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How world’s biggest nuke would flatten London, kill 6 million & burn people as far away as Reading if dropped by Russia


SIXTY years ago Russia unleashed hell on the world – with a mega bomb powerful enough to wipe out a city and kill millions.

The infamous Tsar Bomba is still the most powerful explosive ever detonated by mankind – with 1,570 times the combined energy of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs which ended WW2.

It was tested off the coast of Severny Island, near the Arctic Ocean in 1961 by the Soviet Union, and created a blast which could be seen 630 miles away.

The explosion was equivalent to 50 megatons of TNT – so 50 million tons.

Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the bomb’s detonation, and the shockwaves of the blast are still being felt to this day as it changed the face of the global arms race.

According to Nuke Map – a tool created by nuclear historian Alex Wellerstein – if the bomb was detonated today on London it would kill some 5.8 million people.

The tool shows that if the explosive was dropped on the Palace of Westminster its fireball radius would reach Brixton in the south and Camden Town in the north – both around three miles away.

Anyone caught inside the fireball would be “vaporised”.

The “heavy blast damage” would cover around 5.5miles, destroying most buildings and killing nearly everyone in that area.

This would mean areas such as Streatham in the south and Hackney in the north east would be devastated.

And the total blast radius would reach the likes of Surrey, which is more than 30 miles from Westminster, meaning windows would break and people would be severely burned.

Nuke Map says the thermal radiation would be felt more than 37 miles meaning some people in Reading would have to have their burned limb amputated by doctors.

Thankfully however, the monster bomb was considered by the Russians to simply be too large.

The city destroyer was such a vast bomb it was too big for most planes as it was a vast 60,000lbs while being 26ft long and 7ft wide.

And it came at a time when smaller – more accurate – nuclear weapons mounted on missiles were becoming the weapon of choice in the Cold War.

Incredibly the shockwave from the original bomb cracked windows as far away as Norway and Finland over 1000 miles from the blast site.

The hellish-looking mushroom cloud from the Tsar Bomba reached 42 miles into the sky – seven times the height of Mount Everest.

According to reports, the nine-strong Russian crew aboard the bomber jet – named the Tu-95V – had a 50 per cent chance of surviving the blast from the 27 ton explosive which was attached to a parachute to slow it down.

The Tu-95V was also accompanied by another aircraft which carried a laboratory crew of five tasked with monitoring the test.

The bomber jet was also coated with reflective white paint to protect it from the huge amounts of radiation caused in the explosion.

A mock-up of the Tsar Bomba displayed in Moscow

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A mock-up of the Tsar Bomba displayed in MoscowCredit: AFP – Getty
The Tsar Bomba was tested in 1961 and remains the most powerful nuke ever detonated

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The Tsar Bomba was tested in 1961 and remains the most powerful nuke ever detonatedCredit: Cover Images
The blast and mushroom cloud could be seen from miles away

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The blast and mushroom cloud could be seen from miles awayCredit: Cover Images

By the time the Tsar Bomba ignited – 2.4 miles above ground – the plane was already 24 miles away while the lab aircraft was more than 33 miles from the blast.

A shockwave reportedly hit the Tu-95V forcing it to drop one kilometre (0.62 miles) – however it was able to recover and land safely.

The massive nuke was dropped on a remote part of Severny Island and there is no official data on deaths or injuries from the test.

And the creation of the megabomb is seen as a turning point in the Cold War that in part led to an international treaty banning nuclear weapons testing above ground.

The bomb’s designer Andrei Sakharov was also horrified by his own creation – and went on to the campaign against nuclear proliferation, with his efforts earning him a Nobel Peace Prize.

Last year, a declassified video showed the most powerful man-made blast in history.

Released by Russian energy firm Rosatom the 40-minute video opens with a caption which reads “Top Secret.”

Seconds before the huge mushroom cloud, blinding light momentarily blocked out the camera’s visibility before the ungodly blast.

The blast was 1,570 times stronger than the American bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which killed more than 200,000 people and ended World War II.

To put that in context, the 2020 blast which ripped through Beirut, Lebanon was estimated to have had one-tenth of the strength of the Hiroshima nuke.

Archive footage of Chinese nuclear testing from 1966

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