There’s a lot to worry about in 2016: the Great Barrier Reef is dying, ice sheets are melting, and we all can’t stop eating too much. But just to give your stressed out mind some perspective, did you know there are an estimated 15,600 nuclear weapons scattered across the world right now?
As this video from RealLifeLore explains, there’s a good chance you’re located not too far from one of them right now.
First off, anyone living south of the equator, congratulations – much like polar bears, nuclear bombs seem to live only in the Northern Hemisphere.
The top parts of South America and Africa, as well as Canada, are all off the hook too, phew.
But if you live in any of the regions in red on the map above – namely: the US, western Europe, Russia, Israel, Pakistan, India, or east Asia – well, we hate to be the ones to tell you this, but there are nuclear weapons in your vicinity.
And even though you might imagine nuclear storage facilities to be totally remote warehouses, the video above shows that it’s not that unlikely that you’re located near at least one of them.
Let’s start with the US. The nation stores its nuclear weapons in 10 states across the country, and the storage facilities aren’t as remote as you might think.
One storage area on the Pacific Coast is only 29 km (18 miles) from the capital city of Seattle. There are also storage facilities near Kansas City (88 km or 55 miles) and Denver (124 km or 77 miles).
One base is quite literally located inside the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. And it’s a big one. Called the Kirtland Underground Munitions Maintenance and Storage complex, it’s the single largest concentration of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, with 3,000 bombs in total, or 19 percent of all global nukes.
Most of them are sitting around waiting to be carefully disarmed, at when that time comes, they’re loaded on a truck and driven down the highway to Amarillo, Texas – while still armed. Which means, yep, if you’ve driven that same route, you might have cut off a truck carrying a nuclear bomb.
So, what about the rest of the world? When it comes to western Europe, most of the bombs there just happen to belong to the US, too.
The US has nuclear bombs placed in countries like Italy, Belgium, and Turkey – and many of them are located within a few kilometres of major cities: Rotterdam (0 km and 0 miles) Milan (84 km or 52 miles), and Brussels (85 km 53 miles).
The UK and France have some of their own nukes, scattered near London, Glasgow, and Marseille.
But Russia is a whole other story, with 7,300 nuclear weapons reportedly stored within its borders – the most nuclear weapons of any country in the world.
We’ll let the RealLifeLore explain where those bombs are – as well as the ones in Israel, China, and North Korea.
But the most worrying part of all of this isn’t the bombs we know about, it’s the ones we don’t. The US and Russia alone have admitted to losing 51 nuclear bombs between them over the years.
Some are most likely lying at the bottom of oceans after plane accidents. But many are thought to have landed undetonated near major cities, and are still waiting to be found.
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