The Russian government has released footage of a newly developed nuclear weapon capable of avoiding detection by American defense systems and specially designed to spread radioactive fallout over as wide an area as possible.
The footage was released just days after President Donald Trump held a private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.
The Poseidon nuclear torpedo is one of the latest generations of atomic weapons Russia has added to its arsenal. In May, the Russian defense ministry announced that Poseidon can carry a two-megaton thermonuclear warhead and is intended to be able to destroy enemy naval installations and inflict as much damage as possible to surrounding areas. The ministry first teased the existence of Poseidon in 2015.
“It will be possible to mount various nuclear charges on the ‘torpedo’ of the Poseidon multipurpose seaborne system, with the thermonuclear single warhead similar to the Avangard charge to have the maximum capacity of up to 2 megatonnes in TNT equivalent,” reported Russian news agency TASS.
The unidentified source within the defense ministry added that Poseidon “is primarily designed to destroy reinforced naval bases of a potential enemy.”
Gonna destroy the planet #weredoomed #Putin #Trump "The Poseidon" is an underwater, high-speed nuclear-capable torpedo unlike any other nuclear weapon.Russia just released videos of its next generation of nuclear weapons — Here's what we know https://t.co/FEXeKuLdU4
— Laura Ann (@LauraLonergan23) July 20, 2018
But Poseidon is far more deadly than the bombs with which the world is familiar.
Russia reveals first pictures of its nuclear armed ultra long range underwater autonomous submarine/torpedo. It can travel 10000km at a depth of 1km and speed of 185km/h, to detonate its warhead close to target. https://t.co/BSmh3tvmL9
— ianpatterson (@ianpatterson99) July 20, 2018
Normally, nuclear and thermonuclear weapons are engineered to deliver a knockout punch of heat and pressure to a specific, albeit large target such as a city. Radioactive fallout is generally a side-effect, affecting a relatively small radius around the explosion.
Poseidon, however, carries the ability to spread lethal radioactive fallout over a widespread area. This enhances the destructive potential of this terrifying new torpedo.
POSEIDON, ultra long range torpedo, in a new video by the Russian MOD pic.twitter.com/6D3IwHk7Ve
— Tal Inbar (@inbarspace) July 19, 2018
“Nuclear weapons only generate significant amounts of radioactive fallout when they are detonated at, near, or beneath ground level,” Stephen Schwartz, author of “Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of US Nuclear Weapons Since 1940,” told Business Insider.
“Where the fireball does not touch the surface of the earth,” Schwartz said, “the only fallout is from the bomb debris itself and any dust particles in the air that come into contact with it.”
Schwartz added Poseidon can “suck up dirt, or water, contaminates it with debris from the bomb, and then lofts it into the atmosphere,” allowing deadly nuclear waste to be distributed over thousands of square miles. In this case, a plume of radioactive cobalt could irradiate a substantial part of the planet for decades.
When a thermonuclear weapon is surrounded with ordinary cobalt (cobalt-59) metal, the fast neutrons escaping the explosion will instantly transmute it into radioactive cobalt-60, which would vaporize, condense, and then fall back to earth tens, hundreds, or thousands of miles from the site of the explosion.