A map that shows you the nuke way

This nu­clear ex­plo­sion sim­u­la­tor shows how well you are placed dur­ing a ra­dioac­tive fall­out

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Busi­nessin­sider.in

Since Feb­ru­ary 2012, peo­ple around t he world have ex­ploded more t han 159 mil lion nu­clear weapons. They’ve set off big ones and smal l ones and dropped them on Wash­ing­ton, Paris, Moscow, and even t heir own homes. But none of these nu­clear ex­plo­sions are real, of course. They’re all sim­u­lated via Nukemap, an in-browser app that lets you choose a lo­ca­tion any­where on Earth, ad­just a num­ber of op­tions, and det­o­nate a hy­po­thet­i­cal nu­clear bomb. The pro­gram is the brain­child of Alex Weller­stein, a his­to­rian of nu­clear weapons at the Stevens In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy. Us­ing the app has a cer­tain thrill to it — just zoom to your lo­ca­tion and click ‘det­o­nate’ to see what hap­pens. Nukemap’s soft­ware re­lies on de­clas­si­fied equa­tions along with mod­els of nu­clear weapons and their ef­fects — fac­tors like fire­ball size, air­blast ra­dius, ra­di­a­tion zones, and more. It crunches the num­bers, then ren­ders the re- sults as graph­ics over an in­ter­ac­tive map.

Pre­set op­tions let you pick his­toric and re­cent blasts, in­clud­ing North Korea’s test ex­plo­sions and Tsar Bomba, the most pow­er­ful nu­clear de­vice ever det­o­nated. The tool can even es­ti­mate fa­tal­i­ties and in­juries for a given weapon yield, alti­tude, and lo­ca­tion. Weller­stein’s lat­est up­date of­fers a fas­ci­nat­ing new op­tion: a way to see how well some­one in a ra­dioac­tive f al l out shel­ter might fare. The pre­vi­ous ver­sion of Nukemap could gen­er­ate a cloud of ra­dioac­tive fall­out and show users how it might drift based on real weather con­di­tions. Now a ‘probe’ tool lets you ex­plore that cloud and bet­ter es­ti­mate your chances of sur­vival within it.

Sup­pose a 150-kilo­ton bomb det­o­nates in New York City (on ground level). This yield, in kilo­tons of TNT, would be about 10 times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Nukemap pre­dicts the dan­ger­ous fall­out from such a cat­a­clysm

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