Submitted by Richard Galustian…
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) launched a few days ago their SIPRI Yearbook 2019, which assesses the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security.
On launching their Yearbook, SIPRI Governing Board Chairman, Jan Eliasson stated:
“A key finding is that despite an overall decrease in the number of nuclear warheads in 2018, all nuclear weapon-possessing states continue to modernize their nuclear arsenals.”
The United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) currently possess approximately 13,865 nuclear weapons. In 2018 the numbers were as shown in the table below.
According to a study of the 14th June 2018 published almost exactly a year ago which was co-authored by Michigan Technological University Professor Joshua Pearce and David Denkenberger, assistant Professor at Tennessee State University less than 100 exploded bombs would end all civilisation.
It is presumed – as it is not expressly stated – that the numbers are based Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs (15 kilotons each).
“The results found that 100 nuclear warheads is adequate for nuclear deterrence in the worst case scenario, while using more than 100 nuclear weapons by any aggressor nation (including the best positioned strategically to handle the unintended consequences) even with optimistic assumptions (including no retaliation) would cause unacceptable damage to their own society,” the scientists wrote adding.
“100 nuclear warheads is the pragmatic limit and use of government funds to maintain more than 100 nuclear weapons does not appear to be rational,” the Study argues.
The scientists further explained the devastating global environmental impact that would occur if a country used give or take 100 nuclear weapons.
This “environmental blowback” would involve a significant drop in global temperatures as soot from nuclear blasts prevents sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface. This, combined with reduced precipitation, could severely impact food production, experts warn, potentially resulting in mass starvation.
Researchers also cite estimates that around 40 million people would die if say 75 nuclear bombs were unleashed on China still leaving a population at 2019 estimates just over 1 billion people.
China, officially the People’s Republic of China, is the largest country in the world today.
To give a greater perspective to these numbers, 350,000 people in Chernobyl had to be resettled within a few days of the accident. The World Health Organization estimated (in 2005) that 4,000 people died due to long-term effects of radiation and 31 died from the radiation instantly.
To provide another frame of reference, an exchange involving just 50 nuclear weapons , the kind of thing we might see in an India-Pakistan war, for example , could release 5+ billion kilograms of smoke, soot and dust high into the stratosphere. That’s enough to cool the entire planet by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.25 degrees Celsius) , about where we were during the Little Ice Age of the 17th century. Growing seasons would be shortened enough to create significant food shortages.
So the climatic effects of even a relatively small nuclear war would be planet-wide.
Another perspective helps one understand the real potential problem is to consider larger bombs.
The RDS-220 hydrogen bomb, also known as the “Tsar Bomba”, is the biggest and most powerful thermo nuclear bomb ever detonated. It was exploded in a controlled environment by the Soviet Union on 30 October 1961 over Novaya Zemlya Island in the Russian Arctic Sea.
Tsar Bomba (a life size mock of it pictured in a Moscow Museum) has the equivalent explosive power of 3,800 Hiroshima bombs.
America possesses similar thermo nuclear weapons.