A mushroom cloud from a massive explosion in Lebanon on Aug. 4 prompted many commentators and conspiracy theorists to make a frightening remark that the nuclear bomb exploded.
Of course, a nuclear terror scenario in a densely populated city is not so crazy. In fact, this is one of 15 catastrophic scenarios that the US government simulated and planned to respond.
However, even before Lebanese officials said the horrific explosion in the capital Beirut was caused by a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored in a port warehouse, experts in the study of nuclear weapons. quickly dismissed the idea of a nuclear bomb exploding.
Vipin Narang, an expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, wrote on Twitter: “I have researched on nuclear weapons. It is not (a nuclear bomb explosion).
Meanwhile, Martin Pfeiffer, working at the University of New Mexico (USA), also confirmed that the explosion was not due to nuclear weapons but could have triggered fire or chemicals.
Mr. Pfeiffer points out that the explosion lacks the two characteristics of a nuclear explosion: a blinding white light and a heat pulse (an increase in heat), which causes fires everywhere and burns people’s skin.
In addition, there were no signs of radiation leaking from the explosion – which could quickly be detected if any.
According to a calculation shared by Narang, the explosion in Beirut was as destructive as 240 tons of TNT, which is 10 times larger than the US army’s “mother of bombs”. Meanwhile, the US “Little Boy” nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima City – Japan on August 6, 1945 with the equivalent of 13-16 thousand tons of TNT.
There is an opinion that the explosion in Beirut reminded people of the explosion in Halifax City, Nova Scotia – Canada on December 6, 1917. The explosion occurred after a collision between two ships, including one carrying explosives at Halifax port.
With a blast equivalent to 2,900 tons of TNT, this is considered the largest explosion caused by humans before the atomic bomb appeared. Official Canadian data shows 1,963 people were killed, 9,000 injured and 6,000 homeless in the explosion. Buildings within a radius of nearly 500 meters were leveled.