Play At Home: Canberra Gets Nuked By North Korea, But There Is Some Bad News Too

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All things are relative. One person’s nuclear apocalypse is another person’s really good Saturday afternoon. Chris Graham presses the button.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably already aware than American loon Donald Trump and North Korean hair-stylist Kim Jong-Un have been engaged in a nuclear pissing contest. Both men are obviously mad, but Donald’s is almost certainly bigger than Kim’s. Etc etc, #becausetestosterone.

What you may have missed is our own leader weighing in: Malcolm Turnbull says Australia would join in an attack on North Korea by the US. #Becausesycophant.

That’s the bad news. But here’s the good news. Or at least, the better news. North Korea’s nuclear weapons, while certainly destructive, are not quite as devastating as you might think. At least, not in theory.

In September last year, the North Koreans conducted an underground test on a weapon rated somewhere between 20 and 30 kilotons. As a guide, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima by the US in 1945 exploded with the energy of about 15 kilotons.

Now, North Korea’s nuclear arsenal in all likelihood can’t reach Australia. But where’s the fun in that? Let’s suppose it could, where would an intercontinental ballistic missile land? Or more to the point, where should it land.

Obviously, our nation’s capital of Canberra seems like as good a place as any. For a start, I’ve finally sold my house there, and if you think about it carefully, there’s quite a few upsides. I’ll return to those in a minute.

You might imagine that a nuclear strike over Canberra – population almost 400,000 – would wipe just about everyone out. No so, if the missile comes from North Korea.

Computer modelling (you can do it yourself here, it’s quite cathartic) of a 25-kiloton explosion directly over the Canberra GPO reveals surprisingly (depending on your view of ‘surprise’) little damage.

About 9,000 people would die, with an additional 25,000 injuries. Here’s the pic of the computer simulation.

A computer simulation of the blast area from a North Korean nuclear strike on Canberra. (SOURCE: https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/)
A computer simulation of the blast area from a North Korean nuclear strike on Canberra. (SOURCE: https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/)

Of course, 9,000 dead is not really good news, but it’s probably not as bad as you were expecting. Now, speaking of bad news….

You could, quite literally, sit on the southern foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin and watch the Canberra CBD go up in smoke. What that means is that while there are some obvious benefits to this – for a start, Mooseheads, the favoured nightclub of Liberal Senator Zed Siselja, will likely have to shut, at least for a few weeks – there’s some clear downsides.

Parliament House and The Lodge will escape virtually unscathed. So, the people leading us into this madness are probably not going to even get burnt by it, let alone buried. Not even literally – the small orange ring represents the thermal radiation raidus, which would deliver third degree burns to everyone in its path.

More downsides… the nearby town of Queanbeyan might see the mushroom cloud, but that’s about it. Which seems quite unjust. Even worse, the Centrelink building in Tuggeranong is unlikely to even lose a few windows (although Alan Tudge’s appalling Robo-Debt program is likely to be delayed a little while, so that’s a positive).

All up, swings and roundabouts if North Korea attacks Canberra.

But what happens if someone else does. What happens if it’s someone with real muscle. American muscle, for example.

Donald Trump is so bat-shit crazy, it’s entirely possible he’ll nuke Australia instead of North Korea by mistake. As the illustration obtained exclusively by New Matilda clearly reveals.

US president Donald Trump, identifying North Korea on a world map.
US president Donald Trump, identifying North Korea on a world map.

And here’s an exclusive preview of the tweet that The Donald is going to send out before the attack.

Donald-Trump-tweet-blurred

And here’s the tweet he’ll send out after, once his Generals point out his mistake.

Donald-Trump-tweet-hillary

Anyhoo, the largest nuclear weapon in the current US arsenal is the B-83. It can unleash an explosion of about 1,200 kilotons, which is almost 50 times greater than what North Korea has to hand, and about 80 times bigger than what the US dropped on Hiroshima.

The computer modeling reveals a much more dramatic outcome.

The result if Donald Trump attacks Canberra by mistake, instead of Pyongyang. The little building at the bottom represents an exact scale replica of the sprawling Centrelink compound at Tuggeranong, which, remarkably, still escapes unscathed.
The result if Donald Trump attacks Canberra by mistake, instead of Pyongyang. The little building at the bottom represents an exact scale replica of the sprawling Centrelink compound at Tuggeranong, which, remarkably, still escapes unscathed.

There would be an estimated 67,000 fatalities, and almost 150,000 injuries.

Canberra’s obsession with security at Parliament House, and its determination to keep people off the lawns, would suddenly seem a little less important. And yet, the Centrelink building somehow still escapes destruction. On the upside, Queanbeyan doesn’t fare so well.

But wait, there’s more. What if China gets its nose out of joint, and decides to teach Canberra a lesson? Things get a little more heated.

The largest weapon in China’s arsenal is the Dong Feng-5, which, admittedly, sounds like the fifth film in a quite successful porn franchise. But this is no laughing matter.

The Dong-Feng-5, as the name implies, can release a gushing 5-megaton explosion. That’s 200 times greater than North Korea’s worst, and 333 times bigger than Hiroshima. Deaths would range around the 140,000 mark, and injuries around 160,000.

A computer simulation of the blast area from a Chinese nuclear strike on Canberra. (SOURCE: https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/)
A computer simulation of the blast area from a Chinese nuclear strike on Canberra. (SOURCE: https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/)

On the upsides, there will be no more Robo-Debt, and the marriage equality postal plebiscite more than likely won’t go ahead. For now. Even better, the good residents of the charming southern village of Tharwa (which escapes the blast), would finally get what they’ve always wanted… peace and quiet. Figuratively speaking of course.

There’s one more reasonably possible scenario, and that involves Russia. If a nuclear war starts, and our psychopathic world leaders embrace it with gay abandon, it’s entirely possible that Vladimir Putin might decide to ‘return the shirtfront’, and drop the big one on Canberra.

The largest bomb ever tested in history is Russia’s Tsar Bomba. Which, admittedly, would be an awesome name for a rapper. It delivers around 50-megatons of explosive power – that’s 2,000 North Koreas, and 3,333 Hiroshimas. But Russia has actually designed the Tsar Bomba at twice that size – a 100 megaton bomb. Which is 4,000 North Koreas, and 6,666 Hiroshimas.

Here’s what it would do to Canberra.

A computer simulation of the blast area from a Russian nuclear strike on Canberra. (SOURCE: https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/)
A computer simulation of the blast area from a Russian nuclear strike on Canberra. (SOURCE: https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/)

Fatalities would be over one quarter of a million, and injuries around 140,000.

Obviously, quite bad news. But my mother says it’s always best to end on a positive note, so maybe think of it this way.

While Tharwa and the utterly delightful Wee Jasper would look a little worse for wear, Mooseheads would be utterly vaporized.

With that in mind, Zed Seselja turns 15 in March next year. There’s a good chance it’ll be a parliamentary sitting week, and that Zed will organise a birthday party and invite all his parliamentary colleagues.

We just need to distract everyone until then.

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Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. Chris has won a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards for his reporting. He lives in Brisbane and splits his time between Stradbroke Island, where New Matilda is based, and the mainland.

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