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Declassified footage of most powerful nuclear bomb ever detonated was top secret for decades

Declassified footage of most powerful nuclear bomb ever detonated was top secret for decades

The video was finally made available in 2020.

Four years ago Russia released footage of the biggest nuclear explosion ever after electing to keep it under lock and key for decades.

In October 1961, the country detonated a devastating nuclear bomb at Mityushikha Bay on the deserted Novaya Zemlya island.

Thought to be 3,800 times more powerful than the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima, the Tsar Bomba (or Tsar Bomb) was packed with 50 megatons of explosives and weighed 27 tons.

The bomb itself was around eight meters in length and for it to be dropped some of the fuel tanks were removed from the Tu-95V Soviet bomber.

The plane carrying the weapon was around 4,000 metres above ground when the pilot dropped it on Mityushikha Bay.

It’s said that the nuclear explosion was so powerful that the impact was visible from an incredible 997km (620 miles) away.

A mushroom cloud stretched a stunning 67km (42 miles) into the air and reportedly destroyed buildings within 55km (35 miles) of the detonation zone.

To coincide with the 75th anniversary of Russia’s nuclear industry, ROSATOM, the country’s state-run nuclear division released a harrowing video of the explosion in 2020.

A snippet of the 40-minute long video is available to watch below:

Unbelievably, it was later discovered that the Tsar Bomba could’ve been more powerful than it already was.

Reports claim the original plan for the nuclear weapon was for it to deliver a colossal 100-megaton blast, but officials scaled it down to protect the wider population from the explosion.


Despite the Tsar Bomba being one of the last above-ground nuclear tests ever carried out, it wasn’t the only one.

Throughout the early 1960s, it’s thought that the Soviet Union completed several other tests with forces ranging between 20 and 24 megatons.

However, nuclear testing came to an end in 1963 when the US, UK and the Soviet Union co-signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT).

The treaty prohibited nuclear weapons tests from taking place in the atmosphere, in outer space or underwater.

However, the countries were still allowed to test underground as long as no radioactive debris fell outside the boundaries of the nation conducting the test.

In 1996, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was put forward.

This request is to ban all nuclear test explosions, for both civilian and military purposes in all environments.

Since the treaty was opened, 187 nations have signed it while 178 have ratified.

Unfortunately, this multilateral treaty cannot formally enter into force until it’s ratified by 44 specific nations - nine of which must still do so, according to the Arms Control Association.

These countries are: China, India, North Korea, Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.

Featured Image Credit: ROSATOM