A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion.
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, a nuclear reaction is semantically considered to be the process in which two nuclei, or else a nucleus of an atom and a subatomic particle from outside the atom, collide to produce one or more nuclides that are different from the nuclide that began the process.
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Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter.
Before the 20th century, the term matter included ordinary matter composed of atoms and excluded other energy phenomena such as light or sound.
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The first test of a fission bomb released the same amount of energy as approximately 20,000 tons of TNT.
The first thermonuclear bomb test released the same amount of energy as approximately 10 million tons of TNT.
A thermonuclear weapon weighing little more than 2,400 pounds can produce an explosive force comparable to the detonation of more than 1.2 million tons of TNT.
A thermonuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon that uses the energy from a primary nuclear fission reaction to compress and ignite a secondary nuclear fusion reaction.
A nuclear device no larger than traditional bombs can devastate an entire city by blast, fire, and radiation.
In physics, radiation is the emission or transmission of energy in the form of waves or particles through space or through a material medium.
Nuclear weapons are considered weapons of mass destruction, and their use and control have been a major focus of international relations policy since their debut.
International relations or international affairs, depending on academic institution, is either a field of political science, an interdisciplinary academic field similar to global studies, or an entirely independent academic discipline in which students take a variety of internationally focused courses in social science and humanities disciplines.
A weapon of mass destruction is a nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological or other weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans or cause great damage to human-made structures, natural structures, or the biosphere.
Nuclear weapons have been used twice in nuclear warfare, both times by the United States against Japan near the end of World War II. On August 6, 1945, the U.S. Army Air Forces detonated a uranium gun-type fission bomb nicknamed "Little Boy" over the Japanese city of Hiroshima; three days later, on August 9, the U.S. Army Air Forces detonated a plutonium implosion-type fission bomb codenamed "Fat Man" over the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
The United States Army Air Forces were the military aviation service of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, successor to the United States Army Air Corps and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force.
The United States of America, commonly referred to as the United States or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.
"Fat Man" was the codename for the type of atomic bomb that was detonated over the Japanese city of Nagasaki by the United States on 9 August 1945.
The bombings resulted in the deaths of approximately 200,000 civilians and military personnel from acute injuries sustained from the explosions.
In general, a civilian is "a person who is not a member of the military or of a police or firefighting force", as defined by Merriam Webster's Dictionary.
The ethics of the bombings and their role in Japan's surrender remain the subject of scholarly and popular debate.
Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.
Since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons have been detonated on over two thousand occasions for the purposes of testing and demonstration.
The United States, with the consent of the United Kingdom as laid down in the Quebec Agreement, dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 1945, respectively, during the final stage of World War II.
Only a few nations possess such weapons or are suspected of seeking them.
The only countries known to have detonated nuclear weapons—and acknowledge possessing them—are the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, the People's Republic of China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, abbreviated to USSR, was a socialist state on the Eurasian continent that existed from 1922 to 1991.
North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia, in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.
Israel is also believed to possess nuclear weapons, though in a policy of deliberate ambiguity, it does not acknowledge having them.
A policy of deliberate ambiguity is the practice by a country of being intentionally ambiguous on certain aspects of its foreign policy or whether it possesses certain weapons of mass destruction.
Germany, Italy, Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands are nuclear weapons sharing states.
Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental parliamentary republic in Eurasia, mainly on the Anatolian peninsula in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe.
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a unitary parliamentary republic in Europe.
The nuclear non-proliferation treaty aimed to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons, but its effectiveness has been questioned, and political tensions remained high in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.
Nuclear proliferation is the spread of nuclear weapons, fissionable material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information to nations not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or NPT.
As of 2016, 16,000 nuclear weapons are stored at sites in 14 countries and many are ready for immediate use.
Modernisation of weapons continues to occur.