Russia releases secret footage of 1961 hydrogen blast

MOSCOW: Russia has released previously classified footage of the world’s largest nuclear explosion, caused when the Soviet Union detonated the so-called Tsar Bomba almost 60 years ago.

The hydrogen bomb, which carried the force of 50 million tons of conventional explosives, was detonated in a test in October 1961, 4,000 metres over the remote Novaya Zemlya archipelago above the Arctic Circle.

The footage shows an immense fireball and a 60-km high mushroom cloud rising after the explosion lit up the sky. The views were captured from several angles by cameras installed on the ground and on board two Soviet aircraft.

“The testing of an exceptionally powerful hydrogen load … confirmed that the Soviet Union is in possession of a thermo-nuclear weapon with power of 50 megatons, 100 megatons and more,” a narrator tells the audience.

The documentary was published online for the first time by Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom last week as part of events to mark 75th anniversary of Russia’s atomic industry.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2020

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