Mark, J. Carson Member of the Advisory Committee, Reactor Safeguards of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Last reviewed:June 2019
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- Explosive yield
- Thermal radiation
- Prompt ionizing radiation
- Residual ionizing radiation
- Electromagnetic pulse (EMP)
- Radio and radar
- Ozone depletion
- Worldwide fallout
- Nuclear winter
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
An explosion whose energy is produced by a nuclear transformation, either fission or fusion. Nuclear explosions can be either natural or artificial, for example in the form of a star undergoing a supernova or the deliberate detonation of an engineered nuclear device, respectively. This article focuses on the effects of the latter, which include atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs. Atomic bombs are based on an explosive nuclear chain reaction in a fissile material such as uranium-235 (235U) or plutonium-239 (239Pu). Hydrogen bombs are based on an uncontrolled, self-sustaining, thermonuclear fusion reaction in heavy hydrogen (deuterium, 2H; or tritium, 3H). See also: Atomic bomb; Hydrogen; Hydrogen bomb; Nuclear fission; Nuclear fusion; Plutonium; Uranium
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