Who would do it

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - HOW YOUR WORLD WORKS -

TER­ROR­ISTS

Ac­cord­ing to Jeff Sch­legelmilch, deputy director of the Na­tional Cen­tre for Dis­as­ter Pre­pared­ness at Columbia Uni­ver­sity, the most likely nu­clear weapon will be trucked in and ex­ploded on the ground. He es­ti­mates its yield at 10 to 15 kilo­tons – the same as Hiroshima. “This type of threat is very sur­viv­able,” he says. “It would be bad but the repub­lic would sur­vive.”

NORTH KOREA

For a long time, North Korea’s nu­clear threat was capped in the 10to 15-kilo­ton range. But ear­lier this year, says Michael Elle­man, senior fel­low for mis­sile de­fense at the In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute for Strate­gic Stud­ies and an an­a­lyst for 38 North, a North Korea track­ing site, “North Korea det­o­nated a ther­monu­clear weapon with a yield rang­ing be­tween 150 kilo­tons and 250 kilo­tons. The tested weapon very likely could be fit on the HS-15,” the ICBM the coun­try tested in Novem­ber, “which could reach most, if not all, of the US main­land.”

FIRE­BALL

Whether the nuke is det­o­nated in the air or on the ground, the ini­tial threat is the fire­ball, which can reach tens of

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