Special Report

What a Nuclear Strike Would Do to Russia’s Large Cities


To find how a nuclear detonation could affect Russia’s 15 largest cities, 24/7 Wall St. used Nukemap, a site that simulates detonation of nuclear bombs. We have chosen two typical warhead yields, 100 kilotons and 800 kilotons of TNT equivalent, detonated in the air over the center (commercial area or downtown), or important landmarks in these cities. 

  • Nuclear bombs with 100-kiloton yield detonated in the air at 0.9 miles altitude have a fireball radius of 0.24 miles and a light blast damage radius of 5.7 miles, for a total affected area of 102.3 square miles.
  • Nuclear bombs with 800-kiloton yield detonated in the air at 1.8 miles altitude have a fireball radius of 0.55 miles and a light blast damage radius of 11.4 miles, for a total affected area of 409.3 sq. miles.

We also added the average population within the light damage blast range averaged over a 24-hour period. Light damage can be caused by an overpressure – the pressure caused by a shock wave exceeding normal atmospheric pressure – of 1 psi. (Psi is a measure of pressure equaling a pound of force per square inch.) All data is from Nukemap, except for population figures.

Population figures came from the United Nations’ Population Division The World’s Cities in 2018. Each city population is for the urban agglomeration area – the contiguous urban area, or built-up area. These are the 15 Russian cities with populations over 1 million.

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