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Countervalue Nuclear Detonations by Country

Flourishing Futures Nuclear Risk Horizons Project


Countervalue targeting is "the targeting of an opponent's assets that are of value but not actually a military threat, such as cities and civilian populations". Compared to nuclear strikes against counterforce targets or battlefield targets, countervalue nuclear strikes would typically cause both many more immediate fatalities and much more smoke (increasing the risk of nuclear winter).

If these countries detonate a nuclear weapon by 2050, what proportion of those detonations will be countervalue?

The sub-questions below will resolve as the proportion of offensive nuclear detonations carried out by the respective country which are considered countervalue strikes. Only offensive detonations occurring between January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2049 will be included. If there are no offensive nuclear detonations carried out by the country in question in that time period, that sub-question will resolve as Ambiguous.

For this question, A detonation will be considered "countervalue" if credible media reporting does not widely consider a military or industrial target as the primary target of the detonation (except for detonations on capital cities, which will always be considered countervalue without exception).

Offensive nuclear detonations will include only authorised, inadvertent, and accidental offensive detonations, not test detonations, peaceful nuclear explosions, or detonations by non-state actors who seized Pakistan-owned weapons.

Test detonations and peaceful nuclear explosions are defined as detonations which are claimed as being a test or a peaceful nuclear explosion by an official government communication within 30 days of the event, without this being disputed by reliable media, state reports, or multinational reports. Final determination on whether a detonation meets this definition will be at Metaculus' sole discretion.

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