How An Atomic Bomb Changes Everything

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On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. An American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first atomic bomb over the Japanese city instantly killing 80,000 people and 10,000 more after the radiation exposure. Ninety percent of Hiroshima was destroyed by one atomic bomb according to the article “Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” This bomb instantly affected Hiroshima and its inhabitants and later in life as well. I will go over on how the atomic bomb worked, the effects it had on the environment, the people, and animals.

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To begin with, we have to go back to the beginning. The bomb was named “little boy” and was part of The Manhattan Project it took three years of research and cost 2 billion dollars to develop. Little boy was made from highly-enriched uranium-235. It was prepared by diffusion enrichment techniques. It utilized the really small differences in mass of the two main isotopes: U-235and U-238. Around 64 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium was used in the bomb which had a 16 kiloton yield (same as 16,000 tonnes of TNT) in accordance to the article “Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Subsequent Weapons Testing.” “A uranium bullet fired down a barrel into a uranium tub together they started a nuclear chain reaction. Solid matter began to come apart releasing untold quantities of energy,”(BBC). Furthermore, the environment of Hiroshima was instantly affected. Six hundred meters from the ground the bomb triggered and made the blast go down to the ground and out increasing the radius of the blast. When the bomb was dropped everything was annihilated. 12 square kilometers and 4 point square miles of the city was destroyed (Jaun Daub), there was a blinding flash then followed by temperatures in the area of the explosion of 10 million degrees Celsius. Electromagnetic radiation leads to the formation of a fireball. A crushing wind caused by the initial blast destroyed buildings and trees which were uprooted, snapped off, scorched and stripped of leaves. leaving only the memory of the buildings and people once their before. When the bomb exploded a mushroom like cloud formed containing radioactive particles released into the air causing fallout. “Small-scale use of nuclear warheads could deplete the ozone layer, shorten the growing season, increase temperature and hasten the effects of global warming.,” (Dr. Mary Dowd).

In addition, many people were affected when it happened and through the years as well. At the age of 92, Koji Numata described what he saw the next day of the bombing “you couldn’t escape. In the center of Hiroshima there weren’t many people. Either they ran or most of them died. Not many people walking, the ones that were had their skin coming off or their bodies melting,” (Jaun Daub). Symptoms of radiation poisoning began. “It included hair loss, bleeding gums, loss of energy, purple spots, pain, and high fevers, often resulting in death,”(Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). After two years of the bombing leukemia peaked around 1950. Those involved in the blast had an estimated 46% chance of getting leukemia. Lung cancer was associated to the bombings in the begining of the1950s. “In a 1972 survey, almost 3,800 people (of 10,412) who had died from the blast or related to the blast, were found to have developed lung cancer,”(Licoln Riddle). In addition, there was also an increase in anemia, cataracts, keloids, and birth complications.

Moreover, the animals near the blast had a big impact as well. As mentioned before Mr.Numata described his point of view, “On the way there were a lot of horses released, the belly of the horses were bloated as if they were to touch the ground. The face was normal, but the belly was bloated,”(Jaun Daub). Some animals went through genetic mutations due to the radio activity. The energy from radiation damaged or broke the DNA molecules of some animals affecting how they looked through the years(Anne Marie Helmenstine).

Nevertheless, although Hiroshima went through all that devastation the city rebuilt and has become a beautiful again. Everyone was worried the cities would become nuclear waste fields, where nothing could grow and there would be too much radiation for it to be safe to live. However in 1946, there was some hope. The oleander flower began to grow over time. Radiation levels have dropped and today are considered safe. Ever since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan has become the world leader in the anti-nuclear movement. But the effects of the atomic bombings of Japan continue to the present today.

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