Compiled and edited by
Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan
Third Edition
Prepared and published by the
United States Department of Defense
and the
Energy Research and Development Administration
DOD and ERDA shields

Chapter I—General Principles of Nuclear Explosions 1
Characteristics of Nuclear Explosions 1
Scientific Basis of Nuclear Explosions 12
Chapter II—Descriptions of Nuclear Explosions 26
Introduction 26
Description of Air and Surface Bursts 27
Description of High-Altitude Bursts 45
Description of Underwater Bursts 48
Description of Underground Bursts 58
Scientific Aspects of Nuclear Explosion Phenomena 63
Chapter III—Air Blast Phenomena in Air and Surface Bursts 80
Characteristics of the Blast Wave in Air 80
Reflection of Blast Wave at a Surface 86
Modification of Air Blast Phenomena 92
Technical Aspects of Blast Wave Phenomena 96
Chapter IV—Air Blast Loading 127
Interaction of Blast Wave with Structures 127
Interaction of Objects with Air Blast 132
Chapter V—Structural Damage from Air Blast 154
Introduction 154
Factors Affecting Response 156
Commercial and Administrative Structures 158
Industrial Structures 165
Residential Structures 175
Transportation 189
Utilities 195
Miscellaneous Targets 206
Analysis of Damage from Air Blast 212
Chapter VI—Shock Effects of Surface and Subsurface Bursts   231
Characteristics of Surface and Shallow Underground Bursts 231
Deep Underground Bursts 238
Damage to Structures 241
Characteristics of Underwater Bursts 244
Technical Aspects of Surface and Underground Bursts 253
Technical Aspects of Deep Underground Bursts 260
Loading on Buried Structures 263
Damage from Ground Shock 265
Technical Aspects of Underwater Bursts 268
Chapter VII—Thermal Radiation and Its Effects 276
Radiation from the Fireball 276
Thermal Radiation Effects 282
Incendiary Effects 296
Incendiary Effects in Japan 300
Technical Aspects of Thermal Radiation 305
adiant Exposure-Distance Relationships 316
Chapter VIII—Initial Nuclear Radiation 324
Nature of Nuclear Radiations 324
Gamma Rays 326
Neutrons 340
Transient-Radiation Effects on Electronics (TREE) 349
Technical Aspects of Initial Nuclear Radiation 353
Chapter IX—Residual Nuclear Radiation and Fallout 387
Sources of Residual Radiation 387
Radioactive Contamination from Nuclear Explosions 409
Fallout Distribution in Land Surface Bursts 414
Fallout Predictions for Land Surface Bursts 422
Attenuation of Residual Nuclear Radiation 439
Delayed Fallout 442
Technical Aspects of Residual Nuclear Radiation 450
Chapter X—Radio and Radar Effects 461
Introduction 461
Atmospheric Ionization Phenomena 462
Ionization Produced by Nuclear Explosions 466
Effects on Radio and Radar Signals 479
Technical Aspects of Radio and Radar Effects 489
Chapter XI—The Electromagnetic Pulse and its Effects 514
Origin and Nature of the EMP 514
EMP Damage and Protection 523
Theory of the EMP 532
Chapter XII—Biological Effects 541
Introduction 541
Blast Injuries 548
Burn Injuries 560
Nuclear Radiation Injury 575
Characteristics of Acute Whole-Body Radiation Injury 583
Combined Injuries 588
Late Effects of Ionizing Radiation 589
Effects of Early Fallout 594
Long-Term Hazard from Delayed Fallout 604
Genetic Effects of Nuclear Radiation 609
Pathology of Acute Radiation Injury 614
Blast-Related Effects 618
Effects on Farm Animals and Plants 618
Glossary 629
Guide to SI Units 642
Index 644

About this Edition

The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, as a U.S. Government publication, is in the public domain. The 1977 Third Edition (the most recent version of this publication) was scanned by the Program in Science and Global Security of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University into a collection of bitmap PDF files which were linked to a Web page on their site which served as an index. For some reason the PDF file for each chapter repeated the title page, preface, acknowledgements, and table of contents from the front of the book.

The online edition of the book seems to have been removed from the Princeton site (or, if it's still there, it's sufficiently well hidden that I haven't managed to find it). I took the original PDF files and edited them with pdfedit to remove the duplicate material at the start of the individual chapters and break out the title page, preface, acknowledgements, glossary, guide to SI units, and index into separate PDF files. I then constructed a new XHTML table of contents (this document) which links to the individual chapter PDF files, which open in a separate window. I wanted to link the subtitles in the table of contents to their page locations in these files, but discovered that (at least with the Adobe PDF plug-in installed on my machine), a “#page=n” URL fragment identifier only works the first time a PDF file is loaded—if you subsequently click on another subheading within the chapter you're presently reading, the URL in the browser window changes but the PDF file does not skip to the new page number. Consequently, I made links only for the chapters; you can scroll to the desired page for a subheading from the page number in the table of contents and the page numbers on the page images in the chapter files.

An online edition of the Nuclear Bomb Effects Computer which accompanied the 1962 edition of the book is available at this site.