The planned weapon would be 24 times more powerful than the one used in Hiroshima, according to an estimate
America’s new nuclear bomb currently planned for development by the Pentagon has the potential of leveling central Moscow and killing more than 300,000 of its 13 million inhabitants, Newsweek magazine reported on Friday, citing a simulation created through the Nukemap online tool.
The Pentagon announced late last month that it would seek to make the new variant of the B61 nuclear gravity bomb, dubbed the B61-13, pending authorization by Congress. The weapon would have an estimated 360-kiloton yield, which is 24 times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima during World War II.
If detonated over Moscow, the bomb would kill an estimated 311,480 people and injure up to 868,860, Newsweek said. If dropped on St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest megapolis, the estimated number of fatalities from the explosion would reach 360,150, the publication added.
According to Newsweek, anything within a half-mile radius from the bomb’s detonation site would be vaporized by a massive fireball. The blast would demolish buildings and likely kill everyone within a mile, while those within two miles of the detonation site would be dead within a month due to the high level of radiation exposure, the magazine wrote. A further 15% of survivors would later die of cancer and many would suffer life-altering burns.
The plan to design a new weapon of mass destruction was unveiled amid the tense standoff between Russia and NATO over Ukraine, as experts, politicians, and the media have been discussing the risks of the conflict sliding into a nuclear war.
Russia, for its part, has accused the US of “nuclear brinkmanship” and claimed it was secretly violating arms control agreements.
Earlier this week, Russia formally revoked its ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the non-proliferation deal has become useless because it was never ratified by the US.
“Among the states that have not ratified the treaty, the most destructive position is that of the US, which has for many years declared that there would be no support for ratifying the treaty in Congress,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
At the same time, Putin stressed that Russia would not carry out nuclear tests unless the US does it first.