How To Disarm a Nuclear Weapon


(or how to avoid instant immolation in four easy steps)



If you discover an unattended nuclear device seek expert advice and alert the authorities

at your earliest opportunity. If you are the only one present, and you feel it might go off,

disarming is the sort of job a reasonably competent DIYer can tackle with a just few simple

tools or kitchen utensils.



  • Screwdrivers (crosshead and slotted), a penknife or wire cutters.
  • A sturdy set of barbeque tongs
  • Thick gloves (gardening gloves will do)
  • Two large cake tins and a screw-topped jar.


Detach the cover plate or access hatch and identify the parts; the three critical components are the battery, timer and explosive charge. The battery usually has two wires, normally coloured red and black, coming out of it. Cutting one or both wires is a good start but watch for booby-traps. If the battery wires are not accessible disconnect the timer (typically a box with flashing lights and possibly a countdown display). However this may also be rigged to detonate the device if tampered with so if you are unsure, leave it alone and  proceed to the next step.



If fitted unscrew the cover plate for the Neutron Trigger. In many devices itís a small ball or disc. Once exposed it can be removed (it may be held in place by several screws). Wear your gloves or use the tongs, as they can be highly radioactive. Pop it into the screw top jar so it canít roll away.



Remove the explosive charges used to initiate the bomb. This material is usually safe to handle; however, explosives in nuclear devices made by terrorists and rogue states may not be stable so handle with caution.



You should now be able to see two hemispherical pieces of Uranium 235. Try not to let them get closer or touch as they can give off a lot of radiation. Handle with care - it is wise to wear gloves - and donít drop one on your foot, they can be surprisingly heavy! Place each piece in a cake tin, and keep them well apart.

Congratulations, the nuclear device is now disarmed and ready for safe disposal.

N.B. this procedure only applies to the common types of U235 implosion bomb, other types may vary. 

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