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Nuclear Bomb

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

What is a nuclear bomb?

A Nuclear Bomb is an explosive device that utilises the huge energy potential of nuclear fission (atomic bomb) or a combination of fission and nuclear fusion (hydrogen bomb) to deliver a bomb with great destructive force.

The destructive force of a nuclear bomb is such that a single bomb can provide the force, which would require an equivalent of over 1m ton of TNT to replicate. The destruction is not limited to the initial blast. Nuclear bombs also release huge amounts of radiation, causing radiation sickness and links to further illnesses.

Key Takeaways:

  • Nuclear bombs are incredibly powerful weapons that can cause mass destruction and devastation.

  • They split atoms apart to release nuclear energy from an explosive blast.

  • The history of nuclear weapons dates back to World War II, when they were used in devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  • The development and use of nuclear bombs has been a source of controversy for many years due to their potential for mass destruction.

  • It is important to understand the power, history, and implications of nuclear weapons so that we can make informed decisions about its use in the future.

Nuclear Explosion Power Comparison

How does a nuclear bomb work?

There are several nuclear bombs, the two main categories being nuclear fusion bombs and nuclear fission bombs. Although all atomic bombs include nuclear fission, those that use only nuclear fission are referred to as atomic bombs (A-Bombs).

There are a couple of designs of A-Bombs (gun-type and implosion-type). Still, the basic principle is that uranium or plutonium is forced to go supercritical, creating a nuclear chain reaction that creates a huge amount of energy reported to be 15,000-20,000 times that of TNT. The critical function of the nuclear bomb is to ensure that there is a significant fraction of the fuel before the bomb destroys itself.

Fission reactions create fission products that can leave much radioactive contamination, often referred to as nuclear fallout. This is further enhanced by the released free nuclei, which can collide with surrounding materials, making those radioactive.

The second major type of nuclear bomb is a nuclear fusion bomb, often referred to as Hydrogen Bombs (H-Bombs) or Thermonuclear Bombs. Almost all nuclear weapons deployed today to adopt a thermonuclear design due to their efficiency.

The design of a Thermonuclear Bomb utilises a multi-stage reaction with nuclear fission (stage one) being utilised to start a nuclear fusion reaction (stage two) which creates high-speed neutrons that can induce fission in depleted uranium which would otherwise not be prone to fission. When detonated, about half of the blast energy comes from depleted uranium due to stage two.

Nuclear Fusion does not create such a nuclear fallout as nuclear fission. However, as the design includes nuclear fission as part of their primary stage, thermonuclear bombs can leave a similar fallout to a fission-only A-Bomb.

How many nuclear bombs have been used?

The first nuclear bomb was detonated by the United States in 1945 as part of World War II's Manhattan Project. This marked a significant milestone in nuclear weapons development and marked the beginning of a nuclear arms race between developed nations. Since then, nuclear bombs have been used numerous times throughout history and remain a major source of global nuclear deterrence.

Most people will immediately think of pictures and videos from August 1945 when the US dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 129,000 and 226,000 people, respectively.

The UK agreed to the nuclear bombings as per the Quebec Agreement, and a gun-type nuclear fission bomb called “Little Boy” was dropped over Hiroshima on 6th August, with an implosion-type “Fat Man” being dropped on Nagasaki 3 days later.

These are the only two nuclear bombs that have been dropped in warfare. There have been many instances of nuclear bomb testing, with the Tsar Bomba being the largest weapon ever tested by the USSR in 1961 at the height of the Cold War, utilising a three-stage design approach. Most bombs now are a lot smaller than this for practical reasons.

Nuclear Bomb Countries

This is not as easy a question to answer as it should be. Four categories of Countries have nuclear weapons being; Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) States, States known to have nuclear weapons, States believed to have nuclear weapons and those in the NATO nuclear sharing programme.

The mix of Countries includes China, France, Russia, the UK, US in the NPT. India, North Korea and Pakistan in the ‘known’. Israel is believed to have Nuclear Weapons but has never admitted so. Then Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Turkey form the NATO nuclear sharing programme.

The UK, US, Russia, China, France, India and North Korea have also tested H-Bombs to produce a thermonuclear bomb. However, whether India achieved a multi-stage reaction as part of its testing programme is disputed. There is major controversy and doubt over the claims of North Korea in 2016.

The controversy surrounding nuclear bombs

The destructive potential of nuclear bombs has led to much controversy over their use or possession. Many countries, including the United States, France, Russia and China, possess nuclear weapons and have used them in times of conflict.

Others view nuclear weapons as a threat to global security and have called for their complete elimination. Despite this debate, nuclear bombs remain a key component of nuclear deterrence.


In conclusion, nuclear bombs are powerful devices capable of causing immense destruction. They rely on nuclear fission reactions and nuclear triggers to generate nuclear energy, which is released upon detonation.

The history of nuclear bombs dates back to World War II, and since then, they have been a source of great controversy. Despite this debate, nuclear weapons remain an integral part of nuclear deterrence.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article on nuclear bombs. We hope you have better understood what nuclear bombs are, how they work, their history and the controversy surrounding them.

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