The specter of nuclear weapons lingers over us all. Mankind’s deadliest weapons have been front-and-center of global affairs for decades. However, many myths have been perpetuated about these weapons and their effects. What follows are eight facts. 1.
Deaths by Nuclear Testing
There have been over two-thousand nuclear weapons tests, some of which have taken place in the atmosphere. These atmospheric tests are expected to kill one-and-a-half million people through radiation exposure. The United States alone has spent over one-billion dollars compensating those exposed, and is one of the few countries that actually offers compensation to those exposed during nuclear tests.
Number of Nukes
As of 2014 there are roughly seventeen-thousand nuclear warheads between nine countries. However, there’s always a chance that some countries have unreported weapons or have under-reported the number in their possession. Still, the number is actually pretty low, all things considered: in 1986 there were an estimated seventy-thousand nuclear warheads, the highest the number has ever been.
Shots Felt Around the World
A study in 2014 found that a small-scale nuclear war on either side of the planet would be enough to affect the environment world-wide, lowering average temperatures and filling the sky with enough ash to block out the sun, effectively destroying crops and causing mass starvation. However, this isn’t to say that all-out nuclear war would immediately wipe-out humankind. Which brings us to…
You’ve probably heard that the United States and Russia have enough nuclear weapons to wipe-out all life on Earth. This only works if you can somehow round-up every single living being into tight population centers rather than having them spread out over entire landmasses. The false notion comes from some shaky math involving multiplying the Hiroshima and Nagasaki casualties by the number of weapons held by both counties, which simply doesn’t work.