What is America's most powerful nuclear weapon

USA dismantles one of their most powerful bombs

A chapter from the Cold War era is closed: The US has dismantled the last copy of its oldest and most dangerous atomic bomb. It was 600 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb.

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The US destroyed the last of its powerful Cold War-era nuclear bombs. The 1962 B53 bomb was dismantled at a facility near Amarillo, Texas. Specialists in Texas separated the approximately 136 kilograms of explosives from the radioactive uranium. The bomb had an explosive force of nine megatons, making it 600 times as powerful as the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman spoke of a milestone in US President Barack Obama's efforts to promote nuclear disarmament. The nuclear weapons destruction program is a year ahead of schedule, he said.

4500 kilograms

The B53 was introduced at the height of the Cold War in 1962 and was about the size of a minibus. Many of the 4,500 kilogram bombs had already been dismantled in the 1980s. However, some remained in the US arsenals until they were retired in 1997.

An era will end with the dismantling of the B53, said a spokesman for the Association of American Scientists, Hans Kristensen. Now the largest atomic bomb in the USA is the B83 with an explosive force of 1.2 megatons. At the end of World War II, the United States dropped an atomic bomb weighing 13 kilotons on Hiroshima, killing up to 140,000 people.

A lot of power, but not very precise

With its power, the B53 compensated for its lack of accuracy, explained Kristensen. Today's bombs are smaller but more precise and thus reduce unintended damage. Kristensen said the US government cannot boast of destroying the B53. After all, only ten active nuclear warheads have been destroyed in the past seven months, while the Russian arsenal has grown by as much as 29. Both countries had contractually agreed in December to downsize their nuclear arsenals.

The bomb was dismantled at the Pantex facility near Amarillo. On Tuesday, for the first time in 18 years, media representatives were allowed to enter the huge site, which covers 6,500 hectares. The facility where nuclear weapons are assembled and dismantled is considered to be one of the safest in the United States.

AFP / dapd / jak

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