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Nuclear Weapons: 2024 Attack Map, Key Targets, and Fallout Risks

Nuclear Weapons: 2024 Attack Map, Key Targets, and Fallout Risks

Below you will find a chilling article that has been made available by MIRA Safety.  We are Life Protectors LLC and have been a long time MIRA distributor.  Although we sell CBRN PPE by other manufacturers such as 3M, MSA, Honeywell and others, we believe that the MIRA Safety products represent some of the highest quality and most effective CBRN protective products available today.  These goods can be purchased directly from MIRA Safety at full retail price or from Life Protectors LLC for less.


Nuclear Weapons: 2024 Attack Map, Key Targets, and Fallout Risks

By Matt Collins


What if you had a nuclear attack map before the first warhead went off?

In that case, you’d know exactly when and where the bombs would fall first—and which cities, bases, or locations might be hit in secondary attacks.

In reality, the target of a nuclear strike would vary based on the aggressor and the type of attack.

But as you’re about to see, certain regions of America are at far greater risk than others.

And knowing where it will happen—before the nuclear bomb ever detonates—is a potentially life-saving advantage in the face of a cataclysmic nuclear attack. After all, it can shape your response in those crucial early moments of crisis and help you plan your response beforehand.

So today, we will show you what that nuclear attack map might look like for 2023.

After that, we will dive deep into the specific strategies and weapons most likely to be deployed and the fallout that would result in the aftermath.

But before we begin, a word of warning: what you’re about to read will be grim.


Despite the technological sophistication of nuclear weapons, the doctrine dictating their use—“mutually assured destruction” (MAD)—is caveman-simple.

Coined by military analyst Donald Brennan in 1962, the concept was robust enough to maintain a nuclear stalemate between the USSR and America throughout the Cold War. But it’s also simple enough for any schoolboy to understand. Essentially: you shoot your nuke at me, and I’ll shoot back until no one’s left alive in either country.

Under this principle, the US and USSR rapidly accumulated nuclear weapons during those years. More bombs, after all, meant more destructive power and, in turn, deterrence to keep the enemy from attacking. 

This leads us to the concept of the “alpha strike.”

An alpha strike is a preemptive attack on a hostile enemy, first targeting their nuclear weapons and military assets. This, in theory, would prevent the enemy from retaliating with their entire arsenal, cutting projected deaths to more “acceptable” levels (albeit still in the millions, in most cases).

The catch with an alpha strike is that it would have to be comprehensive. In other words, you’d have to wipe out most, if not all, of the enemy’s weapons before they had the chance to retaliate. And since both American and Russian leaders have their own versions of a “nuclear football” on hand to initiate a launch at any time, you’d have to be extremely quick.

(Image courtesy of Federation of American Scientists)

That is why ballistic missile submarines were invented. Engineered to avoid detection and run for long periods in enemy waters, these subs are a key part of the US' nuclear deterrence program, which is why the American government spends $2.4 billion annually to maintain fourteen of them.

Collectively, this fleet of ballistic missile submarines are known as "Ohio-class." And though the name might not strike terror into the heart, the fact remains that an Ohio-class submarine, if called into action, can unleash up to twenty-four sub-based missiles with multiple independently targeted warheads. If fired near their targets, the enemy would have minimal time to respond before their warheads hit.

"But aren't submarines a bit antiquated?" we hear you wondering.

Allow us to introduce you to the hypersonic missile. These state-of-the-art missiles can reach up to Mach 5, or 4,000 miles per hour, to deliver their payload in minutes from across the Pacific or Atlantic.

Note that these types of weapons are not universally used. After all, an alpha strike, as previously stated, would have to be comprehensive. And aside from Russia and the United States, other nuclear-armed powers have a few hundred nukes at most.

Take China for example. With an estimated inventory of 350 warheads, China lacks the necessary resources for a practical alpha strike, leaving them with the option of a retaliatory strike. Consequently, if China were to detect a launch aimed at their silos, they’d launch in response targeting population centers—ensuring mutually assured destruction.

That means that, aside from the United States and Russia, no country is incentivized to initiate a nuclear attack on its own. Granted, that’s assuming rational leadership, which is a big assumption. Just look at India and Pakistan. In ongoing local conflicts such as these, tensions tend to run high, meaning that rapid nuclear escalation could potentially occur if things ever took a turn for the worse.

Plus, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there’s an increasing risk that tactical nuclear weapons may, at some point, be deployed. Note that tactical or battlefield nukes are designed to win battles and achieve short-term objectives. Strategic nuclear weapons, like the ones we’ve been discussing, meanwhile, constitute an amalgamation of factors: part doomsday weapon, part insurance policy, and part political tool.

And, unfortunately, longstanding arms control treaties have been abandoned in recent years, allowing for the development of new weapons with expanded use cases—bringing us that much closer to the brink.



In 2019, Princeton’s Science and Global Security Program developed a “Plan A” simulation to simulate how limited tactical weapons could rapidly spiral into an all-out nuclear assault and leave 91.5 million dead in a matter of hours.

What begins with a one-for-one tactical exchange escalates rapidly into counterforce and eventually counter value—wiping out critical infrastructure to keep one's enemy from recovering in the aftermath of an apocalyptic attack.

That means that in a matter of hours, most of Europe, the United States, and Russia would be leveled due to the detonation of multiple nuclear weapons, with nearly 100 million dead in the immediate aftermath.

Those who weren’t instantly killed by the blasts or afflicted with radiation sickness, meanwhile, could still be blinded by it from miles away. Note that 35% of a nuclear weapon’s energy is released as heat, which can scorch and leave second and third-degree burns, even miles from the blast.

Each impact would vaporize buildings, blowing out windows and ejecting wreckage at 784 miles per hour outward from the blast. The electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would shut down every car, smartphone, computer, and other unshielded electronic devices for miles.

Of course, the immediate ramifications of this would be horrifying.

Beyond the 91.5 million who would die worldwide in a matter of hours, hundreds of millions more would suffer a premature death over the coming years from cancers caused by radiation poisoning. And as we’ve mentioned in previous articles, all of that is just the beginning.

In the hours and days to come, nuclear fallout would spread miles downwind of each blast site. What's more, the nuclear blasts would cause global cooling and reduce crop yield worldwide because of the vast quantities of dust propelled into the high atmosphere. This means that, according to a 2013 International Physicians for the Prevention of War study, even a limited nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan would put a billion at risk of starvation, with a further 1.3 billion facing severe food insecurity.

Following a significant war between the United States and Russia, meanwhile, some 90% of the world’s population would be in danger of starvation. Plus, due to the sheer volume of fallout ejected into the atmosphere, food production wouldn’t return to normal for upwards of ten years after the explosions. With that said, it would be more stable at Southern latitudes—in places like Australia—further away from the equatorial fallout cloud.

All things considered, an all-out nuclear war would be deadly for everyone, regardless of where you live. But a more limited exchange—like one following a successful alpha strike by US forces—could vastly improve your chances of survival.



Suppose Russia attempts an alpha strike against America, or a counterforce measure to target our nuclear weapons. In that case, their initial targets will be relatively remote (with the notable exception of Washington, D.C.). Here's a map of how that would look:

(Image courtesy of Business Insider)

If the targets look a bit out-of-the-way, this is by design, as these locations were specifically selected to risk the fewest lives possible in the event of just such an attack. That means most Americans would be safe from the initial barrage.

But from there, as counterforce evolves into counter-value, Russian missiles would begin targeting larger cities, including New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. (Note that Washington, D.C. would most likely have already been hit in the first wave of attacks.)

As we witnessed in the “Plan A” video above, the whole exchange could last just a few hours—while dooming billions.

Of course, the potential targets for a nuclear strike are relatively well-known. But the immediate aftermath would be practically impossible to predict. Depending on everything from seasonality to the size, concentration, and yield of nuclear weapons, these attacks could light off raging wildfires or leave a trail of fallout hundreds of miles long that lasts for weeks.

With all of this in mind, the map below, compiled from data provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is the most accurate nuclear attack map and fallout demonstration available for 2023:

(Image courtesy of FEMA and Halcyon Maps)

Following the initial attack, the fallout would rapidly spread, turning targeted cities into whole affected regions. This means that, as you can see in the map above, almost all of California and coastal New England would be at risk. The entire state of Florida, too, would be in a challenging situation—with most likely rushing to evacuate—while the rest of the eastern United States would struggle with fallout, ranging from minor to severe.

Western Texas, most of Nevada, Michigan, and Wisconsin would be notably in the clear. With that said, the latter two would likely become uninhabitable in the coming nuclear winter.

Regardless of where you’re located when the bombs hit, most Americans would need to spend at least a week in a shelter to wait out the worst of the fallout and radiation. (See the legend in the lower left of the map.)

This brings us to the first few days after an attack. To guarantee you’ll have the best odds of surviving that crucial window of time, let's review a few key steps you can take.


Panic will likely rule those critical first hours after a nuclear attack, as civilians struggle to comprehend the scale of destruction they’re witnessing.

The first impulse many people will have is getting in their car and driving, as they’ll want to get as far away as possible from ground zero. Problem is, vehicles offer very little protection from radiation and fallout. And fifteen minutes after the bomb goes off, the first fallout particles will go down to ground level. So if you get in the car right away, you could be driving straight into the worst of it.

The second drawback to evacuating immediately is the fact that you would be joining so many people trying to take the same course of action. Remember that the initial EMP blast would wipe out most communications, so you’d have no idea whether the roads were safe. Rash action, therefore, could see you leaving safe shelter (at home, the office, or any other solid building) in order to once again put yourself in the line of fire.

(Image courtesy of FEMA)

So step one and two are simple: don’t get in your car immediately, and don’t try to evacuate.

Instead, be ready to hunker down. As we've written in previous articles on nuclear fallout and nuclear war, surviving those first seventy-two hours is a severe challenge. In light of this, you’ll want to ensure you stay sheltered—even if it means having to hole up in the office and live off stored snacks for three days. Better yet, try to put as many thick walls between you and the outside world as possible.

Step three is keeping at least a small supply of nonperishable food on hand. In this regard, meals, ready-to-eat (MREs) can be a practical choice, along with things like oats and honey and a gallon of two of water. Though it may surprise you to hear it, these small preparations can vastly improve your options in those critical first days after a nuclear attack.

The final step is to keep a portable, handheld radio handy. No smartphones or high-tech gadgets—the best choice here is an old-school emergency crank radio that can be activated in the days following the blast and tuned in to emergency signals. Note that this is a great tool to have in your car, home, or office anyway, as an emergency radio can be helpful in the event of a power outage or a natural disaster like a hurricane.

In the end, these primary considerations will vastly improve your odds of survival.

(For more information, we recommend consulting FEMA’s Nuclear Explosion Fact Sheet.) 


As you can see in the map above, some places will likely be safe after just a few days—while others may remain hazardous for weeks or even months. And while it’s best to shelter-in-place for the duration, it’s not always practical—mainly if you (or your family) are in one of the hotspots mentioned above.

So let’s look at a few practical PPE upgrades that can protect you from nuclear fallout.

CM-8M Gas Mask

A gas mask with the right filter can protect its user from inhaling fallout and particulate that would otherwise expose you to harmful alpha and beta radiation.

Our top recommendation for a full-face respirator would be the MIRA Safety CM-8M gas mask. It’s the newest addition to our lineup, featuring a uniquely contoured visor that offers maximum field of view while also being compatible with popular rifle optics and night vision goggles.

On the whole, it’s a practical tactical respirator that can last up to twenty years in storage and is compatible with your existing 40mm gas mask filters. Plus, it can also be equipped with the MIRA Safety gas mask microphone for improved communications or an MB-90 powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) for easier breathing.

Note that MIRA Safety gas masks will protect you from more than just nuclear fallout. Depending on the filter, they can also protect you from many other chemical warfare agents and biological threats.

NBC-77 SOF Gas Mask Filters

If you’re headed out into the unknown—or the aftermath of a nuclear blast—then the NBC-77 SOF should be your first choice of gas mask filter. Offering a wide range of protection against chemical warfare agents, biological threats, industrial waste, and nuclear fallout, this filter also has the crucial “reactor” certification, which protects the wearer from radioactive iodine that can be jettisoned into the atmosphere after a nuclear blast or reactor meltdown.

Even more appealing is the filter's unrivaled twenty-year shelf life. (Most standard gas mask filters have a shelf life of seven to ten years.) So while you may have to replace other filters multiple times over the next two decades, each vacuum-sealed NBC-77 SOF will last as long on the shelf as your gas masks and respirators.

Considering the destructive force of a nuclear weapon, there’s no telling what might end up in the air after a blast. The atmosphere could be filled not just with the fallout, but indeed every inhalable threat, from toxic industrial chemicals to noxious gases. With this in mind, the NBC-77 SOF should be your go-to filter to tackle these threats.


To prevent direct contact with radioactive fallout, you’ll need a full-body hazmat suit.

Enter the MIRA Safety HAZ-SUIT, which is fully impermeable and engineered from rugged tear- and puncture-resistant fabric to be tough enough for any emergency use. Plus, it has a practically unlimited shelf life with a broad chemical holdout for lasting protection during a disaster. And unlike other hazmat suits, it’s available in various sizes to fit each family member.

Note that HAZ-SUITs can be stored anywhere and deployed in just a few minutes. And remember that you’ll also need glovesboots, a gas mask, and chemtape for full-body protection.


One of the most dangerous elements you can be exposed to during the aftermath of a nuclear blast or meltdown is radioactive iodine (I-131). A carcinogen, radioactive iodine is inhaled and then concentrated in the thyroid gland.

Thankfully, there is Thyrosafe, which protects you from I-131 exposure by simply flooding your thyroid with safe potassium iodide until no more can be absorbed. Each dose offers twenty-four hours of protection (per dose) to help reach safety.

As the only FDA-approved potassium iodide supplement, Thyrosafe are a safe and proven solution. They're a good investment too, as tablets are sealed and can last up to ten years in storage.

Note that Thyrosafe is helpful even miles from the blast—since even minimal exposure to I-131 can have serious consequences. And considering the fact that most Americans live within 50 miles of active reactors, everyone should have at least a few boxes of Thyrosafe stashed away.

MIRA Safety Potassium Iodide Tablets

Prepping on a budget?

A recently launched and more cost-effective alternative to Thyrosafe is the MIRA Safety Potassium Iodide Tablets. This is effectively the same supplement but offered in triple the quantity, for a few dollars less.


As you can see, mutually assured destruction is practically absolute.

While the initial nuclear war would primarily kill Americans and Russians, the following nuclear winter would starve most people all across the globe, with the eventual death toll for starvation swelling to five billion.

Note that these famines would extend to every part of the world, even Africa, South America, Europe, and most of Asia, where infrastructure would largely remain intact.

At least a decade would need to elapse before crop yields were able to return to normal. And what about every other aspect of life?

Here, it is useful to consult the case of the Chernobyl reactor explosion. When this occurred, an army of 600,000 liquidators were employed to purge the land of deadly radiation. This entailed eradicating livestock and wild animals, ejecting farmers from their homes, and burying mountains of poisoned Earth.

And that was only for a single reactor.



If the US and Russia were to exhaust their nuclear arsenals, we could see over 3,500 nuclear explosions worldwide.

Let us be clear: the damage would be catastrophic and take generations, if not centuries, to repair—though the world would likely never return to "normal."

But if you’re clear of the primary targets, if you take the crucial steps needed to protect yourself and your family during those critical first seventy-two hours, and if you can find safe harbor in the weeks and months after a nuclear war, then you’ll have a fighting chance at the future.


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