The Effects of Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear explosions produce both immediate and delayed destructive effects. Blast, thermal radiation, and prompt ionizing radiation cause significant destruction within seconds or minutes of a nuclear detonation. The delayed effects, such as radioactive fallout and other environmental effects, inflict damage over an extended period ranging from hours to years.


Learn about the fundemental aspects of nuclear weapons.

Blast Effects

Most of the initial damage produced by a nuclear explosion comes from the blast effects.

Thermal Effects

Approximately 35 percent of the energy from a nuclear explosion is an intense burst of thermal radiation.

Radiation Effects

There are several kinds of radiation emitted from a nuclear explosion including gamma, neutron, and ionizing radiation.

Long-Term Effects

In addition to radioactive fallout there are long term effects on the atmosphere and climate.