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How Powerful Are Modern Nuclear Weapons?


On July 16th, 1945 the first ever nuclear
weapon was detonated in a New Mexico desert. At the time, the Trinity test was one of the
largest manmade explosions ever. Nuclear blasts are measured in TNT, and this one yielded
about 20 thousand tons of TNT. That size blast would cover an estimated area of about five
square miles in radioactivity. But in the 70 years since, nearly 2,000 nuclear tests
have been performed, and about 125,000 nuclear bombs have been built. So we wanted to know,
how powerful are modern nuclear weapons? Well, most people think of the nuclear bombings
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War Two as extraordinarily powerful explosions.
Combined, they yielded about 36 thousands tons of TNT. But 16 years later, the Tsar
Bomba was built, designed to be about 3,000 times more powerful. It was originally supposed
to deliver a yield of 100 million tons, which would destroy an area the size of Connecticut.
The weapon was built by the Soviet Union as a display of power against the United States,
and was tested with a yield of fifty million tons of TNT. That test is, to this day, the
most powerful man made explosion in history. But that was more than 50 years ago. So did
the US one-up the Soviet Union and build their own 200 megaton bomb? In fact, they did the
opposite. During the Cold War, the actual point of building more nuclear weapons was
mutually assured destruction. If the Soviets nuke the US, they might as well be nuking
themselves. For this system to work, the US determined that they’d need the equivalent
of 400 million tons of TNT in their nuclear arsenal. Instead of building one giant bomb,
they diversified into thousands of relatively lower yield weapons. Additionally, new rockets
called “MIRVs” were developed to carry multiple nuclear warheads, thereby upping
the maximum yield. By the end of the Cold War, the US was estimated
to hold about 3.8 billion tons worth of nuclear weapon yield. But in the years following,
the US and Russia signed a series of nuclear disarmament treaties, promising to limit their
stockpile to about 2,000 deployed weapons each. Today, nine countries are believed to have
nuclear weapons. The US and Russia hold about fifteen thousand nukes, with the other seven
countries holding between 8 and 300 nukes each. The most powerful thermonuclear weapon
currently in the US’s arsenal yields 1.2 million tons, equal to about 200 square miles
of devastation. Meanwhile, China is believed to have a 5 million ton yield weapon within
their active arsenal. And although Russia was once the world leader in giant nuclear
bombs, in recent years, they’ve retired their largest, 20 million ton bombs. Similarly,
the US dismantled their nine million ton B53 bomb in 2011. From the start of the nuclear arms race to
today, weapon yields have varied dramatically. In the late 1950s, and tactical nuclear gun
was even developed, which fired the smallest nuclear bomb ever, called the Davy Crockett.
It was 2 and a half million times smaller than the yield of the Tsar Bomba. Clearly,
nowadays it doesn’t really matter how big your nuclear weapons are. Every single one
is capable of unmitigated devastation. So now we know the true force of nuclear weapons
today. But which countries actually have them? Find out in the video up above. You can also
check out my own reporting on fallout from Fukushima in the box below. Thanks for watching
TestTube News! Be sure to like and subscribe for new videos. Have a great one.

100 thoughts on “How Powerful Are Modern Nuclear Weapons?

  1. The real answer is: less powerfull then they were earlier (60's-70's…) more accurate rocket systems eliminated the need for ridiculously powerful bombs. The USSR especially had troubles developping accurate weapons… so they compensated for that by making bombs that could "miss" their target quite a bit but still destroy it since the blast was so much larger.

  2. The title said "How Powerful Are Modern Nuclear Weapons?". And this is my question 'Why, is there a nuclear bomb which is ancient?'. LOL

  3. Not just power but accuracy to wipe out nations. In the end I am convinced nuclear power stopped a WWIII. in cold war days.

  4. At least we could use it in case of an alien invasion and watch how useless it is in destroying giant alien craft like in "Independence Day"

  5. I wonder how WW2 would have played out had we managed to build nuclear bombs ahead of schedule, like say back in 43 instead of 45, and Russia never got that technology. Does anyone think we would actually have used nukes on Germany in this scenario or no? TBH even in this alternate fictional scenario, I have doubts that we would of used a nuke on Germany, and just nuked Japan ahead of time.

  6. These are made to evaporate humans (men, woman, kids and old) most of whom dont even care about politics. How much more can we get evil.

  7. as in ancient times as in the days of Noah so shall it be in the coming of the son of man nuclear war is coming back around there is nothing new Under heaven

  8. It's not the piont of being power It's totally dumb Any leader or leaders that wants to use nuclear weapons are totally insane

  9. It is actually probably a good thing these bombs have radiation. Because when you detonate it ruins the land and the radiation can also drift in other areas you didn't want to destroy too. If there was no radiation we probably would have used nukes more often. But since there is radiation and if we drop it on our enemies the radiation can potentially drift into other cities and countries. It's not likely they are wanting to use nukes because the big wigs in government have too much to lose by using nukes. Terrorists who have nothing to lose may do it.

  10. Modern nuclear weapons have a power equal to zero, since they don't exist. Nuclear weapons are theoretical devices only. They work on paper, not in real life.

  11. The Davy Crockett was not the smallest nuke, technically. The U.S. designed a nuclear grenade, we just couldn't find anybody dumb enough to throw it. Last I heard, we sent the schematics in an Easter basket to Poland. Inside, a card read "Thanks for all your contributions to humanity.
    BFF, ❤ the U.S. Have a nice day 😁

  12. Nuclear war is always presented as a case of logic being presumed as infallible. Attack me which causes me to attack you; we all die therefore no point in doing it in the first place. Jesus. You do realise how many seriously crazy people don't know or care at all about what 'logic' happens to be?

  13. The primary reason both the U.S. and the Soviets looked to increase yield was the inherent inaccuracy of most of the delivery systems.  Weapons accuracy is measured by what is known as circular error probable, this is a circle within which statistically half of shots would fall.  The bigger that circle, the less accurate the weapon.  Because many of these early delivery systems had CEPs measured in miles, both sides sought to increase the yield to ensure the target would be destroyed.  As accuracy improved, the need for massively high yields was lessened.

  14. We need to come together and fight the production of these bombs. We need to get out of our comfort zones, out of our dull lives before we are vaporized. Not refugees are a threat, not Muslims, the warfare industry is a threat. We need to wake up as soon as possible.

  15. Basically, a 50 megaton yield weapon is destructive and all, but it’s useless if a cargo jet is needed to transport it to the drop site. What countries need are small nukes with yields is the 100kt-1MT range that can be put on ICBMs and cruise missiles.

  16. 3:02 wow! A nuclear rocket propelled grenade launcher with perhaps a few kilotons yield!! Nice!! Let us just shoot this badass at that annoying tank at a few yards targeting our position and see if we can outrun the blast too!! XD

    Now this is something stupid i think it would happen if this weapon were to be mass manufactured and used in action.

  17. Disarming is not equal to rearming. Someone told me that just because they said that they disarmed the nuclear bombs of the past doesn't mean they can't rebuild them in less than a second.

  18. The former USSR left a radioactive mess 100 times bigger than Hanford at Semipalitinsk and other regions, the Greeenpeace documents destroyed 40 years ago using stolen plans from the USA in the first place. If it was not for USA ingenuity and immense effort in such a short span of time,, the Soviets would've been crushed a long time ago.

  19. Majority of animal specie have their own area or territory. We humans call ourselves disciplined and evolved than other animals and on the contrary it's we who make our kingdoms , empires and countries… If we humans behave like "dogs" who mark their territory with a flag then how are we different from them? Are we different because we use "Flags" to mark our territory instead of "something" else?

  20. 1.2 megatons is pretty small. Obama ordered getting rid of the larger weapons. He's a KGB agent. Almost destroyed the U.S.

  21. so 200 miles = 1.2 tons
    5 tons = roughly 1000 miles
    20 tons = 4000
    so just by the radius, russia can (in 2019) reach argentina from a hit in nyc? thats the whole continent

  22. Nuclear bombs are horrific. But only one nation has ever deployed them. All the other nations have enough sense not to use them. But the United States of America has Donald Trump. He loves his nation and his people and would not endanger his citizens by deploying nuclear weapons. The psycho Hillary Clinton probably would have started the third world war by deploying nuclear weapons. Donald Trump is probably the best thing that could have happened to the United States of America.

  23. the end is near … why they have the weapon if its not to be use? world will be in the nuclear war in world war 3 and leftover zionist as the winner with NWO project to prepare the false messiah dajjal as the rule the world …than imam mahdi will fight with this zion and jesus peace be upon him down to eart as the second coming and kill the dajjal .. it was mention by our prophet muhammad peace be upon him . . may Allah azza wa jalla save us from fitna dajjal

  24. the end is near … why they have the weapon if its not to be use? world will be in the nuclear war in world war 3 and leftover zionist as the winner with NWO project to prepare the false messiah dajjal as the rule the world …than imam mahdi will fight with this zion and jesus peace be upon him down to eart as the second coming and kill the dajjal .. it was mention by our prophet muhammad peace be upon him . . may Allah azza wa jalla save us from fitna dajjal

  25. technically a bunch of 15 kiloton weapons are fine, since making a bigger explosion only results in a slightly bigger blast radius.

  26. Nuclear weapons can literally save us from Alien invasion and meteorite impacts. Think about a rocket as large as the falcon X carrying a 140,000lb ground penetrating space nuke. Intercepting a large meteorite, pierce it deep and let it rip.

  27. I don’t know why countries made nuclear weapons these days when they never will have the chance to use them

  28. Oh look its Tim Pool. Never would have thought to see him on this subject. I need those davy crockets for duck hunting

  29. The Tsar was more powerful than some asteroid strikes like the Arizona one (Barringer crator) which was estimated to be 10-15 megatons.

  30. Ohh nowonder India and America
    Dare not to invade Pakistan because none of them
    Will survive and also the radiation will be all around the world so country like North Korea also build becuse America is bully but no one should press botton becuse if one country dies every country which have nuke will also scary ahahahahahah

  31. There is no aliens we will bring destruction to ourselves.
    Everyone knows how they play their games when they want something at the moment it’s oil if anyone knows history they will know what else they wanted.
    They will use religion,Culture and community as an excuse.

  32. US: bam! 15 megaton.
    Russia: BAM! 50 megaton, could of gone to 100 megatons.
    US: BAM BAM BAM BAM we call it MIRV.

  33. Sorry but I think you're wrong about the Tsar bomba! even if it was desined for 100 megaton, Sakharov told the USSR officials to cut the power in two so when the Tsar Bomb it developed about 57 megaton. Sorry for my english.

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