nuclear weapons

Nuclear weapons are weapons capable of mass destruction. They are powered by two reactions, fission and fusion. These weapons produce massive explosions and hazardous radioactive products. Some miniaturized tactical weapons have the force of a kiloton of TNT. While other strategic weapons create thousands of kilotons of force. However, only two nuclear bombs have been used in actual warfare. The Atomic Bomb and the Hydrogen Bomb.
Nuclear fission is the splitting of an atom into two or more parts. When such an occurrence takes place, a very large amount of energy is released. This can occur very quickly as in an atomic bomb, or in a more controlled manner allowing the energy to be captured for useful purposes. Only a few naturally occurring substances are easily fissionable. These include uranium-235 and plutonium-239, two isotopes of uranium and plutonium. Isotopes are forms of the same chemical element that have the same number of protons in their nuclei, but a different number of neutrons.
Starting a fission reaction is accomplished by bombarding fissionable nuclei with neutrons. This causes the nuclei to fly apart, splitting into two fission products and emitting two or three neutrons of their own. These neutrons may break apart other nearby fissionable nuclei, starting a chain reaction, and resulting in the release of a great deal of energy in the form of radiation and heat. The major fragments of the split atoms are now different chemical elements, all highly radioactive. These fission products include such isotopes as iodine-131, caesium-137 and strontium 90.
Another form of nuclear energy is called fusion. Fusion means joining smaller nuclei to make a larger nucleus. The sun uses nuclear fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium atoms. This gives off heat and light and other radiation. Two types of hydrogen atoms, deuterium and tritium, combine to make a helium atom and an extra particle called a neutron. Also given off i…

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