Cold War: A Brief History

RDS-37: The Soviet Hydrogen Bomb

The mushroom cloud from the Soviet's first hydrogen bomb

The mushroom cloud from the Soviet's first hydrogen bomb

Yield: 1.6 megatons
Date: 11/ 22/ 1955
Location: Semipalatinsk
Type: Airdrop

This device, designated RDS-37, was the Soviet Union's first test of a two-stage radiation implosion ( Sakharov's "Third Idea", and Teller-Ulam) design. The bomb exploded underneath an inversion layer, which focused the shock back toward the ground unexpectedly, which caused a building to collapse and kill three people.

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