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Nuclear explosive

From Academic Kids

A nuclear explosive is an explosive device that derives its energy from nuclear reactions. Almost all nuclear explosive devices that have been designed and produced, and the two that have actually been used, are nuclear weapons intended for warfare; see that article for more detail.

Other non-warfare applications for nuclear bombs have occasionally been proposed. For example, nuclear pulse propulsion is a form of spacecraft propulsion that would use nuclear bombs to provide impulse to a spacecraft. A similar application is the proposal to use nuclear bombs for asteroid deflection.

On Earth, nuclear explosives were once considered for use in large-scale excavation. A nuclear explosion could be used to create a harbor, or a mountain pass, or possibly large underground cavities for use as storage space. It was thought that detonating a nuclear bomb in oil-rich rock could make it possible to extract more from the deposit. The Atoms for Peace program considered some of these applications, as did Operation Plowshare.

As controlled nuclear fusion has proven difficult to use as an energy source, an alternate proposal for producing fusion power has been to detonate fusion bombs inside very large underground chambers and then using the heat produced, which would be absorbed by a molten salt coolant which would also absorb neutrons. See the PACER project for more details.

With the realization of the dangers of nuclear fallout and other residual radioactivity, and with the enactment of various agreements such as the Partial Test Ban Treaty and the Outer Space Treaty, almost all of these applications have become unfeasible in current times.

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