I heard that nuclear bombs have improved to the point that some of the more modern ones release a relatively small amount of radiation. Is that true? (I'm thinking about Thunder wells and project orion).
Also, It seems to me that an enormous chunk of metal (perhaps coated in Pica-X could be sent into a desired orbit for reformation and use in space. Would an enormous pile of conventional explosives get the job done in a "thunder well" approach? Or would a nuclear blast be essential?
As an example of the utility, a large, orbital parabolic mirror could be made in this way from silver for use in search and rescue around the world, or to help warm the polar areas of Mars, snow removal in northern cities. Huge tanks for depots could be made, large space stations, etc.