What Is The Difference Between Atomic Bombs And Nuclear Bombs?

Although both have a great capacity for destruction, they have important internal differences. Atomic bombs use nuclear fission, nuclear bombs use fusion.

The atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II—codenamed “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” respectively— caused widespread destruction, leveling cities and killing an estimated 90,000. and 166,000 people in Hiroshima (about 20,000 of whom were soldiers), and between 39,000 and 80,000 in Nagasaki.

These are the only two nuclear weapons that have been used in war, to date, and let's hope they stay that way, because some of today's nuclear weapons are more than 3,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

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Little Boy and Fat Man were atomic bombs, or fission bombs, which set off a chain reaction of nuclear fission. The atomic nuclei of radioactive materials split to create different elements, which releases a large amount of energy, and as a result, more atoms split and a destructive explosion occurs.

In a thermonuclear weapon, often called a hydrogen bomb, the fission process is just the beginning.  Modern nuclear weapons, such as the United States' B83 bombs, use a fission process similar to that used in atomic bombs.

But that initial energy then ignites a fusion reaction in a secondary nucleus of the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium.

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