Definition of nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is a high-powered explosive that uses nuclear energy, this includes the carrier vector, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and part of the infrastructure involved in their handling and operation.
A nuclear bomb is an explosive device that uses the power of the reactions of atomic and subatomic particles to unleash a power equivalent to many more kilos of conventional explosive material.
Einstein said that, if a hypothetical World War III was fought with nuclear weapons, the Fourth World War would be fought with stone axes.
This was a clear reference to the destructive power of this ingenuity, which was born at the end of the Second World War, and is still seen today as a threat over our heads, being able to destroy the known world.
Where the nuclear detonation went
Shortly thereafter two atomic bombs were detonated on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, which was not the main reason for the nation’s surrender but had a major impact on the nation, ending the Second World War in the Pacific Treaty. This event ushered in what has been called the”nuclear age”.
Nuclear bombs are among the most destructive weapons and are therefore commonly included in the ABQ classification.
Its range of action reaches tens or hundreds of kilometers from the detonation point. In addition, nuclear weapons cause associated damage such as radioactive contamination and nuclear winter.
How an atomic bomb explodes
The characteristics of an atomic bomb explosion are an area of enormous devastation compared to the size of the device, intense heat capable of melting materials, and radiation that causes the duration of the pernicious effects of the explosion.
Types of nuclear bombs
The uranium ball, in which another amount of uranium is added to a ball of uranium to cause critical mass.
Plutonium, in which the ball of material is surrounded by a conventional explosive that compresses it to a critical mass.
Thermonuclear or hydrogen, which is based on the fusion of hydrogen atoms, and not on the fission of heavy element atoms as in the two previous cases, although in reality, these devices end up using mixed techniques.
Neutron bomb also uses a mixed fusion/fission technique, but with a higher percentage of fusion even than the previous one. This results in a more destructive impact and a much shorter duration of radiation.
It is more destructive to living things and less so to infrastructure such as buildings, as it generates radiation that affects living tissues, and less polluting in the long term.
The UN and Nuclear Weapons
Since its inception, the United Nations has sought to eliminate such weapons. In its first resolution (1946), the General Assembly established a Commission to address, inter alia, the problems arising from the discovery of atomic energy.
The Commission should consider the development of practical measures to promote, inter alia, the control of atomic energy to the extent necessary to ensure its use for peaceful purposes only.
The resolution also decided that the Commission should submit proposals for”the elimination of national armaments from atomic weapons and all other weapons of great power now or in the future applicable to mass destruction”.
Since then, several multilateral treaties have been established with the aim of preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear testing, while promoting nuclear disarmament.
Among them is the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Treaty banning nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere.
The Atomic Bomb Race
The race for the atomic bomb began during World War II, and all opponents were involved in it.
Thanks to the advances in theoretical physics that took place between the beginning of the 20th century and the inter-war period (and, mainly, in the 1920s), the theoretical bases of this device were well established.
While we all know that the first – and so far only – country to use an atomic bomb on the ground against an enemy has been the United States, with the launches of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States, the USSR, Japan, and Nazi Germany were among the first to seek its achievement.
Nazi Germany had physicists prepared to carry out their research, and even a few historians claim (with little basis) that they tested a nuclear bomb on a Baltic island.
However, the Nazi scientists made a basic mistake that, fortunately for the world, deprived them of the weapon before the United States: to discard Einstein’s theories simply because he was Jewish (he had to go into exile from Germany to the United States).
The first explosion of atomic bombs.
On August 6, 1945, the Little Boy bomb, the first nuclear device in history, exploded in Hiroshima.
His mission was to convince the Japanese leadership that unconditional surrender was their only way out and that any resistance was futile.
The most optimistic estimates of the US military authorities were that there would be as many as one million casualties (between soldiers from both sides and Japanese civilians) in an invasion of Japanese territory, due to calls for outrageous resistance by the imperial authorities and fanaticism even in civil society.
The bomb, followed by the Nagasaki (Fat Man) bomb, gave the message that, if there were any deaths, they would all be Japanese because of the great destructive power of the Americans.
But it took two explosions for the imperial authorities to realize that resistance was not a viable option.
They say that both attacks had another mission: to demonstrate to Stalin (the Cold War with the USSR was already looming) the power of the Western allies to dissuade him from trying to conquer more territory in Europe at the expense of attacking the United States and its allies.
Which countries have the most atomic weapons in the world
Russia is the country with the most atomic bombs, with a total of 7,000. Of these, 1,910 are ready for use, 2,700 are removed and in the process of being disassembled and another 2,390 have not been completed.
The other military superpower, the United States, is located nearby, with 6,800 nuclear warheads, of which 1,800 would be ready for use.
Farther afield, France has 300, China 270 (although there is no precise information on how many of them are already armed), the United Kingdom 215, Pakistan 140, India 130, Israel 80, and, only at the end, North Korea, with its 60, would appear.
What is the most destructive nuclear weapon in existence today?
Russian President Vladimir Putin presented the new nuclear weapons as the Sarmat ballistic missile with”almost unlimited range” and which makes the US missile defense shield”useless”.
The Sarmat (SS-X-30 Satan-2, according to NATO) is a heavy intercontinental missile capable of carrying 10-15 nuclear warheads.
The Sarmat is a Russian heavy duty intercontinental liquid fuel ballistic missile with 10-15 maneuverable thermonuclear MIRV warheads (MaRV) or up to 3 hypersonic sliders and advanced countermeasures to penetrate missile shields.
This intercontinental ballistic missile can destroy targets over long distances using different flight path systems.
Sarmat is equipped with the most modern counter-attack equipment, which allows it to overcome any missile defense system.
What does a nuclear explosion look like?
The explosion of a nuclear weapon releases a combination of heat, shock waves, and radiation. These forces have the potential to kill and injure huge numbers of people, raze homes, buildings, and infrastructure and generate serious environmental consequences.
victims caused by the heat:
The ground temperature underneath the epicenter of the explosion would rise to approximately 7,000°C and vaporize all living things in the area.
Tens of thousands of people who survived the vaporization would suffer intense burns, most of them full thickness. Severe burns can occur within a radius of up to 3 kilometers of the explosion.
In addition, many people who look in the direction of the blast and see the fireball with their eyes open will suffer temporary blindness from the flash effect for about 40 minutes, or even permanent eye damage, particularly burns and scarring on the retina that will affect their field of vision.
victims caused by the shock wave
The fireball and instant heat would be immediately followed by shock waves that move at supersonic speeds.
People would die or be seriously injured in the collapse of their homes, by the fall of buildings and rubble, or by being thrown into the air, suffering injuries such as organ bursting, skull fractures and penetrating wounds. Many people would become deaf due to their eardrums bursting.
Effects of the igneous storm
The igneous storm and heat would raise temperatures to levels that would cause immediate vaporization or fire of many objects and structures.
The combination of heat and shock wave would cause the fuel and flammable liquid storage tanks to explode. There would be numerous fires that could generate a huge, made-to-measure igneous storm.
that the winds and the intense heat added up to the individual fires. The igneous storm would consume all the oxygen in the vicinity and refugees in closed places above or below ground would suffocate to death. Those who survive oxygen deprivation would be at risk of severe burns.
Radioactive fallout caused by a nuclear explosion
The immediate effects of radiation are, among others, the following:
central nervous system dysfunctions (at very high doses);
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea caused by injuries to the gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to potentially fatal dehydration and nutritional problems; and
- Destruction of the body’s ability to produce new blood cells, resulting in uncontrolled bleeding (due to the absence or significant reduction in the number of platelets) and life-threatening infections (due to the absence or reduction in the number of white blood cells).
- Many of those who survive the effects of the heat and shock of a nuclear explosion would fall victim to radiation in the weeks and months to come.
This characteristic effect of nuclear weapons would affect people outside the immediate vicinity of the explosion, as people near their epicenter would likely die from burns and fatal injuries caused by the shock wave.
The wind can carry radioactive fallout over considerable distances and affect a much larger population than the one wiped out by shock waves and fire.