With the nuclear threat ever-growing in our world full of politics and turmoil, you might wonder about the U.S. nuclear target map and where you are the safest. We might hope that the threat of a nuclear strike is minimal with appropriate relationships between nations, but taking steps to negate our dangers is a smart tactic.
A year ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin let the world know about his country’s nuclear strength, and everyone is well aware that North Korea has its stash of nuclear weapons. What countries have nuclear warheads? Here is a general estimation:Russia: 6,850
- United States: 6,550
- France: 300
- China: 280
- United Kingdom: 215
- Pakistan: 145
- India: 135
- Israel: 80
- North Korea: 15
Don’t forget; the number of nuclear warheads doesn’t matter as much as a proper strike. A nuclear warhead dropped strategically in the United States can do more than 10 dropped haphazardly. Never underestimate a nation with nuclear weapons.
All of this has me wondering about the possible US nuclear targets, and I wanted to compare maps. Does everyone have the same idea about where a terrorist might target? If so, can we agree on some safe areas in the US? Let’s take a look
A nuclear attack “would have devastating results”: US Govt.
America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, otherwise known as the CDC, is starting the public awareness campaign with a workshop called “Public Health Response to a Nuclear Detonation“. This workshop is designed for doctors, government officials, first responders, and other stakeholders who would have a direct role in the responsibility of addressing the after-effect should a nuclear attack ever happen.
But this isn’t just for professionals working in the preparedness industry, the CDC encourages everyone to “Learn how planning and preparation efforts for a nuclear detonation are similar and different from other emergency response planning efforts”.
In the workshop, one of the presentations to be given is on the“Roadmap to Radiation Preparedness”, delivered by a specialist from a Health Protection Division worker.
Their reason for launching this new look into preparing for a nuclear attack is simple. They state that “while a nuclear detonation is unlikely, it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps.”
“Despite the fear surrounding such an event, planning and preparation can lessen deaths and illness. For instance, most people don’t realize that sheltering in place for at least 24 hours is crucial to saving lives and reducing exposure to radiation. While federal, state, and local agencies will lead the immediate response efforts, public health will play a key role in responding.”
This workshop isn’t only a sign of the serious attitude health agencies are taking toward nuclear preparedness, it’s also an invitation to the public as the CDC and other agencies are making a trend towards being more public with their nuclear preparedness strategies in a bid to ease residents into an understanding of what nuclear preparedness is.
The workshop will be aired on January 16, 2018, and will be live-streamed to the public. You will be able to find more details on the live stream on the CDC page closer to the date.
What problems do governments face in promoting nuclear preparedness?
Overcoming the hurdle of encouraging nuclear preparedness is no easy feat, even for some of the world’s biggest government powers. For them, promoting simple awareness campaigns on issues of preparedness is difficult enough, such as how to limit the spread of disease, and preparing for storms and wildfires.
Sure, disasters and wildfires do happen, and we all know how quick the common cold can spread from bus handles to confined public spaces, but how do you encourage people to start looking at the real hard facts of nuclear attacks and what to do in the event of a nuclear detonation?
This just adds to the soiree of preparedness issues we face this day and age, and will eventually be as common as what high school shooter drills and traffic barricades to stop driving attacks have since become.
There are a few other issues that are prevalent for nuclear attacks and preparedness though.
What are the Primary Targets on the US Nuclear Target Map?
Of course, the targets are speculation, but we can make some reasonable guesses as to possible strikes. We assume that a terrorist nation would want to cause the most deaths possible. More deaths equal more terror, and that’s their end goal.
Everyone already knows that The White House, federal buildings, air-force bases, and military bases are targets. Modern Survival Blog made a popular nuclear targets map that many preppers have used to pick safe spots.
Photo Credit: Modern Survival Blog
Large Cities and Areas That Might Be a Target
First, let’s look at cities and metro areas that have at least 50 million people. Then, we look at areas that terrorists could easily enter due to their proximity to the border.
- New York City, NY
- Washington D.C.
- Dallas-Fort Worth
- Jacksonville, FL
- Miami, FL
- Los Angeles, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Chicago, IL
- Houston, TX
- Phoenix, AZ
- Honolulu, HI
In 1990, FEMA created a map with potential nuclear targets. It is a bit dated since its 30 years old, but it’s a good resource to have to see the risks. This map shows us that the east coast, particularly from Maryland up towards Connecticut is full of potential targets. That’s not an area I would want to be. Neither is the coastline of California and most of the midwest states like Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and southern Michigan.
Nuclear Targets in the United States
Active nuclear power plants are large targets as well. There are nine just on the east coast and more spread out over the continental United States. Right now, there are around 90 active nuclear plants in the United States, and more are on the books to be built.
Here are a few:
- Southern Jersey Coast
- Beaver Valley, PA
- Braidwood, IL
- Palo Verde, AZ
- Sequoyah, TN
- Browns Ferry, AL
- Calvert Cliffs, MD
- Byron, IL
- Joseph M. Farley, AL
Bases That Could Be Targets
Something else to consider is that military bases can be targets as well. Stephen Schwartz offers a map of potential targets that are based on their military importance. These targets are spread widely around the country, but they include air force bases, ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile land-based bases), and nuclear storage locations. Hitting command centers is a smart idea if you’re a terrorist.
Identifying that a nuclear detonation is a risk in any area
Nuclear attacks are not always just aimed at big cities, other establishments might have a greater influence on the damage to a nation and its residents.
So where could a nuclear attack or nuclear detonation be made? One way it has been addressed by agencies in the past is to consider the strategic assets a specific location may have. These would be things such as:
- Military Installations
- Ammunitions depots
- Industrial centers that, if destroyed, could cripple a nation’s supply economy
- Foodbowl areas that would damage the food supply to a nation or its trade supply
- Key infrastructures such as power plants, dams, and water reservoirs
- Largely populated areas
According to the US Government’s nuclear response website, Ready.gov, potential targets can also include centers of governments and major ports and airfields.
This means that even if you are not in a built-up or metropolitan area, that you are deemed safe from a nuclear detonation, as there may be these assets nearby that are a considerable target for an attack.
The following is a 2017 map of potential nuclear targets based on government installations.
Safe Areas in the United States
You might think places like Montana would be safe, but there is a large nuclear plant in the center of the state. Most states have at least one or two possible targets.
Right now, Maine is considered fairly safe. There are no nuclear plants nearby nor does Maine have any significantly sized cities. A majority of Oregon and northern California are also regions with a better chance to survive a nuclear war. Also, the middle of Idaho should be a safe place to reside.
Another interesting map shows us the earthquake zones with nuclear reactor locations. That’s something to consider because a nuclear strike could potentially trigger an earthquake, so picking areas with lower possibilities of earthquakes are wise. This map recommends:
- Eastern Montana
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- Parts of Nebraska and Kansas
If we go back to the FEMA map, we see that Idaho and Oregon still shows a lot of safe zones. FEMA didn’t include many dangers in Wyoming or Nevada. South Dakota is still safe, but this map shows a large target in North Dakota that might make it not an ideal pick. Maine is still empty of dangers.
What is the current approach to a nuclear attack?
The US Government’sReady.govpage is at the forefront of government national emergency response efforts. As a joint effort from Homeland Security and emergency response agencies, the site addresses nuclear survival and nuclear preparedness.
How to Prepare for a Possible Nuclear Strike
The best tip is to not live in a major city. Sure, living in New York City might be exciting, but it’s an obvious nuclear target. It’s also wise to avoid living in the blast areas. If you live in the blast radius, you might experience several things, such as:
- Rampant, uncontrollable fires
- Nuclear fallout falling from the skies
- Panicked and desperate people
Ultimately, we have no control over whether or not a nuclear strike happens, and that’s a scary feeling. We like to control our futures to the best of our ability, and this is one future in which we have no control.
Aside from picking a smart area to live, there are a few things that you can do to prepare for a nuclear strike.
Know Your Exit Routes
If you have to escape to a safer location, you need more than one exit route. Include several routes to get out of your home, including north, east, south, and west. If you do live in a metro area, you need several routes ready to go to escape if necessary.
Find The Closest Nuclear Bunker
Figure out ahead of time where your closest nuclear bunker is so you know exactly where to escape when the time comes.
Get Potassium Iodide Tablets
Most people don’t die from the first blast, but rather they die from the fallout and lasting problems in the months and years ahead. Potassium iodide tablets are a must-have and they’ll provide you with protection from the nuclear fallout.
Have a Plan to Bug In
Escaping isn’t always a possibility. You always need a plan to bug in and how to protect your home, windows, and doors from the fallout and radiation.
Understand Wind Movement
The wind will determine which way the fallout will spread more rapidly. Understanding the wind pattern lets you figure out how fast you need to escape and if you have additional time.
Get Your Bug Out Bag Ready
Nuclear strikes don’t always have warnings, which is scary. We want a warning so we have time to get home and prepare as the danger strikes. That’s not always how it works, so having your bug out bag ready to go is smart. Have a bag for each family member prepared and ready to go.
How Do I Know a Nuclear Threat is Serious?
So, how do you know that the threat is serious or that a strike happened? Here are a few ways to know that its time to evacuate the nuclear target areas.
Electronics Stop Working
Most experts believe a nuclear war will start with an EMP, so if all of your electronics stop working, the danger is coming. All they’d have to do is detonate a nuclear weapon about 300 miles above the United States, and it’ll darken all of the US, Canada, and Mexico.
An EMP will cut off our communication and our ability to retaliate. If we cannot communicate with our bases all of the country, we won’t be able to properly handle our troops
The News Announces A Nuclear Bomb Was Detonated
It doesn’t matter if the bomb was detonated in the next state or a country around the world. As soon as a nuclear war begins, all of humanity is at risk. If one of the nations is an ally to the United States, we may have to follow in defense. Usually, one bomb is followed by more, so head for the hills or get ready.
Explodes Miles Away But Didn’t Harm You
If you didn’t die, the fallout can cause you to have a lifetime of cancer and radiation ahead of you. The longer you’re exposed to radiation, the lower your chance of survival. So, once you know for sure that a nuclear bomb exploded within a close range of you, it’s time to bug out as fast as you can. Remember that the fallout is just as dangerous as the bomb. Wear masks.
If We Declare War on Another Nuclear Power
We would hope that our leaders wouldn’t put our nation in harm’s way by declaring war on a nuclear warhead holder, but anything is possible. If we declare war, it’s time to head to the hills into your bug-out cabin, or its time to start preparing for the worse.
The possibility of a nuclear war is a scary reality that we might face as a nation. Our world is constantly in turmoil. Use these US nuclear target map to help you figure out what are the safest (and most dangerous) areas for you to be in if you’re worried about a nuclear strike.
A more local approach to nuclear preparedness
While the US’ Homeland Services and FEMA are pushing the nuclear agenda as a national preparedness issue, some local government systems are adopting the approach and using their methods to promote the essentials of a nuclear attack response.
Southern California’s Ventura County launched a campaign in 2013 using pamphlets, a school training program, community meetings, and four Youtube videos on nuclear education. Their message is simple, “Get inside, stay inside, stay tuned” and the community response has been thankful for a simple community-driven preparedness approach.
Here is Ventura County’s video:
Expect to see more nuclear attack preparedness campaigns
As governments answer to the concerns over whether nations are ready for a nuclear attack or detonation, there seems to be a new level of transparency with governments opening up theirpreparednessstrategies with the public.
A risk assessment and public health expert, David Ropeik, said the majority of public information campaigns about nuclear preparednesshave been “too passive” and “not adequate.”
Theongoing threatsfrom North Korea “create a huge opportunity to get this on our radar screen.” and “the information is out there, most people just need to be alerted that it is there.”
National Center for Disaster Preparedness Director Irwin Redlenersaidinforming the public has been slowed by concerns about creating an undue alarm. And that a worse failing by the Government would be to leave people in the dark about simple precautions that could save lives.
“The public should be treated as adults,” Redlener said. “We live in a complicated world and we want people to be prepared.”
Where is the safest place to live if there is a nuclear war? ›
Modelling by The Guardian in 2016 found that “should atomic annihilation be on the cards”, one of the safest places to live would be Antarctica, because the “sub-zero continent” is “miles from anywhere”, or Easter Island in the South Pacific, which is more than 2,000 miles from South America.What US cities would be targets in a nuclear war? ›
The cities that would most likely be attacked are Washington, New York City and Los Angeles. Using a van or SUV, the device could easily be delivered to the heart of a city and detonated. The effects and response planning from a nuclear blast are determined using statics from Washington, the most likely target.What should I stockpile for nuclear war? ›
It should include bottled water, packaged foods, emergency medicines, a hand-crank or battery- powered radio to get information in case power is out, a flashlight, and extra batteries for essential items. If possible, store supplies for three or more days.What do you do in case of a nuclear war? ›
Once inside, get as far away from the windows as you can. Make your way to the basement, if there is one, or to the stairwell, usually the sturdiest part of any building. In the wake of the blast, you would have about 15 minutes before radioactive particles started raining down.What is the most likely place in the US to get nuked? ›
"There isn't a single jurisdiction in America that has anything approaching an adequate plan to deal with a nuclear detonation," he said. That includes the six urban areas that Redlener thinks are the most likely targets of a nuclear attack: New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.How far do you need to be from a nuclear blast to be safe? ›
Mild, first-degree burns can occur up to 11 km (6.8 miles) away, and third-degree burns – the kind that destroy and blister skin tissue – could affect anyone up to 8 km (5 miles) away. Third-degree burns that cover more than 24 percent of the body will likely be fatal if people don't receive medical care immediately.Can the US defend against nukes? ›
U.S. and allied conventional forces are capable of deterring and responding to any and all non-nuclear threats. The U.S. nuclear arsenal is robust and will continue to deter adversaries from using nuclear weapons against it or its allies.How long would it take for radiation to clear after a nuclear war? ›
For the survivors of a nuclear war, this lingering radiation hazard could represent a grave threat for as long as 1 to 5 years after the attack. Predictions of the amount and levels of the radioactive fallout are difficult because of several factors.What 3 foods Can you survive on? ›
- Perfect Foods. (Image credit: XuRa (opens in new tab) | shutterstock (opens in new tab)) ...
- Beans. (Image credit: USDA) ...
- Kale. (Image credit: Justin Jernigan) ...
- Cantaloupe. (Image credit: stock.xchng) ...
- Berries. (Image credit: Ohio State University.) ...
- Barley. (Image credit: USDA) ...
- Seaweed. (Image credit: NOAA) ...
- Turn away and close and cover your eyes to prevent damage to your sight.
- Drop to the ground face down and place your hands under your body.
- Remain flat until the heat and two shock waves have passed.
What should I stock up on before war? ›
Choose foods that don't require refrigeration and are not high in salt. Your stockpile should also contain flashlights, a radio, manual can opener, batteries and copies of important documents. Depending on your family's needs, you may also need medical supplies, pet food, contact lens solution or diapers.How do I stop freaking out about nuclear war? ›
- Prepare. ...
- Acknowledge emotions.
- Check in before ending the conversation. ...
- Focus your thoughts on some key factual statements. ...
- Focus on your breathing. ...
- Sort through your different feelings. ...
- Take care of yourself.
But the vast majority of the human population would suffer extremely unpleasant deaths from burns, radiation and starvation, and human civilization would likely collapse entirely. Survivors would eke out a living on a devastated, barren planet.What US cities would be nuked first? ›
Redlener identified six cities that have the greatest likelihood of being attacked: New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston. Only New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles' emergency management websites give ways to respond to a radioactive disaster.What to do if the US is nuked? ›
- Get inside the nearest building to avoid radiation. ...
- Remove contaminated clothing and wipe off or wash unprotected skin if you were outside after the fallout arrived. ...
- Go to the basement or middle of the building. ...
- Stay inside for 24 hours unless local authorities provide other instructions.
Those closest to the bomb would face death, while anyone up to 5 miles away could suffer third-degree burns. People up to 53 miles away could experience temporary blindness.Can Russian nukes reach the US? ›
New START limits all Russian deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons, including every Russian nuclear warhead that is loaded onto an intercontinental-range ballistic missile that can reach the United States in approximately 30 minutes.What is the blast radius of a 50 megaton bomb? ›
(To put it into perspective: The fireball for a 50-megaton weapon has a radius of about 3 miles.What is the likelihood of nuclear war? ›
A 1% chance of nuclear war in the next 40 years becomes 99% after 8,000 years. Sooner or later, the odds will turn against us. Even if we cut the risks by half every year, we can never get to zero.How far does a nuclear bomb effect in miles? ›
The dangerous fallout zone can easily stretch 10 to 20 miles (15 to 30 kilometers) from the detonation depending on explosive yield and weather conditions.
What Defence does the US have against nukes? ›
Missile defense protects the United States, its military forces overseas, and its allies and partners from threats posed by hostile ballistic missiles of all ranges. The comprehensive approach consists of operations to neutralize, intercept and mitigate a potential missile attack.How long until Earth becomes habitable after nuclear war? ›
Recovery would probably take about 3-10 years, but the Academy's study notes that long term global changes cannot be completely ruled out. The reduced ozone concentrations would have a number of consequences outside the areas in which the detonations occurred.Can you survive an atomic bomb in a fridge? ›
“The odds of surviving that refrigerator — from a lot of scientists — are about 50-50,” Lucas said.What is the only food you can live off of? ›
However, there is no known food that supplies all the needs of human adults on a long-term basis. Since Taylor is determined to follow a one-food diet, then potatoes are probably as good as anything, as they contain a wider range of amino acids, vitamins and minerals than other starchy foods, such as pasta or rice.What is the one food a human can live off of? ›
"The only food that provides all the nutrients that humans need is human milk," Hattner said. "Mother's milk is a complete food. We may add some solid foods to an infant's diet in the first year of life to provide more iron and other nutrients, but there is a little bit of everything in human milk."What materials can block radiation? ›
Lead aprons, lead blankets, and various other types of lead shielding for radiation are the most effective material to fight off x-rays and gamma-rays.How do I survive a nuclear fallout in my house? ›
Go inside a strong building, move toward its center, and shelter away from windows, doors, and exterior walls to best protect yourself. Avoid radioactive fallout that arrives minutes later by staying indoors, ideally belowground in a basement.Would a basement protect you from nukes? ›
The safest place in your home during an radiation emergency is a centrally located room or basement. This area should have as few windows as possible.Will there be a shortage of food in 2022? ›
It looks like food shortages have continued into 2022. This is what might be causing the issue. After some signs of a slow and cautious return to pre-pandemic normalcy last year, 2022 is looking remarkably like fall 2020—and that means supply issues at grocery stores.Should we be preparing for a food shortage 2022? ›
Global food shortages are coming, and we need to be prepared. We're likely to see more empty grocery store shelves and more food inflation by the end of this summer. The UN predicts that cereal and corn will start running out next year.
What should I be stocking up on 2022? ›
- Peanut butter.
- Canned tomatoes.
- Baking goods – flour, sugar, yeast, etc.
- Cooking oils.
- Canned vegetables and fruits.
"You'd want to go in the direction away from the wind," Redlener said, adding: "Get as far away as you can in the next 10 to 15 minutes, and then immediately seek shelter before the radiation cloud descends." The best shelters are buildings like schools or offices with few to no windows and a basement for camping out.What would happen in a full out nuclear war? ›
A full-scale nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia would see global food systems obliterated and over 5 billion people die of hunger. A global study led by Rutgers climate scientists estimates post-conflict crop production.What was the closest point to nuclear war? ›
The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 was a direct and dangerous confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War and was the moment when the two superpowers came closest to nuclear conflict.Can you survive a nuclear bomb in a pool? ›
While the radiation from the initial detonation is setting everything nearby on fire, the surface of the water will harmlessly evaporate. Since the boiling point of water isn't very high and the flash doesn't last very long, the whole body of water will stay cool, even if it's only a swimming pool.Where is the best place to be if a nuclear bomb goes off? ›
Go to the basement or middle of the building.
Stay away from the outer walls and roof. Try to maintain a distance of at least six feet between yourself and people who are not part of your household. If possible, wear a mask if you're sheltering with people who are not a part of your household.
"You'd want to go in the direction away from the wind," Redlener said, adding: "Get as far away as you can in the next 10 to 15 minutes, and then immediately seek shelter before the radiation cloud descends." The best shelters are buildings like schools or offices with few to no windows and a basement for camping out.Where should I survive nuclear fallout? ›
Get inside a building right away. Cars do not provide good protection from radioactive material. If you can get to a brick or concrete multi-story building or basement within a few minutes, go there. But being inside any building is safer than being outside.Where is the best place to be during a nuclear bomb? ›
The safest place in your home during an radiation emergency is a centrally located room or basement. This area should have as few windows as possible. The further your shelter is from windows, the safer you will be.What can I use to cover windows with a nuclear bomb? ›
Seal all windows, rooms and air vents in one room with 2-4 mil. thick plastic sheeting and duct tape. You might want to measure an duct the plastic sheeting in advance to save time. Cut the plastic sheeting at least six inches wider than the openings and label each sheet.
How can I protect my family and myself during a nuclear blast? ›
- Turn away and close and cover your eyes to prevent damage to your sight.
- Drop to the ground face down and place your hands under your body.
- Remain flat until the heat and two shock waves have passed.
HOW MUCH PROTECTION DOES YOUR BASE- MENT PROVIDE AGAINST RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT? In homes, basement areas provide the best shelter against fallout because they are mostly belowground. This gives them a natural shield.How long would it take for radiation to clear after a nuclear war? ›
For the survivors of a nuclear war, this lingering radiation hazard could represent a grave threat for as long as 1 to 5 years after the attack. Predictions of the amount and levels of the radioactive fallout are difficult because of several factors.How long after nuclear fallout is it safe to go outside? ›
If you are in a good shelter, plan on staying inside a minimum of 1 day and then wait for instructions from authorities about when to come out. By the end of the first day following a nuclear detonation, potential radiation exposure decreases by 80% (CBUPMC, 2011).