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Q & A: Nuclear Weapons

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Most recent answer: 03/16/2011
Q:
was plutonium used in the atom bomb
- dennis martin (age 13)
belthalto, il, U.S.A
A:
Of the two atomic bombs used during World War II, one of them, code named "Fat Man" was indeed fueled by plutonium. The fission of only about 2 lbs. of the initial 14 lb. load of plutonium on board released enough enough energy to run a typical American household for around 2,300 years, the equivalent of over 10,000 tons of high explosives.

Plutonium is still used in nuclear weapons. There are still fission bombs similar to "Fat Man".  The much more powerful fusion ("hydrogen")  bombs, often with the energy of 300,000 tons of high explosive, are triggered by fission bombs.

-Chris F (+mbw)



(published on 03/16/2011)

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