The U.S. once considered using 23 nuclear bombs to blast out a highway

Rising out of California's Mojave Desert are the Bristol Mountains, nearly 4,000 feet of rock blocking easy passage through the scorching desert. For decades, Route 66 and the Santa Fe Railway have had to bend south, acquiescing to the mountains' height. But in the 1960s, at the peak of atomic age, we had a plan to… » 9/23/14 4:34pm 9/23/14 4:34pm

Radioactive boars from Chernobyl are still wandering around Germany

Nearly 30 years later, radiation from Chernobyl still scars the landscape. Perhaps most remarkably, some of that radiation traveled hundreds of miles downwind, settled into the soil, and moved up through the food chain. So now we have radioactive wild boars, still roaming around Germany causing trouble. » 9/03/14 11:16am 9/03/14 11:16am

Nowhere Under the Sea Is Safe from Britain's Newest Nuclear Submarine

Russia isn't the only nation launching a nuclear sub hunter after two decades of development. The UK recently rolled the third of seven £1 billion Astute Class nuclear submarines, the HMS Artful, out of its cavernous dry dock for a year of demanding sea trials and a quarter century of service beneath the seas. » 7/04/14 11:30am 7/04/14 11:30am

If Einstein Had Never Been Born, Would We Still Have Nuclear Weapons?

Albert Einstein and his equation E=mc² are famously connected to the modern atomic age. But as nuclear historian Alex Wellerstein writes in this counterfactual account of history, the great physicist mattered less than you'd think in the invention of the nuclear bomb. » 6/28/14 9:00am 6/28/14 9:00am

100 tons of TNT, one really cool explosion shock wave

Today I learned that scientists blow up 100 tons of TNT in the middle of nowhere not just for the fun of it, but to listen to the blast. The Comprehensive Nuclear‑Test‑Ban Treaty Organization sets microphones thousands of miles away to listen to low frequency waves produced by these TNT explosions. » 6/27/14 7:22pm 6/27/14 7:22pm

Seeing a nuclear reactor start up is cooler than my sci-fi dreams

Ka-freaking-boom. The piercing blue flash reverberates through the water and looks cooler than my imagination. If watching movies has taught me anything, it's that when you see that particular shade of glowing blue, something superhuman is happening. And yes, a nuclear reactor starting up is as powerful as it gets. » 6/26/14 12:36am 6/26/14 12:36am

The most spectacular and destructive atomic bombs in history

Here are the most spectacular and destructive atomic detonations in history. Most of them are in crispy HD thanks to the folks of Atom Central, one of my favorite sites. Looking at their terrifying beauty, I can't understand why we wasted so much in these absurd devices of mass extermination. » 5/22/14 7:04pm 5/22/14 7:04pm

The U.S. Government Once Fracked Oil Wells Using Nuclear Bombs

Oil and gas fracking is big business in America, with more than two million hydraulically fractured wells across the country producing 43 and 67 percent of our national oil and gas outputs, respectively. These wells also nearly played a secondary role as nuclear waste storage sites, had the Atomic Energy Commission… » 1/29/14 5:20pm 1/29/14 5:20pm

How Tumbleweeds Spread Radiation From Old Nuclear Sites

The tumbleweed, which seems so at home rolling down an American highway, is actually an invasive plant from the Russian steppes. In the relatively short time it's been invading the plains—just over a century—the tumbleweed has managed to establish itself as an indelible symbol of the western landscape. It is the… » 1/28/14 9:40am 1/28/14 9:40am