Definition: A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Types: There are two basic types of nuclear weapons: those that derive the majority of their energy from nuclear fission reactions alone, and those that use fission reactions to begin nuclear fusion reactions that produce a large amount of the total energy output. History: Starting with scientific breakthroughs made during the 1930s, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada collaborated during World War II in what was called the Manhattan Project to counter the suspected Nazi German atomic bomb project. In August 1945 two fission bombs were dropped on Japan ending the Pacific War. The Soviet Union started development shortly thereafter with their own atomic bomb project, and not long after that both countries developed even more powerful fusion weapons known as "hydrogen bombs." The world's first nuclear weapons explosion was on July 16, 1945 in New Mexico, when the United States tested its first nuclear bomb. Not three weeks later, the world changed. On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It killed or wounded nearly 130,000 people. Three days later, the United States bombed Nagasaki. Of the 286,00 people living there at the time of the blast, 74,000 were killed and another 75,000 sustained severe injuries. Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender on August 14, 1945; it also resulted in the end of World War II. In subsequent years, the United States, the Soviet Union and Great Britain conducted several nuclear weapons tests. In 1954, President Jawaharlal Nehru of India called for a ban on nuclear testing. It was the first large-scale initiative to ban using nuclear technology for mass destruction. In 1958, nearly 10,000 scientists presented to United Nations Secretary-General Dag...
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