How would a nuclear war between Russia and the US affect you personally?

By The Future of Life Institute

October 05, 2023 – Information Clearing House There are an estimated 13,000 nuclear weapons in the world, distributed unevenly among nine states. Some of them are hundreds of times more powerful than those which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The use of just a few hundred could leave Earth’s population decimated by a nuclear winter.

The risks of nuclear weapons range from nuclear terrorism, or a ‘tactical nuclear’ attack on a single city, which could kill millions of people, to global nuclear war, which could kill billions. Notably, the latter has almost happened many times by accident. The potential impacts of these risks are countless; many are still unexplored. A 1979 report estimated, based on initial blasts, radiation risks, power grid disruption and more, that 28-88% Americans and 22-50% Soviets would die. That was before nuclear winter was discovered.

In the 1980s, researchers saw that a nuclear war could cause vast amounts of smoke to spread around the globe, blocking out sunlight and transforming summers into winters, much as asteroids or supervolcanoes did in the past, causing mass extinctions. Today’s more sophisticated climate models show that 1980s research underestimated this impact. In several core farming regions, climate models show temperatures will reduce by 20°C for several summers, and by about half ten years later. The world as we know it would crumble, due to starvation, hypothermia, and epidemics.

Even if just one superpower launched its full nuclear arsenal against the other without retaliation, nuclear winter would still ensure the attacking country’s self-destruction. This realisation helped motivate the ‘nuclear freeze’ movement following the Cold War, which saw a 75% reduction of global nuclear stockpiles. But despite the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s pledge to disarm, progress has dwindled. The nuclear freeze is thawing.

The design and production of new nuclear weapons are not only unnecessary for deterrence, but actually make accidental war more likely. As well as encouraging states to develop nuclear weapons, it gives terrorists better access to enrichment materials.

FLI thus opposes such development, as well as weapons testing. We also encourage steps to reduce the tremendous risk of nuclear winter: this includes de-escalation from tense war scenarios – when near-misses have disproportionately occurred – and smaller steps like the removal of weapons from ‘hair-trigger’ alert.

Looking to recent developments, we also stand firmly against efforts to incorporate Artificial Intelligence systems into nuclear weapons controls. Such an incorporation raises the possibility of catastrophic miscalculations and blunders by speeding up response times, and excluding the human intuition and hesitation which have many times helped avert World War III.

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Views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.





7 responses to “How would a nuclear war between Russia and the US affect you personally?”

  1. Jim. Avatar

    In case of nuclear war nobody wins. 

    1. Prometheus Avatar

      Or, to quote an old instruction booklet, in case of mushrooms clouding your horizon, find a sheltered corner, squat down, place your head between your knees, and kiss yo’ a$$ goodbye.

  2. exot1c Avatar

    Today, in order to feed and water billions of people, a huge industry and developed logistics are required. It is enough to destroy them and billions of people will die without any nuclear winter. 3 months, and the whole world will go not even to the Dark Ages, but straight to the Stone Age. And such things as nuclear winter and radiation will be perceived as annoying little things.

  3. Disadvantaged Avatar

    Other things to consider is the fact those in larger cities would most likely be hit by two or more H-bombs to make sure the entire city was totally destroyed. The Russian tested a 50 megaton H-bomb many years ago. If I remember correctly, the blast area was something like 40 to 50 miles in diameter.

    If you go to this website, if it still exist, you can select a city, select the one of the various types of nuclear weapon to be used. The map will show the amount of damage done to a major city. I found it interesting and informative a few years back.

  4. mhpaine Avatar

    I would ask that the authors of this article reconsider their statistics with the inclusion of several facts that need to be considered in such a sum.
    1. there are 343 nuclear power stations on this earth, all of which need monthly maintenance and parts replaced to keep them stable. Without maintenance they are soon likely to fail. Consider the accidents of 5-mile island, Chernobyl , Doonray, Fukushima in Japan and others that were capped and made safe, the eco damage caused by them and then consider what the effect on the world would be with 342 power stations going up without safe closing down plus the effect of any nuclear attack damage.
    2. There are over 3000 chemical storage and production plants in the world, most by rivers and waterways that need regular repairs to remain safe. Consider the effect of our freshwater systems and ground water with a nuclear strike interruption of this necessary repair schedule upon the eco system.
    3. There are over 3 million tons of radioactive waste stored around the world, by-products of the nuclear industry that are stored in flimsy storage facilities that need to be continually maintained to keep safe. Again, add to the model this fact with the above considerations.
    The real likelihood of any nuclear war strike would be a mass extinction event that would kill and or sterilise all of this planet, including the seas and even the plankton and amoeba.
    I am sorry , but the movie descriptive of survivors of a nuclear war going down their holes or taking to submarines and then after the event looking up at a nice clear sky and starting again, even at a stone age level, are pure fantasy.
    There would be no continuation of life because all surviving life would be sterile and unable to reproduce for a multitude of reasons.

    1. Disadvantaged Avatar

      You wrote a very good reply that we would have to consider other damages that would be done. None of the issues you brought up has been considered as it relates to maintenance work. Those plants would fall into disrepair.

  5. doug Avatar

    A . I. in nuclear weapons systems? What kind of science fiction reality is human society becoming? Stand aside and let the lemmings hurl themselves over the cliff.