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A nuclear winter is a theoretical scenario that postulates the possible extinction of humankind following a massive nuclear exchange, because intense fires from the explosion of the nuclear weapons and the subsequent fires will drive soot into the upper atmosphere, blocking out the sun’s rays. While theoretical, the study of volcanic ash can help model what would happen in a nuclear winter scenario. Although a scientific concept, the nuclear winter prospect gave the two dominant nuclear nations, the Soviet Union and the United States, a possible impetus for reducing their burgeoning stockpiles. Although the Cold War has ended and stockpiles have been significantly reduced, the nuclear winter scenario is still touted as a way to bring about further reductions or the elimination of nuclear weapons.

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