Two maps that show what would happen to you in a nuclear war

Deteriorating relations between the US and North Korea have led many to start reflecting on the potential consequences of nuclear war

The Cold War may be history, but its nuclear weapons survive among the arsenals of a number of countries. Now, the deteriorating relations between the great powers has led many to reflect on the possible consequences of a hypothetical nuclear conflict.

Would I survive a Nuke is an interactive map that lets you see the possible consequences of a nuclear attack, based on your location. It considers factors such as the size of the bomb and the number of cities impacted, and shows you the potential reach of the radiation.

Today, there are over 15,000 nuclear weapons ready to be employed in the case of a global conflict. It wouldn’t take many of them to finish off humanity all together. Although it’s hard to imagine any country making the decision to launch a nuclear strike, the current atmosphere of political uncertainty certainly reminds us of the immense danger posed by these nuclear arsenals.

Nukemap is another map that lays bear the potentially catastrophic consequences of nuclear war. The idea for the map – which shows the destructive reach of almost every nuclear weapon on Earth – came from Alex Wellerstein of the Stevens Institute in New Jersey.

Wellerstein used data from the Future of Life Institution (FLI), an organisation dedicated to studying and mitigating the existential risks facing humanity. The creation of the app was made possible by the fact that Wellerstein had access to the National Security Archive’s comprehensive data on nuclear military objectives. The resulting map displays the areas most at risk in the case of a nuclear attack, and the catastrophic consequences they could suffer:

Eastern Europe would be among the areas most affected by radiation after a 500-kiloton nuclear attack on Moscow.

Eastern Europe and the Middle East would be the areas most-affected in a 10 megaton nuclear strike.

Wind would play a decisive role in affecting the course of the radiation. Denmark, for example, would come out relatively unscathed.

The death toll from a nuclear conflict could range from 80 million to 800 million, depending on the type and number of bombs used. Although they are just hypothetical representations, these maps nonetheless present us with very graphic reminders of the risks we all face from nuclear war.


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