How many nukes would it take to actually blow up the world?

With all the warmongering going on in the world these days – with North Korea heading the list – we decided to investigate what it would take to actually blow up the world. The answer was surprisingly large as the chart below indicates. However, the exact number is hard to determine – as estimate vary considerably. And keep in mind destroying the world is very different than making it uninhabitable.

More to the point is could North Korea actually launch a missile that could reach the US? It’s believed that it has a missile that could for sure hit London, and possibly New York City. The flight time to NYC is estimated to be 40 minutes and 30 seconds. But it should be stated that the capabilities of North Korea’s ICBM program are a ‘state secret.’ and therefore little is known. However, recent missile tests raise the specter that they do have ability to hit the US.

Here is what Federation of American Scientists 2017 says is correct: Nine countries together possess around 15,000 nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia maintain roughly 1,800 of their nuclear weapons on high-alert status – ready to be launched within minutes of a warning. Most are many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. A single nuclear warhead, if detonated on a large city, could kill millions of people, with the effects persisting for decades.

The failure of the nuclear powers to disarm has heightened the risk that other countries will acquire nuclear weapons. The only guarantee against the spread and use of nuclear weapons is to eliminate them without delay. Although the leaders of some nuclear-armed nations have expressed their vision for a nuclear-weapon-free world, they have failed to develop any detailed plans to eliminate their arsenals and are modernizing them.

 

How many nuclear weapons are there in the world?
COUNTRY NUCLEAR PROGRAMME SIZE OF ARSENAL
United States The first country to develop nuclear weapons and the only country to have used them in war. It spends more on its nuclear arsenal than all other countries combined.  6,800 warheads
Russia The second country to develop nuclear weapons. It has the largest arsenal of any country and is investing heavily in the modernization of its warheads and delivery systems.  7,000 warheads
United Kingdom It maintains a fleet of four nuclear-armed submarines in Scotland, each carrying 16 Trident missiles. Its parliament voted in 2016 to overhaul its nuclear forces.  215 warheads
France Most of its nuclear warheads are deployed on submarines equipped with M45 and M51 missiles. One boat is on patrol at all times. Some warheads are also deliverable by aircraft.  300 warheads
China It has a much smaller arsenal than the US and Russia. Its warheads are deliverable by air, land and sea. It appears to be increasing the size of its arsenal at a slow pace.  270 warheads
India It developed nuclear weapons in breach of non-proliferation commitments. It is increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal and enhancing its delivery capabilities.  110–120 warheads
Pakistan It is making substantial improvements to its nuclear arsenal and associated infrastructure. It has increased the size of its nuclear arsenal in recent years.  120-130 warheads
Israel It has a policy of ambiguity in relation to its nuclear arsenal, neither confirming nor denying its existence. As a result, there is little public information or debate about it.  80 warheads
North Korea It has a fledgling nuclear weapons program. Its arsenal probably comprises fewer than 10 warheads. It is not clear whether it has the capability to deliver them. <10 warheads
Total 14,900 warheads
Source: Federation of American Scientists 2017

 

 

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