Eric ScottPublished: July 29, 2022
Not since the Cold War era has the threat of nuclear war been as great as it is right now.
The warning comes as the U.S. and our allies are facing threats from Russia, North Korea and China.
It is believed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is preparing a seventh nuclear test and has been ramping up anti-U.S. rhetoric in recent weeks.
At a Korean War anniversary event, the North Korean dictator insisted his nation was prepared to mobilize a nuclear arsenal as a deterrent to American and South Korean “aggression.”
North Korea is not the only concern.
As he wages war in Ukraine and faces backlash from the international community, Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to issue threats pertaining to his nuclear arsenal.
His latest threat was issued on June 17. Putin was attending the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum when he warned Russia “will use such weapons to defend its sovereignty.”
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed “the horsemen of the apocalypse” are on their way.
Since the early days of the war in Ukraine, Putin had put Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert.
However, despite the continuing threats, most international observers believe the risk of Putin unleashing a nuclear bomb on the United States is relatively low.
China also possesses nuclear warheads. France, India, Israel, Pakistan and the United Kingdom are also nuclear states, but are either allies with the United States or on friendly terms.
What if the unthinkable did happen? What would the impact of a nuclear attack be on New Jersey?
The most likely targets would be cities like New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia or Washington, DC. New Jersey’s proximity to three of those primary targets could be devastating for the Garden State.
NUKEMAP by Alex Wellerstei is an online simulator that allows you to map the effects of a nuclear blast anywhere in the world. (Click here to give it a try.)
Using data from what is known of Russia’s nuclear arsenal and missile capable of hitting the U.S., we simulated the potential impact of a nuclear blast on New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., as well as targets in New Jersey in the event that a missile went astray.
The biggest factor in terms of casualties, damage and nuclear fallout: An aerial detonation as opposed to ground impact (which results in nuclear fallout contamination spreading downwind), and the direction of atmospheric winds. For these simulations, we used a default Northeast wind direction.
Scroll through the gallery below to see the simulated impact of a nuclear blast.
We used NUKEMAP by Alex Wellerstein to see what would happen if a nuclear warhead hit New York, Philadelphia, Washington or New Jersey.
The models show what would happen in aerial detonation, meaning the bomb would be set off in the sky, causing considerable damage to structures and people below; or what would happen in a ground detonation, which would have the alarming result of nuclear fallout. The models do not take into account the number of casualties that would result from fallout.
Gallery Credit: Eric Scott