Nuclear War, Risks, Impacts and Consequences

Genetic Risks

A nuclear war would lead to harmful mutations and other genetic defects. This situation will continue to affect millions of people hundreds of years after the war. Genetic defects created by nuclear war will reduce the quality of the human gene pool.

Environmental Consequences

A Visualization of How Disruptive the Outcome of a Nuclear War Can Be

The effects of a nuclear war can be extremely devastating.

Smoke billowing from nuclear reactors

Ecological systems are complex and independent systems that are difficult to predict. For this reason, estimates of the effects of a nuclear war on the environment contain uncertainties and inconsistencies. Inferences and assumptions can be made due to unpredictable results.

After a nuclear war there will be less people and less industrial and commercial activity. The deaths of billions and the destruction of industrial infrastructure could reduce the suspected rate of global warming. The environmental threat posed by humans will be reduced. Radioactive fallout will cause soil and water pollution. This will significantly reduce the quality of human life. Nuclear explosions will cause significant generation of dust and smoke. Dust and smoke that can rise to the upper parts of the atmosphere will stay on the planet like a blanket, causing the planet to cool. The “Nuclear Winter” that will occur may cause freezing temperatures, temporary climate changes, reduced photosynthesis efficiency of plants, damage to the ecosystem, the extinction of many species and the death of millions of people due to hunger and cold. However, climatic conditions are expected to return to normal within a few years.

The heat released during nuclear explosions will cause large amounts of nitrogen oxides to form in the air. This causes a significant reduction of the ozone layer. The dust and smoke created after nuclear war prevent the increased ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth. However, the ozone layer will reach its lowest level in 6-24 months, long after the dust and smoke fall back to earth. For this reason, people who survived nuclear war around the world will be exposed to high amounts of ultraviolet radiation. Ozone layer levels will likely regenerate at a rate of  in the first 5 years after the war.

Half of the species found in the world could become extinct after the changing conditions after nuclear war. The population of some pests may increase permanently and this may cause a remodeling of the natural life.

Economic Results

After the nuclear war, the number of workers and skilled workers will decrease due to death and disease. Oil refineries, power plants, food production facilities, and other industrial and commercial facilities will be destroyed during the war. Reconstruction will not be possible due to radioactive fallout, and survivors of nuclear war will have to stay underground or in bunkers for the first few months. Without fuel for the tractors, fertilizers, pesticides and people to work in the fields, farming will be difficult. Without the transport of raw materials to factories and products to consumers, the national economy will collapse. It is impossible to predict the long-term results of the economy. The economic system may return to the pre-war state within 20-50 years, it may never recover and return to the old system.

International Results

All national states in the post-nuclear war world may collapse, or states that have taken part in nuclear war may eventually regain their position in the international arena.

Human health

There are great differences in the quality of health between people living in the present and people who have lived in the past. The development of better drugs and treatment methods has both extended human lifespan and reduced the number of deaths from diseases. After a nuclear war, human knowledge will remain the same. However, the damage to the infrastructure, the people who have been exposed to radiation, starving, psychologically and physically damaged will receive health care as much as people living in the past. The spread of epidemics is high. People whose survival depends on medical support will likely die within a short period of time.

Social Results

A nuclear war would likely cause radical social changes. It is impossible to say in what direction these changes are, but an estimate can be made. By being human, pride in humans being rational and superior to animals can be reduced. Scientists and politicians can be lynched. Books can be burned. Machines could be banned or taken to museums. On the other hand, war may end and humanity may rise. The resulting destruction can cause people to clamp down.

Ordered social systems may break apart and small tribal groups may form. The most ironic possibility is the new totalitarian regime from the ashes of the free world.

Enes Sahin

Hello, I am Enes, I write content for Expat Guide Turkey every day. Don't forget to check it out! You can contact me via e-mail

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