Footage of the Tsar Bomba nuclear test

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Oh shit, we’re about to lose our stooge in DC! We should tell everyone about how we used to have big nuclear bombs! I mean we have big nuclear bombs! That totally still work after 60 years! No, wait, we’re still making nuclear bombs! We’re churning them out like sausages! Be very afraid of us!


The video has excellent English captioning, if you’re interested.


Fun fact: Andrei Dmitrievich’s first designs for The BIG Bomb would have yielded around 100 MT, but he scaled it down a bit.

(Then again, at some point Ed Teller proposed bombs, sorry, thermonuclear devices in the Gigaton range.)


It’s my understanding - even with the best science and electronics we have now - we only manage to blow up a small fraction of the material - if we could invent better trigger mechanisms a bomb this size could fit in a van or smaller (and honestly who knows what ‘state of the art’ is with this kind of science - that’s not the kind of thing we would find out publicly).


If you mean what I think you mean, which is that only a small fraction of the nuclear material undergoes a nuclear reaction, yes that’s true, but it’s kind of in the nature of the device. For the chain reaction to occur, the nuclear material has to be at a critical mass, but the nature of a bomb is for that mass to go flying in all directions at tremendous speed and energy, so the two processes tend to conflict with each other.


I do - and I’m aware - however I doubt we are at the limit of what is achievable either on yield vs material or size - the room for improvements in both areas are too large to imagine that progress has stopped.

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Or don’t instantly destroy everything within a 100km radius.
Simple choice.


MAD. No one wins. (1)


For the Hiroshima nuke, roughly 15kT yield, about one pound of uranium underwent fission. This is a volume a little larger than a golf ball.

The amount of matter converted into energy was about equivalent to the mass of a butterfly.

For Tsar Bomba much of the mass is the casing, and the fission type nuke used to trigger the fusion reaction. Scaling it up to 100MT adds no additional mass because the Tsar Bomba had fuel removed and replaced with inert plugs. You’d just have to put the fuel back. The US test nukes in the CASTLE tests had a similar method for scaling the detonation up or down. In one instance a nuke was detonated fully fueled by accident.

There was a movie in the '80’s called "The Fourth Protocol " that had russian agents sneaking a nuke into England, piece by piece, and assembling it in an apartment. While many of the technical details are way off they do an okay job of showing how a nuke could look if you strip away all the accoutrement that is needed to make a nuke deliverable by military means.

I’m in no rush to see just how small a nuke can be made.


They had some common sense. The original design would have been extremely dirty using extra uranium to create the final boost, but by removing that stage they halved the yield, but created a lot less fallout. It was one of the cleanest bombs tested if you rate it by fallout/yield.

Same reason USA scrapped project Pluto, at some point you destroy your own country just by testing the weapons.

Note how the plane that dropped the bomb goes inte a dive afterwards to gain speed. It was not certain that the plane would get far enough away to survive the blast.

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Thanks! It’s a big help.

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