The Physics
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Temperature of a Nuclear Explosion

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Zitzewitz, Paul & Robert Neff. Physics. New York: Glencoe, 1995. "Fusion reactions require that the atoms be raised to temperatures of millions of degrees." 106 K
Taffel, Alexander. Physics: It's Methods and Meanings. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992. "temperature of millions of degrees Celsius" 106 K
Rammanohav, Reddy C. Effects of a Nuclear Bomb Attack. Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal, 1998. "fireball whose temperature is over 10 million degrees" 107 K
Soo, Jason. Atomic Education. Enscquire. 7, 4 (September 1995): 10. "Within 17 meters, the explosion temperature was 300,000 degrees Celsius. Within 50 meters it was
9,000-11,000 degrees, and at ground level beneath hypocenter the temperature exceeded 6,000 degrees."
300,000 K
9,000–11,000 K
6,000 K
Ochi, Yukiko. Nagasaki marks 53rd anniversary of atomic bombing. Internews, 1998. "instantaneously reached several million degrees centigrade" 106 K

Nuclear energy is produced from changes in nuclei. The advantages of nuclear energy are that it produces a large amount of useful energy from a very small amount of fuel and does not produce waste gases. However, it is very difficult to handle nuclear waste. There is always a chance where there can be a serious accident if something goes wrong.

There are two primary methods of producing nuclear energy. The first is fission, which occurs when the heavy nucleus of a radioactive element like uranium or plutonium splits in two and the second is fusion, in which light nuclei are joined together as occurs in the Sun.

Atomic bombs are a perfect example of a nuclear reaction that causes massive destruction. Atom bombs have a power equivalent to millions of tons of ordinary explosive. The temperatures of fusion nuclear explosions can go up into the millions of kelvin. Controlled fusion experiments can reach these temperatures. The "Little Boy"that exploded in Hiroshima had a huge damaging effect. The temperature of this fission reaction was about 300,000 kelvin at the center and about 6000 kelvin on the ground below.

Simon Fung -- 1999

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Glasstone, Samuel & Philip J. Dolan. Scientific Aspects of Nuclear Explosion Phenomena. "\The Effects of Nuclear Weapons. Washington, DC: US Department of Defense & Energy Research & Development Administration, 1977. "Immediately after the explosion time, the temperature of the weapon material is several tens of million degrees and the pressures are estimated to be many million atmospheres." 107 K

Editor's Supplement -- 2000