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NOWHERE TO HIDE -How a nuclear war would kill you — and almost everyone else.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , 20 Oct 22, François Diaz-Maurin (@francoisdm) is the associate editor for nuclear affairs at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.Thomas Gaulkin (@ThomasGaulkin) is multimedia editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

By François Diaz-Maurin, This summer, the New York City Emergency Management department released a new public service announcement on nuclear preparedness, instructing New Yorkers about what to do during a nuclear attack. The 90-second video starts with a woman nonchalantly announcing the catastrophic news: “So there’s been a nuclear attack. Don’t ask me how or why, just know that the big one has hit.” Then the PSA video advises New Yorkers on what to do in case of a nuclear attack: Get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned to media and governmental updates.

But nuclear preparedness works better if you are not in the blast radius of a nuclear attack. Otherwise, there’s no going into your house and closing your doors because the house will be gone. Now imagine there have been hundreds of those “big ones.” That’s what even a “small” nuclear war would include. If you are lucky not to be within the blast radius of one of those, it may not ruin your day, but soon enough, it will ruin your whole life.

Direct radiation is the most immediate effect of the detonation of a nuclear weapon. It is produced by the nuclear reactions inside the bomb and comes mainly in the form of gamma rays and neutrons. Direct radiation lasts less than a second, but its lethal level can extend over a mile in all directions from the detonation point of a modern-day nuclear weapon with an explosive yield equal to the effect of several hundred kilotons of TNT.

Microseconds into the explosion of a nuclear weapon, energy released in the form of X-rays heats the surrounding environment, forming a fireball of superheated air. Inside the fireball, the temperature and pressure are so extreme that all matter is rendered into a hot plasma of bare nuclei and subatomic particles, as is the case in the Sun’s multi-million-degree core.

The fireball following the airburst explosion of a 300-kiloton nuclear weapon—like the W87 thermonuclear warhead deployed on the Minuteman III missiles currently in service in the US nuclear arsenal—can grow to more than 600 meters (2,000 feet) in diameter and stays blindingly luminous for several seconds, before its surface cools.


The light radiated by the fireball’s heat—accounting for more than one-third of the thermonuclear weapon’s explosive energy—will be so intense that it ignites fires and causes severe burns at great distances. The thermal flash from a 300-kiloton nuclear weapon could cause first-degree burns as far as 13 kilometers (8 miles) from ground zero.

Then comes the blast wave.…………………………………….

Radioactive fallout…………………..

Immediate effects of nuclear war

In a nuclear war, hundreds or thousands of detonations would occur within minutes of each other.

Regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan that involved about 100 15-kiloton nuclear weapons launched at urban areas would result in 27 million direct deaths.

A global all-out nuclear war between the United States and Russia with over four thousand 100-kiloton nuclear warheads would lead, at minimum, to 360 million quick deaths.*  That’s about 30 million people more than the entire US population…………………………..

As horrific as those statistics are, the tens to hundreds of millions of people dead and injured within the first few days of a nuclear conflict would only be the beginnings of a catastrophe that eventually will encompass the whole world.

Global climatic changes, widespread radioactive contamination, and societal collapse virtually everywhere could be the reality that survivors of a nuclear war would contend with for many decades.

The longer-term consequences of nuclear war

In recent years, in some US military and policy circles, there has been a growing perception that a limited nuclear war can be fought and won. Many experts believe, however, that a limited nuclear war is unlikely to remain limited. What starts with one tactical nuclear strike or a tit-for-tat nuclear exchange between two countries could escalate to an all-out nuclear war ending with the immediate and utter destruction of both countries.

But the catastrophe will not be limited to those two belligerents and their allies.

The long-term regional and global effects of nuclear explosions have been overshadowed in public discussions by the horrific, obvious, local consequences of nuclear explosions. Military planners have also focused on the short-term effects of nuclear explosions……………………..

widespread fires and other global climatic changes resulting from many nuclear explosions may not be accounted for in war plans and nuclear doctrines. These collateral effects are difficult to predict; assessing them requires scientific knowledge that most military planners don’t possess or take into account. 

Global climatic changes……………………………………………..

Stratospheric soot injection………………………………

Changes in the atmosphere…………………………………

Changes on land…………………….

Changes in the ocean……………………….

Impacts on food production……………………………………….

Nowhere to hide

The impacts of nuclear war on agricultural food systems would have dire consequences for most humans who survive the war and its immediate effects.

The overall global consequences of nuclear war—including both short-term and long-term impacts—would be even more horrific causing hundreds of millions—even billions—of people to starve to death………………………………………………………

References & Acknowledgments…………………………
 https://thebulletin.org/2022/10/nowhere-to-hide-how-a-nuclear-war-would-kill-you-and-almost-everyone-else/

October 22, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war

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