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Ricepudding943 karma

Not a Harvard nuclear expert but here's an answer anyway:

Nuclear weapons are not targeted specifically at cities and nothing else, they are target at certain "strategic points".

The US tried to fire bomb Japanese downtowns in an attempt to force their surrender, and eventually destroyed about 70 city centers. The tactic was not very effective because most of the time, infrastructure necessary to sustain the war effort was only lightly damaged.

So nuclear weapon targets are usually specific facilities and structures vital to the war effort.

Those targets can be places like Naval bases, air bases, army bases, civilian airports, shipping ports, oil refineries, power plants, ship and vehicle factories, missile silos etc.

Most of these targets are in or next to urban areas, but not all urban areas have these targets and some targets are indeed located in rural areas (like missile silos).

Ricepudding942 karma

Is complete nuclear disarmament feasible?

Considering that the threat of the Atomic Bomb was a major reason why Japan surrendered in WW2, wouldn't nuclear states today have a strong incentive to keep at least a few weapons as insurance against "nuclear blackmail"? After all, it wouldn't be hard for a state that possesses nuclear weapons to keep a few plutonium pits hidden from international inspectors, thus retaining the ability to quickly build a functional and deliverable nuclear weapon.

Ricepudding941 karma

But having said that if I was brought up in rural America, I'm sure I would feel differently

This has been my observation too. The necessity and popularity of guns seems to be most strongly correlated with rising income and low population density.

In England and New Jersey there are few opportunities to hunt and many to commit crimes, guns are not something that would necessarily be beneficial there.

The opposite is true in Alaska or Canada.

Ricepudding941 karma

How high were the background radiation levels at NTS back then?