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How do nuclear weapons work?

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I suggest reading Richard Rhodes books: The Making of the Atomic Bomb and Dark Sun.


Wikipedia also contains good explanations.

There are a number of different types that operate by different principles:
  1. Fission: splitting large unstable atoms into smaller ones with neutron chain reaction.
    1. Gun design, always uses Uranium, fires a bullet and target together with cordite down a cannon barrel to assemble a supercritical mass followed by a pulse of neutrons to start the chain reaction.
    2. Implosion design, can use Plutonium, Uranium, or a composite of both, shaped charge high explosives crush this core to assemble a supercritical mass followed by a pulse of neutrons to start the chain reaction.
  2. Fusion: joining small atoms into larger ones at high temperature and pressure. Note that pure fusion bombs (with no fission component at all have never been built).
  3. Mixed Fission-Fusion: most modern bombs use some mixture of the reactions to optimize the weapon for the mission, the delivery vehicle, and production costs.
  • Fusion boosted low yield tactical fission weapon. These use a small amount of tritium gas inside the fission core to boost efficiency of a tiny low yield core with extra neutrons from the tritium fusion.
  • Multi-stage high yield fusion weapons. These even raise yield by fissioning the normally nonfissionable Uranium-238 isotope with high energy fusion neutrons.
  • etc.
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What is a nuclear weapon?

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What is nuclear weapon?

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Israel, America, Russia, China... that's all i can think of on the top of my head. Others that are "internationally allowed" to have nuclear weapons (approved by IAEA) would b

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Fission or fusion. Oh well, guess I should probably explain basics of both: Fission: Fusing system of weapon triggers.Detonator(s) of explosive rapid assembly system fire.Exp

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