating a fission reaction by placing two (2) half-spheres of beryllium (a neutron reflector) around the same plutonium core. Slotin's hand holding a screwdriver separating the hemispheres slipped, the beryllium neutron reflector hemispheres closed, and the core went supercritical, releasing a very high dose of radiation. He quickly pulled the two (2) halves apart, stopping the chain reaction and hence saving the lives of the others in the laboratory. Louis Slotin died nine (9) days later from acute radiation poisoning.
Afterwards, on ██/██/███, while being transported via cart to a testing lab, the object passed by a large tank of uranium U-235 in solution being processed. As the cart came into proximity to the tank the object released a large neutron flux, as detected by the neutron flux meters installed to monitor the object. The neutron flux caused a criticality excursion in the tank of uranium solution, causing a blue flash of light and the spilling of twenty percent (20%) of the tank's volume. Five (5) people received a dose of thirteen Grays (13 Gy) and, after a long period of existing as "walking ghosts," succumbed to their exposure.
The Demon Core was intended to be used in a nuclear weapon against Japan, but when the design of the weapons was changed the object was used purely for experimental procedures. When this change was made, the accidents began. After its unique properties were discovered, a fake detonation at the Crossroads nuclear testing facility was used to remove the core from the possession of the United States' nuclear program, by clandestinely replacing the core with a more mundane plutonium core before detonation.
Addendum SCP-057-AD-182 transcribed audio recorded notes of Dr. ███████:
"Bombs have a life.. almost you could say.. a MIND of their own. What is a bomb that never explodes? That has its purpose denied… It is like a dream unfulfilled. This object had the potential to kill thousands— TENS, of thousands, if not HUNDREDS of thousands. With that destiny of destruction deferred.. It's as if it began its own machinations, to pursue its true purpose… the destruction of human lives. This is a dangerous thing. Its half-life has not diminished its mass… It's the core of a nuclear bomb, with a will of its own, and a desire to ruin. God save us if it breaches its containment with an explosion of a magnitude that we cannot anticipate."