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Safety 2018, 4(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/safety4020025

A National Pragmatic Safety Limit for Nuclear Weapon Quantities

1
Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering, School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto University, FI-00076 Espoo, Finland
2
Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931-1295, USA
3
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931-1295, USA
4
Tennessee State University, 3500 John A Merritt Boulevard Nashville, Nashville, TN 37209, USA
5
Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED), 23532 Calabasas Road, Suite A, Calabasas, CA 91302, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 6 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
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Abstract

This study determines the nuclear pragmatic limit where the direct physical negative consequences of nuclear weapons use are counter to national interests, by assuming all unknowns are conservatively optimistic. The only effect considered is nuclear winter (“nuclear autumn” in the low weapons limits) and the resultant effects on the aggressor nation. First, the ability of low nuclear weapon limits is probed for maintaining deterrence in the worst-case scenario of attacking the most-populous nation. Second, the ability of aggressor nations to feed themselves is assessed without trade and industry resultant from a nuclear attack causing “nuclear autumn” (10% global agricultural shortfall). Third, the best-case wealthy aggressor nation with abundant arable land is analyzed for starvation and economic impacts given 7000, 1000, and 100 nuclear weapons scenarios. The results found that 100 nuclear warheads is adequate for nuclear deterrence in the worst case scenario, while using more than 100 nuclear weapons by any aggressor nation (including the best positioned strategically to handle the unintended consequences) even with optimistic assumptions (including no retaliation) would cause unacceptable damage to their own society. Thus, 100 nuclear warheads is the pragmatic limit and use of government funds to maintain more than 100 nuclear weapons does not appear to be rational. View Full-Text
Keywords: nuclear weapons; nuclear proliferation; nuclear winter; national survival; futures; nuclear safety; atomic bombs; global catastrophic risk; existential risk; nuclear war nuclear weapons; nuclear proliferation; nuclear winter; national survival; futures; nuclear safety; atomic bombs; global catastrophic risk; existential risk; nuclear war
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Pearce, J.M.; Denkenberger, D.C. A National Pragmatic Safety Limit for Nuclear Weapon Quantities. Safety 2018, 4, 25.

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