Debunked: Tianjin explosion was caused by a nuke

Bruno D.

Senior Member.
Master Claim: Tianjin explosion was a Nuke.


Claim #1: crater size is evidence of nuke

Some sources claim that the crater size is as big as 400m, which is completely wrong. Best estimates are between 85m and 100m as seen in the image below.

upload_2015-10-7_17-22-42.png upload_2015-10-7_17-22-55.png

By using google maps at,117.7363527,575m/data=!3m1!1e3 you can see and calculate that.

It's quite clear after a lot of discussion that there is no correct way to calculate the explosion yield based only on the crater width. In order to calculate that we would need to know:
- exact parameters of the soil
- approximate depth of the crater
- approximate depth of the explosion

Even with this information this would be quite tricky and possibly wrong.

- Users in Metabunk tried to calculate the explosion yield with the available info and the values started at 5kt up to 525kt.

- Users in Metabunk also tried to calculate craters size for other craters with a known bomb yield, and the sizes were wrong by 2 to 6 times.

Conclusion: crater size is not enough to calculate yield.

Some other interesting points below.

This is the scary crater photo filled with water:


This is as seen from above:
crater water 2.jpg

This is the same crater before the fire-fighters filled that with water. Not so scary, is it?


This is what the crater looks like today, 1 month after the explosion. It's basically the same.


crater no water 3.jpg

This explosion was very very shallow, and any claim that this was an underground nuke is debunked. According to this diagram and by the looks of the crater, I would even say that the nuke explosion would need to be near surface, not even on the surface itself.


Claim #2: seismic numbers are evidence of nuke

The first important point is to remember that there were actually more than 20 explosions in Tianjin over more than 10h. Of course that when compared to the 2 big ones, they are not as important.

Regarding the two big ones, we are going to ignore the claims that the first explosion was a nuke and the second explosion was aftermath explosion. The second one was seven to eight times bigger than the first one. If a regular industrial accidental explosion can yield enough energy to create that kind of explosion, there would be no reason at all to believe that the same regular industrial chemicals aren't enough to create an explosion seven times weaker.

With that said, let's focus only on the second explosion.

Estimating an explosion yield is very tricky and it's not an exact science. They use a lot of other information together with seismographs. On the other hand, CTBTO does a pretty good job at identifying secret nuclear test. That's why they were created 20 years ago.

Other common effects from a nuclear bomb as EMP, Radar Blackout, Ionizing Radiation and fallout were not detected by any international agency.

It's easier to identify and estimate yield when the explosion is subterranean as little to no energy is lost outside the soil. As we know that the explosion in Tianjin was at the surface level, the 21T estimated explosion energy is related only to the amount of energy that penetrated the soil. A nuclear bomb or a chemical explosion on the surface level would yield much more than that.

The seismographic number in this case cannot be used as evidence of anything.

Claim #3: burnt cars and white ash

Melted or burnt cars are not, and never were, evidence of a nuke explosion. This is evidence of fire.

Specifically in Tianjin what most people forget is that the fire burnt for several hours. The explosion happened at 11:30 PM local time. In next day's morning there was still fire there:



And the fires got to the cars:



Pictures of rows and rows of cars are shown, sometimes as evidence to something:



This is a regular parking lot fire. Looks similar?



Melted wheel alloys in regular fires:



A “scary white ash" photo from Tianjin:


Now, let's look at the explosion area from above:


Are you wandering why can you see that only at some points, and not everywhere? They are actually dry chemical fire extinguisher.



Being used by the fire fighters as they became just a little concerned about water, because, you know, it raised hell couple hours earlier when they used water on top of containers:



Claim #4: fireball size is evidence of nuke

This was debunked here:

Another important point is that tianjin is not even the biggest industrial explosion in the history.

Halifax explosion in Canada, 1917. Estimated equivalent energy: 2.9KT.

Texas City disaster, 1947. Estimated equivalent energy: 2.7KT to 3.2KT.

Tianjin was kind of small when compared to that.

More interestingly is that even after Tianjin China went through similar industrial accidents again.



No, this is not Tianjin, this is Shandong.

Fireball size is an evidence only of an explosion. The characteristics of the Tianjin explosions are much similar to a regular explosion than those of a nuclear explosion.

Claim #5: fireball color is evidence of nuke

Some claim that the white color in the middle of the fireball in Tianjin is proof of a nuclear explosion because the only way to create this color is if the temperature exceeds thousands of degrees and that it lasts for too long.

The white color is not a sign of the temperature; the white color is a sign of the color of the explosion. You can find several examples of white colored explosions:

Slow-Mo guys (around 6:15)

Burning Man (around 0:11)

Sparkler bomb from a kid (2:35)

Even a lighter or a light bulb will show the same white color.

Claim #6: dead fish is evidence of nuke

The huge amount of dead fish is scary.


But unfortunately it’s not something new in China. It’s even common. There is a possibility that it’s even not related to the explosion itself.

The chemicals were high but not conclusive:

Eight out of 42 water quality monitoring sites set up around the Tianjin blast area reported presence of highly-toxic cyanide exceeding the standard, with one site exceeding 356 times the normal level, authorities announced Thursday …

Meanwhile, local authorities have refuted public speculation about the possible pollution of water with cyanide after a large amount of dead fish were found floating in the upstream of Tianjin Haihe River Thursday. Officials said that sample tests did not detect presence of cyanide
Content from External Source
But they also say (bold emphasis are mine):

Zhang Yunli, head of a local marine fisheries association in Tianjin, told the Global Times that he believed the death of the fish is not related to the blast but with the change in water's salinity, which happens every year.

The same conclusion was reached by Chen Zhaogang, a local fisherman who has been fishing for over 10 years.

An official at the Tianjin Fisheries Law Enforcement surnamed Bi told reporters that the presence of a large number of fish in the river on cloudy, rainy days will also result in hypoxia in the water, adding that the amount of dead fish in 2011 was much greater than this year.

Gao Donglu, a deputy political commissar with the Beijing Military Region, told the Global Times that the public and media should understand that the dead fish is a type of natural phenomenon and should not read too much into it.
Content from External Source

The search below show tons and tons of dead fish before the Tianjin explosion all over china.,cd_min:7/31/2010,cd_max:7/31/2015&tbm=isch#imgrc=OPqukO53TqA3vM:

Including more specifically Tianjin:

Hundreds of thousands of dead fish have been found floating in the Haihe River of Tianjin, July 21, 2011. Water pollution aggravated by continuous rainfalls has caused the death of shoals of fish, said a staff member of the Tanggu Environmental Monitoring Team
Content from External Source

Claim #7: 3km evacuation zone is evidence of nuke

This claim has no substance at all. The 3KM evacuation zone is much more useful in case of a chemical accident. In Fukushima the first evacuation zone of 2km lasted for 40min when it was extended to 3km. 8h later it was extended to 10km and less than 24 hours later, 20km.

To protect the people from the fallout of a nuclear bomb, they would need a much bigger evacuation zone. It would also depend on the wind:

The heaviest fallout would be limited to the area at or downwind from the explosion and 80 percent of the fallout would occur during the first 24 hours.
Content from External Source

Claim #9: Suits are evidence of nuke

As expected in a disaster this size, there were a lot of different suits being used by Tianjin workers:





These are examples of Chemical Protection suits:



These are examples of Anti-Radiation Suits:



Even though the ones used in Tianjin resemble much more the anti-chemical suits, I’ll say that it’s simply inconclusive because they could have sent everything they got to the explosion site to help anyway they could.

Claim #8: Absence of EMP is not an evidence of non-nuke

Actually, as the explosion was a surface explosion, the presence of an EMP is expected. The only way to avoid that is by having an underground explosion, what we know didn't happen.

No power lines were affected in Tianjin, as well as there were no witness testimonies talking about that.

Two examples:

No EMP is evidence of non-nuke.

Claim #10: Xi's investigation of alternative explanations are evidence of nuke

President Xi declared several times that his government is suspicious of foul play, of a political conspiracy to hurt them and to make the opposition stronger. They are investigating the origin of the fire (arson or accident) and the strength of the explosion (chemicals or illegal ammunition).

There are two possible interpretations to these allegations:

1) Xi is trying to shift part of the blame to a third party. He would do that because otherwise his administration would be guilty of yet one more industrial accident, as has been happening over and over.
The Tianjin accident is the latest in a series of chemical explosions around the country. On Aug. 5, a blast ripped through a chemical factory in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province. In July, a petrochemical factory in Rizhao, Shandong Province, went up in flames. By my count, from various media reports, in the first half of this year there were 13 explosions related to chemicals in which at least 10 people died and 92 people were injured or hospitalized...
The China Labor Bulletin has recorded more than 300 industrial accidents in the last seven months...
China has industrial safety regulations but toothless enforcement. Local governments, filled with unscrupulous profit-seekers, act like ruthless corporations, aiming to maximize gain with reckless disregard for environmental safety
Content from External Source

2) China knows that they were attacked by a foreigner country, and president Xi is covering this up because he wants to retaliate it later using another disguised secret attack against his attackers.

It's speculation against speculation. Pick your side.

Claim #11: 911, Yemem, Bombai, etc, are evidence of nuke
Using other Conspiracy Theories as a proof of yet another Conspiracy Theory does not even make sense. I'll not even entertain this one.

PS: edited to add 2 more crater photos.


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Gee, supposedly FaceBook is getting a dislike button, but MetaBunk can't get a Winner-Winner-Chicken-Dinner button? Gosh, my faith in the Interwebs is sooo diminished! ;)