Russia Threat | March 9, 2022 | Paul Crespo
With the increasing concern over nuclear war resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s bizarre nuclear threats, many are asking can we survive a nuclear attack.
While doomsday scenarios from a full-scale nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia firing a total of more than 10,000 nukes paint a dismal picture for any survival, smaller, limited, or tactical nuclear strikes may be a different story.
As ADN has noted previously, Russia’s nuclear weapons doctrine calls for ‘escalation to de-escalate,’ or using some nukes to prevent the use of more.
This makes limited nuclear attacks more likely in a conflict such as now in Ukraine.
In that case, the question of surviving a ‘limited’ nuclear strike, or tactical nuclear detonation, becomes more real and practical.
By limited we mean only a small number of weapons used. By tactical, we mean low-yield weapons as described in the previous ADN piece.
To predict how likely you are to survive an atomic blast we need to break down the science of nuclear bombs. Most U.S. nuke warheads are in the 400-kiloton range, while the Russians possess far larger warheads in the one-plus megaton range.
The explosive yield (destructive force) of nuclear bombs is measured in kilotons (one kiloton equals the explosive force of 1,000 tons of TNT) or megatons (one megaton equals the explosive force of 1,000,000 tons of TNT).