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NUCLEAR WARFARE Nuclear Weapons are explosive devices made to release nuclear energy The first atomic bomb which was tested on July 16 1945 at Alamogordo New Mexico represented a completely new type of artificial explosive All explosives get their power from the rapid burning or decomposition of some chemical compound Such chemical processes release only the energy of the outermost electrons in the atom Nuclear explosives involve energy sources within the core or nucleus of the atom The A-bomb gained its power from the splitting or fission of all the atomic nuclei in several kilograms of plutonium A sphere about the size of a baseball produced an explosion equal to 20000 tons of TNT The A-bomb was constructed and tested by the Manhattan Project a big United States enterprise that was established in August 1942 during World War II It was made by a group scientist including the physicists Enrico Fermi and J Robert Oppenheimer and the chemist Harold Urey and was in charge by an US Army engineer Major General Lesle Groves After the war the US Atomic Energy Commission became in charge of all nuclear matters including weapons research Other types of bombs were developed to tap the energy of light elements such as hydrogen In these bombs the source of energy is the fusion process in which nuclei of the isotopes of hydrogen combine to form a heavier helium nucleus This weapons research has resulted in the production of bombs that range in power from a fraction of a kiloton to many megatons The size of the bomb has been made smaller helping the development of nuclear artillery shells and small missiles that can be fired from portable launchers in the field Nuclear bombs were originally developed as strategic weapons to be carried by large bombers nuclear weapons are now available for a variety of both strategic and tactical applications Not only can they be delivered by different types of
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