New Declassified Footage Shows Biggest Nuke Ever Detonated
Newly released, never-before-seen footage shows the moment the most powerful nuclear weapon ever created was detonated in Russia.
ROSATOM, the Russian state nuclear energy corporation, recently released previously classified video footage of the Soviet Union’s 1961 Tsar Bomba test to celebrate 75 years of nuclear industry.
The Tsar Bomba, which translates to ‘King of Bombs’, was an extremely powerful hydrogen bomb that was detonated on October 30, 1961, above the cape of Severny Island in northern Russia.
You can watch the explosion below:
In an almost 40-minute long video released by the country’s state-run nuclear division, listeners are told about the engineering and design behind the bomb before witnessing it being dropped to the ground.
Known officially as the Soviet RDS-220, the bomb created a fireball eight kilometres (five miles) wide, eventually culminating in a mushroom cloud that soared to 64 kilometres (40 miles) high.
Figures that are unsurprising, really, when you consider just how large the bomb was; weighing a massive 27 tonnes and measuring around eight metres in length, the bomb couldn’t even fit in the Tu-95V Soviet bomber without some of the fuel tanks being removed.
The bomb contained over 50 megatons – or 50 million tons – of conventional explosives, making it around 1,500 times more powerful than that of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs combined. It was also 10 times more powerful than all of the weapons and ammunition used during the whole of World War II.
The Soviet RDS-220 was so powerful, in fact, that it had to be dropped from a plane with a parachute attached to ensure the crew had enough time to escape the explosion. Even then, the crew couldn’t be sure that they would survive.
Despite how powerful it was and the damage it would undoubtedly cause, the bomb was dropped just 34 miles away from the town of Severny – around the same distance from Manchester to Liverpool.
It was reported that all of the buildings in the town – both wooden and brick – were instantly destroyed, and damage of all kinds was reported in Soviet districts hundreds of miles from the blast zone, including the collapse of houses and roofs. Some reports even suggested that windows were smashed in Norway and Finland.
Thankfully, the Tsar Bomba was one of the last nuclear tests ever conducted above ground as the Soviet Union, US and UK all signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, which said all future tests had to be carried out beneath the ground.
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