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Fatality from Nuclear Detonation in N. Korea

Flourishing Futures Nuclear Risk Horizons Project


The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) writes that:

"North Korea unilaterally withdrew from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in January 2003, is not a party to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and has conducted six increasingly sophisticated nuclear tests since 2006. The DPRK is not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and is believed to possess a large chemical weapons program. Despite being a state party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and Geneva Protocol, evidence suggests North Korea may maintain an offensive biological weapons program.

In defiance of the international community, which has imposed heavy sanctions on North Korea for its illicit behavior, the country has continued to escalate its WMD activities. In July 2017, North Korea successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and in September 2017 it conducted a test of what it claimed was a thermonuclear weapon."

Tensions between North Korea and other countries have been increased by the country's testing of nuclear weapons and of missiles that may have sufficient range to reach the continental United States. As of 2020, the nuclear arsenal of North Korea was estimated at approximately 30 to 40 warheads, with the sufficient production of fissile material for the creation of an additional 6 to 7 nuclear weapons a year. President Biden has warned Kim Jong-un that if production and testing of nuclear weapons continues, there will be a US "response."

Will there be at least one fatality from an offensive nuclear detonation in North Korea by 2050, if there's an offensive detonation anywhere?

This question will resolve as Yes if at least one fatality occurs in North Korea from an offensive nuclear detonation before January 1, 2050. Neither detonations for testing purposes nor peaceful nuclear explosions will count towards question resolution, even if such detonations cause substantial damage. This question will resolve as No if that does not occur but there's an offensive nuclear detonation somewhere in the world before 2050. This question resolves ambiguously if no nuclear detonation (other than test detonations or peaceful nuclear explosions) occurs anywhere before 2050.

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. If information is unclear, then resolution will be left up to the resolution council or Metaculus admins.

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