The Impact Of Nuclear Weapons Detonations On America's Fifty Largest Cities

This section of the site shows the impact of a 1 megaton nuclear explosion on each of America’s 50 largest cities.

The imagery displayed below was generated by the awesome interactive NukeMap system developed by Alex Wellerstein, which he shares on his NuclearSecrecy blog.

Alex is a historian of science who specializes in the history of nuclear weapons and nuclear secrecy,  and so his NukeMap system is fairly sophisticated, offering a number of technical options. I’ve attempted to simplify the display a bit on this site for a more general non-technical audience.

Click on a city below to get a quick look at the blast zone for a 1 megaton detonation, or visit the NukeMap for a more complex range of display options.


Death Totals

The following table shows the estimated deaths in each of America’s fifty largest cities for a 1 megaton nuclear detonation. Other estimates for different scenarios can be obtained on the NukeMap site.

DEATHSCITY
153,170Albuquerque
162,040Arlington
234,870Atlanta
218,080Austin
343,250Baltimore
599,080Boston
161,210Charlotte
609,140Chicago
116,690Colorado Springs
224,150Columbus
242,450Dallas
274,750Denver
249,890Detroit
43,620El Paso
150,690Fort Worth
34,430Fresno
330,850Houston
179,900Indianapolis
128,310Jacksonville
145,090Kansas City
297,630Las Vegas
264,350Long Beach
615,400Los Angeles
174,010Louisville
94,500Memphis
167,550Mesa
257,360Miami
252,920Milwaukee
312,760Minneapolis
158,820Nashville
211,360New Orleans
1,838,530New York City
264,910Oakland
130,500Oklahoma City
150,200Omaha
458,560Philadelphia
221,330Phoenix
265,130Portland
136,800Raleigh
222,000Sacramento
215,930San Antonio
278,040San Diego
476,860San Francisco
641,600San Jose
286,140Seattle
168,520Tucson
132,770Tulsa
42,860Virginia Beach
549,100Washington D.C.
124,160Wichita
14,012,260TOTAL DEATHS

According to estimates generated by NukeMap, if each of America’s 50 largest cities were hit by a 1 megaton nuclear bomb the total death toll would be about 14 million people, with many more injuries.

Please note that these deaths would likely be only the beginning of the carnage. If America’s fifty largest cities were attacked by nuclear weapons, the nation’s food distribution system would probably collapse leading to mass starvation and social and political chaos.


Arsenals

The arsenals of the nuclear power states are approximately as follows:

NUKESCOUNTRY
6,850Russia
6,185USA
300France
280China
215UK
145Pakistan
135India
80Israel
15North Korea