Atomic Test In The World

Types of Atomic tests - Atmospheric, Underwater, Underground. Scence behind Atomic Weapons Testing - Atomic weapons are weapons of mass destruction based on two types of reactions - nuclear fission and fusions reaction.

Nuclear Fission based atomic weapon

In nuclear fission reaction a critical mass is created by combining two sub-critical mass capable to support a chain reaction. There are two ways in which a critical mass can be created. In the gun-type method, sub-critical masses of fissionable material are placed a little apart from one another in a device similar to a gun barrel. A powerful conventional explosive is packed behind one piece, the fuse is triggered and the explosive goes off propelling one of the sub-critical masses into the other at high speed. A combined mass become super-critical and initiates the self-subtaining chain reaction. For example, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima used the gun-type method.

The other method is the implosion method. A spherical sub-critical mass is surrounded by conventional explosives. The explosive goes off on detonation, compressing the sub-critical mass into high density supercritical mass resulting into a high density supercritical mass resulting into chain reaction. For example the atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki was of the implosion type.

Nuclear Fusion based atomic weapons

In fusion weapons, the power comes from the fusion or combination of lightweight nuclei under intense heat, the reason why they are also called thermonuclear weapons. The nuclei of the isotopes of hydrogen, deuterium and tritium, are fused. The product of fusion weight less than the combined original nuclei and the lost matter turns into energy. The very high temperature required for fusion is achieved by means of fusion explosion. The explosion of the fission device also release neutrons which strike against a compound of lithium-6 deuteride inside the weapon. On being struck by neutrons the compound gives rise to helium and tritium. Now pairs of one tritium nuclei, pair of deuterium nuclei and pair of one tritium-one deuterium nuclei combine to form helium nuclei. As some amount of matter from the deuterium and tritium nuclei is converted into a large amount of energy a thermonuclear explosion takes place. The explosive power of the weapon is increased by surrounding lithium-6 deuteride with U-238 because the thermonuclear explosion fissions the uranium-238. The device is also known as hydrogen bomb as isotopes of hydrogen are responsible for its explosive power.

Nuclear Reactor Technology

A nuclear reactor is a device in which nuclear chain reactions are initiated, controlled, and sustained at a steady rate. The most significant use of nuclear reactors is as an energy source for the generation of electrical power and for the power of propulsion in nuclear submarines.

The physics of operating a nuclear reactor is explained by Nuclear reactor physics. The natural uranium is the fuel used in the reactor and consists of two types of isotopes - U 238 and U-235 in the ratio of 139:1. The U-235 isotope undergoes fission and release energy. When a slow neutron strucks U-235 atom, it splits into two or more fragments and two or three fast neutrons. Tremendous amount of energy is produced in this process. The fast neutrons re made to slow down before they strike other U-235 atoms, thus releasing chain reaction is attained in due course of time.


Nuclear Reactor are classified by several methods such as based on nuclear reaction, moderator material, coolant, phase of fuel, use etc. A brief outline of these classification schemes is provided below:

Nuclear fission - Most reactors, and all commercial ones, are based on nuclear fission. They generally use uranium and its product plutonium as nuclear fuel cycle is also possible. Fission reactors can be divided roughly into two classes, depending on the energy of the neutrons that sustain the fission chain reaction. Thermal reactors use slowed or thermal neutrons and fast neutron reactors use fast neutrons to cause fission in their fuel. they do not have a neutron moderator and use less moderating coolants.

Light water moderated reactors (LWRs) - Light water reactors use ordinary water to moderate and cool the reactors. At operating temperature, the density of water drops because of increase in it's temperature, and fewer neutrons passing through it are slowed enough to trigger further reactions. Due to the extra thermalization, these types can use natural uranium/unreached fuel.

Name of Nuclear ExplosionsCountryYield (Kt)Year
Little BoyUSA151945
Fat ManUSA211945
Ivy MikeUSA10,4001952
Joe 4USSR4001953
Castle BravoUSA15,0001954
Grapple XUK18001957
Gerboise BleueFrance701960
Tsar BombaUSSR570001961
Test No. 6China33001967
CanopusFrance2600 1968
Smiling BuddhaIndia121974
2006 North Korea Nuclear TestNorth Korealess than 1 Kt2006
2009 North Korea Nuclear TestNorth Korea5-152009

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