But let’s be honest, most people don’t survive even moderate damage zones. Very few people. (Even people in banks have to go into vaults to be in the safest place. Subway people will get the most profit in stations that are very deep underground.) Most People live on wooden frames or other weakly armored areas. building.
This should not be interpreted as safe in the event of a nuclear detonation, says Dylan Spaulding, a geoscientist and nuclear expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Made of concrete reinforced with metal and designed with earthquake resistance in mind, the sturdy structure can withstand the pressures the team modeled, but these pressures are too strong for most traditional wooden houses and Enough to demolish a brick structure without reinforcement, he says.
And he points out that blasts are only part of the story. While being the main hazard of nuclear weapons, they also emit ionizing radiation and heat. , followed by fallout.
Radiation exposure through the skin and inhalation can result in many health effects, including skin burns, organ damage, and cancer. Radiation exposure can range tens of miles from the epicenter, so people who survive the blast can later be knocked down by the radiation.
The Dorikakis example focuses on so-called “strategic” nuclear weapons deployed in ICBMs, but there are also “tactical” nuclear weapons that can be dropped onto the battlefield from planes and detonated on the ground. Such explosions would play out differently, but they could be deadly, devastating, and expose more people to lethal doses of radiation, Spaulding says.
Russia and the United States also possess so-called low-yield nuclear weapons, which have a yield of 5-10 kilotons, slightly smaller than the 15-kiloton atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. These still wreak havoc, crossing dangerous lines and potentially escalating conflicts to the use of larger weapons.
The only time mankind’s most devastating weapons were used in warfare was at the end of World War II in 1945, when the United States destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan with two atomic bombs. Together, these weapons killed over 100,000 Japanese civilians and injured many more. and Spaulding Nevada test sitethey provide some of the only real-world evidence of the types of structures that can survive an atomic explosion, and how well they do.
But last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted that he would not drop nuclear weapons from consideration in attacking Ukraine. NATO leaders have not used such threatening rhetoric, but international organizations conducted nuclear exercises Simulated dropping of a B61 nuclear bomb in October.US President Joe Biden nuclear posture review That same month, he abandoned the “no first use” policy he had previously espoused. You can also imagine nuclear risks in other conflicts. north korea use nukes against South Korea, or pakistan and india use them against each other.
The world’s arsenal totals about 12,700 warheads. Federation of American ScientistsThanks to disarmament treaties, this is less than the peak of about 70,000 near the end of the Cold War. But some of those pacts have since dissolved, and as the Doomsday Clock metaphor suggests, the danger never went away.
This is not a game, says Dorikakis. The risk of a catastrophic nuclear attack is all too real, and “we must keep the peace by understanding the risks of not keeping the peace.”