Atomic bomb.
A weapon of mass destruction. The term is sometimes taken
to mean a nuclear weapon utilizing fission energy only, but it is ap-
plicable to hydrogen fusion weapons as well. It is appropriate to call
both atomic weapons because the energy released by atomic nuclei is
involved in each case. The energy of an atomic explosion is released in
a number of ways:
-as an explosion qualitatively similar to the blast from a conventional
(chemical-TNT) bomb explosion but thousands of times more powerful;
-as direct instant nuclear radiation consisting of penetrating gamma rays
and neutrons;
-as direct thermal radiation of visible, infrared, and ultraviolet rays;
-as the instant creation of a variety of radioactive particles thrown up into
the air by the force of the blast and extremely high temperature, suck-
ing up dirt and debris from the earth's surface, forming a massive
mushroom-shaped cloud. As the cloud ascends and cools, the radio-
active fission products and debris particles condense, returning to earth
as fallout and emitting radiation over a variable period;
-as a sharp pulse of electromagnetic energy
capable of damaging
unprotected electric and electronic equipment at great distances.
See Nuclear weapons.
Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC).
A commission established in
accordance with a 1946 presidential directive to the National Research
Council (the operations arm of the National Academy of Sciences)
to undertake long-term investigations of the medical and biological
effects of radiation on A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Naga-
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