If China And Russia Launch Nuclear War, Which U.S Cities Would Be Hit First And Why?

If China And Russia Launch Nuclear War, Which U.S Cities Would Be Hit First And Why?

The chance of a nuclear bomb hitting a U.S. city is unlikely but not out of the question, nuclear experts say.

If the North Korean dictator makes good on last year’s promise to deliver a Christmas present to the U.S., which U.S. cities are likeliest to be hit? Or is there more to fear from Russia and China? Or terrorists?

Federal guidelines in place are not enough to prepare U.S. cities for a nuclear attack, according to Irwin Redlener, a public-health expert at Columbia University who specializes in disaster preparedness.

Redlener identified six U.S. targets that he thinks are the most likely for a nuclear attack: New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Not only some of the densest and largest cities in the U.S., they have critical infrastructure such as energy plants, financial hubs, government facilities, and wireless transmission systems vital to U.S. security, Business Insider reported.

Each city has an emergency-management website but only LA and New York directly mention a nuclear attack. The nuclear fallout shelters set up in 1961 at the height of the Cold War no longer exist. The Community Fallout Shelter Program designated safe places to hide after a nuclear attack in cities across the country.

To help people understand how a nuclear bomb would affect large cities around the world, nuclear-weapons historian Alex Wellerstein created an interactive simulator tool called NukeMap. Using updated Cold War models of nuclear explosions, Wellerstein’s simulator can roughly predict the number of casualties and injuries from a nuclear bomb in a given place.

Images created using Wellerstein’s simulation tool show how each of the six cities would be affected by a 15-kiloton blast — the kind detonated over Hiroshima during World War II.

Using the Hiroshima nuclear bomb as an example, more than 420,000 people would die if a 15-kiloton atomic bomb was dropped on New York City‘s Time Square. More than 683,000 people would be injured. Most of Midtown Manhattan would be obliterated and the effects could stretch out to New Jersey and Queens.

Almost 100,000 people would die in Washington D.C. if a bomb was dropped near the National Mall. About 203,100 people would be injured. The blast would damage the White House and the Washington Monument. Windows would be shattered at the Pentagon.

Almost 130,000 people would die and 245,000 would be injured if an atomic bomb was dropped over Chicago.

If a bomb was dropped over downtown Los Angeles, about 84,000 people would die and more than 187,000 would be injured. Because LA is spread out, many neighborhoods including Beverly Hills and West Hollywood would be relatively unscathed, Daily Mail reported.

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An atomic bomb dropped over San Francisco’s Mission District would kill about 56,000 people and injure 209,000. The Golden Gate Bridge and the Marina District would be largely unaffected in the blast.

About 90,000 Houston residents would die and 65,000 could be injured from a Hiroshima-like blast in the city’s downtown.

There are an estimated 14,000 nuclear warheads, and more than 90 percent of them belong to the U.S. (6,185) and Russia (6,490), according to the Arms Control Association. China has 290 known warheads, Israel has 90 and North Korea has 30.

“The Russians know as much as we do about them. In a hot nuclear war with Russia every military installation in the US will be obliterated. And every city and town,” BlueTree posted in the comments section at IFLScience. Short for I F#cking Love Science, IFLScience began as a Facebook page in 2012, then became a website that publishes “light popular science stories.”

“yah, this is more about terrorists with a nuke than states…if russia launches the world is over,” another IFL user commented.

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