What happens if a nuclear weapon goes off in New York City?

Or more precisely: What happens if a nuclear weapon goes off anywhere in the world?

Mark Serrels Editorial Director
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Russian nuclear bomb museum in Sarov

Sarov, called Arzamas-16 during the Cold War, is home to a museum showing several historic Russian nuclear bombs. This photo is from a 1995 visit by Stephen Shankland, second from left.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Late last year former NATO military chief James Stavridis estimated there was a 10 percent chance that the US would enter into nuclear conflict with North Korea, but what would the impact of that conflict be?

That depends precisely where nuclear weapons were dropped.

Outrider, a site dedicated to raising awareness of climate change and the potential dangers of nuclear war, has released an online tool that shows the impact of a nuclear attack at any potential site on the globe.

For example, here's the potential fatality toll if a W-87 nuclear weapon was detonated in my home city of Sydney, Australia.


Almost 115,000 fatalities. What happens if the same bomb is dropped in New York City?


Almost 1 million. 

But the W-87 is a US nuclear weapon. What if the Russians decided to drop a Tsar Bomba, the largest nuke the USSR ever detonated?


Over 6.4 million fatalities.

This interactive site is based on NUKEMAP, a site developed by Alex Wellerstein, an assistant professor of science and technology studies at the Stevens Institute of Technology. The numbers are calculated using this model

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