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Before atom bombs came to be, air raids and air raids had to be employed to destroy a few or one target. Many lives of the men who flew the planes were lost due to enemy fire. With one atom bomb, one plane was needed. With one bomb, thousands more would die. We know a great deal about the development, workings, effects, and future of nuclear weapons.
The development of the atomic bomb was not an easy undertaking. The effort build and test an atom bomb, known as the Manhattan Project, was led by Dr. Julius Robert Oppenheimer and started in 1939. Oppenheimer literally ran the whole Project, from the beginning to the end. He ordered a uranium and plutonium refining plant to be built in Tennessee. Along with the plant was an entire community to house the workers and their families. Another complete city was built for the engineers and builders of "the gadget" at Los Alamos, New Mexico. Six years later, on July 16, 1945, the very first atomic weapon was tested. The brilliant white flash of light traveled for miles upon detonation. The first mushroom cloud materialized soon after. A blind girl saw the flash from 120 miles away.
Atomic bombs work in many ways, each unique in doing what they do and how they do it. The first atom bomb (however the second to be dropped on Japan) used plutonium to deliver its punch. In the center of a plutonium bomb is a core of a conventional explosive surrounded by a beryllium/polonium mixture to maximize the power. Thirty-two pie-shaped sections of plutonium enclose the core and the mixture. When the core is detonated, the mixture and the plutonium merge, fission takes place and the bomb explodes. The second type uses an isotope (form) of uranium called U-235 to create fission to work. A conventional explosive fires a U-235 "bullet", about the size of a softball, into a target, the size of a basketball, also composed of U-235. This was the type used on Hiroshima. That was the first time the uranium bomb was detonated. The last type utilizes fusion. A uranium bomb is adjacent to a canister on two isotopes of hydrogen, deuterium and tritium. The explosion of the atom bomb creates enough energy that the isotopes of hydrogen fuse to make helium. The fusion creates an even powerful explosion, a force equal to twenty million tons of TNT.
Resulting from the use of atom bombs are thousands or millions of deaths and even more injuries. Everything (and everyone) within miles of ground zero (where the bomb was exploded) is vaporized. Along with all technological breakthroughs come side effects. On top of absolute destruction there is a silent killer. Radiation. Radiation produced from the fission that takes place during the detonation of an atomic bomb can spread for hundreds of miles. People drinking water that was contaminated by radiation can get radiation poisoning and soon after die.
We know little about future of these deathly machines.
A mass dismantling of nuclear weaponry is taking place now. A nuclear holocaust might occur in a future world war. A neutron bomb has been tested that emits a protuberance of neutrons that kills all life but non-living things still stand and no radiation is not present. Who knows what the future will hold for nuclear weapons?
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Manhattan Project, Actinides, Chemical elements, Nuclear materials, Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Nuclear weapon, Plutonium, Uranium, Neutron bomb, Bomb, Nuclear weapon design, Thermonuclear weapon
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