King's Nuclear Weapons Fascinating Facts Information


Written and researched by
Kimberly A. King
US Navy - Chief Petty Officer - Retired
Commander, VFW Post 10904

Updated: 4 March 2022

Nuclear Tests:

Since 1945 there have been more than 2,000 test nuclear explosions conducted throughout the world.

Only North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon in the 21st century.

Atomic Veteran

In 1957, Operation Plumbbob, conducted a total of 29 nuclear tests in Nevada. These tests exposed soldiers to
nuclear radiation. Some were in trenches, some stood. Some reported seeing the bones of their fingers through their hands
which were used to shield their eyes during the blast. Many were ordered to "march forward" after the blast.

Of these soldiers, thyroid cancer and leukemia skyrocketed.
(Please note: The government will compensate you if you qualify as an Atomic Veteran).

Nuclear Detonation On The Moon?

In 1958, a plan known as A119, was devised during the Cold War to intimidate Russia. The goal was to detonate a nuclear
device on the moon where the blast could be seen from earth. This project never came about. Of note that the famous scientist
Dr. Carl Sagan was a member of the staff.

Number of Nuclear Weapons In The World:

In 1953, when Eisenhower was President, the United States had 1,000 nuclear weapons.
In 1961 when Eisenhower left office, we had 18,000 nuclear weapons.

In 1985 there were approximately 60,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Today there are approximately 13,080 world-wide.
Of those weapons, most have about 80 times more destructive power as the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

United States
As of today, the United States has approximately 5,550 warheads
(1,389 active, 2,361 inactive but available, and 1,800 in line to be dismantled.

6,257 (1,458 active, 3,039 available, 1,760 retired)

China - 350
France - 290
United Kingdom - 225

Isreal, Pakistan, India and North Korea are not signatories or (have nuclear weapons, but not part of the) Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Treaty members agree to limit the spread of nuclear weapons.
Their warhead arsonel is as follows:

Israel - 90 warheads
Pakistan - 165
India - 156
North Korea possibly 40 - 50 (estimate)

Sources: Defense News and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

As of today, nearly any country that has a nuclear weapon, can launch it and have it reach
its target in 45 minutes time unless it was intercepted.

Explosive Power and the Manhatten Project Facts:

Atomic bombs use nuclear fission, or the splitting of an atom, to achieve their enormous explosive power.
In the 1940's, Manhatten housed thousands of pounds of uranium. At 270 Broadway, approximately 5,000 employees worked on the project.
Seven hundred scientists worked on the project at Columbia University. But the project got too big and moved to
Hanford, Washington, Los Alamos, NM and Oakridge, TN.

The real goal of the Manhatten Project was to outrace the Germans in the development of a super weapon or bomb.
But Germany surrendered before the first atomic test was conducted, so the emphasis shifted to ending the war with Japan.

First Atomic Test Facts:

Code named "Trinity", the first atomic bomb test was conducted on 16 July 1945.
It was delayed by 90 minutes due to a thunderstorm in the area.
It was feared that rain, from the storm, may spread the fallout radiation. And also feared that lightning may detonate the device.

A woman who saw the blast 100 miles away, was blinded.

It was feared that the bomb may be a dud or that it may blow up the entire world.

The blast had the explosive power of 20,000 tons of TNT and exceeded expectations by four times.

Strange Benefit From The Atomic Blasts

Two isotopes were created in the atomic blasts in 1945. They are Strontium 90 and Cesium 137.

The two isotopes are used to prove if a painting is a forgery or authentic.
If the isotopes are present in the paint, the painting is a forgery as the isotopes did not exist until they were created in the atomic blasts.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Facts:

Approximately 230,000 people, died in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts in Japan.

The bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945 was an atomic bomb
which killed over 140,000 people, and had the power of 15-Kilotons.

A typical hydrogen bomb, which uses nuclear fusion, or the fusing of atoms,
has the power of up to 10-Megatons.

To achieve fusion, an atomic bomb is at the center of a common Hydrogen bomb,
creating immense heat used to fuse the atoms.
The temperature created in a fusion bomb can reach from 50-100 million degrees.
(Of note, the temperature at the center of the Sun is approximately 14 million degrees.)

American Prisoners of War Killed in Hiroshima

It is a little known fact that we had several American Prisoners of War (POWs) who were killed the day we dropped "Little Boy"
on Hiroshima. Most had been shot down earlier and the United States did now know they were being
held in a jail in Hiroshima.

Please Click Here to read the short biographies,
and see photos of these patriotic veterans who gave their lives near the end of World War II.

The Man Known To Have Been Bombed Twice

One man lived through both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs. His name was Tsutomu Yamaguch (1916-2010).
In Hiroshima, he was preparing to go home from a business trip when the first bomb fell. He was less than 2 miles from where the bomb exploded.
He had ducked into a ditch but the bomb sucked him up and threw him into a potato field. He was burned on the face and his ear drums ruptured.

He returned to Nagasaki, his home, where he was burned so badly his family and doctor, a friend, did not recognize him.
Despite the burns, he dragged himself out of bed and reported for work. He was explaining what had happened to him, when the second bomb exploded.
It blew his bandages off but due to a reinforced stairway and the hilly terrain, he survived yet again.
His wife, who had gone out for burn ointment with their child, survived as she had taken shelter in a tunnel.

Yamaguch survived both bombs, but had serious radiation poisoning. He would later recover and became a translator for the U.S. Armed Forces
during their occupation of Japan.
In all, about 165 people did experience both attacks but the Japanese government only recognized Yamaguch
as the "nijyuu hibakusha" or the "twice-bombed person. Yamaguch lived to the age of 93.

Explosive Power:

All the explosions in World War II combined totaled "only" 2-Megatons
or just 20% of the power of just one common Hydrogen bomb.

A 10-Kiloton nuclear device has the power of 10,000 tons of TNT.
To haul that much explosives you would need a cargo train of 100 cars long!

However, a nuclear bomb could easily fit into the back of a truck.

Two Near Nuclear Accidents of Note:

At 3 a.m. on 9 November 1979, President Carter got a call that our early warning system detected an attack. It noted that we had
about 7 minutes to respond. The computer showed 250 missiles on their way to the United States. Then NORAD said that 2,200 had been launched.
The error was found when a technician had accidentally put in a sample attack in the computer by mistake.

Four years later, in 1983, the Russians had a similar situation. On call then was Stanislav Petrov.
Petrov was the lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defense Forces. Petrov was on duty when the computer noted
that 5 missiles were on their way to the Soviet Union. Protocol would dictate that Petrov contact his superiors immediately but fearing it may be a mistake
he paused to figure out if the computer was making a mistake. It had made a mistake and Petrov was later called the
"Man who single-handedly saved the world from nuclear war".

Project Dead Hand:

Project Dead Hand was a computer program considered for use by Russia.
It was thought that a computer could launch nuclear weapons at the enemy, should all humans be killed.
The program was considered too dangerous and never used.

The Nuclear Football:

The "Nuclear Football" is really 3 briefcases with a series of codes. The codes are used to identify the President's identify and
NOT to launch a nuclear attack. The military alone has the codes for a launch.

There are 3 Nuclear Footballs. One goes with the President at all times.
One is with the Vice President and one is at the White House.

The President carries what is called a "Biscuit Card". This has the instructions and further codes
which give access to the Nuclear Football. It also lists a set of targets and/or attack plans.
This system was first devised by John F. Kennedy and his administration.

Sizes and Types of Notable Bombs:

    * August 6, 1945: 15-Kiloton Uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

    * August 9, 1945: 21-Kiloton Plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.

    The Largest Nuclear Bomb Ever Detonated or Created

    * October 30, 1961: Soviet Union detonates a 50-Megaton Uranimu bomb.
    This bomb nicknamed the "Tsar Bomba" or "King of Bombs"
    would be the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated.
    The detonation occurred over the Arctic island of Novaya Zemlya.

    Tzar Bomb Mushroom Cloud

    The explosive impact of this device was 6,500 times more deadly than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

    This bomb had the equivalent of 3,800 atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima.
    The test was so dangerous, the Russian pilots were given only a 50% chance of survival.

    The bomb weighed 59,500 lbs and was 26 feet long by about 6 feet wide.
    The bomb had an 1,763 lb parachute, buying time for the pilots to fly about 28 miles away before detonation.
    It was dropped from an altitude of 6.5 miles and detonated at 13,000 feet.
    The ensuing fireball could be seen from 640 miles or 1000 kilometers away.
    The mushroom cloud was 40 miles high and reached the mesosphere.
    All buildings in a small village 34 miles away were completely destroyed.
    Heat from the explosion could have caused 3rd degree burns 64 miles away.
    Light from the explosion was visible from 1000 km, or 621 miles, away.

    The bomb was never intended for actual use. Rather it was used to intimidate the United States.
    Because of it's huge size and weight, it could not be put on an intercontinental missile for delivery.
    The bomb proved that the delivery of nuclear weapons by long range aircraft was inefficient in time war.
    As a result, Intercontinential Ballistic Missiles were created.

Effects Of Bombs:

Suitcase Bomb; 0.1-Kiloton

    Approximate blast at 100 feet above surface:

    - Most structures destroyed out to 0.15 miles of the blast area.
    - Approxmiately 50% dead from radiation within one month's time out to 0.3 miles.
    - Massive fires out to 0.07 miles.

Atomic Bomb; 15-Kiloton bomb.

    Approxmiating blast at 550 feet above the surface:

    - Most structures destroyed out to 0.8 miles of the blast area.
    - Approximately 50% dead from radiation within one month's time out to 0.8 miles.
    - Massive fires out to 0.9 miles. Possible fires out to 1.2 miles.

Hydrogen Bomb; 300-Kilotons

    Approxmiate blast at 1,500 feet above the surface:

    - Most structures destroyed out to 2.2 miles from the blast area.
    - Approxmiately 50% dead from radiation within 1.3 miles in one month's time.
    - Massive fires out to 3.5 miles; Possible fires out to 4.6 miles from blast area.

The Blast Wave: The hot air racing from the intense explosion, caused a blast wave of super heated air.
The super hot air in the fireball from the explosion gets pushed away by the more dense and cooler air
surrounding it. This will cause the typical mushroom cloud effect we see in a blast. The effect is known as the
Rayleigh-Taylor Instability. Meaning a mushroom type effect is created by two different air temperatures and pressures.

Hot air rises, but a fireball from a nuclear explosion, rises really fast. The fireball from a 1 megaton blast
is like 50 Hiroshima type bombs exploding all at once. The fireball and hot air can rise to over 4.2 miles, or
7 kilometers, in just one minute.

The air resistance at the top of the mushroom cloud pushes the hot air out, and down as it climbs, creating the
noted mushroom effect. As the air falls around the edges of the mushroom shape, it gets sucked back up and into
the rising cloud, creating the mushroom shape.

You should note that any high temperature, extreme hot air type of event, can cause this effect. It can be seen in some
volcanic explosions, or forest fires.

When low clouds form,in what appears to be straight lines, these are formed from the lower pressure wave that expands out and
from the blast. They are formed when the humidity is high and the water vapor condenses into rings
or layers called Wilson clouds.

How To Survive A Nuclear Detonation:

The "Duck and Cover" drills some of us learned in school are still considered a good protection in the event
of a nuclear blast, especially against flying glass or debris.

It is recommended that an average family put away approximately 7 days
worth of food and water including radios (battery or wind up solar ones are great), flashlights and any prescriptions
you may take. Additional supplies to consider may be medical or first aid supplies, pet food and a disaster plan
in your neighborhood.

You will get a warning! This was evidenced by the recent false alarm alerts in Hawaii.
If North Korea were to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, at the United States
it would take approximately 90 minutes to get here. This missile would spend a great deal of it's travel time
high in the atmosphere where the military would try to knock it out of the sky via the
Ground Based Midcourse Defense System, or GMD. In 2004, 10 tests of this system were conducted.
The results were not completely promising with 6 of the 10 test devices being destroyed by the system.
This was several years ago and we hope the system has been improved by now. Almost certain that it has.

If the United States were to order a missile strike as a defensive measure, it would take
approximately 5 minutes from the time the order was given, for the missiles to be launched.

When the alerts come, over TV, phones, radio, siren, loudspeakers and other means,
you should seek shelter in the strongest place possible. Cellars, basements, heavy concrete walls, or designated shelters are preferred.
The typical blast radius is approximately 1 mile. Most in that mile radius will be killed almost immediately.
In the 2-3 mile range from the blast, there will be significant damage.

If you are still outside during an impact or within about 15 minutes of impact, hopefully you can seek shelter.
You have approximately 10 to 15 minutes before radioactive particles begin to rain down. These will induce radiation poisoning.
The poisoning will cause vomiting, burns, blisters as the particles tear apart any cells they come in contact with.
Gamma radiation is one of 3 types of radioactivity formed in a nuclear blast. They are electromagnetic radiation
similar to x-rays and they are the most energetic form of radiation.

The other forms are Alpha particles, which as it's name indicates, is a "particle". These "particles" of Alpha radiation do not penetrate
very far and are typically stopped at the first layer of your skin's surface.

Beta "particles" are also parts of an atom. Hence the term 'particle'.
They are stopped by a few layers of clothing.

But Gamma rays or radiation are energy and not stopped easily. If exposed, the radiation will tear right
through your body, damaging or destroying all cells in it's path. This is the true danger of being exposed
to radiation of this type.

If you are exposed to any type of radiation, it is recommended that you take off all contaminated clothing
and brush the particles off especially from your hair. Then shower off if possible.

After about an hour, radiation levels will decrease rapidly and nearly half the power will be gone.
Remain in a shelter, and continue to monitor any updates. The announcements may indicate yet
another missile attack coming.

If you are outdoors do NOT look at the blast. This could severely damage your eyes as this is known to have
happened in the Japanese blasts.

Your first priority in a blast is to limit your exposure as much as possible. So get very low in the shelter
you are in. And do not rush, at all, to go outside. Time is your friend so stay inside for a minimum of at least 24 hours.

The website Ready Gov has lots of information on disaster plans and preparedness.

In a study in 2005, it was concluded that the economic cost of one atomic bomb detonating near or over
New York City would have a $10 trillion impact on our country .

Truly, let's pray that none of this ever happens to our country or anyone. It would change the
entire world and not for the better.

Nuclear Timeline:


    Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, and Lise Meitner discover Nuclear Fission,
    or the splitting of atoms by bombarding an atom of Uranium with neutrons.


    Albert Einstein, along with fellow scientist Leo Szilard, writes to President Roosevelt
    to warn that the U.S. must not fall behind Germany in atomic bomb research.


    Glenn Seaborg, a chemist from the United States, discover Plutonium.
    It has fissile properties like Uranium.

December 7th, 1941:

    Japan attacks the United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.


    Physicist Edward Teller comes up with the concept of a Hydrogen fusion bomb.

    Army General L. Groves is named as director for the Manhattan Project.
    The Manhattan Project was a secret U.S. project to build an atomic bomb.
    Robert Oppenheimer (photo below) is recruited as the project's science director.

    A self-controlled sustaining nuclear reaction is achieved at the University of Chicago.


    Large scale production of plutonium begins at Hanford, WA.


    Trinity; This is the name for the first atomic bomb explosion at Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Eerie Trinity fireball less than 1 second old.
Click on the picture to see more Trinity photos.

August 6, 1945:

    The bomber, Enola Gay, a B-29 bomber plane, drops a 15-Kiloton Uranium bomb, called Little Boy, on Hiroshima, Japan.

August 9, 1945:

    Fat Man, a 21-Kiloton plutonium bomb, is dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Japan surrenders a few days later.


    The United States begins tests of the atomophere and water at the Marshall Islands, Pacific.


    The Soviet Union explodes a Plutonium bomb in Kazakhstan.
    This bomb's design was stolen by scientist, Klaus Fuchs, a German scientist, from the United States.


    President Truman authorizes research for Hydrogen bombs.

    Target You - 1950's era Civil Defense Nuclear era film


    Studies are conducted of the effects of blast and fallout in Nevada. Soldiers are exposed to a 21-Kiloton bomb 6 miles away.


    An A-bomb is tested in Australia by the United Kingdom.

    The United States tests it's first Hydrogen bomb at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
    The bomb is nick-named, Mike. (Photo below).


    The Soviet Union detonates a 1.6 mega-ton Hydrogen bomb in Kazakhstan.

    The United States Strategic Air Command, or SAC, keeps one third of its bombers on alert.
    Each crew was on a fifteen minute alert with specific targets set for each in the Soviet Union.


    Nuclear Weapon loss over Mars Bluff, SC. A B-47 flying over Mars Bluff had an inadvertent Nuclear weapon release.
    The bomb lacked the main fissile nuclear core but exploded without a nuclear incident. 1960:

      The U.S. Navy decides to carry Nuclear missiles.
      It places them on the submarine U.S.S. George Washington.


      President Kennedy urges citizens to build bomb shelters.


      On October 30th, the Soviet Union explodes the largest nuclear bomb ever called the Tsar Bomb. See details above.


      The Navy places a blockade on Cuba after discovering that the Soviet Union has been supplying them with nuclear weapons.
      This will be the beginning of the Cuban Missile crisis.


      President Kennedy signs the "Limited Test Ban Treaty".
      This treaty will ban nuclear testing in the air, underwater, or in space.


      Robert Oppenheimer's famous quote about the development of the atom bomb was given during an interview about the Trinity explosion.
      It was first broadcast as part of a television documentary called, The Decision To Drop The Bomb and run on NBC.

      Quote: "We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed; a few people cried; most people were silent.
      I remembered a line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince
      that he should do his duty and to "impress him" takes on his multi-armed form and says,
      "Now I am become Death; the destroyer of worlds".
      I suppose we all thought that, one way or another."


      Soviet Union and United Kingdom sign the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty along with many other nations.


      France tests a Hydrogen bomb in the southern Pacific.


      President Nixon and Soviet General Brezhnev sign the "Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty".
      This is an agreement to limit the number of nuclear weapons for each nation.
      This treaty is also known as the "SALT 1" treaty.


      The Arab and Israli Yom Kippur War puts the United States on nuclear alert
      because Isreal reportedly assembled nuclear weapons during that war.


      India explodes a nuclear device underwater in the Rajasthan Desert.


        Damascus Titan Missile Explosion.
        The incident occurred in rural Arkansas when an Air Force Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM)
        loaded with a 9 megaton nuclear warhead, had a liquid fuel explosion.
        The warhead landed 100 feet from the launch silo, later killing one and injuring 21 others.
        The warhead did not go off due to safety measures.


        President Reagan announces his plans for the "Strategic Defense Initiative".
        This anti-missile defense system was later referred to as "Star Wars".
        It would defend the United States against Nuclear attack from space.


        26 Aug - Chernobyl; Nuclear Power plant accident.

        The U.S. deploys "Peace Keeper" intercontinential ballistic missiles to counter the Soviet SS-18's.
        Each Peace Keeper has 10 nuclear warheads.


        President Reagan and Soviet Leader Gorbachev sign the "Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty"
        to eliminate a certain class of nuclear weapons.


        Cold War ends.
        President Bush and Soviet Leader Gorbachev sign the "Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty"
        which called for the removal of half of the stored Nuclear weapons for each country.
        This treaty was later called the "Start 1" treaty.


        The United States conducts it's last underground test of a nuclear weapon.


        The "Nuclear Non-Proliferation" Treaty is extended indefinitely by nations.


        The United Nations sends nations a "Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty" for it's member nations to sign.


        India conducts a nuclear test in an underground area.

        Pakistan conducts nuclear tests in response to India's tests.


        The United States and Russia sign the "Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty",
        whereby each will cut their arsenal down to 2,200 warheads by the year 2012.

        Iran is reported to be secretly building 2 nuclear facilities.
        An inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency reveals that there has been a program there to develop uranium enrichment.


        North Korea announces it's withdrawl from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.


        Pakistan announces that nuclear secrets have been passed to North Korea, Libya,
        and Iran by the head of their Nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan.


        North Korea announces that it possesses Nuclear weapons.


        North Korea tests a nuclear weapon for the first time.
        Threats begin against the United States.


        Danger with Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon?

        2016 to 2018:

          North Korea claims it has conducted a hydrogen bomb test. Threats continue.

        27 Feb 2022
        Putin declares a Nuclear Alert

        Vladimir Putin declares that his nuclear forces be put on "high alert" and the world watches as tensions increase.

        Final Comments:

        This website was designed and researched to aid you in understanding what Atomic bombs and Nuclear weapons really are.
        If they are ever used by one nation against another, our entire existence will change.

        Over the years, I have seen people build bomb shelters, and prepare for the worst. And I do worry about an 'accidental war' caused by some
        error as these have happened many times over the years.
        Or another Hitler?

        Pray for peace and read your Bible. May God bless you!

      Other links:

      American POWs Killed In Hiroshima

      Radiation and It's Effects

      Are You An Atomic Veteran?

      King's Core Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) Tutorial

      For questions or comments please contact:
      AZC(AW/NAC) Kimberly King
      United States Navy