Fallout 76 nuke codes allow you to detonate weapons of mass destruction in the online world, ready to be witnessed by other players nearby.
These moments aren't activated by the game automatically, but have to be done so by players through a series of steps, including acquiring launch codes as part of the I Am Become Death quest.
Once detonated, it results in an area with more challenging enemies - and more lucrative drops - to appear in its blast zone, acting as an end-game activity raid.
How to launch Fallout 76 nukes step-by-step
Setting off nukes isn't a simple, straightforward process, but there are a few optional parts you can skip through:
- Join the Enclave and access the Whitespring Bunker
- Complete the 'Back to Basic' and 'Officer on Deck' missions to gain access to the Command Center in the Whitespring Bunker
- Get a Nuclear Keycard from shooting down a Cargobot
- Find clues dropped from high level enemies, then decrypt them
- Clear out the silo dungeon and reach the Nuke terminal
- Use the terminal to decide where to detonate the nuke
- Explore the blast radius and kill the enemies within
Thanks to ficklepickletinkler1 on reddit for help filling in the gaps with the above.
There are more detailed directions as follows:
It should be noted though the below is endgame stuff, and some missions might actually be added to your questlog as you complete the main storyline, you can - in theory - get started at any time.
Also, if you see a blast radius on the map, you don't have to actually complete the above steps to access it! It's a communal event, and as long as you have a decent set up, you can enter and get high level loot without the effort.
How to start I Am Become Death in Fallout 76
Before you can start getting your hands on nuke launch codes, you have to complete two other questlines:
- Join the Enclave by finding the Abandoned Waste Dump location
- Complete the 'Back to Basic' and 'Officer on Deck' missions at Camp McClintock
Once these are done, you should then have access to both Whitespring Bunker
Inside you'll then begin the 'I Am Become Death' mission, and are told the specific steps to launching a Nuke, adding their locations to the map to make things easier. One of these is finding a Nuclear Keycard.
How to get a Nuclear Keycard in Fallout 76
A Nuclear Keycard is found by by shooting down a Cargobot, which is protected by a fleet of Vertibots. These are found throughout the map, so you may come across one at random, but the bunker above will tell you the location if you have access it. As this video from runninsniper suggests, you don't need to be a high level to complete this step:
Once downed, find the Secure Transport Container on the ground - follow the plume of smoke - and picking the lock will then give you the Nuclear Keycard.
Note you can collect multiple Nuclear Keycards - which might come in useful if you want to brute force the Nuke Codes step.
How to get Nuke Launch Codes in Fallout 76
Once you have a Nuclear Keycard in your possession, next you have to find eight letter and number combinations. These are dropped from high level enemies from throughout the map - specifically from Scorched or Feral Ghoul officers.
Their locations are found at the Enclave command centre in Whitespring Bunker, where there is a surveillance terminal, which points you at officers who carry the combinations. Not only that, but you then need to decypt them, using the messages on the wall inside the bunker.
With three different silos, each with a different set of codes to access them, this will take a while.
However, there is a way to bypass this step without having to work it out yourself, and that's by using a community created decrypter. Enter the letters or numbers you know into NukaCrypt Code Decrypter to give you a list of possible results.
You then enter one of these using the Nuclear Keycard, and see if it works. The problem is Nuclear Keycards are one use only - and an incorrect code will result in them wiping, so you'll have to go get another.
Also, the codes only last for a week at a time. It's assumed they will reset when Fallout 76 Weekly Challenges do, so starting this part of the quest at the beginning of the week might give you more time to complete it.
Once you have the armed Nuclear Keycard, you aren't done yet. The final step involves exploring your chosen silo site of enemies. This involves a number of steps, and requires you have a decently specced character to do so.
Once done, you can then finally put it to work. Use the terminal, decide where to drop the Nuke, and let rip.
Need more help? If you are following the main storyline, then you'll come across the Type-T Fuse location and Fire Breathers exam answers quests. If you're after online activities, there is Fallout 76 Workshops and base building and how to unlock PvP. If you're after higher-level goals, then we recommend observing the level zones map, unlocking Atom Challenges, plus how to join the Enclave and launching nukes with launch codes.
What happens with a nuke goes off in Fallout 76
Nukes are essentially world events that all players on the map will be witness to. Once a player has access to a nuke and fired it, all players will be notified of the 'mission' taking place, adding it to your quest log, and it showing the aggressor's name in the upper left corner.
There is a three minute countdown until the missile lands, and a zone on the map indicating the fallout location. You have that amount of time to flee the blast zone - or possibly move closer for the aftermath.
When the nuke goes off, it should be pretty clear to see from wherever you are on the map.
Once it has been detonated, players are free to enter the blast zone. Though the geometry of the area is thought to remain the game - don't expect structures there to disappear - a dense atmosphere of harsh weather will inhibit your view.
These blast zones are full of radiation, and it's advised you equip a Hazmat Suit, Gas Mask or Power Armor to stop radiation and mutations (though the latter of which gives you some stat buffs).
Why would you want to explore these areas? Blast zones create tough zones of higher-difficulty enemies and monsters, with better resources to be found there.
Different areas will spawn different enemies when nuked, depending on their own native flora and fauna, so we suspect there will be good reasons to drop nukes in a variety of locales.
For example, detonating at a Fissure Site will result in the Scorched Earth event, which immediately sees multiple high level enemies spawn, including multiple powerful level 50 Scorchedbeasts and the main objective, a level 95 (!) Scorchedbeast Queen.
Watch the first players to take it on courtesy of Nickaroo93:
Defeating this saw players given Ultracide Scrap and plans, some Scorchedbeast Meat and much more.