- most of the destruction of a nuclear strike comes from fire effects rather than the blast or radiation, which affect only a fairly small radius. But the heat is enough to set a whole city ablaze. One prediction is that if India and Pakistan have a "small" nuclear exchange with 50 Hiroshima-sized weapons apiece, that would be enough to cause a mini-nuclear winter effect approximately the same as a a major volcanic eruption, and with the global food system as stretched as it you might see a billion deaths from starvation.
- all world leaders quickly realized that nuclear weapons were basically unusable. He quoted Khruschev:
When I was appointed First Secretary of the Central Committee and learned all the facts of nuclear power I couldn't sleep for several days. Then I became convinced that we could never possibly use these weapons, and when I realized that I was able to sleep again.So as a result, nuclear weapons development is basically a very expensive signalling game (7.8 trillion during the period 1948-1991 according to his estimate).
- The idea that a state would develop a nuclear capability and then hand it off to a terrorist group is just silly.
I don't know, personally I have moved on and don't give much thought to nukes any more and haven't for years. Bioterrorism is a lot more scary, because unlike nukes the development technology is accessible to non-state groups and getting more so all the time.
The short feature before the talk was this nice little visualization of all the (terrestrial) nuclear explosions since Trinity: