Sharfman, Peter et al. The Effects of Nuclear War. Washington: Office of Technology Assessment, 1979. LCCN 79-600080.
This book-length (154 page) report by the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment was commissioned by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and delivered in May, 1979. It should not be confused with the similarly-titled The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, an entirely different technical treatment of the physical effects of nuclear detonations. The present work undertakes “to describe the effects of a nuclear war on the civilian populations, economies, and societies of the United States and the Soviet Union.”

Four scenarios are explored: an attack on a single city, using Detroit and Leningrad as examples; an attack on oil refineries using ten missiles; a counterforce attack, including one limited to ICBM silos; and a broad-based attack on military and economic targets using a large fraction of the existing arsenal of the attacking power. For each, the immediate, medium-, and long-term effects are assessed, including the utility of civil defense preparations and the prospects for recovery from the damage. The death toll from the best to worst case scenarios ranges from 200,000 to 160 million. Appendix C presents a fictional account of the consequences of a large nuclear exchange on a city, Charlottesville, Virginia, which was not directly hit in the attack.

A scanned PDF edition of this report has been published by Princeton University.

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