Interview 926 - Steven Starr Describes Nuclear Darkness and Nuclear Famine

08/09/20144 Comments

Steven Starr is the Senior Scientist for Physicians for Social Responsibility and Director of the Clinical Laboratory Science Program at the University of Missouri. Today he joins us to discuss his work on the environmental impact of nuclear warfare, including an examination of his recent article on "The Lethality of Nuclear Weapons." From climate and ozone disruption to famine, electronic failure and the risk of nuclear reactor meltdowns, we discuss the science behind why nuclear war has no winner.


"The Lethality of Nuclear Weapons"

Cold War 2.0 and the Threat of Nuclear Warfare

Union of Concerned Scientists on the Nuclear Bunker Buster

The US Envisages a First Strike Nuclear Attack against Russia

Global Journalist Radio: Fukushima -- three years later

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  1. jpsousa67 says:

    Why have the effects that Mr. Starr describes not been produced by the 2,000+ nuclear bombs that have already been detonated? I have this from

    Since the first nuclear test explosion on July 16, 1945, at least eight nations have detonated 2,053 nuclear test explosions at dozens of test sites from Lop Nor in China, to the atolls of the Pacific, to Nevada, to Algeria where France conducted its first nuclear device, to western Australia where the U.K. exploded nuclear weapons, the South Atlantic, to Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, across Russia, and elsewhere.

    Most of the test sites are in the lands of indigenous peoples and far from the capitals of the testing governments. A large number of the early tests– 528 — were detonated in the atmosphere, which spread radioactive materials through the atmosphere. Many underground nuclear blasts have also vented radioactive material into the atmosphere and left radioactive contamination in the soil

    • Simon says:


      From my understanding (and I am not an expert on this) nuclear winter would be the result of the many fires and subsequent smoke caused by those fires from the nuclear bombing of cities. Hence the tests did not cause a nuclear winter as they were not detonated over cities or any flammable matter so not much smoke burning or no smoke was produced.

      From ‘enormous fires created by nuclear explosions in cities cause 150 million tons of smoke to be lofted high above cloud level, into the stratosphere.’
      So it would be the tonnes of smoke rather then the nuclear explosions themselves.
      Also the wiki page for nuclear winter explains the cause of nuclear winter in the same way.


  2. mauricebourke88 says:

    On a small side note, we are almost 16 years on from the death of Vasily Arkhipov. He died on 19.8.1998 and he likely stopped nuclear war during the cold war.

  3. Simon says:

    “On the almost the entire subject of thermonuclear weapons, on the problems of the their possession, on the effects of their use, there is now practically a total silence in the press, in official publications and on television. There is hope in any unresolved and unpredictable situation, but is there a real hope to be found in this silence.”

    This quote is from a 1965 BBC drama-documentary film called ‘The war game’. This documentary was not shown in the 1960’s as at the time “the effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting…”. It was shown in 1985, the wiki page about the it does explain and does have a link to the film on youtube at the bottom. The quote I gave is from near the end just after 43mins.

    Also the BBC made Threads (1984), I remember this from seeing the first half in my childhood. Threads is quite disturbing to watch and not entertainment as such I would say. Described as “Threads works on the viewer with a peculiar power: one finds oneself horrified, fascinated, numbed, provoked, unsettled, made restless.” the wiki page explains it and it can be found on youtube.

    Two examples I would say of a more realistic portrayal of nuclear war, and the fictional build ups to the war is quite interesting. Both quite disturbing in some ways. But graphic demonstrations of nuclear war, and Threads does continue into the aftermath of he war and some portrayal of nuclear winter.

    Further viewing if anybody wants it!


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