[ RadSafe ] Testing bombs

Maury Siskel maurysis at peoplepc.com
Sat Jun 28 21:19:19 CDT 2008

If memory serves (and it certainly may not) Trinity was a test of an 
atomic explosive device, not of either Little Boy or Fat Man. The test 
simply confirmed that the explosive device did in fact work. Little Boy 
and Fat Man both were explosive  devices in suitable shapes suitable for 
release from a B-29 bomber. Little Boy weighed about 4.5 tons and had an 
explosive yield of about 13 KT; Fat Man was larger with  an explosive 
yield of about 21 KT.  Both employed nuclear fission and were the only 
bombs completed then by the US . They were transported aboard the 
cruiser, USS Indianapolis to Tinian and then dropped first on Hiroshima 
and a few days later on Nagasaki.

So called nuclear bombs were developed after the war and employed 
nuclear fusion. These used a fission 'trigger' to start the fusion 
process. Thus far, they have never been used in warfare -- the two 
atomic devices were the only ones ever used in war.

Nuclear weapons development and testing ensued for some years including 
the largest known single weapon yield by Russia which exceeded 50 MT. 
Present day testing to the best of my understanding is done by means of 
simulations along with some destructive reliability tests of some 
components. Concerns are related to the deterioration of some components 
as a function of age.

Most others, including Franz, on this List are far more capable than am 
I of telling this story. Everyone must have begun their July 4th 
vacations. Google also will quickly yield good accounts. (Pun intended)  <g>

Steven Dapra wrote:

> June 28, 2008
>     From time to time I have read that one of the Hiroshima and 
> Nagasaki bombs had to be tested before it was used, and that one did 
> not --- that the engineers were so certain the latter bomb would 
> explode that they didn't bother testing it.  I also read recently that 
> hydrogen bombs must be tested.  Of these three types of bombs, which 
> ones must be tested, and why?  For the one that did not have to be 
> tested, why not?  (I don't have any bombs I want to test, I am merely 
> curious.)
> Steven Dapra
> sjd at swcp.com
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