Federation of American Scientists presents: The Nuclear Weapon Effects Calculator
So I decided to use chicago and my old apartment as the first guinea pig. Loading up the boom calculator side by side with google maps' satelite view, I was able to figure out exactly where my apartment was. Toggling around, I was able to figure out that I would _just_ be outside of blast range if a plane dropped a 500 kiloton nuclear bomb on navy pier.
Red Circle: Intense heat from the explosion will likely cause widespread fires within this region.
Blue Circle: Most homes are completely destroyed and stronger commercial buildings will be severely damaged due to the high pressure blast wave in this region.
Yellow Circle: Moderate damage to buildings causing some risk to people due to flying debris is caused by the blast wave in this region.
I would suffer a firey demise, within the red circle, if the bomb was 2.0 megatons and flattened all to hell, within the blue circle, if the bomb was 4.0 megatons. It's interesting that as the bomb gets larger the order of the red/blue circles actually reverse. The force of the blast, once large enough, making fires impossible near the initial blast site.
Of course, if this was all delivered in a car bomb, I don't have to even worry about flying debris until the size hit 2.5 megatons and up.
In case you were curious (and of course you are), here is some information on the largest nuclear bomb ever exploded:
"Tsar Bomba" ("King of Bombs"): The World's Largest Bomb
Time: 30 October 1961
Location: Parachute retarded airburst, 4000 m altitude over Novaya Zemlya Island test range (in the Arctic Sea)
Yield: 50 Megatons
Shown here in the Russian Atomic Weapon Museum, the "Tsar Bomba" was the largest nuclear weapon ever constructed or detonated. This three stage weapon was actually a 100 megaton bomb design, but the uranium fusion tamper of the teritiary (and probably secondary) stage(s) was replaced by one made of lead to eliminate fast fission by the fusion neutrons. The result was also the cleanest weapon ever tested with 97% of the energy coming from fusion reactions.
Considering the darn scale on the FAS site only goes up to 4.0 megatons, I'm pretty sure that if you were anywhere within a couple hours drive of this thing going off, you could probaly kiss your ass goodbye. Anyway, I really like the little add-on fact I found about the Tsar Bomba.
The nickname Tsar Bomba is a reference to the Russian proclivity for making gigantic but useless artifacts for show. The world's largest bell (the Tsar Kolokol) and cannon (the Tsar Pushka), neither of which are actually useful for anything, are on display at the Kremlin.
Those whacky russians.
Cool beans. There's even video of the Tsar Bomba going off.