Cities Most At Risk During Nuclear War, One In Pennsylvania

Nuclear war is a frightening prospect that many wish to avoid. However, escalating tensions between the US and Russia, along with other nuclear-armed nations, make the threat of a nuclear exchange unsettlingly plausible. If such a war were to occur, which US cities would likely be targeted, and how does Pennsylvania factor into this?

Likely Targets

According to sources such as FEMA, the National Resources Defense Council, and Columbia University, potential targets for a nuclear attack include:

  • New York, NY: The largest US city, a global financial and cultural hub.
  • Washington, DC: The political and military epicenter of the nation.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX: A major economic and transportation hub.
  • Jacksonville, FL: A significant naval and maritime center.

Other cities at risk include Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix.

Pennsylvania’s Risk

Among Pennsylvania’s cities, Philadelphia emerges as a high-risk target due to its status as the sixth-largest US city and its economic, industrial, and military significance. Home to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, the Philadelphia International Airport, and the Limerick Generating Station, Philadelphia could be strategically targeted to disrupt US infrastructure and military capabilities.

Safe Distance

In the unfortunate event of a nuclear detonation, the general guideline for survival is to be at least 10 miles away from the blast center. However, this doesn’t guarantee safety from long-term effects like fallout and contamination. Seeking shelter in a sturdy building, preferably underground or in a basement, for at least 24 hours is recommended.

Safest Places

While no location can guarantee safety from a nuclear war, some areas may be less probable targets or more isolated from fallout. These include:

  • Upper Midwest: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.
  • Maine: Sparsely populated and geographically isolated.
  • West Texas: Desert landscape, few major cities, and far from borders.
  • Rural Pockets: Idaho, Oregon, Northern California, and Vermont, with natural barriers offering potential protection.

However, it’s crucial to note that these areas aren’t foolproof, and the best defense is preventing nuclear conflict through diplomacy, peace, and disarmament.


Nuclear war poses a catastrophic threat, with potential devastation for millions. Philadelphia is identified as a high-risk target in Pennsylvania. While a 10-mile safe distance is suggested, no place is entirely secure. The ultimate goal should be preventing nuclear conflict through diplomatic efforts and disarmament.

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