[[quoteright:350:[[Film/ResidentEvilApocalypse http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/resident_evil_apocalypse.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[SaltTheEarth Cleanse.]]]]

->'''Pi:''' There are so many possibilities... I'd have to requisition some ordnance, sir.\\
'''Tagon:''' You are ''not'' allowed to ''nuke Northport'' "just to be sure."\\
'''Pi:''' I'd have to nuke a lot more than just Northport to be ''really'' sure.
-->-- ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', on defending Northport

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

TheVirus, ThePlague, or some similar infestation or contaminant has gotten out of containment and threatens to spread uncontrollably. If any [[QuarantineWithExtremePrejudice conventional means]] have been deployed to control it, they were grossly inadequate. [[GodzillaThreshold The danger is now severe enough]] that [[TimeForPlanB Plan B]] - maybe even Plan A - is sheer [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill Overkill]]: a local armageddon which will destroy the facility, city, or entire region in one blast, ensuring that not a single trace remains to [[HereWeGoAgain kick off the epidemic all over again]]. It could be [[NukeEm a nuke]], it could be a [[KillItWithFire thermobaric explosive]], it could be OrbitalBombardment - but whatever it is, high civilian or friendly casualties are almost certain, and are chalked off as "acceptable losses".

Possibly justified in that if the situation is bad enough to warrant this level of action, anyone within the affected radius not heavily coated in PlotArmor is likely either dead or soon to die anyway, and if the plan works it can at least result in a PyrrhicVictory. Often a ShootTheDog moment, sometimes followed by a WhatTheHellHero moment. Rarely it can be a HellYeah moment if collateral damage isn't an issue [[note]]or is left to be FridgeHorror[[/note]] and it [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat at least seems to work]].

Sometimes this strategy works, [[FailsafeFailure sometimes it doesn't]], and sometimes it ''[[NiceJobBreakingItHero really]]'' [[OhCrap doesn't]] [[InfernalRetaliation work]]. See FeedItABomb for similar philosophy of pest-control on a smaller scale, HurlItIntoTheSun when you bring the ''target'' to the cleansing fires instead of the other way around, and FieryCoverup for when the bombardment is intended to cover up the evidence as much or more than it is to destroy the threat.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/BloodPlus'': The American government's primary method of dealing with [[OurVampiresAreDifferent chiropteran]] outbreaks is "Option D," in which the area in question is bombed until there's nothing left but a smoking crater.
* In ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', the "nuke it to be sure" strategy is part of the standard response to an Angel attack. It never works. First the conventional forces attack, then they use something called an "N2 mine" which is described as the next step beyond thermonuclear explosives. When those fail, ''then'' they send out the Evas. This serves to send several frightening messages. First, that the Angels are so threatening that weapons beyond nuclear are a standard response; second, that they are so powerful that such weapons have no effect; and most subtle and chilling, that the Evas are so dangerous that the military is willing to try nukes ''before'' sending them out. This order of attack is the viewer's first clue just how scary Evas really are. It only gets worse from there.
* In ''Anime/FafnerInTheAzureDeadAggressor'', the Neo United Nations' last resort when [[AlienInvasion a battle against the Festum]] goes pear-shaped is to nuke the entire battlefield, human soldiers and civilians included. Why do they do this? Because Festum are a {{Hivemind}} [[TheAssimilator species that learns by assimilating other creatures]], but they can't assimilate corpses. By killing their wounded or cornered comrades before the Festum get a chance to assimilate them, humans prevent the aliens from learning more about Humanity in general (e.g. if they don't know people need food to survive, they won't bother damaging crops or cattle) and about the weapons and tactics they plan to use against the Festum in particular.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/ElEternauta'', some world power(s) has(ve) been sending [[NuclearOption ICBMs]] towards the center of the [[AlienInvasion invasion]], luckily for our heroes the bad guys have machinery that renders the nukes void. [[spoiler: Even after the heroes disable said machinery and the city is leveled, it doesn't help a bit because [[TheCavalry reinforcements shortly arrive]] and in the end [[HopelessWar we learn the Earth was promptly defeated]].]]
* In ''ComicBook/MarvelZombies'', a nuclear strike was considered to contain the superhero zombie infection. Then Quicksilver caught it, and "containment" was no longer an option.
* In Jim Starlin's ''The Metamorphosis Odyssey'' (first appearance of Dreadstar ), the alien villains Zygoteans are bent on conquering the Milky Way; once they are done, they'll go to the next galaxy. ByronicHero Aknaton understands he cannot save the Milky Way from this horrible fate. His plan is to obliterate the Milky Way before the Zygoteans are done with it, so he can at least save other galaxies. As Akenaton is very long-lived, he thinks in a very long term.
* During ''ComicBook/SecretWarsII'', Phoenix (Rachel Summers) from ComicBook/XMen considered destroying the whole universe in an attempt to stop the Beyonder: He was too powerful to be affected by any "common" attack, but Ray theorized he may (only may) be unable to survive if the universe around him ceased existing. At that point in the plot the Beyonder, while clearly a PersonOfMassDestruction , was only arguably a villain - Who's the OmnicidalManiac now, Ray?
** She decided to do this after the Beyonder had seemingly caused the ComicBook/NewMutants to be [[RetGone erased from existence]], with only Kitty Pryde (due to her magical connection to one of their members) even remembering that they ever existed. But Rachel had also become somewhat obsessed with eliminating the Beyonder, and he went out of his way to provoke her to keep trying. When she backs down without destroying the universe, he says that he would've survived it anyway. And expresses disappointment that she didn't go through with it.
*** Her first attempt to kill the Beyonder involved [[http://img201.imageshack.us/img201/3976/phoenixnukeii5.jpg something resembling an actual nuclear attack]]. It caused absolutely no damage either to him or the surroundings. [[TheOmnipotent Because he wouldn't let it cause any damage]].
* ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'': During the ZombieApocalypse in the "Judgment Day" arc, five Mega-Cities, including Mega-City Two (U.S. west coast), are already hopelessly overrun by zombies by the time the world's governments can coordinate their efforts. They agree that they have no other option but to write off the survivors and launch their nuclear arsenals at the cities to deny [[{{Necromancer}} Sabbat]] another two billion soldiers for his undead army.
* In Comicbook/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic, Zayne warns the Mandalorians that their base on Jebble has been overrun by [[ZombieApocalypse rakghouls]], thinking that they'll quarantine the planet. [[TheDragon Cassus Fett]] opts to sterilize the site with a massive nuclear strike instead.

* The Assurance faction from ''FanFic/APeccatis'', which has arisen in the decade since the end of the Second Wizarding War. According to Draco, they want to see everyone who was associated with Voldemort -- along with their families -- killed. They feel it's the only way to stamp out the lineage of Dark Wizards for good.
* In ''FanFic/OrderInChaos'' a Centauri patrol reacts with lethal force when an Orieni scout flotilla admits the ships are infested with Na'kaleen Feeders, and only spare some people to find out how many ships the flotilla lost to hunt those down too. Considering that [[NightmareFuel Feeders are extremely silent predators, feed on sentients' intelligence and any survivor of an attack may actually be infected and sprout another Feeder at any time]], they probably saved the galaxy that way.

* ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'':
** ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' is the TropeNamer: this method is suggested for dealing with the alien infestation of Acheron, but is never executed for reasons beyond the Marines' control. "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."
** This was also intended in the first ''Film/{{Alien}}''. The Nostromo was self destructed by the crew in an attempt to ensure the alien would be destroyed along with it. Things didn't turn out that way.
** In ''Film/AVPAlienVsPredator'', one Predator detonates an explosive device in the alien hive, destroying the entire pyramid. Flashbacks reveal that this is pretty much their standard way of dealing with alien infestations.
** In ''Film/AliensVsPredatorRequiem'', the U.S. Army drops a nuclear bomb on the town of Gunnison, CO, to contain an infestation of Xenomorphs.
* In ''Film/ResidentEvilApocalypse'', the Umbrella Corporation fires a nuclear missile at Raccoon City to cover up an outbreak of the T-Virus, which is also what happened at the end of the third game of the series, though they've been [[NuclearWeaponsTaboo rather vague]] about whether it was actually a nuke or not. They manage to cover up the outbreak, but as revealed in ''Film/ResidentEvilExtinction'', the virus survives and causes TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* In ''Film/TheCrazies2010'' remake, the U.S. Army incinerates a small Iowa town to contain a leaked biological weapon.
* In the original version of ''Film/TheCrazies1973'', a nuclear strike was discussed, but not used.
* In ''Film/TwentyEightWeeksLater'', the Rage virus escapes containment. The US Army panics and napalms most of the Isle of Dogs. It doesn't help.
* In ''Film/TheReturnOfTheLivingDead'', the Army nukes Louisville, KY, to destroy a horde of zombies created by the chemical agent 2,4,5-Trioxin. This actually spreads the gas further.
* In ''Film/{{Outbreak}}'', a fuel-air bomb was used in the beginning to purge an isolated outbreak of the Motaba virus. Later, an American town was saved from a similar fate when a cure was devised from the original host.
** Subverted in that [[spoiler: [[GeneralRipper McLintock]] orders the firebombing in both cases not to destroy the virus but so he can use the virus as a biological weapon, and the firebombing would cover his tracks.]]
* The option was suggested in ''Film/DawnOfTheDead1978'' by the eyepatch-wearing Dr. Rausch in a television interview. He was not taken seriously.
* In ''Film/TheAndromedaStrain'', this trope was averted when the protagonists realized a nuke would actually spread the contagion much, much further.
* The goofball Thai film ''SARS Wars: Bangkok Zombie Crisis'' shows the Thai government destroying an apartment complex to halt the spread of a strain of SARS virus which turns people into zombies.
* In ''Film/{{Cloverfield}}'', the exact nature of the [[NukeEm Hammerdown Protocol]] is never explained, but it clearly involves a WeaponOfMassDestruction or maybe several. The fact that the US Army was willing to do this on [[BigApplesauce Manhattan Island]] is meant to indicate how desperate the situation had become.
* In ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'', the World Security Council decides to simply [[NukeEm nuke Manhattan]] to contain the invading Chitauri forces, despite the fact that the Avengers are still continuing their efforts to stop the Chitauri and that there's still civilians evacuating the area. SHIELD Director Nick Fury declares the idea a "stupid-ass" strategy for dealing with the invasion, and takes down the nuke carrying plane with a rocket launcher. [[spoiler: It's a pity that someone on the WSC was smart enough to launch a second plane.]]
* In ''Film/{{Pontypool}}'', the Canadian government eventually bombs the hell out of the titular city.
* The first few {{Kaiju}} in ''Film/PacificRim'' had to be brought down by [[NuclearOption nuclear weapons]], as all other attempts to destroy the creatures simply had no effect at all. However, the sheer level of collateral damage that ensued made this an increasingly non-viable option, leading to the development of the [[GiantMecha Jaegers]].

* Possibly the UrExample of this trope, the epilogue paragraphs of Creator/HPLovecraft's "The Lurking Fear" have the main character hiring a team to dynamite the mansion the story centers on, a significant portion of the surrounding forest, and any caves or tunnels they can find. He still worries that it won't be enough.
* In the ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', one of the only effective strategies a human has ever come up with to take down a certain EldritchAbomination was to strand it in a nuclear test.
* In ''Literature/DayByDayArmageddon'', by J.L. Bourne, the government nukes several large cities to contain a zombie plague. This only leads to [[NiceJobBreakingItHero fast, twitchy, radioactive zombies]].
* In ''Contagious'', the second book of the ''Literature/{{Infected}}'' series by Scott Sigler, Detroit is nuked to contain the spread of an airborne plague which puts people under the mental control of a little girl.
* In ''Literature/JurassicPark'', the Costa Rican government bombs Isla Nublar, but this didn't make it into the film.
* Used [[ShoutOut word-for-word]] by Literature/CiaphasCain, when describing [[EarthShatteringKaboom the correct way to deal with]] [[spoiler:a Necron tomb under a refinery]]. Unfortunately for Cain, the [[HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace nature of FTL travel in the Warp]] means the Navy is ''too slow'', so he has to resort to a giant bomb augmented by several hundred thousand gallons of raw promethium.
** Also used word-for-word by Lord General Zyvan regarding orbital bombardment of Tyranid swarms and their so-to-speak bases.
* The [[Literature/AgentPendergast Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child]] novel ''Literature/MountDragon'' employs this trope twice.
** It is first described that the Soviets carpet-bombed a biological research facility and the neighboring village to stop an outbreak of a genetically modified organism in the 80s.
** Later, [[spoiler:the underground laboratory at the Mount Dragon complex itself is pumped full of superheated air from the sterilizing units on the surface, turning the whole facility into a canned inferno.]]
* Averted in ''Literature/WorldWarZ'': nuclear weapons are never used against zombies; however, [[spoiler: Pakistan and Iran engage in a brief nuclear war against one another, and the Chinese politburo are annihilated by a nuke from a rogue Chinese submarine.]]
** In a non-nuclear example, the city of Yonkers is flattened by thermobaric weapons when a poorly-planned infantry engagement goes awry. They do take out tens of thousands of zombies, but that's not much when there's a million more behind them, and their effects on respiratory systems are nullified, greatly reducing their effective radius.
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', [[spoiler:the Andalite military plans not only to sterilize Earth to kill the Yeerks on it, but to sabotage Earth's own resistance to lure in ''more'' Yeerks before they sterilize it. The plan comes crashing down thanks to an EngineeredPublicConfession.]]
* In ''[[Literature/JoeLedger Patient Zero]]'' by Jonathan Maberry, a secret bunker uses its geothermal power supply as an emergency self-destruct mechanism.
* In the Jonathan Maberry novel ''The King of Plagues'', terrorists plotted to release a genetically engineered, airborne strain of Ebola from the Scotland-based laboratory which developed it. [[spoiler:The nuclear option would have been employed had the protagonist failed to save the day.]]
* In a different Jonathan Maberry novel, ''Literature/DeadOfNight'', the government intends to firebomb the town of Stebbins, Pennsylvania, to contain (and cover up) a zombie outbreak. [[spoiler: they change their minds when footage of the outbreak ends up on [=YouTube=].]]
* In the sequel, ''Literature/FallOfNight'', the outbreak spreads beyond Stebbins. The President orders the afflicted area sterilized by thermobaric bombs, never mind the civilians still in the area. [[spoiler: [[FromBadToWorse This causes a cloud of airborne infectious particulates to drift all over the region]], [[OhCrap allowing it to reach airports and spread worldwide]].]]
* A small-scale example in ''[[Literature/XWingSeries Wraith Squadron]]'': on Storinal, the Wraiths break into a disease-control center that houses small samples of various contagions for lab use. Their security includes a plasma bomb array, capable of leveling several city blocks, in case of leaks. Fortunately, Kell Tainer is able to defuse it (then hooks it back up before they leave, so that no one realizes they were there). Kell points out that this is actually a reasonable precaution.
* In ''Literature/NightOfTheLivingTrekkies'', the government decides on nuking the greater Houston metropolitan area as the best option for taking out the zombie plague that's broken out all over the city.
* Non-plague example: In Creator/JohnChristopher's ''The Death of Grass'' (US title: ''No Blade of Grass'') the British government decides to nuke cities to minimize the number of starving refugees that would otherwise roam across the countryside. (Though everything falls apart before they can actually execute the plan.)
* Viciously subverted in Michael Crichton's ''Literature/TheAndromedaStrain'', where the facility in which the titular virus (sort of) is being studied has a built in nuclear self-destruct in case something breaks containment. It's only after the self-destruct is triggered that the protagonists realize the nuke will actually fuel the contagion's bizarre mutations, allowing it to turn into God-knows-what ''and'' spread across a massive region. Fortunately for the world, they manage to stop the self-destruct in time.
* When the sheer ferocity and potential danger that the organisms of [[DeathWorld Hender's Island]] in ''Literature/{{Fragment}}'' could potentially unleash upon the world should they somehow get to the mainland is realized (the most conservative computer simulations suggest at [[ApocalypseHow the extinction of all other life on five continents within sixty years]]), the personnel involved (up to and including the President of the United States) decides the sterilize the island with a nuclear bomb to prevent any chance that anyone could use them as a WMD. A few of the characters grimly note that had they not discovered the island in the first place, this wouldn't have been necessary, as the organisms had survived in isolation for more than seven hundred million years up to this point.
** Later in the sequel, it turns out this still wasn't enough to wipe them out, and a handful of Hender's lifeforms end up a small island north of Japan after drifting for several months on an inflatable raft. When one of the characters with personal experience in them hears that the Japanese government firebombed the area and flooded it with poison gas to kill them, he's still not completely convinced that it was enough. But then the person telling him this says they had to do it ''[[NoKillLikeOverKill three times]]'' until it worked.
* ''Discworld/TheLastHero'' has a shoutout to this when Leonard de Quirm describes a possible threat to his spaceship he just made. His illustration of the Imaginary Hull Borer ("if such a creature invades the ship, vital crew split up in order to search for it") includes the Latatian "Nucleus situm ex orbita, unus certis maximus". In other words, "Nuke the entire site from orbit, It's the Only Way to Be Sure."

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* An episode of ''Series/TheChampions'' involved an island where evil scientists were making a lethal gas for chemical warfare or terrorist attacks. At the end of the episode, the Army has a nuke dropped on it.
* In the adaptation of ''Series/TheWalkingDead'', the CDC is rigged with a thermobaric device to prevent the release of [[LargeHam WEAPONIZED SMALLPOX!!]]
** Later on, in the second season, we are treated to a flashback of military helicopters trying to contain the zombie outbreak by [[KillItWithFire dropping napalm in the streets of Atlanta.]] Judging by the fact that [[YouCantThwartStageOne the rest of the series exists]], [[CaptainObvious it probably didn't work.]]
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode ''Nightmare in Silver'' had a scene when it's mentioned that previously [[spoiler: the Cybermen were only defeated by blowing up an entire galaxy resulting the death of trillions.]] In the story itself the standard procedure upon encountering any survivors is to implode the entire planet immediately, before any damage is done.
* Applied very, very stupidly by the Borg Queen in ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', in the episode "Unimatrix Zero". Let's lay out the issues: only a handful of Borg went rogue, something like 1-5 drones per cube - a construction that contains hundreds or thousands of drones, with many cubes having no rogue units at all. And the effect that releases them from the Collective is not contagious. For some reason, the Queen decided that the optimum way to handle this was to explode entire cubes to deal with these rogues. (Website/SFDebris concluded that this was a side effect to [[AssimilationBackfire assimilating Janeway]].)
* [[Series/{{Angel}} Dana the Vampire Slayer]] subscribes to this trope and refers to it by name: "Heart...and head. Don't be scared, stab the heart, cut off the head, keep cutting until dust."
* In ''Series/StargateSG1'', the main team drops a massive nuclear weapon to blow up the gate through which the Ori intend to come to the Milky Way galaxy. It fails spectacularly, as all the energy of the warhead is only used by the Ori to collapse a planet into a black hole to power a nearby supergate. But before they realised that, they billed it as the 'only way to be sure'.
* In ''Series/{{Nikita}}'', in the episode "Self Destruct", Birkhoff quotes this trope as they contemplate destroying the Division facility.

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''
** Occurs with depressing regularity, usually from the Imperial method of Exterminatus, either by Virus Bomb or Cyclonic Torpedo or good ol' fashioned "shoot the planet until it breaks apart" trick. Ironically, it's also always justified. (Would you rather a quick, relatively painless death or millenia of torment as your soul is flayed from you along with your skin inch by inch?) [[note]] 40k being the [[CrapsackWorld setting]] it is, there have been occasions where Exterminatus orders have been issued (and carried out) for reasons as petty as a communications specialist not being allowed to retire and return home. Poor, poor Stalinvast... [[/note]]
** For instance, one of the major reasons for Exterminatus is the fear of a planet imminently becoming a Daemon World (it can't be used on one that's ''already'' a Daemon World since they don't completely exist in normal reality any more). Or the discovery of a Necron presence on the world - although unless the Imperials are very lucky, they probably won't discover the tomb until the Necrons awaken and kill everything. Or perhaps its invasion by [[BugWar Tyranids]], [[AxCrazy Orks]], or [[FateWorseThanDeath Chaos cultists]] - there are ''many'' worse things in 40k than a quick death by lance cannon.
** And of course, as per usual with 40K, sometimes TheOnlyWayToBeSure ''isn't'' 100% sure. The Imperium has stopped using Virus Bombs once they discovered that making an entire planet's population with viruses was strengthening Nurgle, the Chaos god of disease. As Literature/CiaphasCain ('''HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!''') once put it, sometimes Exterminatus just gives them ideas.
* A common policy among the more hardline Firewall members in ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'' is "sometimes, blasting the habitat into radioactive dust is the only way to...well, you know". Sometimes it works wonders; when applied by Earth's power blocs against the [=TITANs=], during the Fall, it was about as effective as a rubber hammer.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* In ''VideoGame/AlienVsPredatorCapcom'', Linn Kurosawa reprograms a nuclear powered warship to crash into San Dread, California. Sure the town is completely destroyed, but the ship and town were full of Xenomorphs, anyway.
* Quite a few ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' games end with this:
** [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil The original]] had the mansion explode in a self-destruct sequence.
** The most famous example from the series is the fate of Raccoon City, as detailed in ''[[VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis Resident Evil 3, Nemesis]]'', and the ''[[VideoGame/ResidentEvilOutbreak Outbreak]]'' games. Starting in May of 1998 with the [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil Mansion Incident]], there were several more outbreaks of the T-virus that slowly started to overwhelm the city. The tipping point occurred on September 22 when Umbrella forces tried to retrieve a new virus sample from one of its reclusive researchers, William Birkin. In the resulting chaos the virus got into the sewers and infected city's rat population, which led to a full-scale ZombieApocalypse. The situation quickly got out of control; local police were overwhelmed in days (though some of them put up a valiant, but ill-fated, LastStand at their headquarters), and containment forces that the National Government sent in met similar fates. By September 30th the city was deemed a lost cause; almost the entire population was either dead or infected and military barriers around the city were starting to fail. Faced with the threat of the infection spreading to the rest of the country, the U.S Government ordered Raccoon City sterilized by missile strike.[[note]] In ''[[VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis RE 3]]'' it was single nuke, in ''[[VideoGame/ResidentEvilOutbreak Outbreak]]'' there were 3 to 4 missiles, in other depictions it's a new type of non-nuclear weapon, volley of cruise missiles, or a combination of all of the above. It seems to be officially nuclear now.[[/note]] The end result was that the city was ''completely wiped off the map''. All that remains of Raccoon City are [[http://projectumbrella.net/files/images/RaccoonCity_Destroyed.png a few craters]] and a government research faculty/Quarantine Zone.
** ''[[VideoGame/ResidentEvilGunSurvivor Resident Evil: Dead Aim]]'' had the cruise liner that served as the setting for the game blown up by a KillSat by the Chinese government.
** TheMovie spin-off ''Anime/ResidentEvilDegeneration'' actually averts this scenario with the main outbreak at an airport, but the [=WilPharma=] pharmaceutical laboratory is destroyed in a ''spectacularly'' elaborate self-destruct sequence.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', Manhattan is set to be destroyed by a nuclear bomb after the Blacklight and Redlight viruses have run amok. [[spoiler: The player character Alex Mercer averts this by personally flying the bomb away from Manhattan, dumping it into the river and sacrificing himself in the process. [[FromASingleCell He gets better.]] So does New York, despite seemingly the entire city being infected by the end of the game.]]
** In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype 2}}'', the government tries again, using [[spoiler:thermobaric rockets fired from helicopters. They fail again.]]
* ''VideoGame/MetroidFusion'' double subverts this. When the BSL Station is overrun by the X Parasite, Samus plans to activate the station's self-destruct to kill all of them aboard. However, her AI informs her that this doesn't guarantee she'll kill ''all'' the X Parasites, just the ones aboard the station, [[spoiler:so it recommends causing the station to fall out of orbit so that its self-destruct field also destroys the planet, ensuring all the X die.]]
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** The Covenant doesn't stop at nukes when it comes to Flood outbreaks. They bombard the entire planet with plasma until rock and sand starts to melt and is transformed to volcanic glass. Earth gets spared this treatment in ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'' due to the Arbiter advising Half-Jaw against it... so Half-Jaw ''only'' glasses half of Africa instead.
** The Halos themselves are the Forerunners' execution of this trope, killing all sentient life in the galaxy to ensure the Flood has no potential hosts.
** Even after Cortana acquires Halo Installation 04's activation index in ''VideoGame/HaloCombatEvolved'', she and Master Chief still destroy Halo's pulse generators and ultimately the Halo itself just to be sure it won't be activated. It also serves as reassurance that the Flood aboard won't manage to leave the ring.
* The plot of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' starts with an ancient being awakening in a tomb that was assumed to be empty, and immediately starting to force locals into its service. To contain the curse, the entire population is to be deported to the main planet their world is orbiting and which is the home of the ancient beings, but it soon becomes obvious that the people in charge don't really intend to let anyone remain alive.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', upon fleeing their home on a CoolAirship, the Al Bhed feel that the best way prevent the enemy occupiers from getting their hands on their technology is to [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill blow the entire facility up with nuclear missiles]].
* One of the possible methods by which you defeat the [[BigBad Naughty Sorceress]] in ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing''. After you counter her first two attacks with [[spoiler:the Wand of Nagamar]], [[OneWingedAngel her final form]] attacks you with a [[SignificantAnagram HEARTBREAKING TOFU MOUSSE]]. You counter ''[[RuleOfThree again]]'' with the same thing, and [[spoiler:[[SignificantAnagram NUKE THE SAUSAGE FROM ORBIT]]]]. [[ShoutOut After all, it's the only way to be sure.]] Referencing the TropeNamer is a bit of a RunningGag in that game.
* In ''VideoGame/HalfLife1: Opposing Force'' Black Ops assassins trying to blow up alien-infested facility and cover up the whole Black Mesa incident use a [[http://half-life.wikia.com/wiki/Mark_IV_Thermonuclear_Device fusion warhead]] they removed from a nearby missile. [[PlayerCharacter Shephard]] kills them and deactivates the device, but later the G-Man sets up its timer again.
--> '''The G-Man''': The biggest embarrassment has been Black Mesa facility, but I think that's finally taken care of itself... quite so.
* In ''VideoGame/DeadRising2'', the military plans to destroy Fortune City by firebombing [[spoiler:when a team sent in to rescue the survivors is wiped out]]. It's never shown in the best ending.
** Inverted in ''VideoGame/DeadRising''. Carlito (the villain) wants to blow up the mall to ''spread'' the virus rather than contain it, and you have to stop him.
* In ''VideoGame/DawnOfWarII: Retribution'', the Inquisition executes the Exterminatus (explained in Tabletop section) to prevent a planet from being seized by an emerging Demon Prince. [[spoiler: They are a bit too late and not so thorough]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Starcraft}}'', right before the first game, the Protoss incinerate ''a planet'' because it was overrun by the Zerg. The same thing happens another few times (off-screen) during the Terran campaign. The Protoss executor Tassadar abandons this tactic though, because he feels bad for all of the Terrans that die in the process.
* In ''VideoGame/StarCraftIIWingsOfLiberty'', Selendis wants to do this to an infested colony, albeit less drastically than the ones in the original. Instead of incinerating the entire planet, her method is vaporising the (potentially) infested parts.
** And at the beginning of the game, Raynor states that it apparently didn't work - new dens are found out there all the time.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'':
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'': The research facility on Noveria includes a safety mechanism in the so-called "hot labs" that initiates a NeutronBomb explosion and sterilizes the labs, to contain outbreaks. There's also a more comprehensive system that shuts down environmental control throughout the facility and sinks it deeper into the ice shelf, letting the conditions kill off anything hazardous. Similarly, this approach is also taken with Saren's facility in Virmire with the Salarians converting their ship's drive core to a makeshift nuclear device.
** In the sequel ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', everyone except the Illusive Man thinks blowing up [[spoiler: the Collector Base]] is the only practical solution to prevent the mind controlling effects of Reaper technology from creating new minions that serve them, as well as the heinous nature of the technology within. [[spoiler:Which turned out to be futile, since the Illusive Man already had implanted himself with reaper technology years before (putting the remains of the Human Reaper directly behind his office didn't help), but at least it significantly slowed the Reapers down.]]
** Depending on what you make of the ending in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', the "Destroy" option is just that. Even though it will also [[spoiler: destroy all AI such as the Geth and [=EDI=]]], it's the only chance to permanently put an end to the Reaper threat. Depending on your actions actions in the previous game and your EMS rating, this gets even worse and [[GoneHorriblyRight destroys almost all sentient life in the galaxy]], not just the Reapers!
** In addition to the above, this method is suggested in Mass Effect 3 by Joker after completing a mission that is one big reference to ''Film/{{Aliens}}'', the TropeNamer. He even says the name of the trope word-for-word!
* In the [[AllThereInTheManual backstory]] of ''VideoGame/{{Nier}}'', the White Chlorination Syndrome epidemic (a disease caused by the magic from the ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'' world, specifically the EldritchAbomination, entering the modern world in Ending E of the first game) is slowly spreading across Japan. A huge wall --the wall of [[MeaningfulName Jericho]]-- is erected to contain the disease and the infected. When it starts creating horrible monsters called Legion, the US military drops a nuclear bomb on it... [[NiceJobBreakingItHero spreading the infection]] [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt worldwide]].
* This is the standard, ''human'' way to deal with demonic invasion in ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei''.
** The one that started it all: in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'', the combination of a military coup and the appearance of wild demons in Tokyo (and the former weaponizing the latter) leads to the United States bombarding the city with nuclear weapons. It is revealed, however, that it was actually [[spoiler:a plot by the Law-aligned Ambassador [[MeaningfulName Thorman]] and the CouncilOfAngels to wipe the slate clean in order to start building the Thousand-Year Kingdom of God]], using the demon invasion as the perfect window of opportunity.
** In ''Shin Megami Tensei: VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'', the wards of Tokyo encircled by the Yamanote train line are sealed off to prevent escape of either the demons or the people in contact with them. [[MultipleEndings If all attempts to save the city fail]], everything inside it is ''fried''.
** In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'', when it seems the reconnaissance teams sent to explore the [[NegativeSpaceWedgie Schwarzwelt]] have vanished and failed, the assembled world governments acting under the Schwarzwelt Investigation Project [[spoiler:actually DO this, by bombing the HellGate with nuclear weapons... and it fails. Nothing can stop the Schwarzwelt from expanding]]. However, the teams trapped inside it devise a plan to [[spoiler:use their own nuclear weapons (strapped to {{Cosmic Keystone}}s of world-creating or world-ending power) to nuke the portal from the ''inside'']].
* Threatened in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' and ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3''--but it's less a tactic to neutralize a threat and more to dispose of pesky witnesses and incriminating evidence (though there is some of the former, too).
* ''[[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon F.E.A.R.]]'' has this happen at the end of the first game, [[spoiler:in a desperate attempt to kill the now-freed Alma. To everyone's horror, it completely fails to affect her.]]
* ''VideoGame/DeadIsland'' averts this trope. Ryder White intends to call in a nuclear strike on the island of Banoi to burn out the infection. [[spoiler:White fails to carry out his plan due to mutation and death.]]
* In Creator/{{Bungie}}'s ''VideoGame/{{Myth}}'' series, the forces of light tend to do this whenever they're able to defeat the current incarnation of [[BigBad The Leveller]]. Things done to its host include: Beheading him and throwing the head into a [[BottomlessPits bottomless pit]]; Beheading and cremation; Having him drawn and quartered with the various parts scattered across the continent; Burning the body, mixing the ashes with salt, and then burying it all underneath a mountain.
* In ''VideoGame/TheColony'', [[spoiler:this is your goal after rescuing the survivors of a transdimensional alien invasion.]]
* In ''[[VideoGame/XComEnemyUnknown XCOM: Enemy Within]]'', there is the Council Mission known as Site Recon. A village in Newfoundland is so badly overrun by Chrysallids that Central decides it best for your field team to mark the site for a saturated bombing run and then get out of there.
* In ''VideoGame/DyingLight'', there comes a point where the powers that be decide zombie-infested Harran is too dangerous to keep quarantined indefinitely and ought to be destroyed completely. [[spoiler:Kyle Crane, the player, manages first to stall them and then to back off more or less for good. It's implied that, if they ever get what they want out of Crane's possession, the city is toast.]]
** The DLC forces Crane to decide if Harran must live or die; [[spoiler:he found the cure, but it just turns zombies into [b]sentient zombies[/b]. Which is worse, genocide or an outbreak of monsters?]]
* In [[{{VideoGame/Wasteland2}} Wasteland 2]], a certain expansive, incredibly overbuilt underground bunker (even its ''elevator doors'' are said to be impervious to any military explosives and lasers) is brought down by exploding a [[spoiler:Davy Crockett tactical nuclear warhead]] inside of its topmost level. The problem is, this solution is rubbish: the real-life explosive equivalent of this [[spoiler:[[Main/ChekhovsGun Chekhov's Bomb]]]] is a measly 10 to 20 tons of TNT (accompanied by a very sharp radiation spike, with lethal radius of 400 m over open terrain). If anything, that explosion would [[spoiler:''benefit the villain'': sure, it would slightly damage his new front lobby, but would also completely sterilize the installation, destroying all biological life he's fighting against]].
* The only way in ''VideoGame/{{Stellaris}}'' to deal with an [[HostileTerraforming infected world]] is by way of OrbitalBombardment until ''all traces'' of biosphere and atmosphere are eradicated.

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', Tagon quickly remembers that encouraging his MadBomber's eager paranoia is a bad idea when he asks for ways to defend Northport.
-->'''Pi:''' There are so many possibilities... I'd have to requisition some ordnance, sir.
-->'''Tagon:''' You are ''not'' allowed to nuke Northport ''"Just to be sure."''
-->'''Pi:''' I'd have to nuke a lot more than just Northport to be ''really'' sure.
* ''Webcomic/{{Anthronauts}}'': In the original series, a zombie outbreak succeeded in covering the earth. The president of humanity made the decision to nuke earth and retreat to mars. [[spoiler:Turns out that the zombies were a HordeOfAlienLocusts... with shapeshifting capabilities and all-female. Which would make them the perfect ambassadors if not for their unescapable hunger and unsustainable instinct to conquer and destroy. They usually hatch on new planets, conquer the other species by assimilating their traits and improving them, and ultimately fight each other until the planet explodes.]] It's unknown whether or not genocide of a near-limitless potential shapeshifting species is justifiable when they destroy planets on a regular basis.
* Riff from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' thinks this is an acceptable way to deal with [[http://www.sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/071017 two women talking to each other about him if they are ex-girlfriends and/or potential girlfriends.]]

[[folder: Web Originals ]]
* The short-lived live-action web series ''Dead Patrol'' involved military teams tasked with delivering nuclear warheads to zombie-infested cities - by truck, [[FridgeLogic for some reason]].
* The ''[[http://digg.com/newsbar/topnews/Alomal-137_Case_Study Alomal-137 Case Study]]'' by Lon Miller briefly describes nuclear annihilation of several east-coast cities in response to a pandemic.
* The game [[http://www.hardcorepawn.com/zombie3/ Zombie 3]] requires the player to bomb entire city blocks to stop a spreading zombie infestation. Depending on the player's skill, it may be easier to protect a small enclave of survivors and carpet-bomb the rest of the city as a precaution.
* Several sites run by the ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'' that house their more dangerous anomalies feature a tactical nuclear warhead or three as part of their structures. This is in case of a break-out, since "these things NOT running amok" is of a higher priority than "Contain, not destroy." In several instances, it's explicitly stated that the nukes wouldn't even destroy the objects, just slow them down enough that re-containment would be possible. Maybe.
** [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/revised-entry A short story]] explored a scenario in which SCP-173 began multiplying. Exponentially. After North and South America are completely overrun in a matter of days, the Foundation, secrecy breached, decides to carpet nuke the entire landmass to keep them from spreading to other continents. [[spoiler: One is later spotted in the UK. They nuke the area immediately.]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'' the Guardian Collective takes this approach to dealing with web creatures. They don't even ''try'' conventional methods to get rid of them, opting to destroy the system as soon as one is found. Bob knows about this and is pissed when he sees Mouse tell the guardians about the web creature in Mainframe. Bob manages to stop this, [[FromBadToWorse but makes the situation worse]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/ClerksTheAnimatedSeries'', Leonardo Leonardo plans to takeover the town. Dante and Randal find a book detailing his master plan, which is full of counter-measures for every possibility. If things spiral completely out of control, the city is to be nuked from orbit. Randal even invokes the trope name.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* Declassified materials from the US Department of Defense seems to indicate this is an official position of last resort on many biological weapons. Apparently, this is one of the few cases where use of nuclear weapons on friendly (or home) soil is both planned for, and expected to be used should the conditions arise. A confirmed smallpox outbreak which can't be contained is one such scenario.
* While not confirmed, most other nuclear powers are expected to have similar contingency plans, and many non-nuclear nations have either a conventional form of this, or agreements with nuclear powers to perform this action upon request.
* On a smaller scale: A relatively quick and reliable (if messy) method to dispose of a nuclear weapon is to blow it up. While this scatters the fissile material (hence the mess), it also prevents unauthorised use or an accidental nuclear detonation.