Global Zero Co-Founder Dr. Bruce Blair collaborated with nuclear experts through Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security to produce a video showing how a “limited” nuclear exchange with Russia could quickly spiral out of control. The video, “Plan A,” shows how a nuclear conflict could cause an estimated 90 million casualties in the first few hours and destroy society as we know it. The effect is chilling.
Creators drew on their extensive experience in government, academia, and policy to develop a compelling visual account of a world engulfed by nuclear conflict based on existing nuclear war plans and arsenals. Major cities are targeted, leading to extensive civilian casualties. And this is just the first hour: massive casualties due to injury, radiation poisoning and the disruption of the food system would follow, as well as environmental damage that could make the world fatally inhospitable to human life.
Blair, who began his career as a Minuteman ICBM launch control officer, has spent decades working to reduce the nuclear threat. His first-hand knowledge of nuclear war planning informs the conflict scenario illustrated by the video: as nightmarish as it seems, it’s also a real possibility based on current U.S. policies.
The risk of nuclear conflict is growing. The treaties that have long governed the world’s nuclear arsenals are being abandoned, and nuclear-armed states are expressing the willingness to use nuclear weapons in a broader range of contexts. It’s more important than ever to make sure those outside the expert community understand exactly how much is at stake.
A nuclear exchange would have devastating consequences for every single person on earth. Understanding what we stand to lose is the first step toward making sure nuclear weapons are never used again.