The Tsar Bomb, also known as Ivan Bomb, was invented and tested in Russia in 1961, in the period of the Cold War. It was the largest nuclear bomb, which has been ever known in the world history with the magnitude of 50 megatons of TNT. The bomb was invented by the Russian physics, and its aim was to threaten the USA. During the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union, both countries tried to demonstrate their power and the arms race was one of the most dominant issues of discussion in that period of time. The Russians intended to place the Tsar Bomb near the US borders with the aim to demonstrate its military power and dominance over the USA. Therefore, it was a serious problem of tension, which existed between both countries. This paper tends to overview the bomb and the consequences of its testing, as well as to show how it influenced people and the environment.
Brief Overview of the Tsar Bomb
The Tsar Bomb is considered the most powerful bomb in the world. The mankind has never seen a more powerful physical device, which could destroy a huge territory in case of war. When comparing it with the nuclear bomb, which was used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945, the Tsar Bomb was more powerful device. It has been able to produce an explosion up to 50 megatons, though some researches assert that the explosion can be even larger: to 100 megatons, while the atomic bomb, which was dropped in Japan, had an explosion to 13 megatons. That means that the Russian Tsar Bomb was approximately 4 times more powerful than the American nuclear bomb of 1945. The humankind remembers the awful consequences of the bomb, which was dropped on Hiroshima; therefore, the Tsar Bomb was one of the most threatening issues of that time. As to its physical characteristics, it should be mentioned that, after its test explosion on 30 October 1961, the size of the fireball was 2.8 miles (4.6 km) across, and the radius of destruction was 16.3 miles (26.3 km). The test explosion of the bomb was held in Russia, in Arctic Archipelago (Novaya Zemlya). The massive crater has left after its explosion until nowadays. The bomb was developed by the Soviet Union; initially, its yield was 100 megaton, but later it was decided to reduce its magnitude to 50 megatons. Research asserts that the Tsar Bomb was the cleanest nuclear bomb according to its yield. It is known that only one bomb of this size and yield was designed and ever tested in history. There are two museums in Russia, where the remaining bomb casings are still demonstrated into public; one of them is in Saratov (Arzamas-16), and another one — in Snezhinsk (Chelyabinsk-70). This information was confidential for a long time, during the Soviet regime; only after the collapse of the USSR, it has become opened for public in Russia (Gorelik, 2005).
Biological and Environmental Consequences
A well-known Russian physicist Sakharov, who was a nuclear weapon designer, accepted the idea that nuclear power could be used for the peaceful purposes. Initially, when he invented the bomb, he intended to use it with peaceful purposes. After the Tsar Bomb testing, he was unsatisfied with the fact that his invention has become a danger to the humankind and strongly oppressed its use in the future (Sakharov, 1990). Being an outstanding scientist in the field of nuclear power, Sakharov calculated biological consequences after a nuclear explosion. According to his calculation, detonation of a one-megaton Tsar Bomb would affect people and nature for a long period because of radioactive carbon. Thus, it would have a long-lasting biological global effect, which would lead to the death of around 6,600 people during the next eight thousand years. These facts have proved that nuclear testing cannot be safe because of its physical and biological features. According to the research, the American nuclear specialist Teller, as well as some of other scientists, argued that nuclear weapon is the safest and cleanest weapon in the world (Libby, & Van Bibber, 2010). This fact has been proved by science, though, according to Sakharov (1990), the nuclear power is safe and clean. Later, Sakharov understood his own responsibility for his invention and tried to initiate the movement against the use of nuclear power, but the Soviet government did not support his efforts. De Groot (2005) has reconsidered both biological and environmental consequences of the Tsar Bomb, or so-called “˜clean bomb’. Thus, he concluded that a nuclear bomb is the most powerful and destructive invention of the twentieth century. Therefore, according to him, it had to be prohibited to provide any nuclear tests in the future (De Groot, 2005).
Several studies have shown that the high level of radiation is observed in the area, where the Tsar Bomb was tested. Though this area is not populated, the effect of the explosion has influenced the environment in the wide radius, which may have destructive consequences not only in present days, but also in the future.
According to the research, the Tsar Bomb, though many specialists considered it as the cleanest one, could make a lot of harm to the people`s health. The bomb has destructive effects on human beings, animals, soil, and atmosphere, due to the radioactive materials. It is known that toxic substances may be kept in the soil for thousands of years. They can also destroy the balance in water (rivers, lakes, seas), taint food supplies, and pollute the air. It could cause development of such dangerous disease, like leukemia; as a result, a lot of people may die (Collins, 2007).
The invention of the Tsar Bomb was a man-made disaster, which cannot find any apologies or benefits among people. This is absolutely clear that the use of the Tsar Bomb was threatening people all over the world because of its dangerous biological and environmental consequences. It is worth mentioning that anti-nuclear movement all over the world has made a great contribution to protecting the world from the nuclear catastrophe.
The Tsar Bomb was a result of hatred between the USSR and the USA, in the armaments` race during the Cold War. Because of the political ambitions of the governments, people were frightened by the threat of the nuclear catastrophe globally (Collins, 2007). This fact had negatively influenced people`s conscience and morality. The possible biological and environmental consequences of the nuclear explosion could have a dangerous effect not only in present, but also in the future. Those, who are responsible for the nuclear weapon, must realize that they are responsible for the human lives and future generations. Therefore, nobody can use the nuclear weapon just to satisfy their own ambitions or because of the desire to demonstrate their power. Nowadays, people all over the world are appealing to protect the environment from pollution. There are debates about deforestation, water pollution, and global warming, but many specialists consider that nothing can be compared with the danger of the nuclear power, if it is directed to destroy people. That is why people all over the world are protecting their lives and environment by using all possible means, such as treaties and negotiations, to stop those who intend to use the nuclear weapon with the aim to demonstrate their power.