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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Top 10 most powerful nuclear tests

The following list contains top most powerful nuclear tests conducted with a yield of over 10 Mt TNT by country and then by date. For more information on countries with nuclear weapons, see List of countries with nuclear weapons. For more information on nuclear weapon arsenals, see List of nuclear weapons.

01.Tsar Bomba
Tsar Bomba (Russian: Царь-бомба), literally "Tsar-bomb", is the nickname for the Van hydrogen bomb - the largest, most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated.
Developed by the Soviet Union, the bomb was originally designed to have a yield of about 100 megatons of TNT (420 PJ); however, the bomb yield was reduced to 50 Megatons in order to reduce nuclear fallout. Only one bomb of this type was ever built and it was tested on October 30, 1961, in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago.

Model of the "Tsar Bomba" in the Sarov atomic bomb museum.

02.Operation Castle
Castle Romeo was the code name given to one of the tests in the Operation Castle series of American nuclear tests. It was the first test of the TX-17 thermonuclear weapon (initially the "emergency capability" EC-17), the first deployed U.S. thermonuclear bomb.. (Read more)

Operation Castle was the highest-yield nuclear test series ever conducted by the United States.

Another view of the Castle Romeo mushroom cloud

03.Operation Dominic I and II
Operation Dominic was a series of 105 nuclear test explosions conducted in 1962 by the United States. Those conducted in the Pacific are sometimes called Dominic I. The blasts in Nevada are known as Dominic II. This test series was scheduled quickly, in order to respond in kind to the Soviet resumption of testing after the tacit 1958-1961 test moratorium. Most of these shots were conducted with free-fall bombs dropped from B-52 bomber aircraft.

nuclear weapon detonation for the test ARKANSAS during Operation Dominic in 1962. The bomb was dropped from a B-52 bomber

04.Operation Hardtack
Operation Hardtack I & II was a series of 72 nuclear tests conducted by theUnited States in 1958. Hardtack I was carried out in the Pacific Ocean, at Bikini Atoll, Enewetak Atoll, and Johnston Island.

Hardtack Oak mushroom cloud at Eniwetok
Hardtack Socorro mushroom cloud at the Nevada Test Site.

An RB-57 Canberra observes Hardtack Juniper at Eniwetok
Hardtack Umbrella, Shallow depth underwater shot near Eniwetok.

05.Operation Redwing
Operation Redwing was a United States series of 17 nuclear test detonations from May to July 1956. They were conducted at Bikini and Eniwetok atolls. The entire operation followed Operation Wigwamand preceded Operation Plumbbob.

Redwing Dakota

06.Ivy Mike
Ivy Mike was the codename given to the first United States nuclear test of a fusion device, in which a major part of the explosive yield came from nuclear fusion. It was detonated on November 1, 1952 by the United States (Read more)

The mushroom cloud from the Mike shot.

07.Castle Bravo
Castle Bravo was the code name given to the first U.S. test of a dry fuelthermonuclear hydrogen bomb device, detonated on March 1, 1954, at Bikini Atoll,Marshall Islands, by the United States, as the first test of Operation Castle. (Read more)

Castle Bravo mushroom cloud.

08.Operation Plumbbob
Operation Plumbbob was a series of nuclear tests conducted between May 28 and October 7, 1957, at the Nevada Test Site, following Operation Redwing, and preceding Operation Hardtack I. It was the biggest, longest, and most controversial test series in the continental United States.One of the most controversial test series, release more radiation to continental U.S. than any series. Close proximity of troop exercises to shot "Smoky" produced significantly increased levels of leukemia among exposed soldiers. (Read more)

The "Smoky" shot of Operation Plumbbob

Shot "Priscilla" 37 kilotons. The 5th detonation and 3rd largest test of the Plumbbob series. Over 700 pigs were used in various nuclear effects studies during the test. The blast was felt strongly and heard as a sharp bang at the control point 14 miles away, shattering windows and blowing swinging door from hinges.

09.Trinity (nuclear test)
Trinity was the first test of an atomic weapon. It was conducted by the United States on July 16, 1945, at a location 35 miles (56 km) southeast of Socorro, New Mexico on the White Sands Proving Ground.Trinity was a test of an implosion-design plutonium device. The weapon's codename was "The Gadget". Using the same conceptual design, the Fat Man device was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9. The Trinity detonation was equivalent to the explosion of around 20 kilotons of TNT. The date is usually considered the beginning of the Atomic Age. (Read more)

The Trinity explosion, 0.016 seconds after detonation. The fireball is about 600 feet (200 m) wide. Trees may be seen as black objects in the foreground for comparison.

10.Operation Ranger
Operation Ranger was the fourth American nuclear test series. It was conducted in 1951 and was the first series to be carried out at the Nevada Test Site. All the bombs were exploded in the open air, having been dropped by B-50 bombers. (Read more)

Fox detonation of the Operation Ranger series

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