Will YOUR neighborhood be the target of a nuclear conflict?

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These nuclear “hot spots” across America could be targeted in the event of a thermonuclear war, according to the government.

While densely populated cities such as New York and Los Angeles may seem like the most likely US targets, there are other, more strategic targets in states such as Montana or North Dakota to destroy the US retaliatory force.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) initially released a map of the areas most likely to be targeted in 2017. – but it has resurfaced on social media as the West teeters on the brink of war with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

The map shows potential targets in every state with dense concentrations along the East Coast and inland California. Particularly large clusters are also distinguished ColoradoMontana, North Dakota and Wyoming.

Operating nuclear power plants are big targets. There are about 90 operating nuclear power plants in the US, including in Alabama, Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

The FEMA map shows potential nuclear targets in the US, including the 2,000 (marked in black) and 500 (purple) warhead scenarios, as well as state capitals (star) and cities (squares).

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a “safe” place to live, consider parts of Idaho, Maine, northern California, and Oregon, where the lack of nuclear power plants and sparser populations make them less likely targets.


  • To prevent vision damage, turn away and close your eyes.
  • Lie face down on the ground and place your hands under your body.
  • Stay flat until the high heat and two shockwaves pass.
  • Find something to cover your mouth and nose, such as a scarf or handkerchief.
  • Remove dust from clothing.
  • Move to a storage room, basement or other underground room.
  • Turn off ventilation systems and close doors or windows until the precipitation cloud has passed.
  • Stay inside until authorities say it’s safe to come out.
  • Listen to local radio or television for information and advice.
  • Use preserved food and drinking water.
  • Clean and close all open wounds on the body.
  • If you are advised to evacuate, bring disaster essentials (such as a flashlight, battery-powered radio, emergency food and water).

The US has strategically placed nuclear forces, which could become prime nuclear targets, far from populated areas. ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missile bases), naval and air bases, and nuclear storage facilities are scattered throughout the country.

Irwin Redlener, a public health expert at Columbia University who specializes in disaster preparedness, says there are six cities in the US that are the most likely targets of a nuclear attack.

New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. are prime targets not only because of their dense populations, but also because of important infrastructure such as financial centers, government buildings and power plants.

Other cities and metro areas that could be likely targets include Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres raised the flag about the risk of nuclear conflict last year as Russia’s war against Ukraine raged and continues.

“Increasing the combat readiness of Russian nuclear forces is a terrible event,” Guterres said.

Last month, the US State Department warned that Russia was not complying with the latest nuclear arms deal, which was extended for five years in 2021. Russia has denied the allegations and has also accused the US of wrongdoing.

The likelihood of tensions between the US and Russia escalating to nuclear war may be low, but it cannot be ruled out.

Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons outside Ukraine at the end of last year. He accused the West of “nuclear blackmail” and warned the US and Europe that Russia has “various means of destruction”.

“To protect Russia and our people, we will undoubtedly use all the weapons resources at our disposal,” Putin said. “This is not a bluff.”

In December, Putin suggested that Russia might abandon its “no-first-use” military doctrine, under which Russia would use nuclear weapons only as a last resort. “On the contrary, we formulated a strike back in our strategy.”

In the same spirit, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said: “We are at war not only with Ukraine, but also with the collective West.”

Patricia Lewis, director of the international security program at Chatham House, told the Independent that a nuclear attack by Russia was considered a last resort but was still a threatening prospect.

As the BBC reports, analysts believe that this should be taken as a warning to other countries not to increase their participation in the Russian-Ukrainian war.

In 2017, Russian state media said Moscow would destroy parts of the US after the nuclear deal collapsed.

The nuclear threat to the West is not limited to Russia. The Pentagon has warned that China has more land-based facilities capable of launching nuclear missiles than the United States.

A nuclear attack in a major metropolis is one of 15 disaster scenarios for which FEMA has an emergency strategy. This includes deploying an emergency response, sheltering evacuees and decontaminating victims exposed to radiation.

According to Stephen Schwartz, author of Nuclear Audit: The Costs and Consequences of US Nuclear Weapons Since 1940, the US has four to five nuclear submarines on standby in patrol areas awaiting orders to launch.

Even high-ranking officials in the US military don’t know where the silent submarines are, and there’s no way Russia could go after them all before they open fire, which Schwartz said could be done in just five to 15 minutes.

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