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Russia Releases Footage Of The World's Largest Ever Nuclear Explosion

Russia Releases Footage Of The World's Largest Ever Nuclear Explosion

Russia has released footage showing the largest nuclear explosion the world has ever seen.

A 40-minute video of previously classified material was released this month by the country's state-run nuclear division ROSATOM.

The name for the devastating device was the Tsar Bomba or the Tsar Bomb, and it was detonated on 30 October 1961 off the coast of Severny Island near the Arctic Ocean.


A hydrogen bomb with 50 megatons - or 50 million tons - of conventional explosive, it was 3,333 times more powerful than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

It was also far more destructive than the largest hydrogen bomb the United States had ever set off back in 1954 when it it detonated a 15 megaton device.

The shocking footage was released on 20 August to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Russia's nuclear industry, with a large portion of the video depicting the country's journey to the top of the nuclear tree.

The weapon itself was huge, weighing a massive 27 tonnes and about eight metres in length. In order for it to be dropped, some of the fuel tanks had to be removed from the Tu-95V Soviet bomber.

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It was detonated at around 4,000 metres above ground.

The explosion was so powerful the bomber was hit by the shockwave about 70 miles away, with the blast itself visible from an incredible 620 miles.

To put it into context, the mushroom cloud stretched 42 miles into the air, making it about seven times higher than Mount Everest, and reports claim it destroyed buildings within 55km (35 miles) of it.


It was also later found that the Tsar Bomb could, potentially, have been even more powerful than it was, as it was originally designed to deliver a colossal 100-megaton blast but was scaled down in order to protect the wider population from the explosion.

This also wasn't the only powerful detonation Russia carried out during this time. Throughout the early 1960s, the Soviet Union completed several other tests with forces ranging between 20 and 24 megatons.

The Tsar Bomb, however, was one of the last above ground nuclear tests ever carried out as the US, UK, and the Soviet Union signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, which stated that all future tests had to be carried out beneath ground.

Featured Image Credit: ROSATOM

Topics: Science, Politics

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]