USGS Evidence Shows Power of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Released: 11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM

Earthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown.

“We used landslides as an example and direct physical evidence to see how far-reaching shaking from east coast earthquakes could be,” said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”

“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”

This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.

This study also supports existing research showing that although earthquakes are less frequent in the East, their damaging effects can extend over a much larger area as compared to the western United States.

The research is being presented today at the Geological Society of America conference, and will be published in the December 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

The USGS found that the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km (150 miles) from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude. Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 60 km (36 miles) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.

“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”

It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history. About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.

In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2 from an earthquake of similar magnitude.

“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”

The difference between seismic shaking in the East versus the West is due in part to the geologic structure and rock properties that allow seismic waves to travel farther without weakening.

Learn more about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake

Changing Hands Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Changing Hands at Indian Point?


DECEMBER 21, 2019

Riverkeeper objects to potential transfer

Entergy is looking to the future of Indian Point and hoping that it no longer includes Entergy.

Last month, the energy company filed an application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to transfer its licenses to operate Indian Point to Holtec International after the shutdown of the last reactor at the nuclear plant, which is scheduled for April 2021.

Holtec would then begin mothballing the facility, using a $2.1 billion decommissioning fund that has been accumulated by Entergy during the life of the plant. Holtec also has said it would hire about 300 Indian Point workers.

“Entergy is in the power-generation business, and decommissioning is a line of work that we’re not involved in,” said Jerry Nappi, an Entergy representative. “Holtec specializes in the management of used fuel and its affiliates have special expertise in decommissioning. They can decommission the plant decades sooner than Entergy would be able to.”

Entergy’s original plan had been to take 60 years, the maximum time allowed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Holtec plans to do it in 15. (Holtec did not respond to a request for comment for this story.)

The accelerated timeline doesn’t concern Richard Webster, the legal director for Riverkeeper, the Ossining-based environmental group. Many decommissioning projects start with a process called SAFSTOR, in which the plant is monitored for up to 45 years to give the radioactive materials time to decay and lower the amount of hazardous material. By skipping SAFSTOR, “15 years is a reasonable amount of time to do it,” said Webster.

Nevertheless, Riverkeeper has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (or, failing that, Gov. Andrew Cuomo) to deny the transfer to Holtec.

“Our objections can be summed up as: Bribes, lies, poor safety record and under-capitalization,” said Webster.

Holtec is no stranger to controversy. In 2010, the inspector general for the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal agency, found that Holtec had funneled $54,000 to a TVA manager to secure contracts. The firm was fined $2 million and barred from federal contracts for 60 days.

In Ohio, Holtec was awarded tax credits following a 2009 promise to bring 200 jobs to its facility in Orrville. But the jobs never appeared — in fact, the plant lost four positions — and the tax credits were rescinded.

Then, when applying for tax breaks in New Jersey in order to bring a facility to Camden, the company claimed that it had never been barred from working with federal agencies. To push New Jersey to grant the tax breaks, Holtec said Ohio and South Carolina had made generous counterproposals, an assertion both states denied.

Last year, a contractor at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in California, where Holtec has been contracted to manage spent fuel, brought to light an apparent near accident involving a dry cask filled with radioactive fuel. (Plant officials said there was never any danger to the public.) The worker also alleged the site was understaffed and its supervisors often replaced with less experienced managers.

Finally, on the financial side, Webster said he was alarmed at Holtec’s decision at the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey, which has been decommissioning for less than a year, to transfer money from the decommissioning fund to spent fuel management, a move that Holtec has signaled it would also do at Indian Point.

“That’s not what that fund is for,” he said. “And there’s a complicated set of LLCs [limited-liability corporations] designed to shield Holtec International, the core corporation. We just don’t have much information about the financial viability [of the company]. If you were running a huge international business that was making money, you shouldn’t be so desperate to get tax breaks that you have to lie on a form.”

At Entergy, Nappi said that Holtec’s recent approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission show that the issues raised aren’t of concern. “The NRC has approved the transactions for two previous nuclear power plants to Holtec, and that only happens if a company can demonstrate that it has the technical and financial qualifications needed,” he said. “We feel confident that Indian Point will receive approval.”

If that happens, Webster said he hoped that it would at least come with certain conditions, such as the creation of a citizens’ oversight committee with the power to (1) audit the decommissioning fund, (2) subpoena documents, (3) have specialists look at difficult situations, and (4) transfer questions of safety to the NRC.

At the least, Webster said, Holtec should not be allowed to keep anything that remains in the decommissioning fund at the end of the project, as it might encourage the firm to do the job as cheaply as possible at the expense of safety and other concerns.

The Wine Has Been Damaged (Revelation 6:6)

Iraqi military base attacked, U.S. civilian contractor killed: officials


A U.S. civilian contractor was killed in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on December 27, U.S. officials said.

Several U.S. service members and Iraq personnel were also wounded, the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State said in a statement, adding that Iraqi security forces would be leading the response and investigation into the incident.

U.S. officials said, on condition of anonymity, that the service members were lightly wounded and believed to be back on duty.

One official said the United States was looking into the possible involvement of Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslim militia group.

In December, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iranian-backed forces for a series of attacks on bases in Iraq and warned Iran that any attacks by Tehran or proxies that harmed Americans or allies would be “answered with a decisive U.S. response.”

Tensions have heightened between Tehran and Washington since last year when President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

Since then Washington has blamed Iran for attacks on oil tankers this summer, including off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, and a major strike on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Iran has denied being behind the attacks.

The Iraqi military said in a statement earlier on Friday that several rockets were launched into Iraq’s K1 military base, which houses U.S. and Iraqi forces. Security sources said security forces found a launchpad for Katyusha rockets inside an abandoned vehicle near the base.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Islamic State militants operating in the area have turned to insurgency-style tactics aimed at bringing down the government in Baghdad ever since it retook all territory and declared victory against them in December 2017.

However, a senior U.S. military official said this month that attacks by Iranian-backed groups on bases hosting U.S. forces in Iraq were gathering pace and becoming more sophisticated, pushing all sides closer to an uncontrollable escalation.

His warning came two days after four Katyusha rockets struck a base near Baghdad international airport, wounding five members of Iraq’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service, the latest in a spate of rocket strikes on bases hosting members of the U.S.-led coalition whose objective is to defeat Islamic State insurgents.

The K1 base, which lies 15 km (9 miles) northwest of Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, houses U.S. military forces alongside Iraqi forces from the Federal Police and Counter-Terrorism Service, security sources said. About 5,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq.

The Final Media-Persian War is Coming (Daniel 8:20)

Members of the ‘Stand With Us’ group hold a rally calling for the rejection of the proposed Iran nuclear deal outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles, U.S. on July 26, 2015. (Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

The Coming Iranian Pearl Harbor

December 27, 2019 12:07, Last Updated: December 27, 2019 12:47

By Peter Huessy


The Iranian dictatorship may be losing its grip on power. Consequently, its historical strategy of continuous but low-level attacks on American interests in the Middle East may be changing into something more deadly. The Iran regime may be so desperate that it is planning a spectacular attack, an Iranian Pearl Harbor, to induce the United States to settle matters largely on Iranian terms, including re-embracing the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) and ending economic sanctions on the regime’s economy.

As the head of CENTCOM recently explained, the mullahs and the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have historically engaged in acts of surreptitious terrorism to provoke the United States into military action directly against Iran. The mullahs then direct media attention to the “unprovoked” aggression by the “Great Satan” to deflect attention from Iran’s horrible human rights record, terrorist nature and growing regime shakiness, all while Tehran claims to be innocent.

For example, earlier this year Iran was suspected of attacking a U.S. drone in international air space and interfering with international maritime shipping. Iran denied responsibility, and when those attacks failed to provoke retaliation or change U.S. sanctions policy, the Iranians then surreptitiously made a missile and drone attack on Saudi oil facilities and used its proxy Hamas to launch missile attacks on Israel.

Nevertheless, the U.S. response was to refrain from directly using military power against Iran. Instead, the United States increased economic sanctions against more Iranian bad actors and enhanced the U.S. military presence in the region, particularly by augmenting U.S. and allied missile defenses.

That Iranian con game is no longer working. And contrary to what many critics of the current U.S. administration have held, that a “maximum pressure” policy would backfire and unite the Iranian people against the United States, the opposite has happened.

Internally, the Iranian regime is weak, and its end may be soon approaching.

In response to riots in more than a hundred cities, the mullahs’ thuggish security forces have killed thousands of demonstrators and opponents of the regime, imprisoned thousands more, beating and raping many of them. Similar anti-regime demonstrations have also erupted in Iraq and Lebanon, aimed specifically at local Iranian militia and security forces. Their central demand by protestors in Iran is for the mullahs’ regime to step down, stop its terrorist adventures abroad, and end its massive corruption at home.

Despite these dangerous internal developments, the mullahs apparently still believe they can pull a diplomatic rabbit out of the hat of chaos and convince Europe to come to their rescue. In particular, the mullahs apparently think that by escalating threats they will induce Europe to pressure the United States to back off its economic sanctions, or at least provide some sort of workaround system.

We must remember that though Iran declared its innocence regarding the attacks on U.S. drones and the Saudi oil facility, Iran is now openly declaring its willingness to attack American interests and allies in the Middle East, even to the point of publicly listing United States military infrastructure and bases in the region they have targeted.

Two respected previous U.S. Secretaries of Defense, Mr. Panetta and retired General Mattis, recently gave impetus to the idea of staying in the 2015 deal. Both former officials told the Reagan National Defense Forum of Dec. 7, 2019 that they would stay in the nuclear deal because in General Mattis’s words, “It worked.”

The previous defense chiefs described the nuclear deal as “working” based solely on the narrow assumption that as far as enriched fuel production goes, Iran has supposedly adhered to the nuclear deal’s limits. However, Panetta and Mattis admitted in further comments that the 2015 deal remained seriously deficient in that it ignored Iran’s: 1) expanding missile production; 2) financial and weapons support for rogue terror groups; 3) massive human rights violations; 4) serial attacks on international maritime shipping including oil tankers; and 5) the attack on international economic stability by launching missile attacks on a Saudi oil production facility.

Additionally, informed critics of the JCPOA have clearly explained that the deal does not “work.” As the Iranian dossier brought out of Iran by the Israelis revealed, Iran had no intention of signing up against nuclear proliferation but had adopted what the Israelis called a “glide path to nuclear weapons.”

Furthermore, despite the limits on enriched uranium in the deal, the Iranians never adopted any transparency for the entirety of their nuclear weapons activities. This is especially true of the renewed work at the research facility at Fodrow that was suspected of nuclear weapons activity but long denied by the Iranians. It has now been determined by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that banned nuclear weapons work is indeed continuing at Fodrow.

Even more important than transparency was the immediate refusal by Iran, shortly after the JCPOA was signed, to abide by the central plank of the nuclear deal—to reveal all military related nuclear weapons work it had undertaken, including activities begun after the brief 2003 pause.

Although the IAEA eventually gave Iran a pass, Washington shouldn’t engage in any wishful thinking that Iran’s previous nuclear weapons work can safely be ignored. After all, many members of Congress and a growing number of European allies now believe the nuclear deal is dead for that very reason.

In fact, a previous supporter of JCPOA, former head of NATO Admiral Stravidis, echoed this view while recently addressing a European security conference, explaining that the Iran nuclear deal was indeed “dead” and not going to be revived.

So, two positive outcomes are possible. First, the United States and its European allies could negotiate a new nuclear deal with Iran that ends Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Or second, the United States could work to change the regime, or perhaps see the regime taken down by its own people, millions of whom are now demonstrating in growing numbers, and so end Iranian nuclear ambitions once and for all.

In either case, we should turn the economic screws even tighter on the Iranian mullahs and their assets while also assisting the protestors and opponents of the regime with needed communications equipment and strike funds to help them fight the panicking regime.

But there is also new task we must undertake as the Iranian regime grows more and more desperate. We must take all necessary precautions beyond those already in place to protect against what historian Victor Davis Hanson recently described as a future Iranian version of “Pearl Harbor.” The fear is that a desperate Iran will not only escalate its attacks as it has threatened to do but will seek to spectacularly harm America to the extent that we will be coerced into caving into the Iranian regime’s demands.

We must remember the head of the IRGC head recently warned that he could not only strike any number of U.S. military facilities in the Gulf and Middle East, and that some years ago also claimed he knew the exact location of critical infrastructure assets inside the United States, (as identified by the 1997 Governor Gilmore terrorism report). If a number of these key assets were destroyed, America could fall into a massive economic depression.

For example, potential Iranian attacks could be aimed at infrastructure targets such as oil and gas pipelines, refineries, tankers, transportation hubs or other sensitive energy facilities. The IRGC list could also include a terror attack on a large public gathering like a sports stadium, a subway system, or a large shopping center full of holiday shoppers.

Iran is reaching the end of its tether. It does not know where to turn. The old formula of provoking the Americans and then blaming the “Big Satan” for their problems no longer resonates. The Europeans are getting wobbly about their embrace of a weak and untenable JCPOA nuclear deal. And the Iranian people are clearly showing that they want to bring down the totalitarian Iranian regime. More than 65 percent of the population is too young to even remember the day the mullahs seized power!

In short, perhaps a “Pearl Harbor” attack is being planned in Tehran as I write this. Iran is simply not a country that can be considered a normal nation with which one can do normal business, including negotiating a new nuclear deal.

Without question, Iranian military and terror attacks have increased since the 2015 nuclear deal. The $150 billion of escrowed funds that were returned to the mullahs as part of the JCPOA were used to expand their regional “mayhem,” and were not used in any way to take care of the needs of their people.

As things stand now, supporters of the nuclear deal cannot credibly promise that the current state of affairs will suddenly change if we re-engage with the JCPOA. And few supporters of it could assure us that there is a reasonable chance—after any future deal that the mullahs would sign—that Iran would not remain on the same glide path to a nuclear weapons capability that the Israelis first warned us about.

At this juncture, the best strategy for the United States is to strengthen the policy of maximum pressure on Iran. And as they used to say in the old westerns when an attack was imminent, “Keep your powder dry, boys.”

Peter Huessy is the president of Geo-Strategic Analysis of Potomac, Md., a defense and national security consulting firm.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

The Trampling Outside the Temple Walls Will Not End (Revelation 11)

HAMAS MEMBERS in Gaza.. (photo credit:” REUTERS)

Hamas faces backlash over ‘ceasefire deal’ with Israel | The Jerusalem post

Hamas faces backlash over ‘ceasefire deal’ with Israel


Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif Qanou on Sunday denied the report, saying the talk was only about “confirming previous understandings related to ending the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.”

The Palestinian Authority and several Palestinian factions have criticized Hamas for its reported readiness to reach a long-term ceasefire with Israel, warning that such a move would “solidify” the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The criticism came in response to a report that the Israeli Cabinet was scheduled to debate on Sunday and review the details of a proposed long-term ceasefire with Hamas. Channel 12 News reported on Saturday that National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat will brief the minsters on the details of the proposed deal.

Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif Qanou on Sunday denied the report, saying the talk was only about “confirming previous understandings related to ending the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.”

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya denied that his movement was conducting negotiations with Israel. Hamas was only discussing with Egypt ways of preserving the understandings to end the blockade on the Gaza Strip, he said.

Ibrahim Milhem, spokesman for the PA government, said that any deal between Hamas and Israel would serve Israeli interests and lead to the establishment of a “new separate Palestinian entity” in the Gaza Strip.

PLO Executive Committee member Azzam al-Ahmed said that “the cooperation between Israel and Hamas, together with some countries, “aims to solidify divisions among the Palestinians and geographically and legally separate the Gaza Strip from Palestine.”  The continued split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Ahmed warned, was designed to prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.

Ahmed, in an interview with the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station, claimed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seeking “to consolidate the de facto Hamas rule over the Gaza Strip, while taking additional dangerous measures to grab more land in the West Bank.”

Ibrahim Khraisheh, the PA’s Permanent Observer Representative to the United Nations, said that Defense Minister Naftali Bennet was moving towards easing restrictions on the Gaza Strip “while stepping up the [Israeli] siege of the West Bank.”

Mahmoud al-Zaq, a senior official with the Gaza-based Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, a party that does not belong to the PLO, said that his group “rejects Hamas’s effort to establish a weak political entity in the Gaza Strip by signing a ceasefire agreement with Israel.” He claimed that by striking a deal with Israel, Hamas was seeking to ensure its continued rule of the Gaza Strip.

Abdullah Kmeil, member of the Fatah “Revolutionary Council,” called on Hamas to stay away from any ideas that would deepen divisions among the Palestinians. “Everyone knows that the US and Israel are working with Hamas to establish a small Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip,” Kmeil said. “Our people will thwart these conspiracies by sticking to their national rights.”

The Palestinian People’s Party (formerly the Palestinian Communist Party) also reacted to the reports concerning a possible ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel by warning against “dubious deals” between the two parties.

Walid Awad, a representative of the party, argued that the purported deal between Hamas and Israel was consistent with US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for Mideast peace, also known as the “Deal of the Century.” That deal, he claimed, envisages the detachment of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.

PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yousef condemned the talk about a deal between Israel and Hamas as a “malicious plan aimed at undermining the Palestinian national enterprise.” He too claimed that any deal between the two sides would be “consistent with the American-Israeli scheme to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”

Abu Yousef also accused Hamas of seeking to appease Israel by halting the weekly protests near the Gaza-Israel border and allowing the construction of a US-funded field hospital in the Gaza Strip.

Last week the High Commission for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege [on the Gaza Strip] announced that the weekly protests, which began in March 2018, would be suspended for three months from the beginning of January 2020.

Hamas has been criticized by the PA and other Palestinian faction for allowing a US Evangelical Christian aid group to build a field hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. The new hospital is reportedly being established in the context of ceasefire understandings reached between Israel and Hamas under the auspices of Egypt, Qatar and the UN.

Iran Armed Forces Threatens Babylon the Great

Armed Forces to give harsh response to enemies’ miscalculated measures

TEHRAN, Dec. 29 (MNA) – Chief of Staff of Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri warned on Monday that Iranian Armed Forces will give a harsh response to adventures of enemies or their miscalculated measures.

Mehr News Agency

TEHRAN, Dec. 29 (MNA) – Chief of Staff of Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri warned on Monday that Iranian Armed Forces will give a harsh response to adventures of enemies or their miscalculated measures.

Making the remarks on the occasion of the 10th annual ceremony of Dey 9 Epic (Dec. 30, 2009), he added that Iran’s Armed Forces, under the Leadership of Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei and in cooperation with intelligence services, will not let enemies including the US, Israel regime and their regional allies look for adventures.

In early December, in a reaction to the recent remarks of the FM of the Israeli regime, the spokesperson of the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced that the Islamic Republic will give harsh answer to any aggression or foolish measure by the enemies.

IRGC Chief Major General Hossein Salami has also warned that enemies will receive a harsh response if they adopt any mischievous act against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Dey 9 Epic, marks massive rallies that were held on the 9th day of Iranian month of Dey (equivalent to Dec. 30, 2009) in support of the Iranian Establishment to put an end to months of foreign-sponsored unrest in 2009.


The TRIBULATION (Revelation 8 )

How 335,000,000 People Could Die in a Nuclear War in 3 Days

Key point: It’s even worse today than during the Cold War.

It is no exaggeration to say that for those who grew up during the Cold War, all-out nuclear war was “the ultimate nightmare.” The prospect of an ordinary day interrupted by air-raid sirens, klaxons and the searing heat of a thermonuclear explosion was a very real, albeit remote, possibility. Television shows such as The Day After and Threads realistically portrayed both a nuclear attack and the gradual disintegration of society in the aftermath. In an all-out nuclear attack, most of the industrialized world would have been bombed back to the Stone Age, with hundreds of millions killed outright and perhaps as many as a billion or more dying of radiation, disease and famine in the postwar period.

During much of the Cold War, the United States’ nuclear warfighting plan was known as the SIOP, or the Single Integrated Operating Plan. The first SIOP, introduced in 1962, was known as SIOP-62, and its effects on the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact and China were documented in a briefing paper created for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and brought to light in 2011 by the National Security Archive. The paper presupposed a new Berlin crisis, similar to the one that took place in 1961, but escalating to full-scale war in western Europe.

Although the war scenario was fictional, the post-attack estimates were very real. According to the paper, the outlook for Communist bloc countries subjected to the full weight of American atomic firepower was grim. The paper divided attack scenarios into two categories: one in which the U.S. nuclear Alert Force, a percentage of overall nuclear forces kept on constant alert, struck the Soviet Union and its allies; and a second scenario where the full weight of the nuclear force, known as the Full Force, was used.

Under SIOP, “about 1,000” installations that were related to “nuclear delivery capability” would be struck. The scenario, which assumed advance warning of a Soviet attack and an American preemptive strike, would see the Alert Force attacking 75 percent of these targets. The attack would be a largely “counterforce” strike, in which U.S. nuclear forces attacked Soviet, Warsaw Pact and Chinese command-and-control and nuclear forces. The report states that 83 to 88 percent of all targets would be destroyed with 70 percent assurance.

In an Alert Force attack, 199 Soviet cities with populations of fifty thousand or greater would be struck. This would turn 56 percent of the urban population and 37 percent of the total population into casualties, most of whom would eventually die due to a post-attack breakdown of society. In China, forty-nine cities would be struck, turning 41 percent of the urban population into casualties and 10 percent of the overall population. In eastern Europe, only purely military targets would be struck, with a projected 1,378,000 killed by American nuclear attacks.

An all-out Full Force attack would be much worse. A Full Force attack would devastate 295 cities, leaving only five cities with populations of fifty thousand or more unscathed. 72 percent of the urban population and 54 percent of the overall population would become casualties—as the National Security Archive points out, that amounts to 108 million likely killed out of a total population of 217 million. In China, seventy-eight cities would be struck, affecting 53 percent of the urban population and 16 percent of the overall population. Casualties in eastern Europe would more than double, to 4,004,000.

Overall, an all-out U.S. attack on the Soviet Union, China and satellite countries in 1962 would have killed 335 million people within the first seventy-two hours.

The SIOP-62 report does not attempt to estimate U.S. casualties in a nuclear war. However, a 1978 report prepared for the Pentagon’s Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), “The Effects of Nuclear War,” spelled out in grim detail what would happen if the Soviet Union unleashed its arsenal on the United States.

The OTA report states that, in the event of a Soviet attack against U.S. nuclear forces, other military targets, economic targets and population targets, an attack could be estimated to kill between sixty and eighty-eight million Americans. With enough warning, major cities and industrial areas could be evacuated, but that would only lower the number of dead to between fifty-one and forty-seven million. Attacks on U.S. allies, including the NATO nations, Japan and South Korea, would undoubtedly occur but are not modelled in the study.

Another report, “Casualties Due to the Blast, Heat, and Radioactive Fallout from Various Hypothetical Nuclear Attacks on the United States,” postulated a Soviet attack against “1,215 U.S. strategic-nuclear targets. The attack involves almost 3,000 warheads with a total yield of about 1,340 megatons.” Because the attacks are carried out against hardened facilities, particularly MX and Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic-missile silos, the attacks are envisioned using SS-18 “Satan” ICBMs, each carrying ten 550-to-750-kiloton warheads. Attacks against U.S. bomber and refueling forces are carried out by ICBMs and submarine-launched ballistic missiles fired from off the coastline.

The result of even this modest attack, which largely spares U.S. cities to attack nuclear forces in the Midwest, is thirteen to thirty-four million deaths and twenty-five to sixty-four million total casualties. Still, bombarded by 1,215 nukes, the United States would lose far fewer people than Strategic Air Command estimated the Soviet Union would lose in 1962.

The discrepancy is probably because of the larger yields of U.S. nuclear weapons in the 1960s versus Soviet nukes in the 1980s, but also because at the time of the SAC report, Soviet nuclear forces were primarily bomber-based. The Soviet Union had between 300 and 320 nuclear weapons in 1962, all but forty of which were bomber-based. Bomber bases may have been closer to major population areas. A major draw of U.S. nuclear weapons to Soviet cities would have also been the presence of local airports, which would have functioned as dispersal airfields for nuclear-armed bombers. On the other hand, the Soviet attack would largely hit ICBM fields and bomber bases in low-population-density regions of the Midwest, plus a handful of submarine bases on both coasts.

As devastating as these projections are, all readily admit they don’t tell the entire story. While these three studies model the immediate effects of a nuclear attack, long-term problems might kill more people than the attack itself. The destruction of cities would deny the millions of injured, even those who might otherwise easily survive, even basic health care. What remains of government—in any country—would be hard pressed to maintain order in the face of dwindling food and energy supplies, a contaminated landscape, the spread of disease and masses of refugees. Over a twelve-month period, depending on the severity of the attack, total deaths attributable to the attacks could double.

While the threat of nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union has ended, the United States now faces the prospect of a similar war with Russia or China. The effects of a nuclear war in the twenty-first century would be no less severe. The steps to avoiding nuclear war, however, are the same as they were during the Cold War: arms control, confidence-building measures undertaken by both sides and a de-escalation of tensions.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami. (This first appeared several years ago.)

Image: Creative Commons.