Fallout Wiki
Fallout Wiki
FO4 Intro slide 5

An atomic bomb used in Japan

If you don't know what an atomic bomb is, then imagine the worst thing possible. Atomic bombs were worse than that.Fallout 2 manual

A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. They are often colloquially referred to as a nuke or nukes, and are the primary source of nuclear fallout.


Nuclear weapons were first used in 1945 to destroy the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in the forms of the atomic bombs Fat Man and Little Boy, ending World War II.[1] It would be over a century after that nuclear weapons would be used again. In 2053, terrorists would obtain a nuclear weapon and manage to detonate it in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.[Non-game 1] This would lead to limited nuclear exchanges in the Middle East one month later.[Non-game 2]

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.[Non-game 3] An average strategic warhead in 2077 had a yield of about 200-750 kilotons, but with a massive increase in radioactive fallout in place of thermal shock.[Non-game 3] 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.[Non-game 3]


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 million tons of conventional high explosives.[2] Nuclear weapons can include bombs, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.



The Glow is a testament to the horror of nuclear war, destroyed by a direct nuclear hit. It would leave a permanent impression on the Vault Dweller. The Master's Vault also contains a single warhead, kept in reserve against enemies the Unity would be unable to conquer.[Non-game 4]

Fallout 2[]

In Fallout 2, a nuclear bomb is located on the Enclave Oil Rig. It is detonated by the explosion of the on-board nuclear reactor in the endgame.

Fallout 3[]

Nuclear weapons feature prominently in Fallout 3. A C-23 Megaton[3] is the namesake for Megaton, and a warehouse full of C-23's is part of Fort Constantine. The Fat Man, a tactical nuclear catapult, was first introduced in Fallout 3. Vertibirds are armed with nuclear bombs, and will use them to carpet bomb certain areas. Liberty Prime has an arsenal of medium-sized bombs, and will use them frequently during the events of Take it Back!. Two orbital weapons platforms, Highwater-Trousers and Bradley-Hercules, also appear in game. Within Fort Constantine, the player can use a launch control terminal to attempt to launch a nuclear missile from the fort at an unspecified target.[4]

Fallout: New Vegas[]

Nuclear weapons are mentioned frequently throughout Fallout: New Vegas, but do not play as prominent a role in the game as they did in Fallout 3. The Boomers have a stockpile of atomic weapons at Nellis Air Force Base, some of which they have detonated in the past, though they have not done so for several years by the events of Fallout: New Vegas.[5] The Fat Man returns as a usable weapon, but is less commonly found than in Fallout 3. With Wild Wasteland, a C-23 Megaton called "The One" can be found northwest of the Devil's Throat.

In the add-on Lonesome Road, nuclear weapons play a far greater role than in the main game. Before the events of Fallout: New Vegas, the Destruction of the Divide occurred when several nuclear missiles detonated within their silos, destroying the area. However, not all of the nuclear missiles in the Divide detonated during this event, as several nuclear warheads were scattered across the region. During the events of the add-on, the Courier acquired a laser detonator and used it to destroy nuclear warheads.

Fallout 4[]

In Fallout 4, Mark 28 bombs are used by Liberty Prime against the Institute. In addition, the Fat Man launchers make a reappearance. The Glowing Sea is a unique landscape caused by the detonation of a high-yield nuclear bomb southwest of the greater Boston area; it is so radioactive that it contaminates passing thunderstorms into radstorms.

In the add-on Nuka-World, a modified Nuka-nuke launcher exists, being a Nuka-Cola Corporation-modified Fat Man designed to launch weaponized miniature Nuka-Cola nuclear bombs, known as Nuka-nukes.

Nuclear submarines and submarine-launched ballistic missiles also appear in Fallout 4 and its add-on Far Harbor. The Yangtze, a Chinese submarine that launched nuclear weapons during the War, can be found in Boston harbor with multiple nuclear weapons still on board. The Children of Atom on the Island have occupied a submarine dock they have renamed the Nucleus, and are trying to locate the launch key for the nuclear weapons aboard an American nuclear submarine at their base.

Fallout 76[]

Life outside of Vault 76 may be more hostile than you’re used to. This latest episode gives you the upper hand against any foe that stands in your way, with nuclear missiles.Vault-Tec Presents: Atomics for Peace!
Main article: Nuclear missile

Nuclear weapons play a large role in the main story of Fallout 76 with Vault 76's overseer departing from the vault early to track down the launch codes and locations of three nuclear missile silos, Site Alpha, Site Bravo and Site Charlie in the Appalachia area. Player characters who manage to locate one of these silos and its respective launch code can use the silo's ICBM to destroy a target of their choice, be it scorchbeasts or enemy player characters. Fat Man nuclear launchers also return. Additionally, players affiliated with the Enclave will have access to the Kovac-Muldoon Platform, an orbital satellite that can be used to call in orbital strikes on targets.

Appearances in non-canon games[]

Fallout Tactics[]

In Fallout Tactics, 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, Vault 0.

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel[]

A nuclear device also rests on the Corporate Vault in Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, as an emergency decontamination procedure (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 research and all of the experimental deathclaws, radbugs, super mutants, robots, and the heavily mutated Attis, destroying both the Corporate Vault and the city of Los.

Van Buren[]

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


Nuclear weapons appear or are mentioned in all Fallout games.

Behind the scenes[]

In the cancelled Van Buren project, the B.O.M.B.-001 space station was planned as the endgame location, which served as an orbital ballistic missile launch platform.



  1. Fallout 4 intro: "In the year 1945, my great-great grandfather, serving in the army, wondered when he'd get to go home to his wife and the son he'd never seen. He got his wish when the US ended World War II by dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
  2. The Courier: "Yeah, any detonation with a yield of less than a half-ton of TNT is boring."
    Pete: "Exactly! We haven't detonated any atomic warheads since before I was born, but besides that, to heck with nitpicky restrictions!"
    (Pete's dialogue)
  3. Name plate on the side of the bomb
  4. Fort Constantine terminal entries; Fort Constantine Launch Control
  5. The Courier: "Yeah, any detonation with a yield of less than a half-ton of TNT is boring."
    Pete: "Exactly! We haven't detonated any atomic warheads since before I was born, but besides that, to heck with nitpicky restrictions!"
    (Pete's dialogue)