First atomic blast hits 67th anniversary

First atomic blast hits 67th anniversary

12:01 PM, 16th July 2012
First atomic blast hits 67th anniversary
Trinity explosion. © Los Alamos National Laboratory.

SINGAPORE: The first nuclear explosion in history took place in New Mexico, at the Alamogordo test range, on the Jornada del Muerto desert, on 16 July 1945. At a site called Trinity, a plutonium bomb was assembled and atop a 100 foot steel tower. This design, embodied in the test device called Gadget, involved a new technology that could not be adequately evaluated without a full scale test.

The gun-type uranium bomb, in contrast, was certain to be effective and did not merit testing. In addition, since no nuclear explosion had ever occurred on Earth, it seemed advisible that at least one should be set off with careful monitoring to test whether all of the theoretical predictions held. The bomb was detonated, producing an intense flash and a fireball that expanded to 600 metre in two seconds.

The explosive power was equivalent to 18.6 kilotonne of trinitrotoluene (TNT). It grew to a height of more than 12 kilometre, boiling up in the shape of a mushroom. Forty seconds later, the blast of air from the bomb reached the observation bunkers, along with a long and deafening roar of sound. And so began the Atomic Age.

Finally, in July 16, 1945, a practical atomic bomb was completed. The first test, code named ‘Trinity’ was exploded. Long before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, the United States in late 1941 established a secret programme, which came to be known as the Manhattan Project, to develop an atomic bomb, a powerful explosive nuclear weapon.

The aim of the project, directed by physicist J Robert Oppenheimer, was to build an atom bomb before Germany did. The new weapon had two purposes. First, it could be used to force Japan to surrender. Second, possession of the bomb would enable the United States to control postwar policy.

© WOC News

 WOC Thoughtlet: Nuclear energy, if used wisely and responsibly, under safe environment, could prove to be one of the most beneficial energy sources to mankind.

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