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How many nukes would it take to destroy a city?

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posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 06:51 PM
I know, you're all thinking "Are you kidding me?! One!"

But think about this:

I live in Canberra and it's a fairly small city, about 320,000.

Being the Capital of Australia and all I'd say it could be a nuclear target. Though, Canberra has quite a few hills.

So, if you hit parliament house, would the blast be able to take out the rest of the city in the valleys in one hit?

Also, what about places like Tokyo, Beijing, London, Paris, Washington, New York and Los Angeles? They're HUGE cities!

Would one blast be enough? Or is the first blast just to take out the important bits?

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:07 PM
1 with fallout, about 4 to destroy a massive city the size of new york with the initial inferno fireball.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:11 PM
You have to redifine what you mean by "destroy a city"

While terrain can be a factor most city busting nukes are air bursted. Also while structures may survive further out from the blast radius radiation may make then uninhabital.

Bigger cities like Tokyo, Mexico City, the Los Angles basin were no doubt targeted by several warheads (some missiles could carry up to 8+ MIRVS) and depending on yeild that would be more than enough, plus a few extra's for redundancy

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:13 PM
Would that be on average?

And it also occurred to me: does that mean that there are about 4 nukes pointed at every major city on earth? Each? o.0

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:18 PM
Im working off an assumption that an initial blast zone is 2 miles in radius. Is this anywhere near correct?

If so, I very roughly assumed that four warheads could take out about 16 square miles.... I assumed that NYC was about 13 square miles (or that may be Manhattan).

Basically, if Im honest, I was just guessing wildly.

I think Fred may be able to help you more adequately!

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:20 PM
Here is a site that simulates various types of nuclear explosions over any city. I don't know how accurate it is.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:24 PM
A little googling gets answers quick...

Effects of a Nuclear Explosion Damage caused by nuclear explosions can vary greatly, depending on the weapon’s yield (measured in kilotons or megatons), the type of nuclear fuel used, the design of the device, whether it’s exploded in the air or at earth’s surface, the geography surrounding the target, whether it’s winter or summer, hazy or clear, night or day, windy or calm. Whatever the factors, though, the explosion will release several distinct forms of energy. One form is the explosive blast. Other forms are direct nuclear radiation and thermal radiation. And then there’s radioactive fallout — not exactly energy released by the explosion, but still a destructive result.

The first effect of a nuclear explosion in the air is an intense flash of light, as quick as a lightning flash but a thousand times as bright. It is accompanied by a powerful pulse of heat radiation, sufficient to set fire to light combustible material out to a distance of fourteen km., and to paint or wood at half that distance.


The estimates for a city of one million or two million struck by a single one-megaton bomb are that around one third of the inhabitants would be killed instantly or fatally injured, one third seriously injured, and the rest uninjured or only slightly injured.

I've read of weapons developed during the 1980's which were in the 140 - 150 kiloton range, so the math is easy to extrapolate.

Bottom line remains the same; place head between your knees and kiss your butt goodbye.

Have a nice day.

[edit on 20/4/08 by masqua]

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:28 PM
Some of the largest bombs of today are practically capable of taking out a whole continent.

Look at the diagram below of relative sizes. Bear in mind that the first few sizes of bomb shown are enlarged within a circle, and the circle is then shown next to the larger bombs for comparison.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:36 PM
I think an H-Bomb, which is rather old now-a-days, has a 60 mile radius. Those were developed in the 50's, I'd hate to see what we've come up with since.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:45 PM
...I'm utterly gobsmacked...

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 08:00 PM
Such a sad subject, especially coming from an Ausie!!

Should you not be talking about shrimps on the barbie and shielas

Anyway, the Zsar (Russian) would completely destroy any city on this planet - and that was 20+ years ago.

Sad what we can accomplish - if you want to call it that!!


posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 08:02 PM
ehhhhhhh wouldn't it really depend on the type? current nukes would make any city dangerous and cause fatal radiation for hundreds of miles.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 08:09 PM
Consider this...

The new defence headquarters is not located near Bungendore because the land was cheap. One of the primary goals of relocation was to be beyond the blast radius if Canberra was nuked. Not only will the hills stop any blast effects but the wind patterns will keep the chance of fallout to a bare minimum.

I would say your best bet for safety in the event of a nuclear attack in Canberra would be to live in southern Tuggeranong or Gunghalin as they are not only sheltered by hills but the weather patterns give you a chance to get away before fallout.

Having said all that the biggest risk in australia is not direct attack but terrorism in which case Sydney or melbourne are most likely. And if we are attacked it won't be to disable our mighty war machine, it will be at the US bases at Pine Gap and Exmouth in WA.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 08:16 PM
I suppose a relevant question (possibly for another thread) would be:

In the event of a nuclear war (say between Russia and the USA) would all countries / cities be hit out of principle or just those within the realms of the targeted countries??

Just thinking out loud. Military alliances not included!

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 08:36 PM

Originally posted by Breifne
I suppose a relevant question (possibly for another thread) would be:

In the event of a nuclear war (say between Russia and the USA) would all countries / cities be hit out of principle or just those within the realms of the targeted countries??

Just thinking out loud. Military alliances not included!

I remember watching something on TV quite a few years ago, which showed the known targetting zones of Russian missiles aimed at this country (England).

The targets showed a mass of overlapping circles, which were so numerous that they basically all merged together, so that there would be basically no escape......not in this country, at least.

And last I heard (again, several years ago)......the destructive capabilities of the world's nuclear aresenal is such that, if they were unleashed, they would explode with the equivalent destructive power of heaping 6 tons of TNT onto the head of every single man, woman and child in the world....all six billion of us.

6 tons per person.


posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 08:42 PM
reply to post by Breifne

Remembering the lessons learnt during military training, the initial attacks would be on primary targets... airfields, military bases, shipyards, missile silos and important infrastructure like power stations, major bridges, etc.

Secondary targets would be governmental centers like capital cities as well as manufacturing areas (and so on).

Cities which are spared in the first exchanges would be hit later as refugees from bombed areas begin to filter to them simply because the remaining civil and military authorities would try to concentrate survivors into these places for triage.

A nuclear exchange would not be a quick thing. Subs, silently waiting for their turn to attack, would send their missiles during the weeks following the initial attacks.

The idea is to decimate all forms of organized control, leaving the target population alienated and scattered without any assistance from their now destroyed government.

Then the land war would begin with an invasion by the one who survived with the least amount of damage to their military, if that is at all feasable.

[IMO] China fits that parameter the best as long as they have developed a large enough fleet. Russia, I don't believe, can compare to China's ability to survive an exchange. If it was an exchange between Russia and America, there is no doubt the Chinese would rule the world for centuries afterwards simply because they have the sufficient numbers in population.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 08:54 PM
I thought as much. Leave nothing untouched.

So two men control all that power? How sad is that?

I was going to say, being in Ireland we thought generally we were in the right place. I suppose any fallout would travel with the weather system in which it was dropped.

IMHO, I don't think that nuclear weapons will ever be used deliberately. Everything to loose and nothing to gain. People talk about using nuclear weapons as a first or second strike capability - when you've blasted the hell out of a country, theres nothing left bar the radiation - pointless.


posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 09:00 PM
reply to post by masqua

But do you believe it is nuclear protocol to attack every major power, irrespective of their military stance?

You mention China and it's ability to grow as a world power given the demise of the US and Russian influence. Surely it would be hit to prevent this.

I guess no one knows this answer and for good reasons.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 09:54 PM
Some of these guesses are unbelievable.

H-Bomb having a 60-Mile blast radius? I hope to god you don't mean initial blast, maybe with fallout and radiation spreading over large distances.

The H-bomb was an effective weapon up until the Thermo-nuclear warhead of the >1 Megaton range came to be used widely. These weapons are very large and can cause a significant amount of damage.

The Tzar bomba was 50 megatons and had an initial blast radius of about 15 miles.

I'm not sure China could survive a nuclear exchange. Sure they have the population numbers to theoretically do it, but we're severely looking over their handicap, the geography on which their population is located.

A big portion of China is no where near densly populated, a good portion of their population is squished into tight areas. Take out millions of a people with only a few warheads and the fact that they have massive mountain ranges and a large desert doesn't help the surviving population, Nuclear fallout and radiation would be an absolute disaster.

China may have a large army, I doubt they'll have the logistical support to carry that army over the ocean and supply it for war.

Those are just my thoughts though...

Shattered OUT...

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 11:03 PM

Fractional Reserve Banking and compound interest are the two most useful weapons of mass destruction, because they destroy people but leave infrastructure intact.

Who needs nukes?

[edit on 20-4-2008 by ianr5741]

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