Where To Go In A Nuclear War

Where To Go In A Nuclear War
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C O N T E N T S:


  • A war with conventional weapons between nations that both have nuclear weapons, if not ended swiftly, may escalate towards nuclear war; and even limited nuclear strikes in one region carry the likelihood to escalate towards an all-out nuclear war elsewhere.(More…)
  • Our first paper was on the probability side, this one’s on the impact side, and it scans across the full range of different types of impacts that nuclear war could have looking at the five major impacts of nuclear weapons detonation, which is thermal radiation, blast, ionizing radiation, electromagnetic pulse and then finally, human perceptions, the ways that the detonation affects how people think and in turn, how we act.(More…)
  • During the Cold War, both superpowers considered a counterforce strike a much more serious threat than an outright attack on civilian targets, and spent enormous amounts of money on developing nuclear capabilities that would survive it and constitute a reliable “second strike” deterrent.(More…)
  • The 73-year history of nuclear weapons — the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War crisis in the 1980s, and now the US-North Korea nuclear confrontation — indicates it is actually idealistic to think that maintaining the current course will have a good outcome.(More…)


  • Now, in this second era of threat we have rogue nuclear states like North Korea and regional nuclear stand-offs, such as the persistent tension between India and Pakistan, both of which possess at least 100 nuclear warheads ready to launch should the situation boil out of control. (India just, for the first time, successfully test-fired its first nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile.)(More…)
  • While we can welcome improved rhetoric about the nuclear crisis, it is not certain that the North Koreans will relinquish the weapons for which they have sacrificed so much to build.(More…)



A war with conventional weapons between nations that both have nuclear weapons, if not ended swiftly, may escalate towards nuclear war; and even limited nuclear strikes in one region carry the likelihood to escalate towards an all-out nuclear war elsewhere. [1] Using this data, as well as blast radius and fallout information for the bombs, along with weather patterns and the current global climate, both governmental agencies as well as private organizations run computer drills and simulations to determine the most likely course a nuclear war might take. [2] He jokes about nuclear war all the time, this was extremely helpful in writing about the reality of a nuclear attack and what life would be like [1] How likely is the threat of nuclear war? Despite escalating tensions with North Korea, some experts say fears are overblown. [3] These are likely to be attacked in the event of an all-out nuclear war. [1] “This helped me make a page on how to survive a nuclear war; this was just one of the many helpful sites that I used [1]

The second, a full-scale nuclear war, could consist of large numbers of nuclear weapons used in an attack aimed at an entire country, including military, economic, and civilian targets. [4] The first, a limited nuclear war 14 (sometimes attack or exchange ), refers to a small-scale use of nuclear weapons by two (or more) belligerents. [4] Soviet nuclear doctrine, however, did not match American nuclear doctrine. 42 43 Soviet military planners assumed they could win a nuclear war. 42 44 45 Therefore, they expected a large-scale nuclear exchange, followed by a “conventional war” which itself would involve heavy use of tactical nuclear weapons. [4] Either a limited or full-scale nuclear exchange could occur during an accidental nuclear war, in which the use of nuclear weapons is triggered unintentionally. [4] This is one reason Americans don?t think about nuclear war very much anymore: they think it will happen somewhere else. (If a regional limited war takes place, however, you?ll know it: even a small exchange of nuclear weapons will create a global environmental catastrophe that will dwarf Chernobyl or Fukushima.) [5] It was feared by many planners that such use would probably quickly have escalated into large-scale nuclear war. 89 This situation was particularly exacerbated by the fact that such weapons at sea were not constrained by the safeguards provided by the Permissive Action Link attached to U.S. Air Force and Army nuclear weapons. [4] Henry Kissinger’s view on tactical nuclear war in his controversial 1957 book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy was that any nuclear weapon exploded in air burst mode that was below 500 kiloton in yield and thus averting serious fallout, may be more decisive and less costly in human lives than a protracted conventional war. [4] It was hailed by many military theorists as a weapon that would make nuclear war less likely. [4]

Nuclear war, the exchange of nuclear weapons between two or more states in open conflict. [5] Those who hold exaggerated beliefs about the dangers from nuclear weapons must first be convinced that nuclear war would not inevitably be the end of them and everything worthwhile. [6] Being the cheerful optimists that we are, we decided to explore how attitudes have changed towards nuclear deterrence, the current emotional geopolitics attached to nuclear weapons, and to consider what would happen in the basically impossible scenario that an instantaneous and multilateral nuclear war occurs in 2017. [7] ° Facts: Unsurvivable “nuclear winter” is a discredited theory that, since its conception in 1982, has been used to frighten additional millions into believing that trying to survive a nuclear war is a waste of effort and resources, and that only by ridding the world of almost all nuclear weapons do we have a chance of surviving. [6] The recent death of Fidel Castro – a man synonymous with the threat of nuclear war and the Cuban Missile Crisis – has reminded us how much the world has changed since the end of the Cold War. [7] After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the resultant end of the Cold War, the threat of a major nuclear war between the two nuclear superpowers was generally thought to have declined. [4] Some Cold War strategists such as Henry Kissinger 16 argued that a limited nuclear war could be possible between two heavily armed superpowers (such as the United States and the Soviet Union ). [4] CRP-2B, for instance, infamously predicted that 80% of Americans would survive a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union, a figure that neglected nuclear war’s impacts on healthcare infrastructure, the food supply, and the ecosystem and assumed that all major cities could be successfully evacuated within 3-5 days. 92 A number of Cold War publications advocated preparations that could purportedly enable a large proportion of civilians to survive even a total nuclear war. [4]

It became generally believed that the threat of nuclear war would deter any strike against the United States. [4] On March 7, 2013, North Korea threatened the United States with a pre-emptive nuclear strike. 80 On April 9, North Korea urged foreigners to leave South Korea, stating that both countries were on the verge of nuclear war. 81 On April 12, North Korea stated that a nuclear war was unavoidable. [4] The world came unusually close to nuclear war when the Soviet Union thought that the NATO military exercise Able Archer 83 was a ruse or “cover-up” to begin a nuclear first strike. [4] A “limited nuclear war” could include targeting military facilities–either as an attempt to pre-emptively cripple the enemy’s ability to attack as a defensive measure, or as a prelude to an invasion by conventional forces, as an offensive measure. [4] Non-propagandizing scientists recently havecalculated that the climatic and other environmental effects of even an all-out nuclear war would be much less severe than the catastrophic effects repeatedly publicized by popular astronomer Carl Sagan and his fellow activist scientists, and by all the involved Soviet scientists. [6] To the contrary, it would have to fear a near certain retaliatory second strike from SLBMs. Thus, a first strike was a much less feasible (or desirable) option, and a deliberately initiated nuclear war was thought to be less likely to start. [4] In the same year the first US-Soviet nuclear war plan was penned in the U.S. with Operation Dropshot. [4] ° Myth: Most of the unborn children and grandchildren of people who have been exposed to radiation from nuclear explosions will be genetically damaged will be malformed, delayed victims of nuclear war. [6] ° Myth: Fallout radiation from a nuclear war would poison the air and all parts of the environment. [6] Other misleading calculations are based on exaggerations of the dangers from long-lasting radiation and other harmful effects of a nuclear war. [6] A realistic simplified estimate of the increased ultraviolet light dangers to American survivors of a large nuclear war equates these hazards to moving from San Francisco to sea level at the equator, where the sea level incidence of skin cancers (seldom fatal) is highest- about 10 times higher than the incidence at San Francisco. [6] A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December 2006 asserted that even a small-scale regional nuclear war could produce as many direct fatalities as all of World War II and disrupt the global climate for a decade or more. [4] As the recent missile-attack false alarm in Hawaii demonstrated, Americans are simultaneously worried about nuclear war and not seriously prepared for it. [8] North Korea may already have nuclear missiles capable of striking anywhere in the U.S., and there is no way to know whether Trump?s negotiations with Kim Jong-un will wind up increasing or decreasing the prospect of nuclear war. [9] To crib a line from Captain Jack Sparrow, however, nuclear war is not impossible, it?s improbable, and a nuclear war could take place in more ways than you might think, sparked by any number of occurrences from a pure accident to an intentional strike. [5] As terrifying as it is to think of a war generated by a random mechanical hiccup, it?s important to note that this is the least likely trigger for a nuclear war. [5] If nuclear war is considered “unthinkable,” that is in no small part because of our refusal to think about it with any clarity or specificity. [9] Most analysts agreed that once the first nuclear exchange had occurred, escalation to global nuclear war would likely become inevitable. [4] One drawback of the MAD doctrine was the possibility of a nuclear war occurring without either side intentionally striking first. [4] In accordance with their doctrine, the Soviet Union conducted large-scale military exercises to explore the possibility of defensive and offensive warfare during a nuclear war. [4] It strengthened the notion that a nuclear war could possibly be “won”, resulting not only in greatly increased tensions and increasing calls for fail-deadly control systems, but also in a dramatic increase in military spending. [4] An all-out nuclear war between Russia and the United States would be the worst catastrophe in history,. [6] Serious climatic effects from a Soviet-U.S. nuclear war cannot be completely ruled out. [6] Possible deaths from uncertain climatic effects are a small danger compared to the incalculable millions in many countries likely to die from starvation caused by disastrous shortages of essentials of modern agriculture sure to result from a Soviet-American nuclear war, and by the cessation of most international food shipments. [6] “The risk of inadvertent nuclear war has risen to a level that is simply unacceptable,” U.S. Sen. Ed Markey said at a Harvard conference in November. [10] On 24 October 1973, as U.S. President Nixon was preoccupied with the Watergate scandal, Henry Kissinger ordered a DEFCON -3 alert preparing American B-52 nuclear bombers for war. [4] The above examples envisage nuclear warfare at a strategic level, i.e., total war. [4]

° Myth: Blindness and a disastrous increase of cancers would be the fate of survivors of a nuclear war, because the nuclear explosions would destroy so much of the protective ozone in the stratosphere that far too much ultraviolet light would reach the earth’s surface. [6] In the long run, the best deterrent to nuclear war may be to understand what a single nuclear bomb is capable of doing to, say, a city like New York — and to accept that the reality would be even worse than our fears. [9] Some predict, however, that a limited war could potentially ” escalate ” into a full-scale nuclear war. [4] Others who? have called limited nuclear war “global nuclear holocaust in slow motion”, arguing that–once such a war took place–others would be sure to follow over a period of decades, effectively rendering the planet uninhabitable in the same way that a “full-scale nuclear war” between superpowers would, only taking a much longer (and arguably more agonizing) path to the same result. [4] More pessimistic predictions argue that a full-scale nuclear war could potentially bring about the extinction of the human race, or at least its near extinction, with only a relatively small number of survivors (mainly in remote areas) and a reduced quality of life and life expectancy for centuries afterward. [4] Though it is unclear what role Petrov’s actions played in preventing a nuclear war during this incident, he has been honored by the United Nations for his actions. [4] A principal reason is that government organizations, private corporations, and most scientists generally avoid getting involved in political controversies, or making statements likely to enable antinuclear activists to accuse them of minimizing nuclear war dangers, thus undermining hopes for peace. [6]

Although the dissolution of the Soviet Union ended the Cold War and greatly reduced tensions between the United States and the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union’s formal successor state, both countries remained in a “nuclear stand-off” due to the continuing presence of a very large number of deliverable nuclear warheads on both sides. [4] The end of the Cold War led the United States to become increasingly concerned with the development of nuclear technology by other nations outside of the former Soviet Union. [4] While much smaller than the arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union, Western Europe’s nuclear reserves were nevertheless a significant factor in strategic planning during the Cold War. [4] The fact of the matter is that world nuclear inventories, led by reductions in the United States and Russia, have never been lower, and none of the major powers expects a nuclear conflict in the way they did during the Cold War. [5] Who?d want to live there? It wouldn?t be the first time polar regions have been used as nuclear hideouts: in perhaps the coolest mission of the Cold War, codenamed ” Project Iceworm ?, a huge nuclear base was secretly buried deep within the Arctic Circle. [7]

The Cold War ended over two decades ago, and many people have never lived under the shadow of nuclear and radiological threats. [1] The blast from fission-driven atomic bombs, like those dropped over Nagasaki, Japan, and Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II, could kill everyone in a one-mile radius, Edward Morse, a nuclear engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told Time. [3]

Sadly, there are just too many nuclear weapons on the planet to ever rule out the possibility of one or more being used by nations at war or a terror group bent on destruction. [11]

This logic became ingrained in American nuclear doctrine and persisted for much of the duration of the Cold War. [4] If you?ve felt a new shiver of nuclear fear over the past year, you?re not alone: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved its ” Doomsday Clock ” to within two minutes of midnight — closer than it has been since the height of the Cold War. [9] More than 70 years ago, America became the first and only country to use nuclear weapons in war. [9] During the Kargil War in 1999, Pakistan came close to using its nuclear weapons in case the conventional military situation underwent further deterioration. 77 Pakistan’s foreign minister had even warned that it would “use any weapon in our arsenal”, hinting at a nuclear strike against India. 78 The statement was condemned by the international community, with Pakistan denying it later on. [4] Israel responded to the Arab Yom Kippur War attack on 6 October 1973 by assembling 13 nuclear weapons in a tunnel under the Negev desert when Syrian tanks were sweeping in across the Golan Heights. [4] Soviet propagandists promptly exploited belief in unsurvivable “nuclear winter” to increase fear of nuclear weapons and war, and to demoralize their enemies. [6] The possibility of using nuclear weapons in war is usually divided into two subgroups, each with different effects and potentially fought with different types of nuclear armaments. [4] LEARNING WHAT TO EXPECT The more one knows about the strange and fearful dangers from nuclear weapons and about the strengths and weakness’ of human beings when confronted with the dangers of war,. [12] The U.S. and USSR conducted hundreds of nuclear tests, including the Desert Rock exercises at the Nevada Test Site, USA, pictured above during the Korean War to familiarize their soldiers with conducting operations and counter-measures around nuclear detonations, as the Korean War threatened to expand. [4]

Fission bombs are the only type of nuclear bomb used in war so far. [1] Maybe now, while the 38-minute scare in Hawaii still has our attention, we have a teachable moment, an opportunity to provide usable information in what I would call the second era of global nuclear threat (the first being the Cold War). [11] We are not facing an apocalyptic obliteration of “life as we know it,” as was the case during the Cold War stand-off between mighty nuclear powers. [11]

This conflict remains the only war (of any sort) between two declared nuclear powers. [4] A number of these scenarios actually occurred during the Cold War, though none resulted in the use of nuclear weapons. 18 Many such scenarios have been depicted in popular culture, such as in the 1962 novel Fail-Safe (released as a film in 1964); the film WarGames, released in 1983; and the film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, also released in 1964. [4] After World War II, nuclear weapons were also developed by the Soviet Union (1949), the United Kingdom (1952), France (1960), and the People’s Republic of China (1964), which contributed to the state of conflict and extreme tension that became known as the Cold War. [4] Although the Soviet Union had nuclear weapon capabilities in the beginning of the Cold War, the United States still had an advantage in terms of bombers and weapons. [4] The Titan II Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) carried a 9 Mt W53 warhead, one of the most powerful nuclear weapons fielded by the United States during the Cold War. [4] To avoid injury and death from a nuclear weapons heat flash and blast effects, the two most far ranging prompt effects of nuclear weapons, schoolchildren were taught to duck and cover by the early Cold War film of the same name. [4] Although the vast majority of UN member states voted in favour of a ban on nuclear weapons, there are increased tensions between NATO and Russia, continuing volatility between India and Pakistan, and new nuclear nightmares and geopolitical scenarios that never existed during the halcyon days of the Cold War. [7] Two nuclear weapons have been used in the course of warfare, both by the United States near the end of World War II. [4] The Soviets believed that the Americans, with their limited nuclear arsenal, were unlikely to engage in any new world wars, while the Americans were not confident they could prevent a Soviet takeover of Europe, despite their atomic advantage. [4] Back during the Cold War, when Americans feared (with reason) that we might face a massive nuclear exchange with the old Soviet Union, we had a lot of planning and infrastructure in place to deal with the aftermath. [8] Such predictions, assuming total war with nuclear arsenals at Cold War highs, have not been without criticism. 4 Such a horrific catastrophe as global nuclear warfare would almost certainly cause permanent damage to most complex life on the planet, its ecosystems, and the global climate. [4]

Since the number of high-yield weapons in present nuclear arsenals is now smaller, much less oxides of nitrogen would be deposited in the stratosphere by nuclear war than assumed in earlier calculations, and so significant ozone reductions are unlikely. [13] Since the Academy assumed a nuclear war with the explosion of many more high-yield weapons than are presently deployed, the danger of climatic change from dust or oxides of nitrogen is almost certainly less than assessed in their report. [13] What would be the result of all-out nuclear war using today’s weapon arsenals? This question has become more important in many people’s minds in the 1980s as world attention has again focussed on the threat of nuclear war. [13] People consistently reported that they spent more time thinking about nuclear war after watching the movie (Brown, 1984; Cross and Saxe, 1984; Feldman and Sigelman, in press; Reser, 1984; Schofield and Pavelchak, 1984), and they were far less likely to report that they put out of mind the threat of nuclear war (Warner-Amex Qube, 1983, cited in Schofield and Pavelchak, 1985). [14] The shift to lower yield nuclear weapons has reduced the health risk of nuclear war from radioactivity to people who are far from the main regions of nuclear conflict, but increased it for those near the latitudes of numerous nuclear explosions. [13] Many people believe that the capacity of nuclear weapons for ‘overkill’ means that all or most of the people on earth would die in a major nuclear war. [13] The presence of nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war are major realities in our society today and will continue to be so in the future. [15] We have not begun to fully understand the impact on young people of attitudes and beliefs about the current society, or about their future in it in general, and so at this point it is impossible to parcel out and describe quantitatively and definitively the effect on young people of these attitudes toward the threat of nuclear war alone. [15] A major global nuclear war could kill up to 400-500 million people from these effects, mainly in the United States, Soviet Union and Europe, and to a lesser extent China and Japan. [13] Today, people no longer believe that the U.S. military has the capacity to prevent heavy damage, probably because they perceive the Soviet Union to be ahead in the arms race and because they believe that a nuclear war cannot be limited (Kramer et al., 1983). [14] Many people believe that this fallout, or some other effect, would cause the death of most or all the people on earth in the event of major nuclear war. [13] The available evidence suggests that the global health effects of a major nuclear war are likely to be much less devastating than the immediate effects of blast, heat and local fallout. [13] Nuclear war would also result in various long range effects, beyond the range of blast, heat and local fallout. [13]

One is simply that there is much more money available for studying how to wage nuclear war – for example, how to make smaller nuclear weapons or more accurate missile guidance systems – than for studying the human consequences of nuclear war. [13] While we may differ enormously about whether more weapons or fewer will more successfully prevent a nuclear war, we agree on the need for its prevention. [15] In the Soviet group, three times as many youngsters felt positive about the possibility of preventing nuclear war than the American students did (75 compared with 25 percent). [15] Granted, the issue of nuclear war is not central for most people, most of the time. [14] Despite media events such as The Day After, for most people, most of the time, nuclear war is not a salient concern. [14] One commonly suggested possibility is that people cope emotionally with the threat of nuclear war in different ways. [14] Some of the attitudes and concerns that have emerged from interviews questioning young people about the threat of nuclear war are pessimism about the future, fear, hopelessness, and the need to live in the present. [15] It is essential that some attention be made to these inner processes or that people work through the fears and implications of the threat of nuclear war so that we can deal with young people about this threat. [15] According to the World Economic Forum?s Global Risks Report, Nuclear War, cyber attacks and environmental disasters lead the record of man-made threats to international stability. [16] Ever since the first nuclear bomb was exploded at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on 16 July 1945, the threat of nuclear war has existed. [13] The first recent studies started in the late 1970s and indicated that there was concern about the threat of nuclear war in a substantial number of those high-school-aged youngsters that were surveyed. [15] The majority of youngsters were concerned about at least some aspect of the threat of nuclear war, and a number were afraid. [15] The nature of the threat of nuclear war is at the same time abstract, outside of the personal experience of adolescents, and yet overwhelming in its horror and scale. [15] Coles’ work emphasizes the importance of in-depth interviews over time and of understanding the full context of the child’s experience in trying to understand the impact of the threat of nuclear war. [15] Soviet children and the threat of nuclear war: A preliminary study. [15] Growing up with the threat of nuclear war: Some indirect effects on personality development. [14] Effects of the nuclear war threat on children and teenagers: Implications for professionals. [14] Increasing concern has been expressed by educators, parents, mental health professionals, and children themselves about what effects the threat of nuclear war may have on children. [15] As yet, no study of the impact of nuclear war on children and adolescents has demonstrated any serious psychopathological effects that have resulted from the threat, nor has any serious large-scale study even attempted that. [15] There is a need for detailed longitudinal prospective studies in systematically chosen samples, including evaluation of the influence of the development, the vicissitudes, the changes, and the effects at various developmental epochs of awareness of the threat of nuclear war and concern about it on youngsters. [15] Psychological effects of living under the threat of nuclear war. [15] In the absence of direct attacks, the major indirect effects of nuclear war on a country such as Australia would not be physical but economic, political and social. [13] The social effects of nuclear war would be many, and include the psychological effects of massive nuclear destruction and the more immediate stresses of large numbers of refugees from Europe and North America. [13] With President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un comparing the size and power of their nuclear buttons, the possibility of nuclear war is worrying world leaders more than it has in years. [16] LANSING – Decades after schoolchildren stopped practicing hiding under their desks and years after many fallout shelters were dug up, talk of nuclear war is again on the lips of politicians and pundits. [16] The scientific evidence clearly shows that global fallout from even the largest nuclear war poses no threat to the survival of the human species. [13] In A special issue: Education and the threat of nuclear war. [15] On multichoice questioning, 63 percent of the students indicated that nuclear war was a very important issue or worry for them, as it was ranked second out of the nine possible worries, the first being parents’ death. [15] In comparing unemployment, job plans, and threat of nuclear war, in terms of being discussed at home, nuclear war was talked about least. [15] Are youngsters from less affluent homes or of minority group status concerned about the threat of nuclear war? In the 1982 data, seniors in high school not planning to attend college had consistently more pessimistic responses than those planning to attend college. [15] Beyond this, it is disturbing to think that the threat of nuclear war in and of itself might be having an impact on our children’s development. [15] Faced with the threat of nuclear war, 24 percent admit some or a lot of desire to live only for today and forget about the future. [15] All of the quantitative studies discussed above concur in demonstrating that a significant number of youngsters report serious concern about the threat of nuclear war. [15] There are a number of compelling individual anecdotal reports about distress 25, 34 resulting from the threat of nuclear war, but there is no quantitative evidence on this question. [15]

If one combines people’s estimated probability of nuclear war and their estimated probability of dying, should a nuclear war occur, people are essentially saying that they have about one chance in three of dying from a nuclear attack. [14] Antinuclear activists, then, are people who think about nuclear war a lot and think they can help prevent its occurrence, and they are fortified by a sense of personal control and social support for their activity. [14] People think of nuclear war as somewhat unlikely, imagining mainly complete material destruction, in the abstract, with themselves definitely not surviving. [14] On the whole, however, most people do not frequently think about nuclear war (Fiske et al., 1983; Hamilton et al., 1985a). [14] The average person views nuclear war as fairly unlikely within the next 10 years. 2 A local survey in Pittsburgh found that, on average, people estimated a one-third chance of a nuclear war within their lifetimes (Fiske et al., 1983), and a local sample in Chicago put the estimate at one-half (Tyler and McGraw, 1983). [14] The Hiroshima-Nagasaki: 1945 study concluded that the film sensitized people to the issues of nuclear war. [14] Political efficacy and issue salience matter both to people who act to prevent nuclear war and to people who act to survive nuclear war if it occurs. [14] Despite high levels of reported awareness about the issues, people report relatively little fear or worry, at least in survey interviews, and most people take no action to prevent nuclear war. [14] Most important, people view nuclear war as not very probable, a hypothetical event. [14] The salience of people’s prior worries about nuclear war can be enhanced by massive media events, such as this one, presumably by increasing the amount of thought people give to their feelings and to their concrete images. [14] If agricultural or economic breakdown or epidemics occurred in the aftermath of nuclear war, many more people could die, perhaps as many as a few hundred million in the worst case. [13] People are considerably more pessimistic about the possibility of nuclear war if a conventional war should erupt. [14] People with nuclear war images oriented toward the concrete and the human may well be exceptional. [14] People probably perceive that their nuclear war attitudes are shared by their friends. [14] People do have feelings and beliefs about nuclear war, and these are not inappropriate, given what is known. [14] Overall, however, the indications are that people now view nuclear war as unlikely, on balance. [14] When directly asked the source of their responses to the possibility of nuclear war, people often cite media coverage (Fiske et al., 1983; Milburn et al., 1984). [14] Presumably, the movie was designed primarily to increase the salience of people’ s concrete images, as are other persuasive attempts to bring nuclear war home to people. [14] Activity by oneself and others might be viewed as decreasing the odds of nuclear war, especially for people with a strong sense of efficacy. [14] Remaining relatively unworried and inactive, despite the horrific possibility of nuclear war, is not irrational if people are correct in judging that their activism would have no consequences. [14] Most people believe, rightly or wrongly, that they can do nothing with regard to nuclear war. [14] Strikingly, the Soviet youth were more optimistic than the American youth that a nuclear war would not occur during their lifetimes. [15] In general, Chivian and associates observed from their data that Soviet children reported that they learned about the facts of nuclear war earlier than American children and appeared to have consistently more detailed and accurate information than their American counterparts. [15] In terms of questionnaire responses, the greatest worry of the Soviet sample of youngsters was nuclear war, as almost 90 percent of the Soviet children regarded the prospect of nuclear war as disturbing or very disturbing. [15] Despite the high levels of concern, 51 percent admitted they never spoke to their parents about nuclear war, and 39.4 percent had talked with them about it only a few times. [15] Of those surveyed, 33 percent considered nuclear war often, and more than half thought a nuclear war between the United States and the USSR would occur in their lifetimes. [15] The main concentrations of large nuclear reactors are found in the United States, Europe, the Soviet Union and Japan, that is, those areas most likely to be involved in nuclear war in any case. [13] Two-thirds of the sample thought that the USSR, the United States, and Europe would not survive a nuclear war. [15] Nuclear war will hit hardest at the areas bombed, not only directly from blast, heat and local fallout but also from delayed tropospheric fallout, fires and possible agricultural or economic breakdown. [13] An average exposure of 20 millisieverts from delayed fallout from a nuclear war could, according to these figures, cause 600,000 to 1,700,000 additional cancer deaths and 40,000 to 600,000 additional genetic defects, manifested over a period of 50 years or more. [13] The cancers and genetic defects caused by global fallout from a nuclear war would only appear over a period of many decades, and would cause only a small increase in the current rates of cancer and genetic defects. [13] The threat of nuclear war and the nuclear arms race: Adolescent experience and perceptions. [14] Adolescents and the threat of nuclear war: The evolution of the perspective. [15] The threat of nuclear war: Risk interpretation and behavioral response. [14] The evidence indicates that many youngsters are bewildered and perplexed by the threat of nuclear war. [15] The study and understanding of the impact of the threat of nuclear war on the lives of children and adolescents is in an initial stage. [15] While a full-scale nuclear war would devastate some parts of the earth, particularly in the northern hemisphere, present evidence indicates that ‘nuclear war poses no threat to the survival of the human species’. [13] While such a small sample in no sense can be called representative, and although the youngsters were not selected because of their view of the nuclear question, interviews with these youngsters give an even more vivid and detailed sense of the meaning of the threat of nuclear war in their lives. [15] Substantive findings on the attitudes of children and adolescents toward the threat of nuclear war are reviewed. [15] John Goldenring and Ronald Doctor 13, 14 have studied a large group of adolescents in southern California with a questionnaire which they developed to address the question of the relative weight of concern about the threat of nuclear war. [15] Questions about the threat of nuclear war were embedded among questions about other representative worries of adolescents. [15] In a separate, later section of the questionnaire, there were direct inquiries about the threat of nuclear war and the possibility of survival. [15] Students were then asked to rate nine possible hopes and nine possible worries in terms of how important they were, and then they were asked about three future-oriented domains: unemployment, job and career plans, and threat of nuclear war. [15] Some have planned to move away from the cities because of the threat; a few have decided not to have children, and they say that the threat of nuclear war has forced them to live more in the present. [15] From quite a different perspective, Robert Coles 29 has reported some in-depth interviews with youngsters about the threat of nuclear war. [15] Youngsters are primarily made aware of the threat of nuclear war through the media; this is sometimes supplemented by information in school. [15] Surprisingly, almost no attention has been directed to studying what enables youngsters to cope well with the threat of nuclear war, perhaps because it is difficult to define what successful coping is. [15] To contemplate the threat of nuclear war requires an act of the imagination which is difficult, if not impossible, for most adults. [15] Teachers have found that such preparation is necessary for teaching students about the threat of nuclear war. [15] Parental attitudes and behaviors as determinants of children’s responses to the threat of nuclear war. [15] Pp. 112-133 in Impact of the Threat of Nuclear War on Children and Adolescents, T. Solantaus, editor;, E. Chivian, editor;, M. Vartanyan, editor;, and S. Chivian, editor., eds. Boston: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. [15] Children’s mental health and the threat of nuclear war: A Canadian pilot study. [15] If a nuclear war were limited in any sense – for example, restricted to Europe or to military targets – the immediate death toll would be less. [13] The original purpose of this paper was to assess the systemic effects of a limited nuclear war and offer some thoughts regarding the potential health care complications that might result. [17] Other papers in this volume have touched on many of the direct effects of a limited nuclear war. [17] One of those who think that scientists may be underestimating the danger is John Hampson, who originally raised the alarm about the effects of nuclear war on ozone. [13] Whatever the scale of global effects of nuclear war, the potential for immediate death and destruction in areas directly attacked is more than sufficient to justify the most strenuous efforts to eliminate the nuclear threat. [13] My aim here is to describe in general terms the main global effects of nuclear war with direct consequences for human health. [13] Computer models of the effects of nuclear war on ozone are able to take into account only a part of this complexity, and new information about chemical reaction rates in particular have led in the past to periodic revisions in the calculated effects of added oxides of nitrogen. [13] The brief treatment given so far about the likely effects of nuclear war on ozone has presented for the most part the conventional scientific wisdom on this topic. [13] The immediate effects of nuclear war, the completeness of the devastation it brings, and the detailed accounting of the expected human suffering have all been the subject of numerous studies. [17] Here some of Hampson’s views will be outlined, both to present his provocative ideas and to illustrate the large imponderables associated with present understanding of the global effects of nuclear war. [13] In mid 1982, Paul Crutzen and John Birks drew attention to a previously overlooked major effect of nuclear war. [13] Simply not enough is known to predict with confidence all the global effects of nuclear war. [13] Until much more study is made of the effects of nuclear war, a high level of uncertainty will remain. [13] Study of and planning for these non-physical effects of nuclear war has been meagre or nonexistent. [13] This example shows that crude linear extrapolations of this sort are unlikely to provide any useful information about the effects of nuclear war. [13] This can occur only when they have a vision, a hope for the future, which includes the belief that nuclear war can be prevented and that their actions have an effect. [15] Children—one’s own or anyone else’s—are far more vulnerable than adults to the effects of nuclear war. [15] A 4000Mt nuclear war could cause the release of ten times as much plutonium, some 50 tonnes, with ten times the consequences. [13] The number one worry, both in mean score and percentile ranking, was nuclear war, with 42 percent listing it as their greatest worry. [15] The third overall worry was the possibility of nuclear war, with 58 percent responding that they were worried or very worried about the possibility. [15] About half (51 percent) indicated that it is somewhat likely that a nuclear war will be started during their lifetimes, and 15 percent of the group reported that it is very likely to happen during their lifetimes. [15] Of this group of teenagers, 49 percent said that the possibility of nuclear war has had some influence on how they plan for the future, and 25 percent described this influence as serious, in terms of thinking or planning about the future. [15] Ten percent of the sample reported thoughts about nuclear war daily. [15] 8 percent reported fear or anxiety about nuclear war almost every day and 24 percent reported these feelings once or twice a week or every day. [15] Surprisingly, 16 percent had sought counseling or advice for worries about nuclear war at school, and 9 percent sought counseling or advice for worries about nuclear war outside of school. [15] A total of 24 percent reported thinking about a nuclear war between once a week and daily, and 26 percent thought a nuclear war would definitely or probably occur during their lifetime. [15] In describing adult response to nuclear war, I use a three-part distinction that is standard in social psychology. [14] Accordingly, nuclear war may well be a chronically salient issue for them, as it is for the antinuclear activist. [14] Antinuclear activists do not, however, differ dramatically from the majority of Americans in their attitudes toward nuclear war; they express only somewhat more extreme attitudes and feelings than does the ordinary American. [14] Antinuclear activists and survivalists both think a lot about nuclear war and believe they can do something about it. [14] Action also depends on the salience of people’s beliefs, that is, how often they think about nuclear war. [14] The medical consequences of nuclear war have proven more elusive than first thought. [17] To summarize, action first depends on people’s sense of efficacy, that is, their perception of whether action might make a difference to the prevention of nuclear war and to their own survival. [14] Michigan officials are reviewing their plans for nuclear war amid the war of words between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. [16] Nuclear war would not only wipe out foreign claims on U.S. assets but would eliminate the very reason for the dollar’s prominence as an international medium of exchange. [17] Romanticists believe that fundamental human goodness will prevent nuclear war, and they report little anxiety, worry, and thought about the issue. [14] The single major impact of The Day After was to increase the salience of nuclear war as an issue. [14] The Day After studies concluded similarly that the movie made nuclear war issues highly salient. [14] The movie had essentially no impact on people’s attitudes toward arms control, defense spending, perceived likelihood of nuclear war, trust in government leaders’ handling of war and peace, or personal political efficacy regarding war and peace issues. [14] The salience of the nuclear war issue did affect people’s behavior in very particular ways. [14] People’s political preferences regarding nuclear war and other policy issues do not come from persuasion by the media. [14] Having the issue on their minds apparently creates detailed and concrete images of nuclear war (Fiske et al., 1983; Milburn and Watanabe, 1985). [14] Most participants in the symposium on which this proceedings volume is based and most readers of this book probably agree that nuclear war is an important issue, as shown by their involvement. [14] It is clear that knowledge about the physical and biological aspects of nuclear war have advanced significantly in recent years. [17] There’s a nuclear war going on inside me (a videotape of interviews with 6-16 year olds). [15] A nuclear war involving 4000Mt from present arsenals would probably deposit much less dust in the stratosphere than either the Krakatoa or Mt Agung eruptions. [13] This group had also talked more often with their parents about nuclear war, and despite their increased levels of concern, they were more hopeful that nuclear war could be prevented than were their less overtly worded peers. [15] Although survivalists believe nuclear war is likely, they do not report being worried about it (Hamilton et al., 1985a; Tyler and McGraw, 1983). [14] You should make a plan with your immediate family members on where to go in the event of a nuclear war, and it should include alternate locations and transportation modes. [18] They used an instrument that was adapted from Goldenring and Doctor’s 13, 14 questionnaire, as the questions about nuclear war were embedded in general concerns about teens’ worries. [15] Since plant, equipment, shelter, and public facilities are to some extent the embodiment of fossil fuels, nuclear war would not only destroy cities and communities but the process of rebuilding would deplete the nation’s stock of natural resources. [17] One question asked was: “Of all the problems facing the nation today, how often do you worry about each of the following?” One possible choice was chance of nuclear war. [15] The considerable attention in the media, the formation of such groups as Educators for Social Responsibility, the development of curricula and programs in response to the need to educate high school and junior high school students about the nuclear threat, and the development of children’s groups opposed to nuclear war reflect this concern. [15] The antinuclear activist believes that nuclear war is preventable, not inevitable, and that citizens working together can influence government action to decrease the chance of a nuclear war. [14]

Since 1946, between 63 and 79 percent of Americans have believed that any subsequent major war would necessarily be nuclear (Kramer et al., 1983). [14] Many Americans who grew up after the end of the Cold War have likely never been told how to prepare for a nuclear strike. [16] Three decades ago, people were asked about the likelihood of another world war, which they overwhelmingly believed would be nuclear; they viewed such a war as somewhat more likely than people do now, but the average person still estimated the chances as 50/50 (Withey, 1954). [14] Nuclear cold war: Student opinions and professional responsibility. [15] It has been argued that if the megatonnage in nuclear arsenals were increased by ten or 100 times and used in war, the fallout would be sufficient to threaten the life of most people on earth. [13] The only nuclear bombs used in war were the two dropped by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the sixth and ninth of August 1945. [13]

Our first paper was on the probability side, this one’s on the impact side, and it scans across the full range of different types of impacts that nuclear war could have looking at the five major impacts of nuclear weapons detonation, which is thermal radiation, blast, ionizing radiation, electromagnetic pulse and then finally, human perceptions, the ways that the detonation affects how people think and in turn, how we act. [19] After the summit, the threat of nuclear war remains Last year, nuclear-armed nations opposed the UN Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. [20] Studies have shown that even a small regional nuclear war with 100 Hiroshima-sized weapons could have devastating effects on agriculture worldwide. 2 Even if this was not the result, the extreme increase in radiation would not only cause many health hazards and genetic abnormalities, but it would also contaminate the soil so that any crops that were produced could not be safely eaten. [21] In order to really eliminate the probability of nuclear war, you would need to eliminate both the weapons themselves and the capacity to create them, and you would probably also want to have some monitoring measures so that the various countries had confidence that the other sides weren’t cheating. [19] That’s where the initiating event and the crisis in this model comes from, it’s this idea that there will be some of event that leads to a crisis, and the crisis will go straight to nuclear weapons use which could then scale to a full-scale nuclear war. [19] Basically, should we be more worried about nuclear war that happens when a nuclear armed country decides to go ahead and start that nuclear war versus one where there’s some type of accident or error, like a false alarm or the detonation of a nuclear weapon that was not intended to be an act of war? I still feel like I don’t have a good sense for that. [19] Technically, a nuclear war would be any war in which nuclear weapons are used. [21] It’s just a really wide array of effects, and that’s one thing that I’m happy for with this paper is that for, perhaps, the first time, it really tries to lay out all of these effects in one place and in a model form that can be used for a much more complete accounting of the total impact of nuclear war. [19] The model you’re describing is a model that was used by our colleague, Martin Hellman, in a paper that he did on the probability of nuclear war, and that was probably the first paper that develops the study of the probability of nuclear war using the sort of methodology that we use in this paper, which is to develop nuclear war scenarios. [19]

I remember having conversations with people about this, maybe five years ago, and they thought the thought of a nuclear war between the United States and Russia was just ridiculous, that that’s antiquated Cold War talk, that the world has changed. [19] Sure enough, in the last five years, the world has changed very significantly that I think most people would agree makes the probability of nuclear war between the United States and Russia substantially higher than it was five years ago, especially starting with the Ukraine crisis. [19] I think I would probably say that the risk is higher now than it was, say, 10 years ago because various relations between nuclear armed states have gotten worse, certainly including between the United States and Russia, but whether the probability of nuclear war is higher now versus in, say, the ’50s or the ’60s, that’s much harder to say. [19]

While the threat of a North Korean nuclear war has subsided, Over the past few years the Russia, Iran, China, and other nuclear powers that we’re not on best terms with. [22] What are the odds of a nuclear war happening this century? And how close have we been to nuclear war in the past? Few academics focus on the probability of nuclear war, but many leading voices like former U.S. Secretary of Defense, William Perry, argue that the threat of nuclear conflict is growing. [19] The threat of nuclear war and the fear of its aftermath has become a fertile topic in popular culture, particularly during the 50s and 60s and then later in the early 80s as the tensions of the Cold War waxed and waned. [21] At the very, very start of the paper, you guys say that nuclear war doesn’t get enough scholarly attention, and so I was wondering if you could explain why that’s the case and what role this type of risk analysis can play in nuclear weapons policy. [19] If we are especially worried about accidental or inadvertent nuclear war, then we should keep nuclear weapons on a relatively low launch posture. [19] Versus if we are more worried about intentional nuclear war, then there may be some value to having them on a high-alert status in order to have a more effective deterrence in order to convince the other side to not launch their nuclear weapons. [19] Many hawks have tried to downplay the possible effects of nuclear war, many even believing that a nuclear war is winnable (thus the massive amounts of spending on the Strategic Defense Initiative in the Reagan administration, as well as its successor National Missile Defense, both considered abject failures by outside observers). 3 Scientists (operative term being “scientist”, not strategists), as a general rule, tend to disagree. [21] His paper was looking at the probability of nuclear war based on an event that is similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis, and what’s distinctive about the Cuban Missile Crisis is we may have come close to going directly to nuclear war without any other type of conflicts in the first place. [19] That may be mistaken, but that’s the impression that I get and that we may be perhaps more fortunate to have gotten through the first couple decades after World War II without an additional nuclear war. [19] Because I take the risk of nuclear war seriously, I might’ve been more upset than some people, although I think that a large percentage of the population of Hawaii thought to themselves, “Maybe I’m going to die this morning. [19] As they’ve been retold, people like to say we came close to nuclear war, and that’s not always true. [19] Then there are the kinds nuclear wars that could potentially trigger a nuclear winter by kicking so much soot up into the atmosphere and blocking out the sun, and might actually threaten not just the people who were killed in the initial bombing, but the entire human race. [19] Yom Kippur War – after a UN cease-fire was violated by both Israel and their Egyptian and Syrian opponents, the Soviets and Americans threatened nuclear war until they got their respective allies to sit down and stop shooting. [21] Yeah, we should distinguish between saying what is the probability of any nuclear war happening this week or this year, versus how often we might expect nuclear wars to occur or what the total probability of any nuclear war happening over a century or whatever time period it might be. [19] One of the biggest concerns for preppers is the threat of nuclear war. [22] The value of breaking it into those four steps is then you can look at each step in turn, think through the conditions for each of them to occur and maybe the probability of going from one step to the next, which you can use to evaluate the overall probability of that type of nuclear war. [19] The most effective technique to use in a nuclear war is quite simple: not to have one. [21] Another major essential that I?d recommend for surviving a nuclear war would be radiation detection/monitoring/measuring equipment and even though this too might be somewhat obvious, there are 2 not-so-obvious reasons for this being the case. [23] A Nuclear War is a menacing thing, but being prepared for it will help you rest easier. [23] Put another way, even if the U.S. won a nuclear war by retaining smaller cities and a large rural population and denying the Russians the same, the social and economic consequences of any nuclear exchange with Russia would be horrendous. [24] In a nuclear war with Russia, U.S. victory would remain the most likely outcome. [24] Seth : So the first question we can definitely answer, we came up with them through our read of the nuclear war literature and our overall understanding of the risk and then iterating as we put the model together, thinking through what makes the most sense for how to organize the different types of nuclear war scenarios, and through that process, that’s how we ended up with this model. [19] No one really knows a lot about surviving a nuclear war, particularly with the nuclear warheads that exist today. [22] Petrov’s courage speaks to the broader issue: the horror of nuclear war. [24] I do want to touch on what you’ve both been talking about, though, in terms of trying to determine the probability of a nuclear war over the short term where we’re all saying, “Oh, it probably won’t happen in the next week,” but in the next hundred years it could. [19] Since you can?t exactly plan for nuclear war, you should probably acquire non-perishable food, in case WWIII happens 3 years after your predictions. [23] I can think of some reasons why maybe we should be worried about that type of scenario, but especially looking at the historical data it felt like those historical incidents were a bit more of a stretch, a bit further away from actually ending up in nuclear war. [19] As far as whether it’s more likely that we’re going to get into a nuclear war through some kind of human error or a technological mistake, or whether it will be a deliberate act of war, I can think of scary things that have happened on both sides. [19] Now, whether or not we would actually back down or escalate it into an all-out nuclear war, I don’t think that’s something that we can really know in advance, but it’s at least plausible. [19] The various systems are not completely unknown, they’re the systems that we live in now and we can say at least a few intelligent things about what might happen to those after a nuclear war or after other types of events. [19] Second, you?ll need to know when it?s safe to resurface, especially in the event of a protracted nuclear war. [23] We don’t actually include any numbers for the probability of nuclear war in this paper. [19] As you guys point out in the paper, we’ve had one nuclear war and that was World War II, so we essentially have one data point. [19] Nuclear war, there’s just one data point and it was under circumstances that are very different from what we have right now, World War II. Maybe there would be another world war, but no two world wars are the same. [19] With coverage led by The Boston Globe, physicians participated in public opposition through the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War, which was awarded the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for bringing attention to the nuclear threat. [20]

Robert : Yes, there was, during the Falklands war, apparently, they left with nuclear depth charges. [19] When asked a general question about problems facing the world, about one-fifth of the students voiced concern about nuclear issues (war and energy). [15] The largest nuclear blasts would create a fireball a mile in diameter and temperatures as hot as the surface of the sun, followed quickly by winds greater than the force of a hurricane, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. ( North Korea?s past nuclear tests have been far smaller, with the largest an estimated 10 kilotons, less than either of the atomic bombs used on Japan in World War II). [25] There has been an understandable though unfortunate tendency on the part of adults and society as a whole to keep these matters secret. 40 Nuclear weapons were initially developed during World War II, when debate was not possible. [15]

During the Cold War, both superpowers considered a counterforce strike a much more serious threat than an outright attack on civilian targets, and spent enormous amounts of money on developing nuclear capabilities that would survive it and constitute a reliable “second strike” deterrent. [21] China had a war with the Soviet Union over their border some years ago and there was at least some talk of nuclear weapons involved in that. [19] This would be nuclear terrorism or the accidental detonation of nuclear weapons, and even if it did happen it’s relatively likely that they would be correctly diagnosed as not being an act of war. [19] India and Pakistan are two nations that, on the brink of war, decided to acquire nuclear weapons. [21] Not to just point fingers at Russia, this is essentially the same thing the NATO had in the earlier point in the Cold War when the Soviet Union had the larger conventional military and our plan was to use nuclear weapons in a limited basis in order to prevent the Soviet Union from conquering Western Europe with their military, so it is possible. [19]

In the Agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War, signed in Washington on June 22, 1973, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to make the removal of the danger of nuclear war and the use of nuclear weapons an “objective of their policies,” to practice restraint in their relations toward each other and toward all countries, and to pursue a policy dedicated toward stability and peace. [26] A year almost to the day after the nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, Charlottesville was host to a blue-ribbon panel of experts on reconstruction planning. [27] In the same way, it does not make sense to talk about the probability of nuclear war being high or low — for example 10 percent versus 1 percent — without comparing it to a specific period of time — for example, 10 percent per decade or 1 percent per year. [28] I am assuming it is a nuclear war between USA and Russia, in a war with smaller threats it is nearly irrelevant as long as you are not close to military compounds. [29] The threat of possible nuclear war hung heavy in the world?s consciousness. [27] In this scenario, let’s assume you don’t have the physical means or time to travel to one of the safest cities in the world during nuclear war. [30] Editor’s Note: “Charlottesville” is a short story that was commissioned by the Office of Technology Assessment in 1979 as an appendix to the report The Effects of Nuclear War. [27] Unless you have a fallout bunker you are not likely to survive a nuclear war. [29] While the imminent danger of an all-out nuclear war that would destroy civilization has greatly diminished in the post-Soviet era, there are processes at work that make nuclear war much more dangerous than might first appear. [28] Having gotten the units right, we might argue whether the probability of nuclear war per year was high or low. [28] It was viewed as a preliminary step toward preventing the outbreak of nuclear war or military conflict by adopting an attitude of international cooperation. [26]

Hawks such as Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham declared that chances are at least 70 percent that the United States will launch all-out war with North Korea if there’s one more nuclear test. [31] Has the news been shaking you up a little bit lately? All this talk about countries testing nuclear missiles and outbreak of war is enough to make anyone get a little edgy. [32] The only way to survive nuclear roulette is to move beyond war in the same sense that the civilized world has moved beyond human sacrifice and slavery. [28]

The poorest shelters during nuclear war are houses or buildings without basements, buildings with lots of windows, and buildings made of lightweight materials. [30] In either scenario, nuclear war is 100 percent certain to occur. [28]

The 73-year history of nuclear weapons — the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War crisis in the 1980s, and now the US-North Korea nuclear confrontation — indicates it is actually idealistic to think that maintaining the current course will have a good outcome. [20] This could range from a single, small weapon (like a bunker buster or the ones dropped by the United States on Japan in World War II ) all the way up to a full-blown Armageddon between nuclear powers. [21]

Last December, the state tested its nuclear warning siren system for the first time since the Cold War. [33] Across the country, emergency-management officials have been quietly dusting off plans drawn up during the cold war and in the aftermath of September 11 to be ready for what they euphemistically label a “catastrophic nation-state threat,” e.g., a North Korean nuclear missile. [34] When we hear the words “nuclear attack,” we still tend to think of the apocalypse scenarios envisioned during the cold war. [34] Donald Trump’s current thinking on North Korea goes something like this: Because the North Korean leader, Kim Jung-un, is irrational, the traditional policy of nuclear deterrence – modeled on the Cold War standoff with the Soviet Union – won’t work with him. [31]

A war on the Korean Peninsula would end up being so catastrophic – with as many as 300,000 killed even without the use of nuclear weapons by either side – that the vast majority of experts familiar with Korea believe that diplomacy is the only plausible option. [31] In part, the apathy came from the government’s realization of just how awful large-scale nuclear attacks would be–and how impossible it was to even imagine the logistics needed for a response. (Dwight Eisenhower observed in 1957, “You just can’t have this kind of war. [34] We and the Soviets have amassed a combined arsenal of 50,000 nuclear weapons, equivalent in destructive force to some 6,000 World War II’s, capable of reaching their targets in a matter of minutes, and able to destroy every major city in the world. [28]


Now, in this second era of threat we have rogue nuclear states like North Korea and regional nuclear stand-offs, such as the persistent tension between India and Pakistan, both of which possess at least 100 nuclear warheads ready to launch should the situation boil out of control. (India just, for the first time, successfully test-fired its first nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile.) [11] The flight time of a launched North Korean nuclear missile might range from less than 20 minutes to more than 40, depending on which U.S. city is targeted, physicist David Wright estimated in an interview with Business Insider. [3] Nuclear devices range from a small portable device carried by an individual to a weapon carried by a missile. [35]

While “a direct hit from a nuclear explosion” will destroy even the strongest hideout — including “blast shelters” built to protect against “pressure, initial radiation, heat and fire” — if you survive the blast, you can then get by in a fallout shelter, a protected space that’s tough enough to “absorb the radiation given off by fallout particles. [3] Staying inside can also limit how much invisible nuclear radiation produced by a blast will reach your body. [36]

Who could blame those people who feared the worst and had little prior information about where to go or what to do? Especially with the state’s proximity to North Korea, which says its ballistic missiles can carry nuclear warheads. [11] There are two upshots: Going inside can greatly limit or even block these devastating effects, and a nuclear weapon’s power is not infinite but limited to the device’s explosive yield. [36] It’s actually set off by an atomic bomb, and gets its power from the resulting nuclear fusion, the combining of atoms. [37] Atomic bomb : A bomb powered by nuclear fission, the splitting of atoms. [37]

Luckily, moves toward disarmament as well as time, budget, and changes in leadership have largely reduced the number of active and operational nuclear arms to a slightly more manageable level of wanton destruction. [2] “It helped by clarifying some issues I didn’t understand regarding a nuclear attack/ fallout [1] Bearing no nuclear arms themselves, having almost no military, lots of space to spread out, and being far from everywhere except Australia, this even has a warm, enjoyable climate to spend your end of days in comfort. [2] Whether this will be a viable option depends on the construction of the building and how close you will be to the likely ground zero of a nuclear strike. [1] Airfields and naval bases, especially those known to house nuclear bombers, ballistic missile submarines, or ICBM silos. [1]

Nuclear things have possessed an exceptional political power, and atomic bombs became the ultimate taboo weapon. [7] At this time, they had not discovered that the Soviets had conducted significant nuclear espionage of the project from spies at Los Alamos, the most significant of which was done by the theoretical physicist Klaus Fuchs. citation needed The first Soviet bomb was more or less a deliberate copy of the Fat Man plutonium device. [4] American, French and British nuclear submarines are believed to carry at least some missiles with dial-a-yield warheads for this purpose, potentially allowing a strike as low as one kiloton (or less) against a single target. [4] According to the Federation of American Scientists, Russia and the United States own more than 90 per cent of the nuclear warheads in the world. [38] The Soviet Union could now afford to achieve nuclear parity with the United States in raw numbers, although for a time, they appeared to have chosen not to. [4] Scientists in the United States from the Manhattan Project had warned that, in time, the Soviet Union would certainly develop nuclear capabilities of its own. [4] The Soviet Union could not afford to build any reasonable counterforce, as the economic output of the United States was far larger than that of the Soviets, and they would be unable to achieve “nuclear parity”. [4]

Nuclear warfare and weapons are staple elements of speculative fiction. [4] The current state of dread, while entirely understandable, has overshadowed two crucial realities about the threat of a nuclear calamity. [9] Another possible nuclear terrorism threat are devices designed to disperse radioactive materials over a large area using conventional explosives, called dirty bombs. [4] This is just the toll from a bomb that is puny compared to modern nuclear missiles. [9] Overall, a nuclear missile detonated in the air over New York City would be more destructive and deadlier than a ground explosion, because it would generate a larger blast wave and fireball. [9] Fallout that is inhaled or swallowed, or that enters the body through a wound, would be even more dangerous: It exposes internal organs to a continuous source of nuclear radiation, damaging tissue in the same way as the initial pulse of radiation from the explosion itself. [9] The main dangers from an air burst are the blast effects, the thermal pulses of intense light and heat radiation, and the very penetrating initial nuclear radiation from the fireball. [6]

A further test was announced by the North Korean government on May 25, 2009. 76 Iran, meanwhile, has embarked on a nuclear program which, while officially for civilian purposes, has come under close scrutiny by the United Nations and many individual states. [4] We looked at the current international nuclear stockpile of the ten nuclear states for guidance, and considered the likelihood of conflict with other nations, to create a ranking of risk trajectories. [7]

In 1996, a Russian continuity of government facility, Kosvinsky Mountain, which is believed to be a counterpart to the U.S. Cheyenne Mountain Complex, was completed. 58 59 60 It was designed to resist U.S. earth-penetrating nuclear warheads, 58 and is believed to host the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces alternate command post, a post for the general staff built to compensate for the vulnerability of older Soviet era command posts in the Moscow region. [4] As long as the strategic American nuclear forces could overwhelm their Soviet counterparts, a Soviet pre-emptive strike could be averted. [4]

Despite witnessing the immediate and enduring horror of those attacks — despite decades of technological advances in nuclear warfare — the U.S. remains shockingly unprepared for a similar assault on its own soil. [9] A revolution in nuclear strategic thought occurred with the introduction of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which the Soviet Union first successfully tested in August 1957. [4] The CDC preparation program wound up being politicized, with activist scientist Edwin Lyman quoted in The New York Times as saying, “It’s a predictable response to the Trump administration, which is inflaming tensions and raising the risk of nuclear war.” [8] There are currently at least 2,000 tons of weapons-grade nuclear material stored in some 40 countries — enough to make more than 40,000 bombs approximately the size of the one that devastated Hiroshima. [9] This technology has wide-ranging military, emergency personnel, private sector, and civilian application as the radiation risks of nuclear energy, warfare, and terrorism around the world continue to grow. [4] Nuclear warfare (sometimes atomic warfare or thermonuclear warfare ) is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is used to inflict damage on the enemy. [4] The idea that any nuclear conflict would eventually escalate was a challenge for military strategists. [4]

North Korea has undertaken a series of nuclear tests, including its fifth and largest detonation in September 2016, and the UN Security Council will soon be implementing sanctions, which could have wide-reaching consequences. [7] Compared to modern nuclear missiles, which are far more powerful and complex, constructing a crude gun-type nuke is fairly straightforward. [9] Nuclear submarines are given letters of last resort : orders on what action to take in the event that an enemy nuclear strike has destroyed the government. [4] What made the false alarm all the more frightening is just how plausible the prospect of a nuclear strike has become. [9]

The modelled output of our crude atomic plaything produced fallout across the world, which would eventually plunge us into a nuclear winter. [7] Global society has constructed a norm against the use of nuclear arms, but like any human construction, it can be repurposed. [7] Not only is this sub-zero continent miles from anywhere, it was also the site of the world?s first nuclear arms agreement in 1959. [7] On May 18, 1974, India conducted its first nuclear test in the Pokhran test range. [4]

Much attention had been drawn to the timing of the agency?s session, which was publicized just days after President Trump touted the size of his nuclear button compared with North Korea?s. [39] “Targeting China: U.S. Nuclear Planning and ‘Massive Retaliation’ in East Asia, 1953-1955”. [4] Conclusions reached from these recent, realistic calculations are summarized in an article, “Nuclear Winter Reappraised”, featured in the 1986 summer issue of Foreign Affairs, the prestigious quarterly of the Council on Foreign Relations. [6] This issue contains a long letter from Thompson and Schneider which further demolishes the theory of catastrophic “nuclear winter.” [6]

The USSR’s strategic modernization program continues unabated,” and that the SS-18 Mod 5 can carry 14 to 20 nuclear warheads. [6] Israel is thought to possess somewhere between one hundred and four hundred nuclear warheads. [4]

Ex-Pentagon chief William Perry claimed this year that nuclear destruction is a bigger risk today than during the 70s and 80s. [7] The principal nuclear strategy was to massively penetrate the Soviet Union. [4] More information on bone marrow shielding can be found in the Health Physics Radiation Safety Journal article Selective Shielding of Bone Marrow: An Approach to Protecting Humans from External Gamma Radiation, or in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)’s 2015 report: Occupational Radiation Protection in Severe Accident Management. [4] Another major shift in nuclear doctrine was the development and the improvement of the submarine -launched, nuclear-armed, ballistic missile, or SLBM. [4]

It would not threaten to bring the entire global system to a halt, or potentially lead to the release of thousands of warheads against of hundreds of cities across the globe, the “unthinkable” war for which Americans spent decades preparing, and for which we still maintain an arsenal of strategic weapons deliverable by air, land, and sea. [5] Though other weapons of war can be equally damaging, they do not hold the same emotional stigma as “The Bomb?. [7]

“North Korea states ‘nuclear war is unavoidable’ as it declares first target will be Japan”. [4]

Your school would most likely have a plan in place for such an event, as there would probably be a prior known reason for such an attack, such as war or threats. [1] That story is about what to do after a nuclear weapon blows up by surprise, such as in a terrorist attack — the goal is to limit exposure to radioactive fallout that arrives minutes after a detonation. [36] Due to the extensive nuclear arsenals that were amassed by the United States and the former Soviet Union, as well as many other industrialized nations to varying degrees, the estimated destructive capacity of current nuclear weapons on the planet is sufficient to obliterate life on Earth many times over. [2] Others caution that the United States is sleepwalking toward a conflict that could involve intercontinental ballistic missiles and, yes, nuclear weapons. [3]

Nuclear bombs are extremely deadly weapons, but their worst effects are confined to a limited zone. [36] A nuclear weapon is a device that uses a nuclear reaction to create an explosion. [35] With the large yields of modern nuclear weapons, it is thought that this will kill few who would not be killed by the blast or heat at the same distance. [1] Aside from the geopolitical warning signs, your first warnings of an imminent nuclear attack will most likely be an alarm or warning signal; if not, it will be the blast itself. [1] When Hawaii’s ballistic-missile-threat system blared an alert across the state on January 13, many people didn’t know where to go, what to do, or whether they could even survive a nuclear attack. [36] The threat of a nuclear attack on the United States is higher than it’s been since Berlin had a wall down its center. [37] Despite an initial posting by the Centers for Disease Control announcing it would host a Jan. 16 event to help individuals and local authorities prepare for an unexpected nuclear attack — called Public Health Response to a Nuclear Detonation, a type of workshop the CDC last provided in 2010, according to the New York Times — the CDC canceled the event on Friday, replacing it with a session about influenza. [3] “This is the best article for a layman regarding how to protect oneself and his/her family during the time of a sudden nuclear attack. [1]

A nuclear attack would probably create more radioactive fallout than a missile-launched warhead. [36] Arms-control experts suspect a nation like North Korea may have missile-ready warheads that would explode with 10 to 30 kilotons’ worth of TNT. That ranges from less than to roughly twice the yield of either nuclear bomb the U.S. dropped on Japan in 1945. [36] There’s fewer valuable targets, fewer major, industrial nations, and fewer nuclear weapons. [2] As long as nuclear weapons exist, there is always the danger they will be used. [1] The degree to which you need to worry about exposure to fallout outside depends on the radius of the blast — and that depends on the type of nuclear bomb used. [3] Fallout : When a nuclear explosion occurs at ground level, the blast blows bits of dirt and debris into the air, where they become radioactive and are carried by the winds before falling back down to earth. [37]

That makes a single blast or even a limited nuclear exchange survivable for most people. [36] “While a nuclear detonation is unlikely, it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps,” the CDC warned in its original release. [3] “The good news is the ‘get inside, stay inside, stay tuned’ phrase works for both for the threat of a potential nuclear detonation as well as a nuclear detonation that has occurred,” Brooke Buddemeier, a health physicist and expert on radiation and emergency preparedness at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, told Business Insider. [36] Winds can carry the radiation, called nuclear fallout, from that cloud tens or hundreds of miles away, depending on the size of the bomb and the strength of the wind. [37] You probably shouldn’t choose real estate based on the chances of a nuclear attack, but if it comes down to two places and you can’t decide? Go with the one in the area that’s less likely to have nuclear fallout carried to it by prevailing winds. [37] More than 400 islands, French Polynesia is too scattered to really warrant an attack, and far enough from any shore that the water should sink nuclear fallout before it drifts in on the tradewinds. [2]

Countries that have long been major bases for the United States military typically rank high on the list of Places Nuclear Bombs Will Destroy. [2] In the event of a nuclear detonation, there is an enormously bright flash (that could temporarily blind a person staring at the flash) followed by an extremely loud explosion and hurricane-force winds. [11] Assuming you are far enough from the source of a nuclear detonation and find adequate shelter fast enough, you could survive the initial blast. [3]

North Korea : For a long time, North Korea’s nuclear threat was capped in the 10- to 15-kiloton range. [37] Even though public health officials and virtually all citizens would like to get as far as possible for radiation-contaminated rubble in the aftermath of a nuclear attack from any source, the reality of actually evacuating would be a monumental challenge. (Think of rush hour on a Friday night of a holiday weekend then multiply the situation by 500.) [11] “I have read many articles on being prepared for nuclear attacks. [1] Most likely, a nuclear attack will not be a singular event. [1] A nuclear attack will unlikely come out of the blue from an enemy nation. [1]

The next danger to avoid is radioactive fallout, a mixture of fission products (or radioisotopes) that a nuclear explosion creates by splitting atoms. [36] A nuclear explosion may occur with or without a few minutes warning. [35]

If you want to get a sense of how your hometown or city would fare — given the radius width of several different types of nuclear blasts — Stevens Institute of Technology science historian Alex Wellerstein created an interactive browser tool called NUKEMAP, which overlays hypothetical bombs on Google Maps. [3] The protection factor that various buildings, and locations within them, offer from the radioactive fallout of a nuclear blast. [36] The more durable a shelter you can choose, the better, ideally one with a thick, dense roof and walls, according to the nuclear blast page of Ready.gov, an emergency preparedness website from the Department of Homeland Security. [3] The single most important thing to remember if a nuclear bomb is supposed to explode, he says, is to shelter in place. [36] Until one of them googled “safety nuclear bomb how shelter” from the beach — and found a Business Insider article titled ” If a nuclear bomb goes off, this is the most important thing you can do to survive.” [36]

Here’s how to act and where to take shelter if you get an alert about an ICBM or other nuclear threat. [36]

Those two reactions — panic-driven chaos and fatalistic complacency — show the utter failure to educate the public about what to do in the event that a nuclear detonation has occurred or is imminent. [11] These are certain to be attacked even in a limited nuclear exchange. [1] While the dense forests and lush wildlands help diffuse any nuclear fallout, you’re also going to be coping with extremely limited infrastructure and plenty of bears who are happy to kill you without any fancy codes or red phones. [2]

This was described by the UK Parliamentary Defence Select Committee as “the launch of one or a limited number of missiles against an adversary as a means of conveying a political message, warning or demonstration of resolve”. 84 It is believed that all current nuclear weapons states possess tactical nuclear weapons, with the exception of the United Kingdom, which decommissioned its tactical warheads in 1998. [4] It is debatable whether such use could be considered “limited” however, because it was believed that the United States would use its own strategic weapons (mainly bombers at the time) should the Soviet Union deploy any kind of nuclear weapon against civilian targets. [4] In 1960, the United States developed its first Single Integrated Operational Plan, a range of targeting options, and described launch procedures and target sets against which nuclear weapons would be launched, variants of which were in use from 1961 to 2003. [4]

A recent UN study reported that homicide rates in North America, Europe and Asia have been declining for last 15 years, and wars have also become less deadly when compared to conflicts in the 20th century. [7] The great life-saving potential of blast-protective shelters has been proven in war and confirmed by blast tests and calculations. [6] Let us imagine how many people would die if war breaks out. [4] The Soviet bloc’s vision of an atomic war between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces was simulated in the top secret exercise Seven Days to the River Rhine in 1979. [4] I?m going to focus here on a war that could involve the United States and its allies on one side, and Russia or China on the other. [5] A small regional war, awful as it would be, would not destroy the United States nor threaten the end of the human race. [5]

In 1995, a branch of the U.S. Strategic Command produced an outline of forward-thinking strategies in the document ” Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence “. [4] Both sides were deterred from risking the initiation of a direct confrontation, instead being forced to engage in lower intensity proxy wars. [4]

If anything, during the Cold War the superpowers spent so much time assuring the security of their arsenals against accidental use that both the Americans and the Soviets started to wonder whether they had too many barriers in place that could prevent the intentional launch of the weapons in wartime. [5]

Ballistic missiles are primarily designed to deliver nuclear weapons, and the increased threat of nuclear attack has loomed over Americans for months. [10] Before the development of a capable strategic missile force in the Soviet Union, much of the war-fighting doctrine held by western nations revolved around using a large number of smaller nuclear weapons in a tactical role. [4] Large hardened nuclear weapon storage areas were built across European countries in anticipation of local U.S. and European forces falling back as the conventional NATO defense from the Soviet Union, named REFORGER, was believed to only be capable of stalling the Soviets for a short time. [4] A top-secret White Paper, compiled by the Royal Air Force and produced for the British Government in 1959, estimated that British bombers carrying nuclear weapons were capable of destroying key cities and military targets in the Soviet Union, with an estimated 16 million deaths in the Soviet Union (half of whom were estimated to be killed on impact and the rest fatally injured) before bomber aircraft from the U.S. Strategic Air Command reached their targets. [4]

° Myth: Overkill would result if all the U.S. and U.S.S.R, nuclear weapons were used meaning not only that the two superpowers have more than enough weapons to kill all of each other’s people, but also that they have enough weapons to exterminate the human race. [6] The former chair of the United Nations disarmament committee stated that there are more than 16,000 strategic and tactical nuclear weapons ready for deployment and another 14,000 in storage, with the U.S. having nearly 7,000 ready for use and 3,000 in storage, and Russia having about 8,500 ready for use and 11,000 in storage. [4] According to the 1980 United Nations report General and Complete Disarmament: Comprehensive Study on Nuclear Weapons: Report of the Secretary-General, it was estimated that there were a total of about 40,000 nuclear warheads in existence at that time, with a potential combined explosive yield of approximately 13,000 megatons. [4] Combined with the trend in the reduction in the worldwide nuclear arsenal as of 2007 is the warhead miniaturization and modernization of the remaining strategic weapons that is presently occurring in all the declared nuclear weapon states, into more “usable” configurations. [4] Nuclear terrorism by non-state organizations or actors (even individuals) is a largely unknown and understudied factor in nuclear deterrence thinking, as states possessing nuclear weapons are susceptible to retaliation in kind, while sub- or trans-state actors may be less so. [4] A number of other concerns have been expressed about the security of nuclear weapons in newer nuclear powers with relatively less stable governments, such as Pakistan, but in each case, the fears have been addressed to some extent by statements and evidence provided by those nations, as well as cooperative programs between nations. [4] The world will be frozen if only 100 megatons (less than one percent of all nuclear weapons) are used to ignite cities. [6]

It was believed (until the 1970s) that a Soviet tank invasion of Western Europe would quickly overwhelm NATO conventional forces, leading to the necessity of the West escalating to the use of tactical nuclear weapons, one of which was the W-70. [4] Only the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of India have declarative, unqualified, unconditional ” no first use ” nuclear weapons policies. [4] Worry remains, however, in many circles that a relative decrease in security of nuclear weapons has emerged in recent years, and that terrorists or others may attempt to exert control over (or use) nuclear weapons, militarily applicable technology, or nuclear materials and fuel. [4] “Sub-strategic use” includes the use of either “low-yield” tactical nuclear weapons, or of variable yield strategic nuclear weapons in a very limited role, as compared to battlefield exchanges of larger-yield strategic nuclear weapons. [4] Commodore Tim Hare, former Director of Nuclear Policy at the British Ministry of Defence, has described “sub-strategic use” as offering the Government “an extra option in the escalatory process before it goes for an all-out strategic strike which would deliver unacceptable damage”. 85 However, this sub-strategic capacity has been criticized as potentially increasing the “acceptability” of using nuclear weapons. [4]

° Facts: A nuclear weapon 1000 times as powerful as the one that blasted Hiroshima, if exploded under comparable conditions, produces equally serious blast damage to wood-frame houses over an area up to about 130 times as large, not 1000 times as large. [6] This decision reflected an understanding that nuclear weapons had unique risks and benefits that were separate from other military technology known at the time. [4] Within the United States the authority to produce and develop nuclear weapons was removed from military control and put instead under the civilian control of the United States Atomic Energy Commission. [4] Some people would think the end of the world was upon them if they happened to be in an area downwind from surface bursts of nuclear weapons that sucked millions of tons of pulverized earth into the air. [12] The detonation of a “dirty bomb” would not cause a nuclear explosion, nor would it release enough radiation to kill or injure a large number of people. [4] The reactions of the Japanese survivors are encouraging, especially in view of the fact that among them the relative number of horribly burned people was greater than is likely to be found among a population that expects a nuclear attack and takes any sort of shelter. [12]

Once it became clear that Times Square had been hit by a nuclear bomb, many people outside ground zero would attempt to flee, not realizing that cars provide virtually no protection from fallout. [9] A terrorist-built nuclear bomb detonated in Times Square would injure 300,000 people and kill 250,000 — 20 times more deaths than in any natural disaster or act of terrorism in America?s history. [9]

Perhaps now it is time to reconsider the emotional connections that we have designated to nuclear weapons, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. [7] Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction ; in contrast to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can produce destruction in a much shorter time and can have a long-lasting radiological warfare result. [4]

When the British Government published its infamous September Dossier in 2002 to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq, they drew upon the powerful stigma of nuclear weapons, by including an atomic threat among a long list of – now debunked – reasons to invade. [7] Concern over nuclear weapons has shifted to the prevention of localized nuclear conflicts resulting from nuclear proliferation, and the threat of nuclear terrorism. [4]

To explode enough nuclear weapons of any size to completely destroy American cities would be an irrational waste of warheads. [6] Many proposals were suggested to put all American nuclear weapons under international control (by the newly formed United Nations, for example) as an effort to deter both their usage and an arms race. [4]

The idea that nuclear weapons have a unique psychological effect emerged following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WW2. [7] NUKEMAP3D – a 3D nuclear weapons effects simulator powered by Google Maps. [4]

Once the home to much of the historical nuclear weapons testing, it is somehow poignant that sites that were previously peppered with fallout could be the safest places on earth during our hypothetical nuclear apocalypse. [7] Another dimension to the tactical use of nuclear weapons is that of such weapons deployed at sea for use against surface and submarine vessels. [4] Such tactical naval nuclear weapons were considered more acceptable to use early in a conflict because there would be few civilian casualties. [4]

These programs, which were originally part of the defense budget of U.S. President Jimmy Carter, included spending on conventional and nuclear weapons systems. [4] The collapse of the Soviet Union has given rise to the possibility that former Soviet nuclear weapons might become available on the black market (so-called ‘loose nukes’). [4] Whist we have geologically defined our atomic Anthropocene by our nuclear weapons testing, the future of humanity and the fabric of the planet is now being tested and moulded by pollution and climate change. [7] Nuclear weapons are not sentient beings; Skynet is not self-aware and never will be. [5]

If you want to survive an immediate strike in a conflict between nuclear superpowers, it follows that you’ll want to avoid countries with access to nuclear weapons or involved in nuclear agreements. [38] Israel (1960s) and North Korea (2006) are also thought to have developed stocks of nuclear weapons, though it is not known how many. [4] North Korea is confirmed as having nuclear weapons, though it is not known how many, with most estimates between 1 and 10. [4] A key development in nuclear warfare throughout the 2000s and early 2010s is the proliferation of nuclear weapons to the developing world, with India and Pakistan both publicly testing several nuclear devices, and North Korea conducting an underground nuclear test on October 9, 2006. [4]

It is unknown if the navies of the other nuclear powers yet today deploy tactical nuclear weapons at sea. [4]

“If an attack warning is issued, take cover as quickly as you can, below ground if possible, and stay there until instructed to do otherwise,” reads Ready.gov, a FEMA and Department of Homeland Security site created to help people prepare for all sorts of disasters, including a nuclear blast. [10] According to Ready.gov, there are three main factors for protecting yourself from the radiation and nuclear fallout following an attack: distance, shielding and time. [10] Figure 1.2 illustrates the rapidity of the decay of radiation from fallout during the first two days after the nuclear explosion that produced it. [6] Beyond the first few days, however, it appears that no federal or state agency has detailed plans in place for recovering from a nuclear attack. [9] Perimetr was essentially a computer system that would watch for signs of nuclear attack and retaliate on its own if the Soviet leadership was struck first and wiped out. (I explained this is more detail for National Geographic, which you can watch here.) [5]

Over a period of a few years, many in the American defense community became increasingly convinced of the invincibility of the United States to a nuclear attack. [4] ° Myth: A Russian nuclear attack on the United States would completely destroy all American cities. [6]

The British government developed a public alert system for use during nuclear attack with the expectation of a four-minute warning before detonation. [4] The exercise, under the code name of ” Snowball “, involved the detonation of a nuclear bomb about twice as powerful as that which fell on Nagasaki and an army of approximately 45,000 soldiers on maneuvers through the hypocenter immediately after the blast. 46 The exercise was conducted on September 14, 1954, under command of Marshal Georgy Zhukov to the north of Totskoye village in Orenburg Oblast, Russia. [4] Then they plan and work to lessen the causes of their fears. (When the author helped Charles A. Lindbergh design a reinforced-concrete blast shelter for his family and neighbors, Lindbergh frankly admitted that he feared both nuclear attack and being trapped. [12] ?Once the blast has passed, you have a few minutes before fallout (radioactive dust from the nuclear explosion) starts to settle. [8] Though the words sound incommensurate with the horror and devastation of a nuclear explosion, the smartest thing to do directly before or after a nuclear blast is to surround yourself with as much solid material as possible, to provide a physical barrier against the heat, pressure, and fallout released by the detonation. [9] In the hours and days after a nuclear blast, a massive plume of fallout would unfurl past the city?s borders and up the Eastern Seaboard, scattering radioactive dust on everything in its path: people, homes, farms, animals, forests, rivers. [9]

By contrast, a nuclear bomb detonated on the ground loses some of its destructive power, because the energy is absorbed by the ground itself, but kicks up more dirt and debris, producing a much larger amount of radioactive fallout and causing a higher proportion of deaths from radiation sickness and cancer. [9] In 1946, a senator asked J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who played a key role in the Manhattan Project, what instrument he would use to detect a nuclear bomb smuggled into the United States. [9] The Soviets responded by raising readiness and preparing their nuclear arsenal for immediate use. [4] The British government exercised their vision of Soviet nuclear attack with Square Leg in early 1980. [4] There are important things that people should know in advance about how to respond to a nuclear attack. [8] Persons who learn to understand the nature of our inherent human traits and behavior and symptoms are less likely to become terrorized and ineffective in the event of a nuclear attack. [12] The survivors who fared best would be those who heeded the government?s official advice in the event of a nuclear attack: Get inside, stay inside, stay tuned. [9]

A nuclear attack on the United States could well come not from the skies but from the streets. [9] The reader should realize that to do essential work after a massive nuclear attack, many survivors must be willing to receive much larger radiation doses than are normally permissible. [6]

The predictions of the effects of a major countervalue nuclear exchange include millions of city dweller deaths within a short period of time. [4] Within weeks of a nuclear blast in Times Square, trees and shrubs in Central Park that survived the explosion would begin to grow new shoots. [9] ” While a nuclear detonation is unlikely, it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps. [8] Consider one example: A ten-kiloton nuclear bomb detonated on the ground in Times Square would explode with a white flash brighter than the sun. [9]

The most influential article was featured in the December 23,1983 issue of Science (the weekly magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science): “Nuclear winter, global consequences of multiple nuclear explosions,” by five scientists, R. P. Turco, O. B. Toon, T. P. Ackerman, J. B. Pollack, and C. Sagan. [6] Because raging city firestorms are needed to inject huge amounts of smoke into the stratosphere and thus, according to one discredited theory, prevent almost all solar heat from reaching the ground, the Soviets changed their descriptions of how a modern city will burn if blasted by a nuclear explosion. [6]

Before the advent of the SLBM, thinkers feared that a nation might be tempted to initiate a first strike if it felt confident that such a strike would incapacitate the nuclear arsenal of its enemy, making retaliation impossible. [4] The U.S. and Russia, both of which maintain massive nuclear arsenals, are increasingly at odds. [9]

Almost all persons confined to expedient shelters after a nuclear attack would be under stress and without clean surroundings or antibiotics to fight infections. [6]

For several years after World War II, the United States developed and maintained a strategic force based on the Convair B-36 bomber that would be able to attack any potential enemy from bomber bases in the United States. [4] The concept of a ” Fortress North America ” emerged during the Second World War and persisted into the Cold War to refer to the option of defending Canada and the United States against their enemies if the rest of the world were lost to them. [4] During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted atomic raids on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. [4] Six days after the detonation over Nagasaki, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers on August 15, 1945, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, 1945, officially ending the Pacific War and, therefore, World War II, as Germany had already signed its Instrument of Surrender on May 8, 1945, ending the war in Europe. [4]

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union invested in extensive protected civilian infrastructure, such as large “nuclear-proof” bunkers and non-perishable food stores. [4]

The moment a nuclear bomb detonates, several forms of nuclear radiation instantly permeate the environment. [9] Nuclear powers have the ability to undertake more limited engagements. [4]

A typical large-sized nuclear explosive in the’strategic’ arsenals of the United States or the Soviet Union used to be about 1Mt, and many weapons of this size are deployed today in the payloads of ballistic missiles. [13] An investigation of Hampson’s arguments would be unwelcome to military decision-makers, who would not want to be constrained in any use of high-yield weapons or deploying of future ABMs. Fourth, to study the issues raised by Hampson would require an interdisciplinary person or team, involving knowledge of non-equilibrium reaction kinetics, stratospheric chemistry and dynamics, ozone history and evolution, and nuclear strategies. [13] The U.S. missile defense system is unlikely to stop any nuclear missiles launched at the U.S., and the U.S. military has little ability to prevent the launch of missiles from North Korea ahead of time. [40] The question of how government and individuals would respond if a nuclear strike hit the U.S. has become more pressing with the revelation, reported last week by NBC News, that experts believe America’s missile shield system is far from foolproof. [25] Such large-scale population movements would be readily detected by U.S. intelligence sources interpreted as a warning of an impending nuclear strike. [17]

As noted earlier, young people are less accepting of the use of force, including nuclear force. [14] Political generations also differ in their approval of the use of force generally and in the nuclear case specifically (Jeffries, 1974; Pavelchak and Schofield, 1985); there is a nuclear generation gap, with younger generations being somewhat less accepting of the use of force. [14] Some group differences in attitudes do occur regarding the use of nuclear force, with men and older generations being more supportive. [14]

There is a smaller chance of attacks on Cockburn Sound and on Darwin RAAF base, which are hosts for United States strategic nuclear ships, submarines and aircraft. [13] No need to panic: Death in the wake of a nuclear missile attack is almost always imminent. [41] Brooke Buddemeier, a nationally-recognized expert on nuclear disaster preparedness from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said that following the 9/11 attacks, Americans may have suffered a kind of “preparedness fatigue.” [25] The majority of homes, apartments and other buildings built with lightweight materials instead of brick or concrete would be considered “poor” or “inadequate” hideout spots, according to a 2014 study published in The Royal Society journal, titled, “Determining optimal fallout shelter times following a nuclear detonation.” [41] Nuclear bombing of these two facilities, which are close to the population centres of Perth and Darwin respectively, could kill up to one hundred thousand people, depending on the wind direction at the time. [13] Artists have depicted their visions of the bomb and nuclear catastrophe (Boyer, 1985; Time, 1985b). [14]

Both the United States and the Soviet Union place a high priority on targeting their opponent’s military forces, nuclear forces in particular. [13] The overwhelming bulk of nuclear explosive power resides in the arsenals of the two nuclear superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union. [13] The following calculations are based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s CRP-2B scenario which assumes that the United States is exposed to 6,559 megatons (Mt) of nuclear explosives targeted primarily at military installations and 250 centers of population exceeding 50,000. [17]

Last week, Trump cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo?s latest trip to North Korea to continue nuclear negotiations. [40] Much greater explosive power can be obtained by using an enriched uranium fission explosion as a trigger to cause nuclear fusion in a mixture of lithium and deuterium (heavy hydrogen). [13] Adopting a figure of 130,000 for illustrative purposes gives ten people killed for each tonne of nuclear explosive. [13] Most people now do not expect to survive a nuclear confrontation, in contrast to earlier expectations. [14] The beliefs people commonly report about a nuclear holocaust are bleak, which implies that people should also report some concomitant emotional reactions. [14] His descriptions are eloquent; his conclusions are that it is largely, if not entirely, young people whose parents are upper class and who are involved in the nuclear movement who are deeply concerned about this. [15]

These teenagers say they are afraid every day that nuclear annihilation will come, if not right away, then in a relatively short time. [15] “emergency management has not had to plan for a large scale nuclear event for many years,” Merritt and Tobin said in their statement. [16] While Trump?s well-documented impulsiveness and shoddy policymaking process weigh heavily, Lewis does not depict the president?s character recklessly launching nuclear missiles at rivals. [40] Lastly, the effects of nuclear winter on soil losses have yet to be addressed. [17] The earlier film Hiroshima-Nagasaki: 1945 had no effects on nuclear policy preferences. [14] Some observers also expected The Day After to have a galvanizing effect on nuclear protest activities. [14]

Jeffrey Lewis is an arms control expert and analyst of the high-stakes diplomacy conducted around North Korea?s nuclear program. [40] It is framed as the report of future government commission investigating a nuclear conflict that has left 1.4 million Americans dead, with Lewis acting as its rapporteur. [40] Even the climatological and environmental issues have attained greater focus, despite the controversy surrounding the prospects of nuclear winter. [17] “There was so much information that came out altogether,” Buddemeier said, “but then it?s kind of hard to fit information about nuclear terrorism in with warnings about earthquakes and hurricanes and wildfires and all other emergencies that happen on a regular basis.” [25] They are limited to nuclear policy attitudes, so the data do not describe the sources of people’s more emotional responses, their beliefs, or their actions. [14] They used a questionnaire with 103 items in which the nuclear questions were embedded in other questions about other areas of concern in order to minimize bias. [15] In terms of race in this survey, 46 percent of the black seniors agreed or mostly agreed with the statement, “nuclear or biological annihilation will probably be the fate of all mankind within my lifetime,” as compared with only 34 percent of the white seniors. [15] Nuclear protection: Potassium Iodate or Iodide, gas masks and a basement in which to shelter. [18] A ”vision of crashing skyscrapers under a flaming sky,” was reported by nuclear physicist and activist Eugene Rabinowitch and “dreams of doom” were reported by United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld. [14]

Offshore production could be expanded, providing, of course, that the effects of the war are limited to the United States and the Soviet Union. [17] Young people and the threat of war: Overview of a national survey in Finland. [15] The threat of war in the minds of 12-18 year olds in Finland. [15]

Therefore, stratospheric fallout from a 4000Mt war would probably be less than ten times as great as from previous atmospheric tests. [13] It is safe to say that the medical consequences of an attack depend on whether warnings/rumors of war produce an orderly exodus from cities to rural host communities (as FEMA may have planned it), trigger a spontaneous flight from areas thought to be vulnerable, or are ignored altogether. [17] In terms of social class, the threat of war was in the minds of respondents of all social classes. [15] In terms of the open-ended questions, the highest percentage of students mentioned work and employment first (41 percent) and war and peace second (29 percent). [15] The reconstruction process would take 8 years to complete if the annual supply of petroleum allocated to activities other than rebuilding was cut to 15 percent of that observed prior to the war. [17] It is not implausible to expect significant amounts of wind erosion for several years after the war. [17]

She offered the speculation that peace may be an empty concept for young people, meaning mostly an absence of war. [15] The Soviet youngsters were more pessimistic about the possibilities of survival if war occurred. [15] The longer-term effects of war would pose an altogether different set of challenges for the medical care system. [17] Technological advancements, occurring over the past two decades, have increased the economy’s sensitivity to the effects of war. [17] It is not uncommon, for example, to read economists’ assessments of reconstruction which assume that property rights would be respected or that government fiscal and monetary policy would be implemented to alleviate the effects of war on the economy. [17]

The shift from a predominantly service-based economy characteristic of the prenuclear war U.S. pattern of production to one designed to emphasize construction would result in a potential doubling of direct and indirect energy demand per dollar worth of product. [17] The Korean War served to stimulate demand for Japanese products at a point when U.S. aid was dwindling. [17]

How the populace responds to the warnings of war cannot be ignored. [17] One estimate is that one sixth to one third of superpower arsenals will be used, depending on whether the war occurs suddenly or builds up gradually. [13] Of all fears, fear of war was by far the most frequent, with 81 percent listing war as one of their three main fears. [15] A total of 51 percent mentioned war and peace as one of their three major worries, the highest rating of any category. [15]

Despite the apparent lack of support at the federal level for crisis relocation, unplanned evacuations may still be an important factor in determining the number and types of casualties that might be sustained as a direct result of war or indirectly as a product of the evacuation itself. [17]

What if our government bans imports from the Far East for six months or a year after bombs explode there? Not only will imports have to be screened to prevent radiation from entering the country, but also sanctions against any country that uses nuclear weapons will immediately go into effect. [18] Attitude surveys ebbed and flowed over the next four decades, peaking after the Russians’ first atomic test, the creation of the hydrogen bomb, the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) initiatives, and during the present unprecedented level of worldwide concern over nuclear weapons (Kramer et al., 1983). [14] By and large, the public–and perhaps many lawmakers–believe that North Korea cannot yet attack the U.S. with a nuclear weapon, that U.S. air defenses could stop it, and that clear, timely communication between all parties is possible. [40] The meltdown and dispersal of a portion of the core of a nuclear power reactor could readily result from attack on a nuclear power plant by conventional or nuclear weapons which disabled cooling and other control systems. [13] Even more devastating, though, would be the result of direct hit by a nuclear weapon on a nuclear power reactor, with the nuclear reactor’s radioactive inventory being directly incorporated into the fireball of the nuclear explosion. [13] Men and women have differed consistently, although not dramatically, in their acceptance of the use and risks of nuclear weapons since 1949, with women being less favorable. [14] Before and since, Lewis predicted that Trump would use any positive signals to declare that he had solved the problem of North Korea?s nuclear threat, and that North Korea would not give up its nuclear weapons. [40]

While the trend to larger numbers of smaller warheads increases the potential area destroyed by nuclear weapons, the reduction in total megatonnage reduces the potential global effects. [13] Since physical effects far from the regions of nuclear explosions are much less, the most important threat to a country such as Australia is direct nuclear attack. [13] The last time that the threat of imminent nuclear attack gripped the American conscious, John F. Kennedy was in the White House. [25] The blast or heat from a one megatonne bomb – about 75 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb, and a size often found in nuclear arsenals – would kill almost all people, even those in shelters, out to a distance of two kilometres. [13] I don’t have the power to control, to say whether to have bombs or not, I don’t have the control to say whether we make nuclear weapons or not. [15]

These conclusions are tentative, since it is possible that the rapid explosion of 4000Mt of nuclear weapons could greatly alter the atmospheric circulation, with unknown consequences for the distribution of fallout. [13] Many of the 1950s-1960s explosions were very high yield, up to 60Mt, but most nuclear weapons are now 2Mt or smaller. [13]

“I think that unless we do something about nuclear weapons, the world and the human race may not have much time left.” [15] Today the United States possesses some 30,000 nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union some 20,000, and China, France and Britain several hundred to a few thousand each. [13] The Soviet Union has a set of ABMs around Moscow, designed to intercept incoming missiles by exploding their own nuclear weapons at high altitudes. [13]

Studies of the creation of oxides of nitrogen by nuclear explosions were first undertaken as part of the SST debate, to determine whether the nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s and 1960s had reduced observed ozone levels. [13] Hampson’s first major point is that the standard values given for the amount of oxides of nitrogen deposited by nuclear weapons in the upper atmosphere may be underestimated. [13]

The ports of major Australian cities could well be bombed if United States warships carrying strategic nuclear weapons were in harbour. [13] Further information here about the direct effects of nuclear weapons is taken from this basic reference. [13] Will you still want to eat vegetables grown in the San Fernando Valley if a nuclear weapon went off in Asia? What about corn that was exposed to fallout when it was in the field. [18] It is certainly true that this issue of the immense destructiveness of nuclear weapons and the possibility of the destruction of the entire world is a crucial issue and must remain in the forefront of the issues considered in our democratic society. [15] Hampson’s second major point is that a major ozone reduction might be caused by detonation of nuclear weapons at high altitudes. [13] Plutonium-239 is a fissionable substance and is used to construct nuclear weapons. [13] Only twice has a nuclear weapon actually been used, on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. [15]

In the 1950s and early 1960s a large number of nuclear weapons were exploded in the atmosphere – a total of 430 megatonnes (Mt). [13] North Korea likely has nuclear weapons capable of striking not just South Korea and Japan, but also the U.S., contrary to claims by government officials that the country does not yet have a “reliable” way to launch its weapons. [40]

A sizable fraction of nuclear arsenals is likely to be destroyed before use (attacks on nuclear submarines, airfields, missile silos), be unavailable for use (submarines in port, missiles cut off from communications) or fail to perform properly. [13] Further deaths would result from genetic defects, but the one third factor should be smaller due to the smaller fraction of high-yield weapons in present nuclear arsenals. [13]

In the immediate vicinity of a nuclear explosion, most casualties result from blast, heat and fallout during the first few days. [13] This is especially the case since the clouds from nuclear explosions of 1Mt or less are unlikely to rise high into the stratosphere, reducing stratospheric fallout and effects on ozone. [13] Many more people than this would die from exposure to fallout in the immediate vicinity of nuclear explosions. [13] This death toll would be made up mainly of the people in the immediate vicinity or downwind of nuclear explosions, and would total about ten percent of the world’s population. [13]

While the idea of a nuclear attack is unthinkably frightening, the Guamanian government’s preparations highlight the fact it is possible to survive some of them, if people take the right steps. [42] The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States, published by HMH on Aug. 7, is a work of speculative fiction that draws on deep factual knowledge. [40] Some leading emergency response planners view the persistent menace of North Korea as a new opportunity: reason to alert the American public that a limited nuclear attack can be survivable, with a few precautions. [25] Nor, perhaps, do many Americans understand the nature of the nuclear threat against them, which Lewis depicts by drawing on graphic eye-witness testimony from the Hiroshima attacks. [40]

It is possible that nuclear power reactors would be nuclear targets, because of their high economic value, because of their capability of producing plutonium for making nuclear weapons, or because of the devastating radioactivity that would be spread about. [13] The mere contemplation of a nuclear attack is horrifying, but it may be a good time to have a needed conversation many public officials are normally reluctant to have, out of concern over stoking public fears. [42] To our knowledge, little has been done on such subjects as social response to a warning of nuclear attack; willingness of health care organizations to administer aid under postattack conditions; ability of a moneyless economy to rebuild without the aid of other nations and without a heavy reliance on fuel oils. [17] No nation would have the resources or possibly the will to come to the aid of a United States devastated by a nuclear exchange. [17] In the event of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan or Iran and Israel, you probably won?t need all that because while our world will be changed, no one expects the electrical power grid to be disrupted in the U.S. (although the flow of oil to our tanks could be disrupted.) [18] Of course, this strategy will succeed only if the backup system is spared, an assumption which may be appropriate in the event of fire but less so given a nuclear exchange. [17] This is, of course, a rather mild event in contrast to the prospects of disruption due to a nuclear exchange. [17]

Another major threat to ozone comes from nuclear explosions. [13] He notes that one of the few observations of oxides of nitrogen in the wake of high-yield nuclear tests can be explained if four times as much oxides of nitrogen are produced in nuclear explosions as found in other studies, and that all this is deposited in the stratosphere. [13] These effects – effects hundreds or thousands of kilometres from nuclear explosions – are known as ‘global’ effects. [13] For this reason, exposure to early fallout is the greatest danger due to radioactivity generated by nuclear explosions. [13] The clouds of nuclear explosions larger than about one megatonne penetrate partially or wholly into the stratosphere, and deposit fission products there, which become stratospheric fallout. [13] The best chance of surviving a nuclear blast in your city or town, as well as staying alive during the fallout of toxic particles and dust that lingers in the air months after an explosion, would be to go far underground and stay there. [41]

In Lansing, emergency responders are trained in how to respond to nuclear bombs, biological and chemical attacks, and more. [16] A nuclear bomb like that exploded over Hiroshima produces a total of about 800 grammes of fission products, measured one hour after the blast. [13] The nuclear bomb exploded over Hiroshima had an explosive power of about 13 kilotonnes, denoted 13kt. [13]

Get inside: If you are warned that a nuclear attack is imminent, find shelter, preferably a concrete structure such as a commercial building. [16] The safest underground spaces when facing nuclear fallout would be two stories beneath the ground floor of a five-story apartment building, or underneath a large office or apartment building, according to FEMA’s planning guidance for responding to nuclear attacks. [41] Food grown a year after nuclear fallout will be far safer than food picked immediately following it. [18] Other biologically important radioactive species produced by nuclear explosions are caesium-137 (half-life: 27 years), iodine-131 (half-life: eight days) and carbon-14 (half-life: 5600 years). [13] This scenario raises the possibility of using an apparently ‘inadvertent’ use of ABMs or other nuclear explosions as a form of environmental warfare by creating localised depletions in the ozone layer. [13] The largest atmospheric nuclear explosion was one by the Soviet Union in 1961, of about 60Mt yield. [13] Because of the low atmospheric density at say 100 kilometres, much of the high level gamma radiation produced by a nuclear explosion will will produce x-rays which penetrate to about 40 kilometres. [13] Sheltering in place, beneath as many layers of protection as possible, is the best way to avoid the radiation that would follow a nuclear detonation. [25] Follow-up warnings and directions would follow, especially through AM/FM radio because nuclear detonations can wipe out cell phones and other communication channels. [16] Stay tuned: Further warnings and instructions will follow, most likely on AM/FM radio because nuclear detonations can wipe out cell phones and other communication devices. [16]

People who experience nuclear anxiety may therefore be more vulnerable socially and emotionally (e.g., Escalona, 1982), but the reverse is equally possible: people who are vulnerable for other reasons may then focus disproportionately on the nuclear threat. [14] This does not provide any systematic overview of the problems of nuclear issues; nor does it transmit to young people any sense of how to deal with nuclear issues, how to discuss them with others, or how to understand them. [15] I have dwelt at length on the complexities of the issue and on the feelings engendered in those concerned with it because I think these are the issues that any citizen must wrestle with in coming to grips with the nuclear issue. [15] How Swedish teenagers think and feel concerning the nuclear threat. [15] While it is difficult to quantify and neatly parcel out the relative effects of these various forces that lead to this pessimism, the nuclear threat and the immense amounts of energy and money expended on the nuclear arms race is a fundamental part of our society and surely contributes substantially to an overall sense of hopelessness and pessimism. [15] Barb Graff, director of Seattle?s Office of Emergency Management, said the city polled residents several years ago and found that they would hear and respond to messages about earthquakes and other threats but would “shut down,” and not take any preparatory action, when informed about nuclear threats. [25] Earlier in 2018, Trump said North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat after he held a summit with Kim. [40]

Calculations made in the mid-1970s assuming large nuclear arsenals with many high-yield explosions concluded that reductions of ozone could reach 50 per cent or more in the northern hemisphere, with smaller reductions in the southern hemisphere. [13] Therefore, while the radioactivity from a one megatonne nuclear explosion remains higher than that from a large (1000MW) nuclear power reactor for a few days, afterwards the reactor’s radioactivity poses a greater danger. [13] If you were to somehow survive a nuclear blast in your area, the government recommends getting inside, away from windows and doors, and staying there to avoid radiation until you receive the latest information or updates from emergency officials trained to respond to disaster situations. [41] The questionnaire focused solely on the nuclear issue rather than being a more general inquiry about youngsters’ attitudes about various matters, so that the respondents knew specifically what the investigators were interested in, and this may have affected their responses. [15] Surprisingly, 42 percent reported that they felt they had not been given sufficient information about nuclear issues in school. [15] I am deeply concerned that our understanding of the nuclear issue and its impact on youth suggest that it weakens or diminishes the vision of hope for the future of a substantial number of youngsters. [15]

It would be nearly impossible to survive the detonation of the massive multi-megaton bombs developed during the Cold War, he said. [42] “This is very, very different from the Cold War scenario, which was hundreds of thousands of times more powerful and frightening,” he said. [42] Local governments abandoned the mass public shelters they built during the Cold War. [25]

Half (50 percent) of the sample thought that the situation at present would deteriorate through more armaments or world war in the future; very few were hopeful about disarmament as a realistic possibility. [15]

While we can welcome improved rhetoric about the nuclear crisis, it is not certain that the North Koreans will relinquish the weapons for which they have sacrificed so much to build. [20] United States – developed first in an arms race with Nazi Germany (whose nuclear program was ultimately unsuccessful ), then used in 1945 against Japan to end WWII and send a message to the Soviets. [21] In addition to the North Korean threat, the larger problem of global nuclear proliferation must also be addressed. [20] Given that most nuclear warheads are going to strike densely populated zones, most of the casualties in a bilateral nuke bomb grudge match would occur in major cities and on any primary targets, as designated by the Russians (i.e.: anything that could strike back at the “reds?: nuke silos, uranium enrichment facilities, air bases, etc.) [23] While the ICBM, RS-28 Sarmat, will likely be operational within the next few years, it will not change the nuclear strike balance of power in Russia’s favor. [24]

Dramatic? I think so,” says Don Wall, director of the Nuclear Science Center at Washington State University. [43] There’s also, I think, an incident in South Africa as well when South Africa was briefly a nuclear state. [19]

In our world of talking about global catastrophic risks, we also will think about the risk of nuclear winter and in particular, the effect that that can have on global agriculture. [19]

Cuban missile crisis – in October 1962, Nikita Khrushchev had nuclear missiles secretly set up in Cuba to deter the U.S. from ever invading, or at least as a counter to the US’s missiles in Turkey. [21] That’s primarily because the U.S. has better potential to get more nuclear warheads onto Russian targets than Russia could get onto U.S. targets. [24] Russian nuclear strategic submarine, or SSBN, forces are also less adept than their U.S. counterparts. [24] The second weakness of Russian nuclear forces is that they are underfunded and less competent than their U.S. counterparts. [24]

If the worst does happen, know at least that the U.S. has poured millions of dollars into technologies and treatments to help you survive a nuclear event. [44]

This type of explosion would produce massive amounts of nuclear contamination as the ground near the explosion would be heavily irradiated before being blown into the atmosphere. [21] Seth : Well, the first thing that really struck me was, “Wow, there are a lot of ways of being killed by nuclear weapons.” [19] They are going to build the first nuclear fusion reactor to sustain greater than break-even in the world 29 (or at least the prototype) as well. [21]

Tara Drozdenko, Outrider?s managing director for nuclear policy, who has a doctorate in physics from UCLA and has worked for the State Department in counterterrorism, hopes you don?t get too enthralled by the graphics. [43] Nuclear physicists are using film scanners and computer analysis on old bomb test footage to uncover the weapons’ secrets. [44] In November 1961, The Seattle Times ran a 15-part series titled, “Nuclear survival.” [43] This is scary because this got passed up the chain and supposedly, President Boris Yeltsin, it was Yeltsin at the time, actually activated the nuclear football in case he needed to authorize a response. [19]

I mean, the United States might be the most transparent out of all of the nuclear armed countries. [19] Since many have lately been throwing around the term, “limited nuclear strike?, then there?s a very good chance that various warring nations might be engaged in exchanging radioactive blows over the course of a month (rather than within hours). [23] The extension here is that while both nations retain a triad of nuclear strike forces — ICBM-armed ground bases, aircraft, and submarines — Russia would struggle to utilize the aircraft and submarine components effectively. [24] This is a problem for Russia in that the exigency of effective nuclear strike command, control, and operational competency is impossible to overstate. [24]

This particular sub happened to be armed with nuclear torpedoes, and it actually came to a vote as to whether or not to use them. [21] It’s actually not really, honestly clear to me why you would use a nuclear depth charge, but there’s not any evidence they ever intended to use them but they sent out nuclear armed ships, essentially, to deal with a crisis in the Falklands. [19]

It only requires 1,000 warheads to initiate a nuclear winter. [23] Just because an EMP had been detonated, doesn?t mean that it?s from a nuclear warhead. [23]

If you have one and wear it, it will protect you from inhaling or ingesting nuclear radiation. [22] In 2016 he called for the country to reinforce its military nuclear potential. [45] Seth : Yeah, I think there were probably incidents involving all of the nuclear armed countries, certainly involving China. [19] Officials rated the event a 7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. [22]

A lot of times, I think, when you talk about catastrophic risk, you’re not simply talking about the impact of the initial event, but the long-term consequences it could have starting more wars, ongoing famines, a shock to the economic system that can cause political problems, so these are things that we need to look at more. [19] In war, this would enable U.S. Virginia class attack submarines to hunt and kill the Russian fleet before they reached their launch patrol sectors. [24] Correspondingly, in the event of war, Russian strategic bombers would find themselves highly vulnerable to detection, interception, and destruction by U.S. fighter interceptors. [24]

Fallout radiation will only last for about 2 weeks, but during protracted war, you?ll need to know when it?s safe to resurface and scavenge for resources and more importantly? when it?s not. [23] Obviously neither side wants a war, but I think there’s a danger of the kind of inadvertent escalation, miscalculation, and that hasn’t really gone away. [19] Robert : I personally do think that’s possible because I think a number of the scenarios that would involve using a nuclear weapon or not between the United States and Russia, or even the United States and China, so I think that some scenarios involve a few nuclear weapons. [19]

In the first one there were plans made up by the United States, the Joint Chiefs of Staff allegedly recommended that nuclear weapons be used against China if the conflict intensified and that President Eisenhower was apparently pretty receptive to this idea. [19] My general understanding is that hair-trigger alert is used as a means to enhance deterrence in order to make it less likely that either side would use their nuclear weapons in the first place, but regarding the specifics of it, that’s not something that I’ve personally looked at closely enough to really be able to comment on. [19] I’m accustomed to thinking of nuclear weapons as having a fairly substantial taboo attached to them, but I feel like the taboo has perhaps strengthened over the years, such that leadership now is less inclined to give the use of nuclear weapons serious consideration than it was back then. [19] I think this is one of the biggest points of uncertainty for the overall risk, is if there is an initial use of nuclear weapons, how likely is it that additional nuclear weapons are used and how many and in what ways? I feel like despite having studied this a modest amount, I don’t really have a good answer to that question. [19] Not that one nuclear weapon being used wouldn’t be an incredibly catastrophic event as well, but I think with that kind of risk you really need to be very careful to try to minimize it as much possible. [19] I think that would be the same issue if there were a lot of nuclear weapons used. [19]

Right now, I might be most worried that the U.S. would launch a bloody-nose attack against North Korea and North Korea would respond with a nuclear weapon, so it depends a little bit. [19] Until recently, it was assumed that Mutual Assured Destruction would be the best way to prevent states from attacking each other with nuclear weapons, since it would be suicide. 1 However, with the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the fear that undeterrable wackos or religious fanatics that literally believe in the end of days as something desirable might get them, people are frantically working to find alternatives. [21] The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons 18 prevents nuclear weapons states from transferring them to other states or helping them to make their own, whilst tacitly acknowledging that owning nuclear weapons isn’t illegal per se. [21]

One dirty bomb design that has never been put into practice does use a nuclear weapon as its delivery system. [21] Some of it is because I’m not a historian, this is not my specialty, but there were any number of events that it appears that the nuclear weapons were, at least may have been, seriously considered for use in a conflict. [19] Israel pursues a policy of “nuclear ambiguity”, always dancing around the question of whether or not it has nuclear weapons and maintaining that it will not be the first nation to “introduce” nukes to the Middle East, but most observers generally agree that they have them, and a number of leaked documents have all but confirmed it. [21] The United States, Russia, and China, with their large conventional military forces, would have the most to gain from outlawing nuclear weapons, which are an equalizer for smaller nations and terrorists. [20] Some of the incidents that Seth mentioned with China, the danger or the nuclear armed power that might have used nuclear weapons was the United States. [19] That has also been a stated goal of the United States, which signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1968. [20]

The bomb does far less damage than a nuclear weapon and even the conventional explosive doesn’t need to be particularly big. [21] Just to pick one example, in 1954 and 1955 was known as the first Taiwan Straits Crisis, and the second crisis, by the way, in 1958, also included plans for nuclear weapons use. [19] “In such a situation, we expect to be struck by nuclear weapons, but we will not use them” first, he said. [45] Even with India and Pakistan, they don’t necessarily, I wouldn’t think they would necessarily, use all what do they have each, like a hundred or so nuclear weapons I wouldn’t necessarily assume they would use them all. [19] Robert : Well, I agree with Seth, it’s astounding what the range, the sheer panoply of bad things that could happen, but I think that once you get into a situation where cities are being destroyed by nuclear weapons, or really anything being destroyed by nuclear weapons, it can unpredictable really fast. [19] That is something we need to look at, in some sense, even more seriously, even though the chance of that is probably a fair amount smaller than the chance of one nuclear weapon being used. [19] This is what makes proliferation so hard to stop. It doesn’t particularly help that a number of countries, including Canada, South Korea, Germany, and Japan, possess the technology to create nuclear weapons quite quickly (but, so far, have chosen not to – in Japan’s case, it’s because they know what it feels like to be on the receiving end). [21] It should be noted that almost every time a nation develops nuclear weapons, another nation also feels forced to. [21] It is a good time for a discussion of the risks of maintaining the present course versus the risks of outlawing nuclear weapons, just as we have outlawed biologic and chemical weapons of mass destruction. [20] It is time, with the help of an informed citizenry, to address not just the symptom but also the underlying disease: the existence of thousands of legal nuclear weapons threatening billions of innocent civilians. [20]

Most of the time when we think about nuclear detonations and how you can get killed by them, you think about, all right, there’s the initial explosion and whether it’s the blast itself or the buildings falling on you, or the fire, it might be the fire, or maybe it’s a really high dose of radiation that you can get if you?re close enough to the detonation, that’s probably how you can die. [19] The first (and sometimes last) thing noticed after a nuclear detonation is called the “double flash” — an intense blast of light that’s immediately followed by the debris generated by the explosion. [21]

We, in this paper, built out a pretty detailed model that looks at all of the different details, or at least a lot of the various details, of what each of those five effects of nuclear weapons detonations would have and what that means in human terms. [19] Vladimir Putin, March 1 : “President Vladimir Putin announced an array of new nuclear weapons on Thursday, in one of his most bellicose speeches in years, saying they could hit almost any point in the world and evade a U.S.-built missile shield.” [43] The nations that have developed nuclear weapons since NPT was signed claim that, in the 50 years since, the original nuclear-armed signatories of the NPT have not fulfilled their pledge to work for “cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date” and negotiate “complete disarmament.” [20] ICAN developed a UN Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted by a majority of the world’s nations last year. [20]

Ariel: If you?d like to read the papers discussed in this podcast or if you want to learn more about the threat of nuclear weapons and what you can do about it, please visit futureoflife.org and find this podcast on the homepage, where we?ll be sharing links in the introduction. [19] There is a ban on the use of weapons which do excessive damage to the environment, which would obviously be the case with nuclear weapons. [21] Kim Jong Un, Dec. 31, 2017 : “The U.S. should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table. [43] I had some familiarity with the history of incidents involving nuclear weapons, but there turned out to be much more that’s gone on over the years than I really had any sense for. [19] Robert : Well, I don’t think that non-state actors using a nuclear weapon is the big risk right now. [19] Continued possession of nuclear weapons by the great powers has bred proliferation. [20] There are scenarios in which just one or a few nuclear weapons would be used. [19] In the 1980s, there was broad public opposition to the nuclear arms race, which was followed by a significant reduction in the number of nuclear weapons, from more than 60,000 to about 15,000 today. [20] In a counterforce nuclear exchange the objective would be to destroy the opponent’s ground-based nuclear weapons. [21]

Whatever argument can be had over the long-term effects of nuclear attack, the short-term effects are documented in excruciating detail from first-hand experience, both at test sites and actual use during WWII. [21] This January, state Rep. Dick Muri, a Steilacoom Republican, and a retired Air Force navigator on C-141 planes, sponsored a bill that would remove the prohibition from preparing for a nuclear attack. [43] Nuclear threats come not from world powers but from rogue nation states and terrorist organizations. [44] Though bombs aren’t the only nuclear threats; last year, hackers targeted a U.S. nuclear plant. [44] For the next five years, Barrett?s team will be using its high-throughput modeling system to help the Defense Threat Reduction Agency grapple not just with nuclear bombs but with infectious disease epidemics and natural disasters too. [44] In recent years, what to do in case of a nuclear attack isn?t something we exactly dwell on. [43] It is also important to understand there are different types of radiation that come from a nuclear attack. [22] From protective clothing to radiation detection, you will need a few extra items in your preps to be sure you can survive a nuclear attack. [22]

There are two primary nuclear threats: nuclear meltdown and nuclear attack. [22]

There hasn’t been a nuclear detonation in a long time and we hope that there will never be another one, but I think that it’s important to think about it this way so that we can find the ways that we can mitigate the risk. [19] I also think, and this is an intuition, this isn’t a conclusion that we have from the paper, but I also think that the danger of something happening between the United States and Russia is probably underestimated, because we’re not in the Cold War anymore, relations aren’t necessarily good, it’s not clear what relations are, but people will say things like, “Well, neither side wants a war.” [19]

Despite the end of the Cold War, hundreds of weapons remain poised in launch-on-warning status, vulnerable to triggering by computer or human error. [20] Able Archer 83 – following Saint Reagan’s rapid escalation of the Cold War in his first term, the Soviet leadership was convinced he was going to launch a first strike. [21] Cold War spy fiction became a very popular genre of both books and movies, with authors such as Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy, 21 Dean Koontz, John LeCarr and many others building lucrative careers on both the human drama of covert ops and the overhanging threat of total war. [21] When the computer scientist began his career at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, the Cold War was trudging into its fifth decade. [44] During the Cold War, many propaganda films were created as well, generally of the sort considered most appropriate for Mystery Science Theater 3000, and aspects of the civil defense infrastructure became part of the national consciousness in many countries (most notably, in the United States, CONELRAD 24 and its successor, the Emergency Broadcast System 25 ). [21] Back during the Cold War years, a 1951 civil-defense manual sponsored by KVI Radio, then a market leader, showed a mushroom cloud detonating over downtown Seattle, red flames erupting into the sky. [43]

The classic example is that World War I maybe almost didn’t happen, that it only happened because a very specific sequence of events happened that led to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and had that gone a little bit differently, he wouldn’t have been assassinated and World War I wouldn’t have happened and the world we live in now would be very different than what it is. [19]

France is also a world leader in peaceful use of nuclear power, deriving something like 80% of its electrical needs from nuclear generation (slightly less than that in installed capacity but the nuclear reactors tend to work the hardest). [21] We have nuclear power plants spread all around the world and disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima have not changed our use of nuclear power. [22]

I mean, these are nuclear powers that occasionally shoot at each other across the line of control, so I do think that’s very scary. [19]

A global nuclear exchange almost happened by accident several times so far due to errors in computer systems and/or the humans operating them. [21] Attempts have been made to evaluate the likely effects of a full nuclear exchange. [21] None of this is to say the immediate effects of a nuclear blast are a picnic. [21]

If one nuclear bomb is used in anger in the 21st century, that’s terrible, but wouldn’t be all that surprising or mean the destruction of the human race. [19] FEMA published a nuclear fallout map of the U.S. that can help you determine the level of safety of your region. [22] A nuclear fallout suit, or nuclear radiation suit, is essentially a Hazmat suit that is made with materials that will help shield against radiation. [22]

That same month, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs reported that 75 percent of Americans consider North Korea?s nuclear program a top threat. [33] During the 1990’s I was very concerned that American military action in the former Yugoslavia might bring about a situation similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis, where both Russia and the U.S. found themselves dragged, reluctantly but inexorably, toward full scale nuclear confrontation. [28]

In recent months, Hawaii’s state emergency-management agency has added a “Nuclear Threat” tab on its website. [34] “North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland,” Trump said. [31] Therefore, some inside the Trump administration (and, it appears, the president himself) believe that a preemptive military strike aimed at hitting North Korea’s nuclear installations is a viable, even unavoidable, action. [31] On January 2, U.S. President Donald Trump sent the now-infamous tweet in which he asserted that his “nuclear button” was both “much bigger” and “more powerful” than that of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. [46]

Because, even if the population was safe from the direct effects of the nuclear warheads, another danger was imminent. [27] Nobody knows the potential long-term psychiatric effects of nuclear anxiety. [33]

Nuclear engineers and technicians from the university were able to monitor radiation in the shelters they occupied, and CB radios broadcast results to other shelters. [27] A nuclear shelter about 3 floors below ground with little air ventilation to let in the fall out. [29] A nuclear missile would make landfall in 20 minutes and kill an estimated 18,000 civilians. [33] Nuclear exercises were once commonplace in the United States. [34] Nuclear proliferation is creating more and more nuclear tinder that could set off a global fire, with India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea being the most obvious possible flash points. [28] Fallout, the deadly cloud of radioactive particles sucked up by the nuclear fireballs, could easily blanket the town of Charlottesville in a matter of hours. [27] Nationally, Ventura County, California, just to the north of Los Angeles, leads the country in nuclear preparedness. [34] She is the author of the nuclear fiction story “Charlottesville,” commissioned by the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment in 1979. [27] Of course, over the years, nuclear capacity has change, possibly for the better. [29] This information can help officials ensure all citizens are protected in the event of a nuclear event. [46]

RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(46 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)

1. (114) Nuclear warfare – Wikipedia

2. (89) Children’s and Adolescents’ Perceptions of the Threat of Nuclear War: Implications of Recent Studies – The Medical Implications of Nuclear War – NCBI Bookshelf

3. (82) The global health effects of nuclear war

4. (67) Podcast: What Are the Odds of Nuclear War? A Conversation With Seth Baum and Robert de Neufville – Future of Life Institute

5. (60) Adult Beliefs, Feelings, and Actions Regarding Nuclear War: Evidence from Surveys and Experiments – The Medical Implications of Nuclear War – NCBI Bookshelf

6. (32) Nuclear war – RationalWiki

7. (28) Ch. 1: The Dangers from Nuclear Weapons: Myths and Facts – Nuclear War Survival Skills

8. (26) The Consequences of Nuclear War: An Economic and Social Perspective – The Medical Implications of Nuclear War – NCBI Bookshelf

9. (26) What a Nuclear Attack in New York Would Look Like

10. (18) How to Survive a Nuclear Attack (with Pictures) – wikiHow

11. (18) If nuclear war broke out where’s the safest place on Earth? | Science | The Guardian

12. (14) After the summit, the threat of nuclear war remains – The Boston Globe

13. (14) How to survive a nuclear blast if you have a few minutes of warning – Business Insider

14. (11) The Ultimate Nuclear War Survival Guide – Ready To Go Survival

15. (11) Don’t worry, the US would win a nuclear war with Russia

16. (11) How to survive a nuclear bomb: 3 steps to save you in case of a missile or attack by North Korea

17. (11) A book predicts Trump’s nuclear war with North Korea — Quartz

18. (11) 5 Ways a Nuclear War Could Go Down (And Billions of People Would Die) | The National Interest

19. (10) If nuclear bomb hits Michigan: ‘Get inside, stay inside,’ police say

20. (9) 5 Essentials For Surviving a Nuclear War – Family Protection Association

21. (9) What should you do in case of nuclear attack? ‘Don’t run. Get inside’

22. (8) This Is What You Should Do During a Nuclear Attack | Time

23. (8) 12 Safest Places To Go During Nuclear War

24. (8) The Probability of Nuclear War

25. (8) What would happen in a nuclear attack? Interactive graphic shows blast zone in Seattle, other cities | The Seattle Times

26. (7) ‘Charlottesville’: A Government Story About Nuclear War – The Atlantic

27. (7) What To Do in Case of a Nuclear Attack – How to Prepare for a Nuclear Bomb

28. (6) Planning and Preparing for Nuclear War | Captain Daves Nuclear Survival Tips

29. (6) How to Know if a Nuclear Bomb Is Coming

30. (6) Scientists Know How You?ll Respond to Nuclear War–and They Have a Plan | WIRED

31. (6) After Hawaii false alarm, get serious about preparing for nuclear attack

32. (5) Ch. 3: Psychological Preparations – Nuclear War Survival Skills

33. (5) How Trump’s North Korea ‘Options’ Could Lead to Nuclear War Rolling Stone

34. (5) How to Survive a Nuclear Attack: Hide (but You’ll Probably Die Anyway)

35. (4) How To Survive A Nuclear Attack | Metro US

36. (4) Where would the safest place in Texas be during a nuclear war? – Quora

37. (4) The threat of nuclear war

38. (4) Guam has some good advice on how to survive a nuclear attack

39. (3) Nuclear Explosion | Ready.gov

40. (2) Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement

41. (2) Where Are The Safest Places To Hide In A Nuclear Attack? It’s Not Just Underground Bunkers

42. (2) The map of where you need to go to survive a nuclear war | indy100

43. (2) Russians “Will Go To Heaven” In Event Of Nuclear War: Vladimir Putin

44. (2) The CDC Is Preparing for Nuclear War. Should You Prepare, Too? – Futurism

45. (1) 16 Tips for Being as Prepared as Possible in Case of a Nuclear War

46. (1) C.D.C. Postpones Session Preparing U.S. for Nuclear War – The New York Times