Short Film Depicts How a Nuclear Bomb Would Destroy a City

Although the topic of nuclear bombs is grim, there’s value in reminding ourselves of just how powerful the weapons are. In a new short film from documentarian, Neil Halloran, that reminder is delivered with a stark visualization of what would happen if a nuclear bomb went off in a city. And the results are just as devastating as you’d expect.

Halloran recently posted the nuclear-blast simulation to his YouTube channel. Halloran says that the short film is data driven, and that the film is a collaboration with the Nobel Peace Prize – Research and Information unit.

The video’s main aim is to estimate the death toll that would result from a warhead’s blast in the middle of a major city with a population of four million people. In the simulation, the 800 kiloton bomb is detonated roughly 1,800 feet in the air, above the city. This tactic, the narrator notes, would result in the maximal radius of impact. (For reference, this bomb would be 100 times more powerful than the one the US dropped on Hiroshima.)

This video outlines the damage an 800-kiloton nuclear bomb would do to a major city.

Neil Holloran

Using “data from leading researchers,” the video estimates the nuclear bomb would instantly kill 120,000 people with a gargantuan fireball and subsequent blast wave. The fireball would be roughly 2,600 feet in diameter, while the blast wave would have a 1.2-mile radius.

The bomb blast would, of course, kill many more people indirectly. Not only would building debris from the blast kill people, but so would heat and radiation. Roughly 500,000 people who were somewhere between a mile and seven miles away from the detonation would also die within days to weeks after the explosion. Falling debris, burns, and radiation sickness would cause these deaths.

Radioactive dust and ash would soon kill another 100,000 people outside of the seven-mile radius. For bombs detonated on land rather than in the air, the fallout would likely kill more people than all other causes combined. Meaning, in total, an air or ground detonation—in this instance—would kill between 720,000 and 1.44 million people.

Unfortunately, the video somehow ends on an even gloomier note, pointing out that we’re now in a “new era” of nuclear weapons. The video also notes that long-standing countries are dismantling nuclear treaties, and smaller nukes are entering the market. And, if that’s not bad enough, some countries have a new strategic advantage: hypersonic delivery systems. Which all sounds like a bad recipe for war games that need to be averted at all costs. While nuclear weapons may not be a constant cause for concern or worry for most, it’s worthwhile to note how much damage they can cause and be aware of which countries have access to nuclear weapons and what the regulations are.

Now, for something a little more relaxing, watch this mesmerizing video of artisan butter getting made in France.

Feature image: Neil Holloran 

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