An unfortunate truism of being alive in the 21st century is the constant, looming threat of nuclear war. With a total worldwide inventory of roughly 14,000 nuclear weapons, the future of humanity, in a very real way, constantly hangs in the balance. But what would the first few hours of nuclear war actually look like? The simulation below, dubbed PLAN A, aims to guess at exactly that.
Although the video may remind you of something out of WarGames, it is, in fact, a thought-out series of events that would likely take place if the world’s two biggest nuclear superpowers, the U.S. and Russia, somehow became entangled in a nuclear conflict. (Keep in mind that the U.S. and Russia possess 90 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal, so this simulation is most definitely absolute worst case scenario.)
The simulation, which comes via Digg, is a project executed by the team at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security (SGS). One of the directors of the SGS program, Alexander Glaser, posted the nuclear simulation to YouTube, noting beneath the video that it represents “a plausible escalating war between the United States and Russia using realistic nuclear force postures, targets and fatality estimates.”
Glaser also notes in the video’s description that “it is estimated that there would be more than 90 million people dead and injured within the first few hours of the conflict.”
SGS’s summary for PLAN A notes that the project “is motivated by the need to highlight the potentially catastrophic consequences of current U.S. and Russian nuclear war plans.” The PLAN A explainer also says that the risk of nuclear war “has increased dramatically in the past two years” now that the U.S. and Russia have abandoned long-established nuclear arms control treaties, as well as pursued new types of nuclear weapons and expanded circumstances in which they could be used.
What do you think of this PLAN A nuclear war simulation? And what do you think would be the best ways for the world to avert nuclear disaster? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Images: Alex Glaser