Nuclear weapon

A nuclear weapon, also known as a nuclear bomb or a nuke, is a weapon that suddenly releases the energy in the nucleus of certain types of atoms. When triggered, these devices release a huge amount of energy in the form of a nuclear explosion.

Nuclear explosions can destroy a city and kill most of its people. They also make nuclear fallout that may also make people very sick. Nuclear weapons are the most damaging weapons to have been created.

The first nuclear weapons were built by the United States during World War II. Two nuclear weapons were used to attack cities in Japan. These were the only times when nuclear weapons were used in war.

Today, the United States and Russia have the most nuclear weapons. The other countries that have nuclear weapons are: China, France, United Kingdom, India, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan. South Africa used to have nuclear weapons, but they decided to destroy them.

There are two ways to make nuclear weapons: fission weapons (also called atomic bombs or A-Bombs) and fusion weapons (also called hydrogen bombs, H-Bombs or thermonuclear weapons). The way they make energy for the nuclear explosion is different. Fusion weapons make bigger explosions. Fission weapons use a special isotope of uranium or plutonium. Fusion weapons use a special isotope of hydrogen.

Nuclear explosion test in Nevada in 1953.


Little boy, the atomic bomb thrown on Hiroshima, shortly before being loaded on the airplane.

In the years after 1895, people studying physics begin to understand how atoms are made. Around 1915, people began to have the idea that breaking special atoms can release large quantities of energy and can be used to make a bomb.

In 1939, people studying physics began to understand the theory of nuclear fission weapons, but no country knew how to build one. When World War II started, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States wanted to build nuclear weapons. Germany did not finish building them, partly because many of the best people studying physics fled Germany after Nazi rule started. The United Kingdom started working in 1939, but it took too much money, so they gave up in 1942. Later that year, the United States started a very large program to build nuclear weapons. It built upon the work done in the United Kingdom. The program was called the "Manhattan Project".

By August 1945, the Manhattan Project built three nuclear fission weapons. Two of these bombs were used by the United States to attack the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. People from the Manhattan Project believe that around 105,000 people were killed and 94,000 were hurt when the bombs were used.[1] Medical professionals later came to believe that more than 225,000 people died when everyone affected after long periods of time are counted.[2] Japan announced its surrender after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After World War II, the Soviet Union also began working to create nuclear weapons.

British Nuclear Tests Veterans Association memorial in Leicester.
Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kernwapen
Alemannisch: Kernwaffe
العربية: سلاح نووي
aragonés: Arma nucleyar
asturianu: Arma nuclear
azərbaycanca: Nüvə silahı
Bân-lâm-gú: He̍k-chú bú-khì
башҡортса: Ядро ҡоралы
беларуская: Ядзерная зброя
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Ядзерная зброя
български: Ядрено оръжие
brezhoneg: Arm nukleel
català: Arma nuclear
čeština: Jaderná zbraň
Cymraeg: Arf niwclear
Deutsch: Kernwaffe
eesti: Tuumarelv
Ελληνικά: Πυρηνικό όπλο
español: Arma nuclear
Esperanto: Atombombo
euskara: Bonba nuklear
français: Arme nucléaire
Frysk: Kearnwapen
galego: Arma nuclear
贛語: 核武器
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: अणुबॉंब
한국어: 핵무기
हिन्दी: परमाणु बम
Bahasa Indonesia: Senjata nuklir
interlingua: Arma nuclear
íslenska: Kjarnorkuvopn
italiano: Arma nucleare
Basa Jawa: Gaman nuklir
қазақша: Ядролық қару
Kiswahili: Bomu la nyuklia
Кыргызча: Ядролук курал
latviešu: Kodolieroči
Lëtzebuergesch: Atomwaff
македонски: Нуклеарно оружје
മലയാളം: ആണവായുധം
Bahasa Melayu: Senjata nuklear
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အဏုမြူ လက်နက်
Nederlands: Kernwapen
नेपाली: परमाणु बम
नेपाल भाषा: आणविक ल्वाभः
日本語: 核兵器
norsk nynorsk: Atomvåpen
occitan: Arma nucleara
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Yadro quroli
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਨਿਊਕਲੀ ਬੰਬ
Pälzisch: Kernwaffe
پنجابی: ایٹم بمب
português: Bomba nuclear
română: Armă nucleară
संस्कृतम्: अण्वस्त्रम्
Seeltersk: Käädenwoape
سنڌي: ائٽم بم
slovenčina: Jadrová zbraň
slovenščina: Jedrsko orožje
српски / srpski: Нуклеарно оружје
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Nuklearno oružje
Basa Sunda: Pakarang nuklir
suomi: Ydinase
svenska: Kärnvapen
татарча/tatarça: Атом-төш коралы
తెలుగు: అణ్వాయుధం
Türkçe: Nükleer silah
українська: Ядерна зброя
Tiếng Việt: Vũ khí hạt nhân
吴语: 核武器
粵語: 核武
žemaitėška: Kondoulėnis gėnklos
中文: 核武器