Nuclear Explosion, Destructive Effects of a

Nuclear Explosion, Destructive Effects of a

 

the totality of the effects of a nuclear explosion, including the shock wave, thermal radiation, penetrating radiation, and radioactive contamination.

The shock wave is the chief destructive factor during the explosion of nuclear material. Roughly half of the energy of the blast goes into shock-wave formation. It can kill humans and animals, destroy surface and underground structures and troop positions, and wipe out or damage combat matériel and transportation routes. Thermal radiation of ultraviolet and infrared rays causes burns of various degrees and blindness in humans and animals. It may melt, char, or ignite combat matériel, armament, and combustible materials. Penetrating, or induced radiation, and the radioactive contamination of the terrain, air, and various objects in the blast region and along the route of the radioactive cloud cause radiation sickness in humans and animals. The nature and degree of the effects of a nuclear explosion depend on the yield of the nuclear munitions, the type of explosion, the distance from the ground zero (center of blast), the degree of protection of troops, the weather conditions, and the nature of the terrain.

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