IKV Pax Christi launches ‘NUKEM’ on the International Day Against Nuclear Tests

30.08.2011 - Utrecht - PAX

NUKEM is an educational tool to raise awareness of the continued threat of nuclear weapons. After logging in to the application, users can choose to use a Hiroshima-like nuclear weapon, the ‘Tsar bomb’ (the biggest man-made explosion ever), a tactical nuclear weapon like those deployed by the U.S. in Europe, or an ICBM. With this, users target any place in the world. After a simulation of the nuclear detonation in this location, the application will show users their facebook friends that have died instantly from the blast, and the number that will die in the days after, from radiation.

Afterwards, users are invited to the NoNukes.nl website, for more information. There is also a brief Q & A on the NoNukes.nl website.

There are still more than 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world. NoNukes works for a world free of nuclear weapons through international, national and regional advocacy.

*Why did you develop this application?*

We developed this application to make the devastating effects of nuclear weapons visible to a much wider audience. Because nuclear weapons have not been used in a war since 1945, it’s easy to forget but there are still more than 20,000 potential man made nuclear disasters lying around. Launching NUKEM on the Global Day Against Nuclear Tests is no coincidence. Explosions just as the ones in the virtual Facebook reality have happened over 2,000 times for real on test sites around the world.

*What’s the difference between the grey and yellow areas?*

The grey inner circle shows the area in which the explosive blast kills practically everyone. Its size is determined by the size of the thermal blast frying everything in its path. The outer yellow circle shows the area in which most people die due to the highly radioactive fall-out. The yellow area shows how many will die within days, but it is almost impossible to accurately predict how many more will die in the years, and decades after the nuclear explosion.

*How do you calculate the areas?*

We have used available estimates from websites such as Nuclear Darkness, Meyerweb, Carlos Labs and FAS and made our own estimates after asking guidance from several nuclear experts.

Weather conditions greatly impact the spread of radiation- the fallout. Our app shows the effects on a day with little or no wind and average weather. That said, the secretive nature of nuclear technology means that all given areas are nothing more than rough indications.

*How do you calculate the numbers of victims?*

Facebook friends located in the inner circle are all counted among the immediate casualties. Friends in the outer circle are calculated as dying within the first few weeks. We used conservative estimates for these, and did not factor the lack of access to nuked locations by humanitarian or emergency workers. The app counts all friends killed by NUKEM as unique deaths.

*You’re country likely uses nuclear weapons everyday? What?!!*

The nuclear armed countries (China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, North Korea, Israel, the UK and the U.S.) use their possession of these weapons to bribe, bully or threaten others. The 40 or so countries living under a nuclear umbrella (reliance on another states’ nuclear deterrence) tell the world every day that they don’t think you’re safe unless someone else is willing to use nuclear weapons on your behalf.

At least the following countries are covered by the U.S. nuclear umbrella: Albania, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

*What is your target?*

We hope to reach as many people as possible.

*Isn’t this rather offensive?*

We realize that nuclear weapons are no joke, and that many will have a nasty aftertaste from this application. We do believe that it is important to show people the ugly truth. If you are offended by this app, please realize that the threat of a nuclear explosion is as real as it was during the Cold War. Only disarming all nuclear weapons will make this app truly inappropriate.

*So now what do I do?*

Help us spread the application as widely as possible. The more buzz we create, the more awareness we raise for nuclear abolition. If you want more information on nuclear weapons, please download our fact sheet or read more about current efforts and campaigns.

To try out the application, go to: [http://www.NoNukes.nl/Nukem](http://www.NoNukes.nl/Nukem)

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