This Nuclear Survival subject is divided up into 5 sections:
Just because you don't live next to a nuclear power station does not mean that you are free from any possible nuclear radiation threats. There are several facts and factors you need to know:
Nuclear power plants - As the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 demonstrated, even if you are several hundred miles or kilometers away from a nuclear power station, if an unlikely but possible major nuclear accident happens and you are downwind of it at the time, your safety would be seriously at risk.
Nuclear material accidents - These can happen at a plant that works with nuclear material or nuclear waste or during the transportation of radioactive material in your area.
Radiological Dispersal Devices (RDDs) - These include terrorist attacks with radioactive material devices, as in "dirty bombs", which are caused by conventional and not nuclear explosions.
Nuclear weapons attack - You may say: "But the cold war is over". Yes, but the world is still full of crazy people, and there are now more nuclear weapons in the hands of more countries and terrorist groups than during the cold war. Take this news report for example: On June 24 2009, a news report from the Associated Press started with: "North Korea threatened Wednesday to wipe the United States off the map as Washington and its allies watched for signs the regime will launch a series of missiles in the coming days." Plus there is still great animosity between many nations with nuclear capabilities.
The other factor that we have learned from the past is that historically, war has followed the collapse of the economy of a nation. I hope there are no economy collapses anywhere in the world. But if it happens, war is possible, and it could quite likely be nuclear. There is also the possibility of a terrorist attack with a portable nuclear device like a "suitcase bomb".
There are 2 main dangers of a nuclear bomb: the initial blast effect and the radioactive fall-out afterwards. Fall-out is sometimes misunderstood. There are different types of fall-out radiation, and its dispersal will depend on several factors, but it is basically fine dust from the explosion that continuously gives off invisible radiation as it falls to earth. The largest, most dangerous particles will reach the ground first, closer to ground zero.
According to the research done by Cresson H. Kearny, those particles that are concentrated and dangerous enough to require the use of fall-out shelters to protect you, will fall to earth within a few hours. The finer particles will be carried by the wind, some taking months to settle to earth. (More on the research by Kearny is covered below.) Fortunately the radiation from radioactive particles reduces with time, which helps man and nature to recover. The initial radiation, which is fatal with one hour of exposure, weakens to only 1/10th as strong 7 hours later. Two days later, it's only 1/100th as strong.
Is a nuclear attack survivable? Absolutely - contrary to popular opinion! There are many myths about nuclear war, including this big one that no one will be able to survive it. To the contrary; nuclear wars are very survivable, IF people are prepared, excluding a small percentage of people near ground zero (the point directly below the explosion). In fact, in Nagasaki during the atomic bomb attack, some people who were far inside tunnel shelters built for conventional air raids located as close as one-third of a mile from ground zero, survived uninjured. This was true even though these long, large shelters lacked blast doors and were deep inside the zone within which all buildings were destroyed.
Another myth is that fall-out radiation penetrates everything and will kill all those who survived the initial blast. Again, this is not true. Adequate preparation can protect you from any harmful doses. And even minor preparations can save your life, even though your health may be adversely affected.
If nuclear wars are not survivable, then it would not make any sense to build nuclear fall-out shelters, and governments would not spend large amounts of money doing so for their citizens. Some countries have done just that, including Russia, Switzerland and some Scandinavian countries. And, some countries have built them only for their leadership and not for their citizens!
The bottom line is this:
What to Do in the Event of a Nuclear Disaster
Nuclear Plant Disaster or 'Dirty Bomb':
If you are near enough to see or hear any nuclear plant accident or disaster or local bomb blast, assume that it includes radiological or chemical agents. You can expect localized and downwind contamination from the explosion and dispersed radioactive materials. If you have a nuclear fall-out or blast shelter nearby, enter it immediately. If not, and you have no means of transport, "shelter-in-place" as best you can. (See the Home Shelter page for more details.) If you have transport, you should grab your evacuation survival kit and move away from the blast area as quickly as possible. Tune in to local radio stations for emergency updates. If the wind is blowing toward you from the direction of the blast, travel in a direction that is cross-wise or perpendicular to the wind as you move away from the blast area. If possible, cover your face with a dust mask or cloth to avoid inhaling potentially radioactive dust. Upon reaching a safe location, remove your outer clothing outside and shower as soon as possible. Refer to local news sources for additional instructions about sheltering or evacuation.
For more remote nuclear disasters, like being in North America when radioactive fallout is blowing across the ocean from Japan from the Fukushima I nuclear reactor accidents following the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, the main threat is long term effects from dispersed radioactive fallout. Thyroid blocking tablets are only supposed to be used for short periods of time in the presence of very high levels of radioactivity, and they do have adverse side effects. So a better alternative is to use dietary supplements that are high in iodine. See the Thyroid Blocking section in the eBook for more details.
Nuclear Weapon Attack
This will usually be an air blast bomb and will be vastly more devastating than a 'dirty bomb'. It will usually be preceded by a major international political crisis, so it is important to stay tuned to the news. You will normally get a warning from the authorities that a nuclear missile is incoming, even though they will probably not know the exact target location/s. If you do not have a nuclear shelter prepared, then there are many variables involved in deciding what the best thing is to do. You have the option to try to build a quick improvised shelter or to evacuate. It depends on several factors, including if you have family or a safe place to go to that is within the available travel time, which will depend on the roads and traffic conditions, etc. So do not wait until it happens to think about it. You need to think about it now, while all is still well.
One major factor with an air burst nuclear bomb is that it produces an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) that will probably destroy most computer circuitry over a large area. So among other things, your car probably will not start, which is another reason to be prepared at home. If you decide to stay, the priority is to gather water and food and then to shelter yourself. More ....
This section is included in the eBook only. It includes the following sections: Nuclear Shelters, The Bare Minimum, Additional preparations for a good shelter, Radiation Detection Devices, Protective Clothing and Thyroid Blocking.
Further Resources for Nuclear Survival
• Nuclear War Survival Skills: Updated and Expanded 1987 Edition by Cresson Kearny.
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