Home MILITARY Nuclear Weapons: The Story of the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

Nuclear Weapons: The Story of the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

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Nuclear Weapon: The Story of the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
PHOTO: Steve Jurvetson (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

According to the United Nations, nuclear weapons are the most lethal weapons on the planet, and the dangers of using such weapons are always present.

There are two types of nuclear weapons: fission bombs and thermonuclear bombs.

A fission bomb is an explosive device that gets its power from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion reactions (thermonuclear bomb).

A montage of seven views showing parts of the launching of a Trident I C-4 missile from the submerged nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine USS FRANCIS SCOTT KEY (SSBN-657) and the Trident’s re-entry bodies as they plunge into the earth’s atmosphere and then into the Atlantic Ocean.

Nuclear weapons are restricted by international treaties and treaties of non-proliferation (NPT).

A small nuclear bomb explosion has a significantly larger destructive potential than the largest conventional bomb explosions, as a single nuclear weapon has the capability of destroying or causing extensive damage to an entire city.

The use of nuclear weapons is therefore seen as a threat to national security for most countries on the planet.

“Little Boy” was the code name given to the first atomic bomb, which was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, by the B29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay, which was piloted by Colonel Paul Warfield Tibbets of the 393rd Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Forces.

The bomb was the world’s first nuclear weapon, and three days later, the second called “fat man” was dropped on Nagasaki, making it the world’s second nuclear weapon detonated.

PHOTO By United States Department of Energy – Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie, Public Domain, Wikimedia

A nuclear test bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, in a place known as the Alamogordo Desert in New Mexico, the United States. It was the first nuclear test bomb ever detonated, and it was a test that transformed the world of explosive materials and destructive weaponry.

A nuclear weapon has been used in war only twice in the history of the world; both times were during World War II when the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the final days of the war, and the nuclear attack on Japan killed more than 120,000 people, mostly civilians, at the time, and more than twice that number in the following years as a result of radiation poisoning, also known as acute radiation syndrome.

Many countries have criticized the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the United States says that they are the only way to avoid more deaths if World War II went on for a long time.

Up to this point, there have been nearly 2,000 nuclear explosions, all of which were experimental explosions and tests carried out by the eight countries that have declared nuclear weapons though the history: the United States, the Soviet Union (current-day Russia), France, the United Kingdom, the Chinese Communist Republic of China, Pakistan, India, and North Korea.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has recently been accused by a number of states of possessing nuclear weapons. Also, the Israeli government hasn’t officially said or denied that it has nuclear weapons.

Atomic weapons are now being used as a political tool to exert pressure and as a way to protect against long-term threats.

Nuclear power is also being used for non-military applications of nuclear energy.

Nuclear power plant with steaming cooling towers under blue summer sky in Belgium PHOTO:ENVATO

The fission of uranium 235, which was developed as part of the Manhattan Project during World War II, is responsible for providing the bomb with its destructive power.

This was the second industrial nuclear explosion in history (the first was Trinity, which was used for testing), and it was also the first to rely on uranium as a fuel for the detonation.

So far, only 600 milligrams of uranium have been transformed into destructive energy thus far in the history of the world. It erupted with a destructive capacity equivalent to 13 to 18 kilotons of TNT, resulting in the deaths of around 140,000 people.

At the Trinity test site, this design was not tested, in contrast to the more complicated “fat man” plutonium bomb design, which had been tested there. As a result, the amount of enriched uranium available at the time was extremely limited, and the uranium bomb design was thought to be simple and guaranteed to function, so there was no need to test it.

On July 16, 1945, in the Alamogordo Desert in New Mexico, the United States, the world’s first nuclear test bomb was detonated for the first time. It was known as the “The Gadget,” and it marked the culmination of years of effort on the Manhattan Project.

This test revolutionized the world of explosive materials, which prior to the invention of the nuclear bomb relied on the rapid combustion of chemicals to produce energy that was solely based on electrons in the outer orbit of the atom, as opposed to a nuclear bomb, which derives its energy from the nucleus of the atom through the process of nuclear fission, as demonstrated by the hydrogen bomb explosion in 1945.

An explosion with the force of 500,000 tons of TNT can be triggered by a little circular form the size of a palm, which is created by this procedure.

It was the so-called Manhattan Project, a massive American institution formed in 1942 in the midst of World War II to develop, manufacture, and test the A-bomb.

The Manhattan Project brought together leading physicists in the United States, including Enrico Fermi, Robert Oppenheimer, and the chemist Harold Urey. In the aftermath of World War II, the United States Nuclear Energy Authority conducted research into hydrogen bombs and began producing smaller nuclear weapons.

The United States also began to place nuclear warheads on conventional missiles, which could be launched from mobile platforms, from the air, or even from the ocean’s depths.

A view of a B-83 nuclear bomb trainer is shown at a static display of a 509th Bomb Group FB-111A aircraft. PHOTO: US Government

The United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and China are the countries involved in the nuclear weapons treaties. Pakistan and India are the only two countries that have declared themselves to be in possession of nuclear weapons while refusing to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Korean nuclear issue is clouded by a great deal of uncertainty. Despite North Korea’s public declaration of nuclear weapons, it has not given any substantial evidence of conducting a serious nuclear weapon test till now.

After years of deliberation, South Africa opted to dismantle its nuclear weapons arsenal in 2011. On the other hand, North Korea has maintained its arsenal.

The Iranian nuclear program

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa in 2003 forbidding the use of nukes and other weapons of mass destruction since he believed that their use posed an existential threat to humanity.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has performed inspections of several Iranian nuclear reactors on multiple occasions, including the Arak reactor in July 2007 and the forward facility in October 2009.

The Arak reactor was inspected in July 2007, and its forward facility in October 2009.

Yukiya Amano, the head of the IAEA, said on November 10, 2017, that the world’s most powerful nuclear verification system is now in place for Iran.

“This means that our inspectors now have more access to the sites and more information about Iran’s nuclear program, which allows us to learn more about it,” Yukiya Amano said at that time.

Nuclear weapons were used to attack the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

PHOTO: US GOVERNMENT

Two times the atomic bomb was used during World War II as the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and another on Nagasaki at roughly 8:15 p.m. on the same day on August 6, 1945.

Those two cities were located in Japan and were destroyed by the dropping of these bombs three days later, on August 9, 1945. The bombs killed 120,000 people in an instant and roughly twice that number after years of radiation exposure. This region’s population made up the great bulk of those who died in this tragedy.

Instantaneously following this, the Emperor of Japan announced his decision to surrender and bring the war to a stop unconditionally.

Many countries have criticized the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the United States says that they are the only way to avoid more deaths if World War II goes on for a long time.

As a result, the United States defeated Japan in the war and mandated that upon Japan’s unconditional surrender to a democratic state in Japan, the Japanese army’s ability to equip itself must be limited and that Japan will comply with the treaty by abstaining from developing nuclear weapons.

The use of radioactive materials in the operation of power reactors that generate energy is encouraged. So that it can do so in secrecy, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspects Japan’s nuclear power plants and reactors.

Today, nearly 2,000 nuclear explosions have occurred, all of which were test explosions carried out by the seven countries that have possession of nuclear weapons:

The United States, the Soviet Union (current-day Russia), France, the United Kingdom, China (including the People’s Republic of China), Pakistan (including the People’s Republic of India), and North Korea. Some countries, most notably Egypt and Turkey, have been suspected of attempting to build or actually manufacture nuclear weapons in recent years.

Israel is also suspected of possessing nuclear weapons, although the country has not confirmed or denied this.

Nuclear weapons are classified into different categories. There are two categories of nuclear weapons: tactical and strategic.

A low-angle bow view of the nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine USS HENRY L. JACKSON (SSBN 730) inside the Magnetic Silencing Facility. PHOTO: The U.S. National Archives

Weapons that use enhanced fission are those that use a heavy element like uranium-235 or plutonium-239 to make the nuclear fission process more powerful. The heavy elements emit a bundle of neutrons that help the fission process move faster, which makes the weapons more powerful.

Its nucleus, which causes it to fission into several parts, and each component part after the initial fission has enough neutrons to stimulate another fission, continues this series of fissions that are typically performed in nuclear reactors, and every fission process that results in the creation of large amounts of kinetic energy, including subtypes: nuclear fission, neutron fission, and gamma-ray fission.

Bombs containing enriched materials are known as “critical mass” bombs.

The strength of the weapon comes from the nuclear fusion process, which occurs when light-mass nuclei such as deuterium and lithium combine to form heavier-mass elements, where a series of union processes between these two elements are stimulated and produced large amounts of kinetic energy from this series of mergers.

Bombs made this way are called hydrogen bombs.

Because the stimulation of the fusion series between the nuclei of these light elements necessitates the use of large amounts of heat and because neutron and hydrogen bombs are among the most important types of integrated nuclear weapons, hydrogen bombs have the potential to cause as much damage as one of the Soviet Union’s experimental bombs, which produced 50 megatons (million tons).

The fact that these hydrogen bombs are very powerful doesn’t mean that they are more powerful than they could be because of size and weight restrictions, and also because it is hard to connect them to the rocket’s main engine.

Among the many different types of nuclear bombs,   thermonuclear weapons are ones that are made in two stages.

A supercritical mass is formed by joining two blocks, each of which contains a small amount of subcritical mass, to generate a supercritical mass.

This is the basis for this type of weapon. For the goal of combining them, sudden, enormous pressure is applied to the two blocks, causing them to immediately fuse together into a single solid mass.

There are many subtypes of nuclear weapons that can be made with atomic bombs. These include bombs with directed fission and bombs that can be compressed inside of each other, which are also called “nuclear weapons.”

Following World War II, the United States continued to develop its nuclear arsenal, concentrating its efforts in the immediate postwar period on the development of the B-36 bomber, which would be capable of transporting more powerful nuclear warheads.

On August 29, 1949, the Soviet Union detonated the world’s first Soviet nuclear weapon in Kazakhstan’s Simi Palensk region, a surprise to the United States, which had not anticipated that the Soviets would be able to build a nuclear arsenal in such a short period of time.

PHOTO: US GOVERNMENT

This came, despite the fact that scientists at the Manhattan Project had warned the White House that the Soviet Union would be able to manufacture nuclear weapons in the near future.

The Soviet Union is said to have learned the general layout of how nuclear weapons are made. The first bomb was a very similar version of the internally compressed fission bomb that was used to bomb Nagasaki in August 1945.

Tensions began to rise in the White House, which made the decision to transfer authority for nuclear weapons oversight from the United States military to a special body known as the Atomic Energy Commission in anticipation of individual military decisions to deploy nuclear weapons.

It then proceeded to deploy nuclear weapons, with the United States helping some of its pro-western European governments that had the capacity to construct a nuclear arsenal.

The United Kingdom conducted its first nuclear test explosion in 1952, followed by France in 1960, and the rest is history. After all, even though Britain and France didn’t have as many weapons as Russia did, they were still important because of where they were in relation to the Soviet Union.

A new era of nuclear weapons deployment as a form of strategic defense began during the cold war in May 1957, when the Soviet Union achieved success in constructing intercontinental nuclear-tipped missiles, sparking widespread alarm within the United States administration and military.

As part of his presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy made use of this development, arguing that the Soviet Union was becoming more sophisticated than the United States in terms of missile manufacturing and promising to place missile development at the top of his administration’s priority list if elected president.

Indeed, following his victory, he worked to advance missile technology, thus closing the gap that threatened national security in the manner envisaged by the administration.

When the Soviet Union provided the island nation of Cuba with a series of nuclear missiles in 1962, the cold war experienced a serious escalation that lasted thirteen days, making it one of the most dangerous days of the Cold War.

The crisis ended on October 28, 1962, with the decision of Nikita Khrushov to return the missiles to Soviet territory and the United States recognizing Cuba as a socialist state. Nuclear missiles could now be fired from submarines.

The Soviet Union was the first country to be able to do this, and it was done in the 1980s.

To summarize…

A comparison chart of Soviet and NATO longer-range intermediate-range nuclear missiles. From Soviet Military Power 1985. PHOTO: The U.S. National Archives

International treaties and non-proliferation treaties ban nuclear weapons. They must be created and utilized in accordance with international standards. They are coveted by all countries and a threat to national security. On July 16, 1945, the world’s first nuclear test bomb exploded marking the start of a very dangerous era for humanity.

Read More: ANALYSIS Archives – GEOPOLITIKI

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