The Devastating Effects of Nuclear Bombs: How Far Does the Damage Reach?

The destructive power of a nuclear bomb is immense, and its effects can be felt for miles. A 10 KT nuclear explosion can cause damage up to 3 miles (4.8 km) from ground zero. Shock waves bouncing off buildings, terrain, and even the atmosphere can cause highly variable damage in this area. Heat is also a major concern for those closest to the explosion, with minor first-degree burns possible up to 11 km (6.8 miles) away and third-degree burns, which destroy and blister skin tissue, affecting anyone up to 8 km (5 miles) away.

Third-degree burns covering more than 24 percent of the body can be fatal if medical attention is not received immediately. The radiation hazard from a nuclear attack can persist for up to 1 to 5 years after the attack, posing a serious threat to survivors. To learn more about the current state of nuclear weapons in the world, including the scale of bombs, you can visit the Nuclear Notebook in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. The 1963 Limited Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty ended atmospheric testing for the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, but two major non-signatories, France and China, continued nuclear testing at a rate of approximately 5 megatons per year. The Wellerstein simulator can provide an estimate of casualties and injuries from a nuclear bomb in a given location. It's clear that countries with access to nuclear weapons or those involved in nuclear agreements should be avoided at all costs.

Bradford Tutwiler
Bradford Tutwiler

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