Experts map shows grim reality of a nuclear strike on UK leaving millions dead

As the prospect of nuclear war becomes an ever-more-frightening possibility, an expert has revealed what would happen in the event of a blast.

Dr Jeffrey Lewis, of the Middlebury Institute, said the risk to the West remains low – but that if Putin were to press the big red button anyone within a mile would likely die.

He told MailOnline: "The first thing you'll get is a fireball that will vaporise everything inside of it.

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"That's going to travel just over half a mile from the centre of the blast.

"Then you'll have shockwave that is going severely damage even really heavily built concrete buildings out to just over a mile from the blast, with everyone in that radius crushed to death.

"That blast wave will keep rolling – it will drop off severely, but it will keep going – destroying buildings and causing casualties out until about two and a half miles."

This means if a nuclear bomb were to be dropped on Westminster, the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street and Westminster Abbey would all be totally destroyed – while everywhere from Camden to Brixton would suffer serious damage.

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Dr Lewis explained that those living within that radius would be given an extremely high dose of radiation.

For many in London's Zones 1 and 2 the radiation poisoning alone would be enough to kill them, but even among those who initially survived up to 15% would eventually die of cancer thanks to the exposure.

Dr Lewis said: "Radiation poisoning is just a really cruel, miserable way to die.

"The immediate effects are vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea – people can rally and seem much better, perhaps for hours or days – but then the symptoms return and get much worse."

The effects of the blast would likely be felt much further afield still – a nuclear explosion would be so strong that it would shatter windows and cause injuries, including potentially lethal burns, for around six miles around the epicentre of the blast.

Anyone directly exposed to the heat coming off the explosion could die from their injuries, Dr Lewis explained.

"If you're inside a building you're probably OK, but if you're exposed you're likely to have third-degree burns all over your body.

"You might get lucky and be behind a hill, or you might get unlucky and the same hill reflects a shockwave onto you that kills you."

Dr Lewis also stressed that nuclear fallout could even drift as far as 20 miles away from the point of impact as nuclear ash could mix with clouds and fall as black rain.

"You'll get fairly serious radiation contamination [within that area]," Dr Lewis added.

"Some of those people will get quite ill. Though hiding in your house for a few days might make a real difference."

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Dr Lewis' grim predictions come after bookies slashed odds of a nuclear war happening by the end of the year yesterday (October 18).

The Russian despot has been gradually escalating his invasion in recent weeks and most recently announced that he was imposing martial law in the Ukrainian territories he has illegally annexed, sparking fears that he may take his war even further.

Prior to the announcement he mobilised a whopping 300,000 troops to the front line and declared he was willing to use "all means" to achieve his end goal in what has since been described as a thinly-veiled nuclear threat to the West.

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