8. Will a nuclear weapon be detonated (including tests and accidents) in 2023?
43%
chance

Detonation means nuclear explosion. If a nuclear weapon is launched/dropped/etc but the nuclear weapon does not detonate (due to malfunction, interception, etc), that would not count as detonation. If a conventional explosion occurs but no nuclear explosion (for example, a dirty bomb that distributes radioactive material with a conventional explosion), that doesn’t count.

This is question #8 in the Astral Codex Ten 2023 Prediction Contest. The contest rules and full list of questions are available here. Market will resolve according to Scott Alexander’s judgment, as given through future posts on Astral Codex Ten.

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jack avatar
Jack

This should be equivalent to

AndreiGavrea avatar
Andrei Gavrea

Do underground tests qualify?

StevenK avatar
Stevensold Ṁ54 of NO

@AndreiGavrea It's up to Scott, but based on the description I don't see any reason to think they wouldn't qualify.

BTE avatar
BTEis predicting YES at 44%

@AndreiGavrea The last above ground test was in 1980 conducted by China. Underground tests have been conducted by North Korea, Pakistan and India since 1995. I think the next above ground detonation is unlikely to be a test.

BTE avatar
BTEbought Ṁ10 of YES

Kim ordering increase in Nike production makes this more likely.

MattCWilson avatar
Matt C. Wilsonis predicting NO at 50%

@BTE … damn, I guess those are going to be some serious shoes, huh?

BTE avatar
BTEis predicting YES at 50%

@MattCWilson OMG autocorrect gem!! 🤣 🤣

BTE avatar
BTEis predicting YES at 50%

@MattCWilson Imagine how much more airport security would suck if someone could shove a nuke in a pair of Jordan's!!

AndreiGavrea avatar
Andrei Gavrea

@BTE Kim did 7 tests in short succession 2006-2017. There has been no test ever since. Maybe North Korea has completed the development phase and is focusing on other systems (e.g. ICBM).

BTE avatar
BTEis predicting YES at 44%

@AndreiGavrea They claimed recently to have tactical nukes so it’s a decent chance they will test those. All previous tests have been larger warheads.