The consequences of a one-megaton nuclear bomb*
First, a dazzling white light suddenly appears. This is the light of the fireball, a light unlike any light seen before, a blinding light so all-encompassing and overwhelming that everything else is rendered invisible.
Nano-seconds later a searing heat, reaching temperatures of 100,000,000°C – the temperature of the sun’s core, ignites everything flammable and melts everything else in an area of 200 square miles. Instantly, all people are vaporized and all structures turned to dust.
About five seconds later comes the blast wave. Travelling at 400mph, ricocheting violently off natural features and laden with debris, it wields unimaginable power akin to a giant fist squeezing and crushing everything from all sides.
Meanwhile the fireball grows until it is more than a mile wide, rocketing upwards to a height of over six miles and creating a mushroom cloud overhead with a diameter of about 12 miles. Day turns to night under thick layers of asphyxiating dust and smoke.
Within minutes, fires ignited by the thermal pulse as well as by broken gas mains, oil tanks and the like spread uncontrollably in the darkness. Before long the individual fires coalesce into conflagrations stoked by vicious whirlwinds that send a wall of fire as far as there is combustible material to sustain it. Simultaneously a firestorm develops in the vertical updraft created by the fire itself, sucking the surrounding air towards a central point and converging into a single fire of extreme heat.
Whirlwinds sweep through the ruination. Radioactive rain falls from the black clouds. All the oxygen in the air is burnt up and replaced by a panoply of toxic gases. There is no escape.
Then begins the lethal radioactive fallout descending in plumes 150 miles long and 20 miles wide depending on wind direction. Sublethal fallout that causes serious cancer, genetic damage and chronic, perpetual sickness extends another 150 miles downwind. Those so affected will wish they had been lucky enough to die.
Such a nuclear bomb dropped on a city the size of, say, London would immediately kill around 2,000,000 people and slowly kill a further 2,000,000 while England’s capital would be obliterated.
Such a one-megaton nuclear bomb has 80 times the explosive power of the bomb the USA dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. That ‘Little Boy’ nuke killed 70,000 instantaneously and 80,000 gradually but is like a toy pea-shooter in comparison. And yet, even a one-megaton bomb is now considered nothing special in today’s nuclear arsenals where 20-megaton beasts are the norm. In fact, today there are enough nuclear weapons on the planet to wipe out the entire 8,000,000,000 human population 70 times over. Bloody hell, talk about overkill!
There are approximately 13,000 nuclear weapons in the world. In descending order, these are the nine nuclear nation states and their total number of nuclear weapons:
1 Russia – 6,257
2 USA – 5,550
3 China – 350
4 France – 290
5 UK – 225
6 Pakistan – 165
7 India – 156
8 Israel – 90
9 North Korea – 50
It is no coincidence that this list is dominated by the self-appointed five permanent members of the UN’s ‘Security Council’. Historically they are the planet’s five main monsters that bear prime responsibility for bringing humanity to the brink of extinction. The most pressing task for all people on Earth with a modicum of intelligence, principle and decency is to topple, shatter, abolish and completely remake these terrifying, imperialist, wicked, warmongering, landgrabbing rogue states.