Should You Be Afraid of a North Korean Nuke TIME




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it feels like every few months there's a story about North Korea testing some kind of missile but should we really be freaking out about a nuclear apocalypse in reality North Korea needs three things to hit the US with a nuclear missile number one a missile that can make it into the atmosphere travel halfway across the globe and then survive reentry number two it needs a missile that's sophisticated enough to actually hit its target and number three a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on top of that missile the depa dong - also known as the eunha is North Korea's biggest missile and American intelligence officials estimate that it might be able to hit a target just about 6,000 kilometers or 3700 miles away that's as far as the western edge of Alaska or a few hundred miles or kilometers from Hawaii Guam that's also a u.s. territory falls within that range so North Korea's missile technology couldn't really hit the vast majority of the US but many of North Korea's neighbors a population of billions of people do fall in that range now the other factor that really limits the damage a long-range missile might do is the size of the nuclear warhead modern u.s. warheads these are the kinds that can travel halfway across the world to hit a target they weigh just a few hundred pounds but North Korea's smallest warhead weighs more than 2,000 pounds think about it this way a North Korean nuke to get it on a rocket that could travel all the way to America they shrink it down to at least the size of a canoe a canoe of mass destruction North Korea's boasted of smaller warheads and improvements to their country's technology but claims like that always face a lot of doubt from the international community and even if they could do all of that warhead shrinking a North Korean missile would also have to accurately hit its target and that's really the hardest part even the best US guided missiles only managed to hit within about a kilometer of their target about half the time and America has been practicing this for more than half a century Jesus on it what's what's up young Vonda along North Korea's managed to send rockets into orbit but it hasn't ever landed one on a target here's the thing you've got to remember about North Korea their nuclear program is really moving at a snail's pace in the ten years since they first revealed they had nuclear weapons the North Koreans have conducted just four nuclear tests and a handful of rocket launches compare that to 1958 alone when the US Soviet Union tested dozens of weapons each so even if a North Korean missile worked perfectly and it most likely wouldn't it might be able to hit Anchorage but would much more likely hit empty tundra or even just plop into the ocean besides if the country ever launched a nuclear missile at the US or any of its allies there would most likely be a massive retaliation and that would be the end of North Korea as we know it