Department of State Atomic Energy Files

The British Embassy to the Department of State

top secret

Atomic Energy: Norway

The Norwegian Atomic Energy Institute is planning the construction of a small heavy water pile. Some months ago they asked London whether the latter could supply five tons of metallic uranium as feed for this pile. London were obliged to plead raw material shortage and stated their inability to supply.

2. The Norwegians have now returned to the charge stating that they have small pitchblende deposits in Southern Norway from which they hope to be able to obtain from 10–20 tons of oxide in concentration of about 50%. They have asked whether London would be prepared to treat this material at Springfields and return it to them in the form of pure oxide, which they would then put into their pile in oxide form. They would pay whatever refining charge was quoted.

3. The processing of 10–20 tons of concentrates at Springfields would occupy but a fraction of the plant capacity and no more than a negligible quantity of the processing materials, acids, &c. The Norwegians are content that the work should be done at any time convenient to London.

4. London feel that, on balance, they ought to accept this proposal. The Norwegians state that, if London are not able to refine for them, they will be obliged, despite the expense, to build a small refining plant of their own. Such a plant would be available to any foreign power which might occupy Norway in the event of war. The Norwegians would not, of course, acquire any knowledge of the technicalities of the Springfields plant if the work were done there.

5. London wish to know whether the U.S. authorities agree with their view.