Yields of Nuclear Weapons Compared Nuclear weapons are far more powerful than conventional weapons, releasing thousands or millions of times as much energy. All nuclear weapons except neutron bombs or tactical nuclear weapons, and all conventional weapons produce a powerful shockwave, but the temperatures produced by a nuclear explosion much higher, and a higher proportion of the energy released is as heat and electromagnetic waves. Nuclear bombs also produce radiation, which may quickly decay as in neutron or tactical bombs, or be longer lasting, as in simple uranium based bombs of the type dropped on Japan in WWII (Little Boy, Fat Man).
About half the energy of a nuclear bomb is in the shockwave, about a third as heat and one sixth as radiation. These proportions vary with thew type of bomb. heat energy.
The yield of a bomb is given in terms of the quantity of TNT that would generate the same amount of energy when it explodes. The yields of different types of bomb are illustrated in the diagram.The most powerful are hydrogen/fusion bombs, then fission/uranium based bombs, the neutron bombs/tactical weapons.