How big would the blast from modern nuclear weapons be when compared to Nagasaki/ Hiroshima?

The same size? 10 times bigger? 100 times bigger?

Also, how big were the actual WW2 explosions if you were on the ground- e.g., how far away from the point of impact would you have to have been not to be incinerated instantly?

Lastly, what’s the difference between atomic weapons, nuclear weapons and hydrogen weapons, if any?


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7 Responses to “How big would the blast from modern nuclear weapons be when compared to Nagasaki/ Hiroshima?”

  1. johndehaura said:

    Like this:

    100 Tons of explosives

    Pure Pyrotechnic Special Effects (Good old Hollywood)

  2. andyp said:

    the bomb dropped on hiroshima had 16 kilotons of explosive power, the minuteman missile today has 475 kilotons. atomic and nuclear weapons are essentially the same but have evolved over time, hydrogen bombs are fusion explosions instead of fission.

  3. Richard said:

    Much larger, a hyrdrogen bomb can wipe out a whole country while nurclear can wipe out a city the size of Greater Manchester. About 50miles from the impact. If rain then does go over the city bombed and travels alse were it would cause radiation poising over a much larger area. The British and American trident nurclear wheapons are the most powerfull wheapon on earth and if were launched in Scotland withen a few hours it could wipe out the Middle East.

  4. Hammer&Drill said:

    A bit like throwing a baseball in a pond compared to throwing in a car. You don’t want to be anywhere near.

  5. zsanctified1 said:

    Figure that the yield of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were about one kiloton- thats 1000 tons of TNT. Modern weapons can have yields in megatons- that would be millions of tons of TNT.

    As for range, it depends on the type of weapon. Some are air burst- they explode in the air to make a huge shockwave that destroyes cities. Others are ground burst- the explode at ground level or under the ground. The point is to kick up as much dust as possible to spread fallout. I would guess they can range between 10 miles and 1 mile of complete destruction.

    Atoic and nuclear mean the same thing. A hydrogren bomb is a specific type of nuclear bomb because it uses hydrogen. Hydrogen bombs are also called thermonuclear; they are far more powerful than uranium or plutonium bombs which use fission. Fission is the splitting of a large atom. Hydrogen bombs use fusion, which is the fusing together of two small atoms. All of the energy comes from the equation E=mc^2. in a nuclear reaction a very small mass is actually lost and converted into energy. A very small mass times a very big number times itself equals quite a bit of energy.

  6. The Lazer said:

    A very interesting question. A modern hydrogen bomb is tens (10-99) of times more powerful than the atomic weapons that were dropped on Nagasaki/Hiroshima. This diagram shows the estimated levels of damage that was caused by the Nagasaki/Hiroshima bombs.

    Complete destruction was estimated at a radius of about 1 mile from the hypocentre (the centre of the explosion). Beyond this the damage was pretty severe but not total.

    In general the more powerful atomic weapons available today would cause similar levels of damage from 2 up to 5 times the distances illustrated in the previous diagram. I believe it is possible to build more powerful weapons than this, such as the Russian Tsar Bomba (see link below), but such a large amount of destruction is not deemed tactically wise in modern nuclear weapons strategy.

    By a standard definition atomic weapons and nuclear weapons refer to the same thing. That is, an explosive device that derives it’s destructive force from a nuclear reaction, be that either fission or fusion.

    A hydrogen bomb refers more specifically to a type of nuclear weapon that uses a fusion reaction as oppose to the fission reaction. The energy produced from fusion reactions is much more powerful that fission reactions making hydrogen bombs more powerful.

    The ‘Hydrogen’ or ‘H’ part refers to some of the main fuel sources used, tritium or deuterium, both of which are radioactive isotopes of hydrogen.

    A very interesting area just provided you’re not thinking of knocking one of these things up at home. If you wish to know more I suggest you visit the sources or ask more questions. I’d be happy to try and help out.

  7. Atilla The Bun said:

    Yes, from 10 to hundreds of times more yield, modern weapons are designed to set yields, some of the bombs tested in the sixties proved that a hydrogen bomb could be made as powerful as they wanted but modern weapons are mostly under 1 megaton. Exact yields are very highly classified and some say they may even be varied before firing.
    They are all nuclear weapons, older pure fission weapons were called atom bombs. Modern warheads are thermonuclear, sometimes called hydrogen bombs. To put it briefly;; this is how a thermonuclear or hydrogen bomb works:
    A conventional atom bomb (fission) is set off, the plutonium or highly enriched uranium are compressed until it becomes highly supercritical, this supercritical blob is then hit by a vast stream of neutrons which start the fission reaction.
    In the centre of this fission bomb is a mixture of deuterium and tritium. The heat, pressure and neutron flux create conditions for the deuterium and tritium to fuse, this is the fusion reaction, it releases a vast amount of energy and more importantly, even more neutrons. These neutrons help the rest of the plutonium or whatever to fission giving even more bang.
    If you read the wikipedia section on thermonuclear it also describes how this whole bomb idea can be used to set off another, more powerful thermonuclear device.


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