It seems as though Donald Trump's sleepover with Kim Jong Un didn't save the world from nuclear disaster after-all.
Last year, in case you've already blacked it out, Trump met with the North Korean leader to discuss denuclearization. Trump, at the time, claimed great success and Un almost, for a second, seemed to be on board. At his New Year's address, he said the country would work towards denuclearization and promised not to continue weapons testing.
Turns out, it was all a bunch of bullshit! Yuge surprise!
According to a report published this week by the U.S. Intelligence agencies, "North Korea retains its WMD [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities" and "is unlikely to give up all of its WMD stockpiles, delivery systems, and production capabilities." Moreover, according to the report, "North Korean leaders view nuclear arms as critical to regime survival." Trump, of course, responded by refuting the intelligence community.
Now, I don't think we're actually at any threat of being nuked by North Korea any time soon. Maintaining the ability to bomb the shit out of us is probably more of a bargaining chip than anything else (I hope). That said, if North Korea did bomb Seattle, this is what would happen...
I took this screenshot from NUKEMAP, an online tool that shows different—yet all terrifying—possible nuclear scenarios using weapons that have detonated in the past. It was developed by Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear weapons historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in 2012. It hasn't been updated with the specs for the bomb North Korea tested in 2017 (or whatever they're working on right now), but if the nuke they tested in 2013 was denoted in Seattle, for instance, it would result in an estimated 46,490 fatalities and even more injuries. The fallout from this hypothetical bombing could, depending on wind conditions. stretch into Skagit County. And that's a small weapon.
The worst-case scenario, according to NUKEMAP, would be the surface-level detonation of a weapon like Tsar Bomba, a Soviet weapon and reportedly the largest nuke ever developed. This bomb was 26 feet in length, weighed nearly 60,000 pounds, and was tested in 1961, creating what was apparently the most powerful human-created explosion in history. The resulting mushroom cloud was seen from 100 miles away, and if this big-ass bomb were dropped on Seattle, the fatalities would be over a million and fallout would be felt as far as Saskatchewan.
Luckily, that bomb was decades ago, when world leaders were narcissistic despots with less regard for human life than their own egos, so surely we're in no danger of some asshole deciding to, say, withdraw the United States from the nuclear arms treaty with Russia. Oh, wait. Nevermind. We are.