Nuclear Explosives

  • Edward C. MorseEmail author
Part of the Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications book series (ASTSA)


The history of the development of the first nuclear devices in the US are discussed from the standpoint of both the science and the politics behind this decision to move towards developing such devices. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki weapons were developed through completely different processes–one with uranium and one with plutonium. The different paths are compared and contrasted. The basic physics of nuclear weapons is discussed from the vantage point of the now-declassified Los Alamos Primer. The development of fusion-boosted weapons is also described, along with the historical backdrop of the Cold War and the arms race in the 1960s and beyond. The impact of the dismemberment of the Soviet Union on the availability of weapons-usable nuclear material is outlined, and the classification of nuclear material is described from the viewpoint of various national and international regulatory bodies.


International Atomic Energy Agency Nuclear Weapon Enrich Uranium Heat Generation Rate Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nuclear EngineeringUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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