What would happen if a hydrogen bomb was dropped on Burnley?

If a hydrogen bomb landed on Burnley centre
If a hydrogen bomb landed on Burnley centre

More than 14,500 people would be killed if a hydrogen bomb hit Burnley a computer programme has predicted.

North Korean officials have claimed the country carried out an underground hydrogen bomb test this week.

Hydrogen bomb fallout

Hydrogen bomb fallout

The computer programme, Nukemap, predicts 14,640 fatalities and 18,790 injuries – if the bomb has a yield of 10 kilotons, as the country claims.

If, in the unlikely event the bomb was dropped in the town centre, the radius of the nuclear fireball would reach a diameter of 200m causing fatalities, taking out the town centre and many of the town’s landmarks including The Town Hall.

The results of the computer programme show that the aftermath of the blast would be similar to the 1984 television show Threads - a 1984 docudrama account of nuclear war and its effects on the city of Sheffield.

The air blast radius would reach as up to 470m, almost reaching Turf Moor and Burnley Wood. The pressure of the blast in this area would cause most buildings to collapse and widespread fatalities.

Radiation would reach almost 1.25km and, without medical treatment, there can be would be between 50% and 90% mortality from acute effects alone. Dying would take between several hours and several weeks. People more than 1.41km away would suffer third degree burns - that’s as far as Burnley Barracks railway station.

Graph colour code:

Yellow - Fireball radius: 200 m (0.12 km²)

Maximum size of the nuclear fireball; relevance to lived effects depends on height of detonation. If it touches the ground, the amount of radioactive fallout is significantly increased.

Red - Air blast radius (20 psi): 470 m (0.69 km²)

At 20 psi overpressure, heavily built concrete buildings are severely damaged or demolished; fatalities approach 100%.

Grey - Air blast radius (5 psi): 0.99 km (3.06 km²)

At 5 psi overpressure, most residential buildings collapse, injuries are universal, fatalities are widespread.

Green - Radiation radius (500 rem): 1.25 km (4.91 km²)

500 rem radiation dose; without medical treatment, there can be expected between 50% and 90% mortality from acute effects alone. Dying takes between several hours and several weeks.

Orange - Thermal radiation radius (3rd degree burns): 1.41 km (6.22 km²)

Third degree burns extend throughout the layers of skin, and are often painless because they destroy the pain nerves. They can cause severe scarring or disablement, and can require amputation. 100% probability for 3rd degree burns at this yield is 8.4 cal/cm2.