I am a front-end developer by profession, but I enjoy writing articles about anything mysterious, interesting and fascinating.
What is a Nuclear Weapon?
A nuclear weapon is a bomb which uses the power of nuclear reactions to cause immense destruction. The nuclear reaction might either be a fission reaction or a fusion reaction. A fission reaction works by splitting an atom into smaller parts which then splits other atoms causing a chain reaction. This releases an enormous amount of energy capable of destroying entire cities. The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are fission bombs.
The other type of nuclear weapon is the even more powerful fusion bomb. In this case, two or more atoms combine together to form new atoms. The difference in mass of the atoms is released as energy causing a huge blast. This is called as a thermonuclear weapon or a hydrogen bomb which is many times stronger than a nuclear bomb. To give you a perspective on the difference in power, the first nuclear bomb ever used released energy equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT whereas the first thermonuclear weapon was as powerful as 10 million tons of TNT!
Effects of a Nuclear Explosion:
The power and intensity of a nuclear bomb are many times more effective than a normal gunpowder explosion. As mentioned earlier a 1,100kg thermonuclear weapon generates energy equal to 1.2 million tons of TNT. Anyone or anything within the vicinity of the explosion would be completely obliterated. Shockwaves from the explosion would cover an even wider radius collapsing buildings and killing people.
The heat from the explosion would also cause third-degree burns to people who manage to survive the blast intensity. The bombs would ideally be dropped in a highly populated city which would maximize the death count. Many people would be blinded by the intense light generated and eardrums would explode. The explosion creates a large mushroom-like cloud of smoke high into the sky.
This is not, however, the full intensity of its destructive force. More damage would be caused by radiation poisoning caused by the nuclear reaction as radioactive debris cover the entire area. Those who are affected by the radiation would die a slow painful death. Radiation poisoning would slowly kill thousands of people weeks, months or even years after the explosion.
After Effects of the Explosion:
The immediate impact of the bomb would wipe out buildings in about one square kilometer of the blast. Buildings which are further away may collapse or have severe damage. The loss of life and property would be huge. Windows would shatter miles from the area of the blast but this is just the start of the effects.
Radiation poisoning is the most major cause of concern when using atomic weapons. When humans are exposed to radiation, there are a number of complications that occur. Too much exposure would result in the immediate death of the person. Those who are unfortunate enough to come into contact would them would be scarred for life with ailments like infertility.
It doesn’t stop with the current generation as well. The land in which the bomb was dropped would be contaminated with nuclear waste and will remain uninhabitable. The children born of the people affected by the nuclear waste would also not be spared. Cancer and deformity are only a few of the issues that they would have to face.
Nuclear Weapons in WW2:
The atom bomb was first used during WW2. The Allies, as well as the Axis countries, were researching the possibility of creating a weapon by splitting the atom. The US won the race and created the first nuclear weapon. The Manhattan project responsible for the creation of the atomic bomb cost 2 billion US dollars. The first test bomb was detonated on 16 July 1945.
The nuclear bomb was created to put an end to the war early. Germany had already surrendered but Japan was still fighting on to the last man. The Allies knew that invading the Japanese mainland would cost the lives of millions of people. So, they wanted to use the atomic bomb to crush the Japanese without the need for an invasion.
The Allies justified the use of the atomic bomb stating that forcing Japan to surrender by the use of this weapon would bring the end of the war without the loss of too many lives. They hoped that Japan would surrender without the Allies having to invade the Japanese mainland. This worked as expected but the gruesome power of the atomic bomb was more than anyone had ever anticipated.
The bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with one purpose in mind. The destruction and death of as many innocent civilians as possible. The bomb decimated the city killing everyone within its vicinity. Those who didn’t die immediately would face years of struggle and pain. These bombs would never be used in war again.
Threat of Mutual Destruction:
Nuclear weapons are a threat to humanity itself. Only a handful of countries around the world are capable of producing these weapons of destruction. The purpose of them is to act as a deterrent. Any country would think twice before attacking someone who is in possession of these weapons.
During the cold war, the US and Soviet Union had many close scenarios where a nuclear war would have almost broken out. If that had happened, we might have been wiped out entirely. But the threat of mutual destruction is what kept both countries from pulling the trigger. This weapon is a double-edged sword which can help but harm us as well.
Although nuclear weapons are dangerous, they can also help us maintain peace. The presence of nuclear weapons is the main reason why we are yet to have a world war 3. They act as a deterrent to avoid any unnecessary conflicts. But creating deadly weapons is not the only purpose of nuclear power. Nuclear power plants have been created to supply us with a reliable source of energy.
Although the nuclear power plants are sometimes unstable and accidents have occurred earlier, a properly maintained nuclear power reactor is safe. They also provide us with a clean source of energy without the emission of any harmful gases or pollutants. One thing is clear. Nuclear power may be dangerous for humans but it is something which presents us with a myriad of opportunities if used correctly.
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