Njølstad, Grimnes, Rønneberg & Goldschmidt: The Race for Norwegian Heavy Water, 1940-1945

​IFS Info 4/1995
The three papers presented in this study each add substantially to our understanding of the wartime race for the Norwegian heavy water.
​IFS Info no. 4/1995
Title: The Race for Norwegian Heavy Water, 1940-1945
Authors: Olav Njølstad, Ole Kristian Grimnes, Joachim Rønneberg, Bertrand Goldschmidt
Pages: 24

The sabotage action against Norsk Hydro's heavy water factory at Vemork, Rjukan, in February 1943 was undoubtedly one of the most astonishing and heroic Norwegian-Allied operations in Norway during the Second World War. 

In the first paper, Professor Ole Kristian Grimnes explains why heavy water was produced in such exceptional quantities at Rjukan in the first place, and also sheds illuminating light on the fundamental question of how significant the sabotage operations at Vemork were for the German nuclear weapons programme and the Allied war effort. 

In the second paper, Joachim Rønneberg, who at the age of 22 led the sabotage action in February 1943, shares with us his memories of that dramatic event. In addition to the many fascinating details about how the sabotage was planned and executed, the reader will find some very valuable reflections on why that particular operation became such a huge success. 

The third paper is written by Dr Bertrand Goldschmidt, the former General-Director of the French Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique). The main purpose of his paper is to show that without their privileged access to Norwegian heavy water, which was obtained by France through secret negotiations with Norsk Hydro in March 1940 and with the Norwegian government in exile in March 1945, Goldschmidt and his colleagues in the CEA would have had great difficulty in fulfilling the goals of the French atomic energy programme. 
Publisert 1. april 1995 13:31.. Sist oppdatert 5. september 2019 10:02.