The world's biggest bomb, recreated

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By Ekaterina Anisimova
The world's biggest bomb, recreated

A replica of the most powerful nuclear device ever to be exploded – the Soviet Tsar Bomba – has gone on display in Moscow.

The device, also known as the AN-602 hydrogen bomb, is the focus of an exhibition: A Chain Reaction of Success – 70 years of the atomic industry in Russia.

Some of the best Soviet minds worked on the bomb, which was constructed on the orders of leader Nikita Khrushchev in the mid-1950s.

After its victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War (the Second World War), the Soviet Union found itself trailing the US in the race to develop nuclear arms.

In 1945 Washington showed the world what it was capable of by dropping atomic bombs on two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing well over 100,000 civilians.

The Soviet Union began developing its own nuclear weapons in 1949. By 1961 it was considered more powerful than the US in this area.

On the October 30, 1961, at Sukhoy Nos over the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic Sea, the Soviet Union test-dropped “Tsar Bomba”.

The official Soviet archive of the “Tsar Bomba’s” explosion

This is footage of the actual explosion of “Tsar Bomba”. The power of the detonation was ten times that of all the munitions used during the Second World War – the equivalent of almost 59 million tonnes of conventional TNT explosives.

Witnesses of the test say they had never seen anything like it. A mushroom cloud rose to an altitude of 67 kilometres – the flash of light from the blast was enough to cause third-degree burns at a distance of 100 kilometres. Observers reported that complete destruction had been achieved in an area the size of Paris.

The explosion was enough for the USSR to finally break the nuclear monopoly of the United States.

Now the “Tsar Bomba” is part of a museum display. A Chain Reaction of Success – 70 years of the atomic industry in Russia is open to the public till 29th September.

Video of the arriving “Tsar Bomba” at The Manezh