7 Things You Need to Know to Survive a Nuclear Incident

nuclear incident

Surviving a nuclear incident (dirty bomb or reactor accident) or nuclear explosion seems too many people to be impossible and they just want to give up.  I have had many people tell me that they would prefer to die in a nuclear war than survive.  While any type of nuclear incident would be horrific, with a bit of knowledge it is possible to survive and go on with life.

The most important survival tool that you need is knowledge.  The following is a list of a few points that you should study and learn.

1. First there are two types of radiation associated with a nuclear explosion. First initial Nuclear Radiation – If you are exposed to this you are probably dead.

Second – Residual Nuclear Radiation from a nuclear explosion is mostly from the radioactive fallout. This radiation comes from the weapon debris, fission products, and, in the case of a ground burst, irradiated soil.  There are over 300 different fission products that may result from a fission reaction. Many of these are radioactive with widely differing half-lives.  Some are very short, i.e., fractions of a second, while a few are long enough that the materials can be a hazard for months or years.  Their principal mode of decay is by the emission of beta particles and gamma radiation.  The bombs dropped on Japan were airbursts and caused very few deaths from radiation.  Cancer deaths that occurred much later are for another discussion.

2. A ground burst will produce much more fallout than an air burst.  In a nuclear war, most countries would use airbursts; they create damage over a larger area, but minimize radioactive fallout. Terrorists would probably use a ground burst because they would want to cause radiation damage and fallout.

3. Try an avoid looking at a distant nuclear blast.  Flash blindness is caused by the initial brilliant flash of light.  More light energy is received on the retina than can be tolerated, but less than is required for irreversible injury.  This results in temporary damage to the visual pigments of the eye, and temporary blindness for up to 40 minutes.  If you have the fireball directly in your field of vision, it is possible to get a retina burn that can permanently damage your vision up to and including blindness.

4. Thermal burns – this same flash that can damage your eyes can cause thermal burns. When thermal radiation strikes an object, part will be reflected, part transmitted, and the rest absorbed. The fraction that is absorbed depends on the nature and color of the material.  A thin material may transmit a lot.  A light colored object may reflect much of the radiation and thus escape damage, like anti-flash white paint.  The absorbed thermal radiation raises the temperature of the surface and results in scorching, charring, and burning of wood, paper, fabrics, etc.  If the material is a poor thermal conductor, the heat is confined to the surface of the material.  Depending on your distance from the blast it is possible that the flash can ignite fires.

5. Duck and cover – This has been made fun of in the media on many occasions, but in reality it is a good idea. First depending on your distance from the blast, it can protect you from possible blast damage. It also protects you from flash burns and blindness.  This is something that can save your life.

6. Learn how to find cover and what shelter factors protect you from the effects of radiation. The book Nuclear Warfare Survival Skills is an excellent reference on this subject.  The seven ten rule. Assume that a one Megaton Bomb blast occurs and you are sheltered or far enough away to survive the blast.  If fallout of one thousand Rads arrives at your location 1 hour after the blast.  A four hundred and fifty Rad accumulative dose can kill you, so one-half hour of unsheltered exposure can be fatal.  If you have shelter and are using the seven – ten rule you will know that after seven hours the outside rate will drop to 100 Rads per hour.  In another seven times seven hours or forty-nine hours, it will have decayed down to 10 Rads per hour. Then using the rule of seven times forty-nine hours which equals approximately two weeks it will be down to one Rad per hour.  You need to stay sheltered until it drops to one-half Rad per hour, and that takes about twenty-five days total.

If you are lucky and the Rate is only 10 Rads per hour in your area, then seven hours after the blast it is down to one rad.  Forty-nine hours after the rate is down to one tenth of a Rad and you can leave the shelter.

nuclear incident

nuclear incident
Protection factors of various buildings

7. You and dirty bombs.  As you know, there has been a lot of concern about terrorists getting their hands on nuclear materials and setting off a dirty bomb.  Studies have shown that members of the public are more likely to be harmed by the impact of the conventional explosives than that of the radioactive materials.  A dirty bomb would spread radioactive materials, contaminating the local area and any individuals in the nearby vicinity.  However, this contamination would be mostly external in nature and, if the attack was promptly identified as being radioactive, decontamination of individuals would be a relatively straightforward process.  The exposure time of anyone affected would be limited and the negative health effects mitigated.  There would be no nuclear explosion and the radiation would only be scattered within the blast radius.

Hopefully this will provide you with some information that will help you understand some of the ways in which you can mitigate the effects of a nuclear incident.  Take the time to study this problem and Build a Nuclear Go Bag for Fallout or Radioactive Incidents

Howard

6 thoughts on “7 Things You Need to Know to Survive a Nuclear Incident”

  1. Good article, thanks for posting it. In item #6, are you referring to the book by Cresson H. Kearny? Thanks, Brum

  2. look at the above chart. it explains why water is used to mitigate radiation at nuke power plants. it also explains the danger of being located near one if there is damage to it, and why the water MUST stay circulating(cooled) to prevent it from boiling away and exposing the radioactive fuel. the circulation is done with pumps that run on DC power supplied by a generator which requires diesel FUEL!! most nuke plants only store enough diesel fuel on site for 90 days and it has to be brought in by trucks, boats, or rail. which also require fuel…

  3. In regard to the 7:10 rule, how does one best determine the amount of rads in the area? Is there a way to predict, and then plan for, the amount of rads one could expect to be exposed to based on their location?

    Thank you!

  4. Seaweed Soup “Miso” for Radiation Poisoning/Cancer – Traditionally, miso soup begins with a broth called “dashi,” made by soaking seaweed such as kombu in water and cooking with bonito flakes (flakes of dried fermented fish).

    The late Dr. Akizuki, a medical doctor in Nagasaki at the time of the atomic bombing, survived and served to help the injured. He observed that these survivors had a common diet practice, which was a traditional Japanese diet enriched with Miso. Dr. Akizuki unfortunately passed away in 2005, but I was able to interview Mrs. Akizuki, as well as other atomic bomb survivors, a total of 30 people, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in Japan in the summer of 2006. Utilizing the interview data, this study examine atomic bomb survivors’ dietary history for the purpose of qualitatively discussing the relationship between traditional Japanese food enriched with Miso and their health conditions after exposure to the atomic bomb.

    Dr. Akizuki began to work as Director of the Department of Internal Medicine at Urakami Daiihchi Hospital (later St. Francis Hospital) and instituted a strict diet of traditional Japanese food that was based on brown rice, miso and tamari soy soup, seaweed, and sea salt. He also prohibited the patients from consuming sugar and sweets. This diet was served to the patients and staff of the hospital twice everyday. It was during this time that the Nagasaki atomic bomb was dropped. The hospital was located approximately 1.4 km away from the hypocenter; therefore, most of the people in the hospital were exposed to the atomic bomb blast directly or indirectly. If they were inside the building, the radiation exposure was indirect, while those outside were most likely directly exposed to the blast and died immediately. Mrs. Akizuki stated that immediately after the bombing, she went outside of the hospital and saw a boy’s dead body, whose brain had exploded. He must have been directly hit by the atomic bomb blast.

    Fortunately, Dr. Akizuki survived even though he was only 1.4 km away from the
    epicenter of the explosion. However, many people within that same range suffered from serious
    health problems such as cataracts, leukemia and other cancers, and premature aging. Within a
    few months of the nuclear explosions, the number of incidences of leukemia skyrocketed among
    the survivors, as did cancer rates soon after. Dr. Akizuki wrote his memoir book, “The
    Concentric of Death,” and mentioned in it the names of 31 people including patients and staff
    who had eaten the hospital food. Out of the 31 people in the book, 9 people are still alive. In the
    summer of 2006, I interviewed 7 of the survivors. The fact that about one third of the people who
    ate the hospital food are still alive after 60 years is in itself amazing, considering all of them
    excepting one had been exposed closely to the atomic bomb.

    Dr. Akizuki’s claims regarding his beliefs about the traditional Japanese diet enriched with
    miso were published in his books (Akizuki 1981 & 1975).

    (see website https://www.yufoundation.org/pdfs/furo.pdf)

    Seaweed medical use dates to at least 5,000 years ago in ancient China, where the emperor ShenNung
    listed seaweed as a medicine in his classic pharmacopeia, the Pen Ts’ao [4]. Seaweeds have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat goiter, scrofula, swelling and pain of testes, and edema.
    Additionally, some seaweed species have also been used in modern Chinese medicine to treat arteriosclerosis, skin diseases, high blood pressure, hepatosplenomegaly, neurosis, angina pectoris, acute esophagitis, and chronic bronchitis. Marine algae belong to one of two groups: microalgae or macroalgae (seaweeds). Macroalgae are plant-like organisms. They are classified according to their
    pigmentation into green (chlorophytes), red (rhodophytes) and brown (phaeophytes) macroalgae.

    Known for their richness in polysaccharides, minerals and certain vitamins, seaweeds also contain other bioactive substances, such as proteins, lipids and polyphenols. These chemicals possess potential
    foruse in treating cancer, oxidative stress, inflammation, allergy, diabetes, thrombosis, obesity, lipidemia, hypertensive and other degenerative diseases. This review provides an overview of seaweed in vitro and in vivo investigations, and it summarizes our own research on seaweed components and their anticancer activity. Additionally, seaweed RCTs and quasi-experiments directed toward cancer therapy and prevention are discussed.

    A significant reduction in the cancer development was observed in mice and rats after cancer cells had been implanted. Similar effects were observed in several other cancer animal models, including leukemia and breast cancer. The phenomenon was attributed to the stimulation of both innate and specific immunity. Isolated fucoidans from brown algae have also been shown to possess broad immunomodulating effects. In human studies, fucoidan has been shown to stimulate the enzyme granzyme A, which is believed to induce cytokine production in a variety of cells. This observation may partially explain the mechanism of fucoidan immunomodulation. In another human study involving fucoidan ingestion, low serum levels of fucoidans coincided with the presence of stromal cell-derived factor 1 and increased chemokine receptor CXCR4-expressing hematopoietic stem cells and chemokine IFN-γ.

    Source: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1934578X1300801237

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