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12 August 1953 – Soviet ‘RDS-6’ Test by CTBTO

RDS-6, nicknamed “Joe 4” by the United States, was the fifth nuclear test conducted by the Soviet Union. With a force equivalent to 400 kilotons of TNT (around 30 times the Hiroshima bomb’s yield), it was the country’s largest test until then. RDS-6 was part of the Soviet Union’s efforts to catch up with the United States, which had detonated its first thermonuclear device with the ‘George’ test two years earlier in May 1951.

The weapon used a design known as the Sloika model (Слойка, named after a type of layered puff pastry) in which fission and fusion fuel were “layered”. Soviet lead physicist Yulii Khariton estimated that 15 to 20% of its yield was based on fusion and the rest on fission.

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