Fallout 76: How to Launch a Nuke

Fallout 76 isn’t the easiest game to play. Not because of the game’s difficulty, but because of some interesting design choices and slew of bugs—all of which are outlined in this handy, dandy review. That’s not to say Fallout 76 is completely devoid of fun activities, though. Running into a group of giant killer frogs while fleeing a Scorchbeast certainly gets the blood pumping. Yet nothing in the game is quite as impressive (or terrifying) as launching a nuke.

It takes a decent amount of work to drop the ol’ A-bomb. It’s a multi-step process that involves securing secret codes while battling high-level enemies. That is to say, this is endgame stuff. The secret codes are also refreshed every week; there’s no way to know what they are until they’re found out in the wastes. From there, you need to decipher the codes and enter them into a terminal at the corresponding silo (of which there are three). The short version: you’re going to need some help…

While we can’t help you in-game, beyond randomly joining a server during a given session, we can list the steps needed to secure and launch a nuke. They are as follows:

Fallout 76 Launch a Nuke

Step 1: Join the Enclave and get promoted to General.

To join the Enclave, you need to visit the Abandoned Waste Dump in the Mire. There, you’ll find a holotape that eventually leads you to an Enclave robot named “MODUS.” The missions thereafter will send you all over the map. You’ll want to complete each one, ending with the “Officer on Deck” quest. This will promote you to General, granting you access to the surveillance system terminal in at the Enclave base.

Becoming a general is also the only way to enter a missile silo. These areas are prohibited to those without the proper credentials.  You can earn a promotion by acquiring commendations, usually doled out in Enclave public events.

Step 2: Acquire Nuclear Keycards

The surveillance system will allow you to track Cargobots—small drones that fly around the wastes accompanied by Vertibots. They all carry Nuclear Keycards that are needed (along with some other items) to launch a nuclear bomb. You need to shoot them down and lockpick their strongboxes to secure the card.

I’d recommend getting more than one. The cards are used up each time you try to launch a nuke, whether you’re successful or not.

Fallout 76 Launch a Nuke

Step 3: Acquire Eight Nuclear Code Fragments Silo

Next, you need to find eight nuclear code fragments. Similar to the keycards, they are found on certain enemies—in this case, Feral Ghoul Officers. These special enemies wear transponders (backpacks with a beeping red light) and are accompanied by multiple normal ghouls. You can head out on your own, hoping to bump into one of them, or you can use the Enclave surveillance terminal to track them down.

Using the terminal doesn’t just make it easier to find the officers. It also makes sure you find the right codes for a given missile silo. Picking officer missions from the terminal that corresponds to a silo (Alpha, Bravo, or Charlie) is the only way to be certain the codes you hunted down will actually work.

Once dispatched, you’ll be able to loot the officer’s body for a code. Rinse and repeat until you have all eight.

Step 4:  Decrypt the Launch Code

After getting the keycard and code fragments, you need to decrypt the full launch code. This is done by finding a silo’s keyword on the board within the Enclave bunker’s command/military wing. How of much of the keyword is shown depends on how much time is left in the week. Only parts of the keyword show up early on. The full word will be revealed when there’s only a few days left to launch the nuke—just before the codes and such are reset.

Once you have the keyword and all of the code fragments, you’ll use them to decrypt the launch code. This is a rather tricky endeavor where you write out the alphabet, removing the letters found in the code word, before putting them with the fragments.

I wasn’t able to do it personally. There are multiple websites that offer their expertise on the matter, though. This word finding tool, for instance, makes the process much easier.

Fallout 76 Launch a Nuke

Step 5: Getting through the Silo

This is probably the hardest part. Not only do you need to fight off high-level enemies and circumvent security systems, you also need to survive potent radiation. Make sure to bring friends, a ton of ammo, Rad-X and RadAway, as well as healing items. The going will get rough.

The first step (of this part of the guide) is to get past the laser grid. This is done by forging new Biometric ID cards. Head over to the nearby terminal and select Security Terminal –> Security Station to start the process. After that, you need to scan your Biometric Data before looting one of the old ID cards scattered around the room. Once found, go to the Biometic ID machine to make a new one.

Moving past the lasers, you then have to lift the reactor’s lockdown status. Hop onto the terminal and select “Power System Repair Instructions.” Waves of robots will attack you and (hopefully) your heavily armed team of vault dwellers, while you try to repair a bunch of broken pipes. Once they are all fixed, head back to the terminal to lift the lockdown—collecting any loot and ammo from the dead bots along the way.

Keep fighting through the next few areas until you get to the mainframe. Here, you have to destroy the mainframe’s cores in order to open the next security door. After that, you’ll take those same cores and repair them at the Tinker’s workstation—using three steel and two circuits per core—before placing them in the second mainframe. Keep moving towards the control room.

Step: 6 Launching the Nuke

Before entering the control room, I’d recommend hacking the security terminal. You’ll need the level 3 hacking skill (remember, this is endgame content). Doing so will allow you to change the targeting restrictions for the machine gun turrets inside the control area. This is a good idea given the number of enemies you’ll be fighting in the next few moments. The turrets will help gun them down.

Go into the control room, hop onto the terminal, and select “Initiate Launch Prep.” Section Chief bots will start an automated repair process. You need to protect them while they go about their jobs and replace any robots that are destroyed.

Once this is complete, you can finally insert your Nuclear Keycard and type in the correct code. Hopefully you’ve got the right one. Otherwise you’ll waste the key. If you put in the correct code, you’ll be able to go to the viewfinder and select an area on the map to bomb. Once selected, a timer will start counting down, giving your team three minutes to evacuate the silo.

Fallout 76 Launch a Nuke

Step 7: Collect the Spoils

The only reason to launch a nuke is to collect the rare items and materials it produces. This is easier said than done. For one, the nuked area will be saturated in radiation. You’re going to need some serious gear just to traverse the newly destroyed environment for any reasonable amount of time; I’d recommend packing a ton of Rad-X and RadAway.

The other reason exploring this area is tricky is the presences of high-level enemies. I’m talking level 50+, with some (a rare Scorchbeast) topping off at 90. Killing them requires teamwork from most of the high-level players on the server. They all will drop fantastic goodies of their own, though. Most of which are worth your time, depending on your play style.

And that’s all she wrote! If you need more help with Fallout 76, maybe check out our CAMP guide or breakdown of PVP. Otherwise, if you’re just feeling adventurous, look to our list of real-life locations in virtual West Virginia. Take care!