Originally Posted by komodo
Hah, and back then they probably didn't have the computer power to simulate the blast like they would today either... so they weren't entirely sure what to expect.
That is actually completely accurate, most thought it would be a dud, some though it would ignite all the oxygen in the atmosphere I think the closest prediction was 1 million tons of TNT, it ended up being close to 20 thousand. In any case it was all guesswork.
If you really want to be scared, look at fermi and chicago pile. They built a reactor using wood and graphite, manually manipulated the control rods, and in case of fire a couple of students had pitchers of water. (this is the first self sustaining nuclear reactor) I don't know how we didn't kill off the planet in the early days. Now we have a new problem. We havn't built a new reactor in 30 years so we have old nasty equipment and safety measures, sure they updated but a new plant would be safer than 30 years of patch jobs.