Facts about Nuclear Weapons

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Top 20 Facts about Nuclear Weapons that Will Blow Your Mind

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  1. The Biggest Bomb on Earth: In 1961, a hydrogen bomb was detonated by the then Soviet Union that still holds the record as the most powerful explosive device ever used. Called Tsar Bomba (‘The Tzar of Bombs’), it produced a shock wave so strong that it was still registering on seismic equipment on its third trip around the world.
  1. A program exists among the NATO countries known as ‘Nuclear Sharing’, where member countries without nuclear capabilities host nuclear devices from other countries. Currently, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey are hosting weapons actually belonging to the United States. But here’s the catch: the bombs cannot be detonated without a special authorized security code issued by the US Armed Forces.
  1. Ever heard of the nuclear scare that sent United States troops into Iraq? Well, there is proof that these documents were fakes. While the fact that the documents are forgeries has been established, the identity of the forger is still unknown.
  1. One might expect that the funding for the production, storage and maintenance of nuclear weapons designated for American national defense would come from the United States Department of Defense, but in fact the actual funding of the US nuclear arsenal can be found in the budget of the Department of Energy.

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  1. One unexpected discipline that benefits from the advent of atomic bomb technology is the certification of paintings that were supposedly created prior to 1945, when the first Atomic Bomb was tested. If the paint on the canvas contains one of several artificial isotopes created only by nuclear explosions, it cannot be a pre-1945 work.
  1. In addition to being terrible engines of destruction, sometimes something can be created by a nuclear bomb. Kazakhstan’s Lake Chagan began as a crater resulting from a nuclear test. In recent years, the residual radiation has dropped to the point that the lake is now safe for residents to swim in.
  1. Ten percent of the nuclear energy that the United States uses is made from recycled Russian nuclear weapons.
  1. In order to determine the effects of nuclear explosions on human tissue, several animals were placed in the vicinity of Pacific Ocean weapons tests conducted in 1946. When examining the area following one of the detonations, a pig, designated #311, was found swimming in the water. He was examined and declared unharmed and finished out his life in a Washington DC Zoo.
  1. While the military takes great care to make sure that their nuclear weapons do not go astray, in 1961, two of them were accidentally released while the plane carrying them was flying over North Carolina. Neither weapon detonated, and the landings were soft enough that no nuclear material was released into the environment. Still, a pretty close call.

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  1. The Vela Incident occurred over the Indian Ocean in 1979, where a nuclear weapon was dropped in the water. No country has claimed responsibility of the detonation of this three-kiloton bomb ever. Even now.
  1. One of the most prolific of the US Nuclear Test sites is in the largely desert state of Nevada, where more than 900 tests, both above and below ground, were conducted between 1951 and 1992.
  1. Astronomer and scientific commentator Carl Sagan worked on a project to detonate a nuclear bomb on the surface of the moon. The main goal was to find out more information about the moons geology and the effects of nuclear devices in a near vacuum environment. It was also hoped that the fact that the explosion and its effects could be seen from earth would have a positive effect on the cold war. Neither this project, nor its Soviet counterpart, was never completed.
  1. An underlying fear of all of the workers on the Manhattan Project was that the nuclear fission would cause Earth’s atmosphere to ignite.
  1. During a test of the atomic bomb, one of the cameramen took of his glasses shielded his eyes, and saw the bones of his hand through his skin: just like he was looking at an x-ray.
  1. In 1968, a US B-52 bomber carrying 4 nuclear weapons was lost over the North Atlantic. Sightings indicated that the craft crashed on the coast of Greenland and the US government reported that the craft and its weapons had been secured, and the bombs subsequently destroyed. However, a 2008 BBC report claims that the bombs were never actually found. So if you see one, call someone, would you?
  1. Remember Hiroshima? The yield of one of the several nuclear weapons deployed on a typical American stealth bomber is seventy times more powerful than the device that destroyed that city.
  1. The famous formula E=MC2 defines the amount of power that would be released if matter is converted entirely into energy. Based on this formula, it would only take .7 grams of matter to produce a yield equal to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
  1. A rare nuclear test in outer space in 1962 had the unexpected side effect of turning large portions of the Earth’s atmosphere blue and green.
  2. For everyone who lived in the Bikini Atoll after the atomic weapons testing, the US government continually pays for medical compensation for their health complications.
  1. A survey of the chemical content of baby teeth in 1961 by Dr. Louise Reiss revealed that the teeth and bones of babies were becoming contaminated by radioactive materials introduced into the environment by nuclear testing. The disturbing nature of these findings contributed to many of the test ban treaties which limited the number, nature and magnitude of nuclear tests.

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