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How does a Nuclear Bomb differ from a Conventional Bomb?

By Parul Dewan, compiled from 'Out of Nuclear Darkness'; The Indian Case For Disarmament; published by Movement In India For Disarmament

Every now and then we hear of countries of the world carrying out heated discussions about nuclear bombs. The topics range from who has the right to own a nuclear bomb and who does not, who should use it and who must not and so on. But what exactly happens when such a bomb actually explodes? And how are nuclear bombs different from conventional bombs?

The greatest difference between the two types of bombs is the sheer scale of destruction they cause. While a conventional bomb can be targetted to damage a particular area and the people living there, nuclear bombs are weapons of mass destruction. Just consider this: a 1 megaton (million ton) nuclear bomb is enough to wipe out the largest city on Earth. (1 ton=1000 kilograms)

Conventional Bomb versus Nuclear Bomb
A conventional bomb releases most of its energy in the form of blast. Atomic bombs on the other hand, release 50 per cent energy as blast, 35 per cent as heat and 15 per cent as nuclear radiation. You could get an idea as to how disastrous a nuclear bomb could be, by this simple comparison: one kilogram of nuclear fission fuel can release energy 20,000,000 times more than one kilogram of TNT (tri-nitro-toluene), the explosive material used in conventional bombs.

How does a Nuclear Bomb differ from a conventional bomb?, 5W&H for kids: 193_1.jpg How devastating?
When a nuclear bomb explodes, most people within a radius of three to thirty miles would either get killed or seriously injured. The possible burn out in towns and cities could be as large as 100 square kilometres for a 1 megaton explosion.

Heat and Blast
Small or large, all nuclear blasts create fireballs with temperatures exceeding 300,000 degrees celsius. These fireballs act as shock waves that blow down everything in their path for many kilometres around. The explosion also results in hurricane winds and firestorms over large areas.

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How does a Nuclear Bomb differ from a conventional bomb? [5W&H for kids]
By Parul Dewan, compiled from 'Out of Nuclear Darkness'; The Indian Case For Disarmament; published by Movement In India For Disarmament

 

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