1950s Soviet atom bomb test at Semipalatinsk. Wilson cloud from the detonation of the Joe-3 (RDS-3) Soviet nuclear bomb on 18 October 1951 at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in what is now Kazakhstan. A Wilson cloud is a condensation cloud triggered by the shockwave of the nuclear explosion. This test had a yield of 41 kilotons of TNT. A total of 456 Soviet nuclear tests were conducted at the Semipalatinsk site between 1949 and 1989. SPL / mediadrumworld.com

By Mark McConville

EERIE images of huge mushroom clouds from Soviet Nuclear testing offer a reminder of what it was like to live during the Cold War.

The scary snaps show enormous clouds of white and black smoke billowing high into the air after nuclear bombs were detonated in a testing ground.

1950s Soviet nuclear torpedo test at Novaya Zemlya. Mushroom cloud rising from the surface of the sea during the first Soviet underwater nuclear torpedo test. This test, named 22 (Joe-17), took place on 21 September 1955 at the NTSNZ (Northern Test Site Novaya Zemlya) of a torpedo design. The location was NZ Area A, Chyornaya Guba, Novaya Zemlya, Russia. The yield was 3.5 kilotons of TNT. SPL / mediadrumworld.com

Other pictures show the aftermath of non-nuclear explosive testing with explosions the equivalent of 1000 and 500 tons of TNT carried out by the USSR. One photograph shows a 1950s Soviet atom bomb test at Semipalatinsk.

The mushroom cloud is from the detonation of the Joe-2 (RDS-2) Soviet nuclear bomb on 24 September 1951 at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in what is now Kazakhstan.

This test had a yield of 38 kilotons of TNT. A total of 456 Soviet nuclear tests were conducted at the Semipalatinsk site between 1949 and 1989.

1950s Soviet atom bomb test. Rising mushroom cloud and condensation cloud ring forming following the detonation of a nuclear bomb at a Soviet test site. Hundreds of Soviet nuclear tests were conducted at various sites from the late 1940s to the end of the 1980s. This test is thought to date from 1953. SPL / mediadrumworld.com

Another image shows the first Soviet hydrogen bomb test. The mushroom cloud is from the detonation of the first Soviet hydrogen bomb on August 12, 1953 at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in what is now Kazakhstan.

This test, known as RDS-6 and Joe-4, had a yield of 400 kilotons of TNT. It used a ‘layer cake’ design.

Hydrogen bombs (thermonuclear weapons) use nuclear fusion reactions and are many times more powerful than the first atomic bombs that only used nuclear fission.

1950s Soviet nuclear torpedo test at Novaya Zemlya. Eruption column of water rising from the sea during a Soviet underwater nuclear torpedo test. This test, named 48 (Joe-42), took place on 10 October 1957 at the NTSNZ (Northern Test Site Novaya Zemlya) of a torpedo design. The location was NZ Area A, Chyornaya Guba, Novaya Zemlya, Russia. The yield was 6 kilotons of TNT. Sea ice and ships can be seen in the surrounding waters. Some of the ships would have been damaged and sunk by the blast. SPL / mediadrumworld.com

A total of 456 Soviet nuclear tests were conducted at the Semipalatinsk site between 1949 and 1989.

The Cold War was a state of geopolitical tension after World War II between powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its satellite states) and powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others).

It began around 1947 and only ceased in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. The term “cold” is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides involved in the conflict, although there were major regional wars, known as proxy wars, supported by the two sides.

First Soviet hydrogen bomb test. Mushroom cloud from the detonation of the first Soviet hydrogen bomb on 12 August 1953 at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in what is now Kazakhstan. This test, known as RDS-6 and Joe-4, had a yield of 400 kilotons of TNT. It used a ‘layer cake’ design. Hydrogen bombs (thermonuclear weapons) use nuclear fusion reactions and are many times more powerful than the first atomic bombs that only used nuclear fission. A total of 456 Soviet nuclear tests were conducted at the Semipalatinsk site between 1949 and 1989. SPL / mediadrumworld.com

The threat of nuclear warfare was never too far from the public’s mind as both American and the USSR demonstrated their power and carried out nuclear tests.

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