A Monster Bomb Too Big To Use

A Monster Bomb Too Big To Use.

Tsar Bomba is the Western nickname for the Soviet RDS-220 hydrogen bomb (code name Vanya). Detonated by the Soviet Union on October 30, 1961, Tsar Bomba is the largest nuclear device ever detonated and the most powerful man-made explosion in history. With a yield of 50 megatons of TNT, it was the culmination of a number of hydrogen bomb tests conducted throughout this time by both the Soviet Union and the United States. A team of physicists, who designed the bomb, was led by Yuli Khariton, and it included Andrei Sakharov, Viktor Adamsky, Yuri Babayev, Yuri Smirnov, and Yuri Trutnev. The Tsar Bomba was a three-stage hydrogen bomb with a Trutnev-Babaev second and third stage design. A three-stage hydrogen bomb uses a fission-type atomic bomb as the first stage to compress the thermonuclear second stage. The energy produced from this explosion is then directed to compress the much larger thermonuclear third stage. There is evidence that Tsar Bomba utilised several third stages. Tsar Bomba could have theoretically yielded as much as 100 megatons, but it would have resulted in a dangerous level of nuclear fallout (approximately 25% of all fallout produced since the invention of nuclear weapons in 1945). Additionally, the delivery plane would not have had sufficient time to retreat to a safe distance. Therefore, to minimise nuclear fallout, the third stage incorporated a lead tamper instead of a uranium-238 fusion tamper. It has been speculated that the second stage used this method as well. The uranium-238 fusion tamper greatly amplifies the reaction by fissioning uranium atoms with fast neutrons from the fusion reaction. Because fast fissioning was eliminated, thermonuclear fusion accounted for as much as 97% of the yield. Thus, despite its huge yield, Tsar Bomba did not actually generate much nuclear fallout.

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