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The 12 Safest Places to Live in the World in a Nuclear War

Nuclear war is an event that could change the entire world in the blink of an eye. Political tensions and disputes can lead to people wanting to prepare for the worst by being in the safest locations possible with large amounts of food, water, and medicine.

Here are 12 places people may be safest in the event of a worst-case scenario event.

Military soldier silhouette with bazooka with a nuclear blast in the distance

1. Moscow, Russia

While it might seem counter-intuitive, Moscow, Russia is probably one of the safest places in the world if a nuclear war is to occur.

There are a few different reasons why this is the case. Some of these factors include the fact that Moscow has a specially built missile system for nuclear war, the geographic location of the city, and a variety of other factors.

The specially built system for nuclear war was first built in 1972 after the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was signed. The system that was built was meant to cover and defend Moscow from incoming nuclear weapons using defensive nuclear weapons.

This system was made in the 70s, renovated in 1995, and was renovated once more in 2020. As nuclear war technology changes, it will likely be renovated again in the future. This system is made to shelter the city from nearly all nuclear weapons that can be launched at Moscow.

On top of that, Moscow is surrounded by mountains. These mountains would protect the area from additional radiation or blasts aimed at other cities nearby. However, the main issue with the area is that it is a center point in Russia, so that area is highly likely to be targeted.

Another issue is the current political circumstances around Russia and Ukraine. However, due to the mountains and the refined defense system, we would argue that the benefits make the city worth considering when you are looking for places to live during a nuclear war.

Related World Nuclear Target Map: Most Safe and Unsafe Areas.

2. Billings, Montana

Billings, Montana is a wonderful and safe place in the case of nuclear war due to its geographic location, the presence of an EPA Radiation Air Monitor Location, and the long distance from Billings to a big political center point in the country.

Billings is a great spot geographically because it is full of hills, valleys, and trees. All of these attributes lead to blocking out heat, radiation, and other issues that are common if a city is near the blast of a nuclear bomb.

Many people may not know much about what an EPA Radiation Air Monitor is and why that is such a benefit when it comes to remaining safe during a nuclear war. It is a tool that collects data about the amount of gamma radiation that is present in the air.

Having this tool means that a person can be aware of how much radiation is in the air at any time and see if it fluctuates. During a nuclear war, this can help people make educated decisions on whether they are safe to leave a shelter or whether the resources outside are contaminated or not. This can be a lifesaving tool that you would be able to utilize while living in Billings.

Zimmerman trail as it winds up the rim rocks on the West end of Billings, Montana
Zimmerman trail as it winds up the rim rocks on the West end of Billings, Montana.

As for the proximity to other cities, it is a decent distance away. From a big city in Idaho, it would take more than four hours to get to Billings.

Billings could be considered a big city, but it doesn’t have much political influence like New York, Washington D.C., or cities with military bases in or near them. This makes it much less likely to be a target of a nuclear blast.

Related US Nuclear Target Map | Most Safe and Unsafe Areas.

3. Casper, Wyoming

Casper, Wyoming is also another good choice due to the lack of proximity to political center points in the country and the fact that it has an EPA Radiation Air Monitor Location. There are also no nuclear power plants in the area. This can be especially important when considering safe places during nuclear wars because nuclear power plants will be targeted and used heavily to try and combat the enemy bombs.

Casper is also a smaller city, which leads to less injury if buildings were to be destroyed. Smaller cities also have a tendency to be tightly knit socially, which allows people to rely on one another during tragedies.

Another benefit that Casper, Wyoming has is that the people are used to functioning in cold and harsh environments. With the aftermath of a nuclear blast being things like a smoky atmosphere, the likelihood that most crops would struggle is likely. Wyoming, in general, is a pretty cold environment, so residents would have food resources that could survive a lack of sunlight and heat.

Most other places, like Florida, have produce and food that requires tropical climates in order to grow. Nuclear warfare would likely have more devastating impacts on cities in warmer climates than on cities in colder ones.

Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone National Park
Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone National Park, WY.

4. Rapid City, South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota is a great option for people who do not mind the cold. There are very few highly populated areas nearby, there is an EPA Radiation Air Monitor Location nearby, and the climate will be able to handle nuclear aftermath relatively well.

The closest big city is Denver, Colorado. This is several states away, so if Denver was targeted, very little heat and energy would reach Rapid City. South Dakota is not known for having large populations either. In this case, this is a massive benefit.

Similar to Casper, Rapid City has a smaller population that is more likely to be tight-knit during emergencies. South Dakota also has a colder climate, so the people would be more likely to know how to live in the aftermath of nuclear war than those who live in warmer climates.

Related Can an EMP Harm a Human? | What You Need To Know.

5. Pierre, South Dakota

Pierre, South Dakota has many benefits similar to Rapid City, but the city is on the opposite side of the state. It isn’t closely located to any large cities or political center points in the country, the location is geographically sound and has benefits, and it also has an EPA Radiation Air Monitor Location.

When looking at the area Pierre, South Dakota resides, it is in a flat spot of the country. This usually is bad news because the aftermath of a nuclear bomb travels easiest to surrounding places without geographic landmarks, like mountains, blocking it.

However, because Pierre, South Dakota is part of the Northern United States, the effects of a nuclear blast likely won’t reach the city. Wind patterns are unlikely to make this city downwind of a bomb, so the city has some natural defenses available.

6. Bismark, North Dakota

Bismark, North Dakota is a safe place to be in a nuclear war because it has an EPA Radiation Air Monitor location, the geographic location has many benefits, and it is close to the US/Canada border, so people can travel to a safer country as refugees if needed.

The geographical benefit of being in Bismark, North Dakota is how northern the city is. Its location makes it highly unlikely that it will be downwind of a bomb. It is a smaller city, so it is unlikely to be targeted.

It is also incredibly close to the border. Canada is a country that is considered one of the safer countries when discussing nuclear warfare. The ability to flee might make this city worth considering when looking for a place to live during a nuclear war.

To find the safest potential areas in the United States, it helps to know the locations that an enemy might target. Here is a map created by the government that shows likely primary targets for Soviet nuclear attack sites, found on Amazon.

I also created this map based on the info provided:

United States Nuclear Target and Safe Zone Relief Map

7. Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho is another safe city in the case of nuclear warfare due to the location, geographic landmarks, lack of proximity to a political hub, and the fact that it has many resources, including an EPA Radiation Air Monitor location.

Boise, Idaho also is surrounded by mountains on one side, which can block out radiation, heat, and other effects of a nuclear bomb that went off miles away. Boise is near the western edge of the state and is not close to any politically powerful place. This makes it less likely to be bombed, even though there are more people in Boise than in other places.

Related How Much Does a Survival Bunker Cost? Build vs. Buy.

8. Kearny, Nebraska

Sandhill Cranes on the Platte River in Spring
Sandhill Cranes on the Platte River in Spring.

Kearny, Nebraska is a good place for people who love open fields and have Nebraska pride. Kearny has an EPA Radiation Air Monitor location, is not close to any politically charged locations or large population centers, and has smaller communities that are more likely to work together to overcome nuclear war fallout.

Kearny is closer to hills than other cities in Nebraska. This suggests that if a nuclear bomb went off in the western half of the United States, Kearny would have hills and other land formations to block some of the radiation and heat. Kearny is a city that people outside of Nebraska would likely not know about and has no evident connections to politics, so it is unlikely to be a target.

9. Dodge City, Kansas

Dodge City, Kansas is another option for people who love the Midwestern United States. Dodge City also has an EPA Radiation Air Monitor location, rural communities, and isn’t connected to any big cities or political center points.

It isn’t as safe as other cities due to being in the same state as a nuclear power plant. However, Dodge City still is a good choice due because of the surrounding hills, which helps the area to be less likely to be a secondhand victim of nuclear bomb aftermath.

Kansas is also a great choice because it likely will not be a place where people will congregate in the event of an emergency. Many people naturally avoid Kansas when traveling for other more casual reasons, so it is logical to think it is more likely to have less competition for resources in a worst-case scenario.

10. Corvallis, Oregon

Corvallis, Oregon is a great place to live if you want to be protected from nuclear warfare but still live near the coast. Oregon is considered one of the safer states in the United States if a nuclear war were to occur. This city also has an EPA Radiation Air Monitor location and is near other small communities without being close to a large city.

The region that Corvallis resides in is on high hills and close to the ocean. This is helpful because the water will absorb much of the radiation and aftermath effects that occur on the west side, and the hills will block most things that come from the east.

The population of Corvallis is on the smaller side, so the city is unlikely to be targeted. The only concern is that there is a nuclear power plant in Washington that could lead to additional issues. However, it is a state away, so it’s not something that we deem worthy of too much concern.

Related How to Prepare for a Blackout: The Ultimate Guide

11. Eureka, California

Eureka Dunes Death Valley National Park Eureka Valley
Eureka Dunes, Death Valley National Park Eureka Valley.

Eureka, California is a part of Northern California. Northern California is also considered one of the safest regions in the United States. Unlike other areas, there are some open nuclear bomb shelters that were built by the state that are available starting in Lodi. The further south a person travels, the more bomb shelters will be available.

Eureka also has a coastline that people can enjoy, an EPA Radiation Air Monitor location, and it is not very close to a political or population hub.

12. El Paso, Texas

El Paso, Texas is also considered an incredibly safe place that people can go if a nuclear war breaks out. Western Texas is considered the safest region in the state and one of the safest regions in the country.

There is an EPA Radiation Air Monitor location nearby. The city is far away from big cities like Houston and Lubbock, has smaller communities nearby, and would have prime land options for building a shelter. This area also does not have a nuclear power plant nearby.

El Paso, Texas is also in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, which is the largest mountain range in the United States. It is incredibly likely that the combination of being in the rain shadow and being blocked by mountains would result in relatively favorable outcomes for the residents of this city.

These twelve locations are just a starting point for the safest places in the world during a nuclear war. With these in mind, it becomes easier to assess what is needed to be fully prepared for a nuclear war. We wish you the best of luck in finding a place to live should a nuclear war occur!

For more, check out The 16 Most Likely Russian Nuclear Targets in the US.