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Nuclear Threats - Part 1 - We are Not Safe if North Korea Fires Nuclear Bombs at Us

Message Robert A. Leishear, PhD, PE, ASME Fellow

Explosive nuclear dangers can burst onto U.S. soil if a nuclear war starts with North Korea. Since the U.S. has left the door partway open to nuclear attack, none of us are safe from nuclear weapon murders. This first of four Op Eds summarizes and updates earlier complicated Op Eds.

Defective U.S. Nuclear Weapon Defense Systems and North Korea

Intercepting nuclear missiles that travel above our atmosphere at speeds of thousands of miles per hour is an extraordinary accomplishment. However, testing of our $40 billion missile defense system since 2014 failed one out of four times. 'The U.S. does not have a full capability to stop North Korean nuclear missiles from killing our people' ("The U.S. Cannot Adequately Protect Us From a Nuclear Attack by North Korea"). The U.S. Department of Defense refused to respond to a request for comment.

An Unpublished Op Ed Created This Series of Op Eds

The original intent of this article was to publish a shortened Op Ed through a mainstream news publisher in an effort to reference numerous Op Ed News articles. Such an action was also intended to reach a larger audience to change public opinion. By doing so, a shorter and more concise - 600- to 700-word - discussion of nuclear weapon attacks shows the inability of our government to stop mass murders by foreign governments if nuclear war starts.

This action failed, but this article is still important and informative. This article was then submitted to OpEd News for publication as the first of this four-part series.

Fingers on the Triggers of Nuclear War

These are perilous times with an uncertain future. "North Korea warns of 'all-out' nuclear weapons response to 'threats' from US, allies" (click here). Are we facing nuclear war? We do not know.

However, if a North Korean nuclear war detonates into our lives such a missile defense system failure can kill thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of U.S. people in a ferocious nuclear blast, which only lasts for seconds.

Figure 1: Comparative death counts for different nuclear bombs fired into Washington, D.C., Pyonyang, and Hiroshima
Figure 1: Comparative death counts for different nuclear bombs fired into Washington, D.C., Pyonyang, and Hiroshima
(Image by Leishear Engineering, LLC, Adapted from Alex Wellerstein - nukemap.com)
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Figure 2: Comparative injury counts for different nuclear bombs fired into Washington, D.C., Pyonyang, and Hiroshima
Figure 2: Comparative injury counts for different nuclear bombs fired into Washington, D.C., Pyonyang, and Hiroshima
(Image by Leishear Engineering, LLC, Adapted from Alex Wellerstein - nukemap.com)
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Mass Murder

A single nuclear bomb from a North Korean strike into Washington, D.C. can murder 293,000 people and injure another 497,000 people (Figures 1 and 2). A single nuclear warhead strike into New York City can murder 850,000 and injure 1.4 million. A single nuclear strike into Los Angeles can murder 278,000 and injure 725,000 (Nukemap, https://nukemap.org/nukemap).

In a responsive second-strike nuclear attack, the unleashing of a single U.S. nuclear missile warhead can murder 1.83 million people and injure 1.43 million people in Pyongyang, North Korea ("Nuclear weapons - Mass murder in South and North Korea", Click Here).

Perfecting Mass Murder

Evolving from decades of testing, the U.S. arms accurate nuclear missiles with multiple nuclear warheads. On November 18th, 2022, North Korea launched a new missile that can reach anywhere in the U.S., and is believed to be capable of delivering multiple warheads, where the accuracy of this new missile design is unknown.

Even so, North Korea stated that scientists have made a 'wonderful leap forward in the development of the technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles'. Their 'missiles will fly vigorously only in the direction indicated'. And, their 'ultimate goal is to possess the world's most powerful strategic force, the absolute force unprecedented in the century' (North Korea aims to have world's most powerful nuclear force, leader Kim says, click here).

North Korea stockpiles 40 to 70 nuclear bombs, with explosive payloads up to 200 kilotons of equivalent TNT. The U.S. stockpiles thousands of nuclear bombs, with explosive payloads up to 9 megatons of TNT. By comparison, the Hiroshima atomic bomb yielded a 15-kiloton explosive payload.

Pictures to Show How Many People can be Murdered

Estimated nuclear weapon deaths and injuries due to available explosive payload ranges are depicted in Figures 1 and 2 for Washington, D.C. and Pyongyang, North Korea. Also in this figure, these estimates are compared to estimates for actual deaths and injuries in Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

Note in Figure 1 that death estimates are shown for a range of nuclear bombs, which could be fired during U.S. and North Korean attacks. In fact, some U.S. warheads can even be 'dialed in' to an explosive payload between 0.3 and 340 kilotons ("Complete list of all nuclear weapons", Click Here). A death estimate for a 0.3-ton North Korean bomb is also pictured for comparison, but North Korea may not arm bombs with explosive payloads this small. In short, military or political leaders select the extent of nuclear murder.

From available information two conclusions can be drawn. First, some missiles from a North Korean attack may be destroyed in flight, but nuclear missile breaches of U.S. defenses could kill many people. Second, U.S. missiles can kill everyone in North Korea. Why would North Korea recklessly threaten nuclear war?

Perhaps these threats are empty placeholders for now, since "North Korea plans [the] 'world's most powerful' nuclear force, Kim Jong Un says" (Click Here). 'Kim has vowed "absolutely no denuclearization, no negotiation, and no bargaining chip to trade." If that's true, the North Korean nuclear threat may be permanent' (The North Korean nuclear threat, explained, click here). If true, we certainly need to improve missile defenses for a dangerous future.

War Crimes are Mass Murder

With weapons of mass destruction at hand, military and political leaders can execute mass murder. 'Deaths result from the vaporization of people, horrific burns, shock-wave impacts, building collapses, flying objects, winds from nuclear blasts, and radiation sickness', which damages and kills the cells in organs, tissue, and blood as radiation zooms through human bodies' ("The horror of battlefield tactical nuclear weapons - Insights sparked by events in Ukraine and North Korea", Click Here).

Firing a nuclear weapon at people should be legally classified as a war crime. The question mushrooms into "Would the detonation of tactical nuclear weapons (atomic bombs) against people equal mass murder and war crimes" (click here). The answer falls out to "Make the bomb against the law - Mass murder is a crime" (Click Here).

When We Are Lied to, Trust Changes to Fear of Nuclear War

Moreover, fears of nuclear war approach from Russia and North Korea. We have implicitly believed that the U.S government will protect us from nuclear war. However, if a war starts, our nuclear defenses have holes through which nuclear bombs can be fired into our cities.

Metaphorically, the dragon of nuclear war breathes the fire of death.

An Effort to Change Opinions

This article is the latest in a comprehensive series of Op Eds to alert people to the dangerous cover-ups in nuclear power and nuclear defense. The following list provides easy access to background information in supporting articles.


Note: Click on article titles for links to each article.

George Elias Radio Show, Robert Leishear, "Possible Radioactive Explosions at Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine Nuclear Power Plants" (click here)

Article: Nuclear Threats - Part 4 - Take Action against U.S. Cover-ups in Nuclear Power and Nuclear Missile Defense on 11/30/2022

Article: Nuclear Threats - Part 3 - Our Government Lies to Us about Nuclear Safety - Radioactive Explosions in War and in Peace on 11/30/2022

Article: Nuclear Threats - Part 2 - A Fight for Freedom of the Press to Say that We are Not Safe if Nuclear Bombs are Fired at Us on 11/28/2022

Article: Nuclear Threats - Part 1 - We are Not Safe if North Korea Fires Nuclear Bombs at Us on 11/28/2022

Article: The U.S. Cannot Adequately Protect Us From a Nuclear Attack by North Korea on 11/17/2022

Article: Nuclear Weapons - Mass Murder in South and North Korea? on 11/07/2022

Article: Make the Bomb Against the Law - Mass Murder is a Crime on 10/29/2022

Article: Would The Detonation Of Tactical Nuclear Weapons (Atomic Bombs) Against People Equal Mass Murder And War Crimes? on 10/22/2022

Article: The Horror of Battlefield Tactical Nuclear Weapons - Insights Sparked by Events In Ukraine and North Korea on 10/13/2022

Article: Stop A Potential Radioactive Europe and Russia - A Letter To Energoatom, The Ukraine Nuclear Power Company on 09/23/2022

Article: The Ukraine Nuclear Scare - The IAEA Endangered Europe and Russia on 09/13/2022

Article: You Can Stop an Explosive Nuclear Disaster: A Message to Nuclear Power Reactor Operators on 09/13/2022

Article: A Nuclear Disaster in Europe Can Be Stopped! on 09/06/2022

Article: Will We Let a Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant Explode? on 08/24/2022

Article: We Can Still Prevent Any Widespread Catastrophic Explosions at Ukraine Nuclear Power Plants on 08/13/2022

Article: The U.S. NRC Still Fails to Protect Us Against Nuclear Power Plant Explosions Like Fukushima on 07/25/2022

Article: Press Censorship and the Nuclear Power Plant Explosions That Still Bang at Our Doors on 07/16/2022

Article: Deceit is the Core of Nuclear Power Explosion Safety on 07/09/2022

Article: We Should Be Afraid of Nuclear Power on 07/04/2022

Article: Blasting Into Our Lives - The Three Mile Island Explosion Cover-Up: TV, Myth, and Reality on 06/17/2022

Article: Potential Explosions at Ukraine Nuclear Reactors Can Be Stopped on 03/12/2022

Article: Preventable Disasters--The Fight for New Ideas, Never Give an Inch on 06/21/2021

(Article changed on Nov 30, 2022 at 10:16 PM EST)

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Robert A. Leishear, PhD, PE, ASME Fellow Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Robert A. Leishear, PhD, P.E., PMP, ASME Fellow, Who's Who in America Top Engineer, NACE Senior Corrosion Technologist, NACE Senior Internal Piping Corrosion Technologist, AMPP Certified Protective Coatings Inspector, NACE Cathodic Protection (more...)

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