Nuclear weapons

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...If you don't know what an atomic bomb is, then imagine the worst thing possible. Atomic bombs were worse than that.

Vault Dweller's memoirs

A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter; a modern thermonuclear weapon weighing little more than a thousand kilograms can produce an explosion comparable to the detonation of more than a billion kilograms of conventional high explosive.

Pre divergence[edit | edit source]

Nuclear weapons were first used on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in August 1945[1] at the end of the Second World War. These two explosions could be seen as the start of the eventual end of the modern world that would come 132 years later, because it set a dangerous example for humanity that would come after this, that a war could be ended with nuclear weapons. The atomic bomb, a purely fission-based weapon, and the hydrogen bomb, a fission-fusion thermonuclear weapon, were both developed in the Fallout universe, with hydrogen bombs being considerably more dangerous because of the sheer size of their explosive yields.

Post divergence[edit | edit source]

Main article: Divergence

In the Fallout world, megaton-class thermonuclear weapons had largely been retired by the major nuclear powers in favor of much smaller-yield warheads by the time of the Great War. An average strategic warhead in 2077 had a yield of about 200-750 kilotons, because of a massive increase in radioactive fallout in place of thermal shock, much like a salted bomb in our own world. However, despite the apparent reduction in raw explosive power, this arsenal was far more dangerous to the Earth's ecosystem, as it deposited far greater amounts of fallout in the atmosphere than had been assumed by pre-War models.[2]

China, the United States of America, the Soviet Union, the European Commonwealth's member states and other countries around the world possessed massive nuclear stockpiles, which they were unafraid to use.[3] A large amount of nuclear weapons were used during the Great War, and many electronics were mangled by the EMP that resulted from their explosions.

In-game[edit | edit source]

Fallout[edit | edit source]

- Hey, this looks like a nuclear bomb. Why is it here?
- This is our Master's weapon of last resort. If we find an enemy we cannot defeat in battle, then we will destroy them with this. But I doubt this will ever happen. Even our Master does not want to unleash the dreaded power of the atom again!

Vault Dweller and a Super mutant sergeant

In Fallout, the Glow is testament to the horror of nuclear war, a radioactive hellhole destroyed by a direct nuclear hit. In the same game, the Vault Dweller also discovers an unused nuke sitting in the Master's vault, to be used as last resort against an undefeatable enemy.

Fallout 2[edit | edit source]

A nuclear bomb also rests on Control station Enclave, and is, once again, used to obliterate the main enemy of the game (detonated by an explosion of the on-board nuclear reactor).

Fallout 3[edit | edit source]

Nuclear weapons feature prominently in Fallout 3, in the form of a C-23 Megaton[4] - Megaton's nuke, the Fat Man and its unique variant, the experimental MIRV, which are two tactical nuclear catapults, a bunker full of nuclear bombs, Vertibirds with nuclear carpet bombs, Liberty Prime's inexhaustible backpack arsenal of medium-sized bombs, various orbital weapons platforms such as Highwater Trousers, and Bradley-Hercules - the Enclave-controlled satellite which destroys Liberty Prime in the Broken Steel add-on.

Fallout: New Vegas[edit | edit source]

The C-23 Megaton and the Fat Man returned in Fallout: New Vegas, and with the Wild Wasteland trait, an unexploded atomic nuke called The One can be found slightly north-west of the Devil's Throat.

In Lonesome Road many nuclear weapons are scattered throughout the Divide namely in the old missile silos. There are also some un-detonated warheads scattered around in the divide that can be detonated using a laser detonator.

Fallout 4[edit | edit source]

Another iteration of the Fat Man and corresponding mini nukes appear in Fallout 4. Formerly operated by the United States Armed Forces, Sentinel site Prescott contains a stockpile of Mark 28 nuclear warheads. The Chinese Navy submarine Yangtze-31, piloted by Captain Zao, was sent to Boston and launched all but one of its high-yield nuclear missiles on the city.

In Far Harbor the Children of Atom have formed a settlement, the Nucleus, around the USS Democracy submarine, whose nuclear missiles they desire to activate in order to bring themselves into "division".

Fallout Tactics[edit | edit source]

Mini-FOT Logo.pngThe following is based on Fallout Tactics and some details might contradict canon.

A nuclear ICBM warhead appears first (called Plutonius) in Kansas City, worshiped by a ghoul cult. It is later used to gain entrance to Cheyenne Mountain installation, the Vault 0.

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel[edit | edit source]

FOBoSLogo.pngThe following is based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

A nuclear device also rests on the Secret Vault, as an emergency decontamination procedures (a self-destruct system) if the Vault started to become too dangerous. A special monorail located in the first complex of the laboratories section should be used to evacuate the vault dwellers quickly to a secret exit in the mountains. The Initiate activates it to obliterate all of its researches and all of the experimental deathclaws, radbugs, super mutants, robots, and the heavily mutated Attis, destroying both the Secret Vault and the city of Los.

Van Buren[edit | edit source]

Gametitle-VB.pngThe following is based on Van Buren and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

The B.O.M.B.-001 space station, the endgame location, was an orbital ballistic missile launch platform, that Victor Presper wanted to use to reshape the world as he envisioned it.

Inconsistencies[edit | edit source]

The way the weapons are portrayed in the games is inconsistent; in the classic Fallout games, nuclear weapons are feared, respected, and exceedingly rare (not to mention that arguably the most intelligent being in the Fallout world, the Master, is unwilling to unleash the power of the atom again). In Fallout 3 nuclear weapons are commonplace and devoid of their traits from previous games. You can detonate a city with a nuclear bomb in the first few hours of the game, blow up cars in nuclear explosions and carry a personal tactical nuclear launcher, not to mention the nuke-throwing Liberty Prime.

The term nuke is also, in the Fallout Universe, a generic name for anything that resembles a missile. When Liberty Prime is destroyed in Fallout 3, there is no radioactive fallout, nor is there a scorched blast zone or mushroom cloud—the explosion is tiny in comparison to a real nuclear weapon. The same can be said about the Mobile base crawler in the Broken Steel add-on when it is destroyed by an orbital strike—again, there was just an explosion, and no radioactive, flaming byproducts of a nuclear detonation. This may indicate the missiles aboard B.O.M.B.-001 or other orbital platforms were not actually primed with warheads, but were missiles waiting to be armed.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Nuclear weapons appear in all Fallout games.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Citadel terminals#Project Summary
  2. Vault Dweller's Survival Guide, Page 1-7: "The megaton class weapons have been largely retired, being replaced with much smaller yield warheads. The yield of a modern strategic warhead is, with few exceptions, now typically in the range of 200-750 kT. Recent work with sophisticated climate models has shown that this reduction in yield results in a much larger proportion of the fallout being deposited in the lower atmosphere, and a much faster and more intense deposition of fallout than had been assumed in studies made during the sixties and seventies. The reduction in aggregate strategic arsenal yield that occurred when high yield weapons were retired in favor of more numerous lower yield weapons has actually increased the fallout risk."
  3. 2054: Limited nuclear exchange in the Middle East
  4. Texture file