High grade traditional explosives and electrical and mechanical equipment are used to set off a nuclear bomb. Hydrogen bomb, which is thousands of times much more powerful than an atom bomb has not been used in war anywhere.
A nuclear explosion, deliberate or accidental, would lead to release of energy millions of times greater than that of dynamite or RDX, causing so much of heat and pressure, called as 'thermal radiation', that all materials are converted into compressed gases accompanied with a tremor wave. The explosion produces highly penetrating gamma rays, which would travel long distance in seconds, cannot be felt by human beings, causing fatal long term effect on human bodies or those of other living beings.
In first ever use of nuclear bombs by America in second world war, it is estimated that as many as 140,000 had died in Hiroshima by the bomb and its post explosion effects, with the estimate for Nagasaki roughly 75,000., majority of the deaths were those of civilians. In estimating the number of deaths caused by the attacks, many victims died in the following months or years after the bombing as a result of radiation exposure. Today's nuclear bombs are thousand times much more destructive than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The world's first nuclear explosion was achieved with plutonium, a man-made element produced in nuclear reactors. Plutonium is created when an atom of uranium-238 is hit by a neutron and becomes plutonium-239. Nuclear reactor, which is used to generate power or propel marine vehicles generates the neutrons in a controlled chain reaction. For the neutrons to be absorbed by the uranium their speed must be slowed by passing them through a substance known as a "moderator." Graphite and heavy water are used as moderators in reactors fueled by natural uranium. Heavy water contains an atom of deuterium instead of an atom of hydrogen.
4 kilograms of Plutonium would be needed to make a bomb with a beryllium reflector. Countries producing plutonium for weapons have generally operated their reactors to maximize the production of plutonium-239-the isotope most useful for nuclear weapons. Weapon-grade plutonium contains less than 7 percent plutonium-240. Under normal nuclear power plant operation, the plutonium in spent reactor fuel contains roughly 24 percent plutonium-240; such plutonium is often referred to as "reactor-grade." However, essentially all isotopic mixtures of plutonium-including reactor-grade plutonium-can be used for nuclear weapons.
In order to use plutonium in nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel, however, it must be separated from the rest of the spent fuel in a reprocessing facility. Plutonium separation is easier than uranium enrichment because it involves separating different elements rather than different isotopes of the same element. It uses well-known chemical separation techniques.
Relatively large amounts of plutonium-240, as would be contained in reactor-grade plutonium, can cause a weapon to detonate early and "fizzle," causing a smaller explosion than intended. However, even a weapon that fizzles would cause an explosion roughly equivalent to 1,000 tons (1 kiloton) of TNT. A weapon of this size could kill tens of thousands of people if detonated in a city, which clearly demonstrates that even reactor-grade plu