The majority of city planners estimate the largest nuclear weapon that most likely would be used against populations would be one megaton in size. References in this topics are, for that reason, made to these yields. The nuclear weapons effects of concern are electromagnetic pulse (EMP), radiation, blast, and thermal. We are also covering information regarding chemical / biological warfare.
Most scientific experts agree that a full blown nuclear attack would be initiated at a high altitude of approximately 200 miles up, a nuclear explosion, and that it would most likely be deployed using a satellite. If a nuclear bomb exploded at that altitude would not damage living tissue, would not cause substantial radiation fallout and is not a health hazard to our population. The reason for this explosion is to destruct critical electrical circuitry in our retaliatory defense weapons and our military capabilities to communicate. This is done by means of the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) related to the explosion. One such explosion could distress an area of a thousand miles in diameter.
Terrorist nations can deploy EMP artilleries from ground to air missiles detonated from a ship in our own coastal waters. Iran’s, Shahab-3 ballistic missile, if armed with a nuclear weapon, would have this capability. North Korea, an ally of Iran, brags that they already have in their possession, nuclear weapons with ballistic missiles that are capable of reaching these heights.
Collectors, including but not limited to things such as long runs of cable, wiring in a house, barn, office, store, mall, conduit, any large antennas, all overhead power and telephone lines, also things like railroad tracks, etc., gather this energy in the form of a strong current and voltage surge. All solid state electronics are defenseless to this energy surge. The electronic equipment does not have to be attached to the collector directly in order to be damaged. It’s possible for a collector to collect in the order of a joule of energy from a one megaton, high altitude explosion. The point that a tiny fraction of a joule can cause permanent damage to electronic devices, proves that the EMP threat is extremely serious. The damage to electronic equipment could include things such as automobile ignition systems, telephone and radio communications for sure, airline communications, navigational aids, & computers. The power grid throughout the United States of America would most undoubtedly fail. It has been estimated that about 95% of our radio stations today would immediately loose all transmission in an EMP attack.
If you do detect a power drop, immediate action should be taken to test telephones, radio stations, and other electronic equipment for loss of function. Several radio stations have acquired alternate power sources, but only about 5% of our radio stations have taken the steps to protect themselves against the EMP. If, you have checked a battery powered radio, and found that most of the radio stations are not working, you should take shelter instantly.
Immediately after the initial EMP detonation, SLBM’s and ICBM’s will most likely be launched against objectives in the United States. An ICBM from Russia would reach the middle of the continental United States of America in approximately 25 minutes. A missile from a submarine could reach the same location in about 8 minutes. However, we have not been seeing Russian nuclear missile submarines in our coastal waters. The 25 minutes of time from the power failure alarm could mean the difference between life and death.
If you are sleeping, a simple little power-drop alarm would wake you up when the power fails. We highly recommend that this alarm be constructed by a certified electrician. Our electricians use a motorcycle horn, with a 12 volt battery, it has a relay switch, and a flasher. The negative line from the battery is attached to the 12 Volt DC horn. When the 110 Volt AC currant stops, then the relay closes the circuit, which in turn activates the horn. We add a control switch to the positive line from the battery to the horn so the horn can be turned off after it has been activated.
If the fireball of the weapon comes into contact with the ground, then the blast is defined as a `ground burst’. In a ground burst, any rock, soil, and or other materials in the area are vaporized and taken into the burst cloud. This debris is then equally fused with splitting products and radioactive residues and then it becomes radioactive itself. Then when it falls to the ground it becomes what is called `radioactive fallout’. If the fire ball from the explosion does not come into contact with the ground, then the blast is said to be an `air burst’. So then the Radiation (except for initial radiation) does not become an issue in an air burst.
Gamma rays from the fallout can easily be reduced by integrating a 90 degree turn in the small diameter entrance. Entrances should not be larger than 48 inches in diameter and the over-all length of the vertical and horizontal run should be no shorter than 25 feet. Roughly 90% of the gamma radiation is directed into the ground from the vertical section of the entrance. The other 10% is nearly entirely deteriorated by the horizontal section of the entrance. We strongly recommend that the horizontal section of the entrance be about 10 feet long and that it enters the shelter body on the side or on the end plate.
The danger of exposure to the initial nuclear radiation is restricted to a radius of approximately one and one half miles from ground zero and it would prove fatal to any unsheltered individuals. However, in hardened blast and radiation survival shelters, such as the kind that we here at Disaster Bunkers build, you could survive all nuclear weapons effects, including the initial radiation, even if you were within three quarter mile of ground zero. The shelters we build which may be within the initial radiation zone, must have at least 8 ft. of dirt over the top cover and the entrance must be configured with the correct shielding and geometry.
Gamma radiation is a critical health problem for about a two week period. Everyone should stay sheltered in a safe fallout shelter for a full two weeks. If a blast is not a consideration, 4 feet of earth over the cover is sufficient to shield from gamma radiation. However, the entrances must still follow the important guideline of each having the 25 feet with both horizontal and vertical runs.
Alpha and Beta radiation can be immobilized by a few layers of paper. However, internal to the body, they are a grave health hazard. You must be careful to wash the dust off of lids before opening canned food, wash and peel all exposed fruits and vegetables. Water purification, recommended food preparation, and also post war survival will be discussed in another area on this web site.
In the event of a detonation of a one megaton size weapon (which is approximately equivalent to 1 million tons of TNT), the fireball grows to 440’ in just a fraction of a second. Within 10 seconds, the size of the fireball is over a mile wide. During the same time the fireball is developing and growing, a high-pressure wave progresses and moves outward in every directions. This wave of air causes an enormous increase in air pressure. At one quarter of a mile from the crater edge, the overpressure is about 200 psi. It is not anticipated that any nuclear weapons with a greater yield than that of the one megaton would be used against the civilian population. We are, therefore, limiting our information of blast effects to that yield.
At approximately 4 miles from the epicenter, the winds are 165 mph and the overpressure is approximately 5 psi. Most of the homes within that area would be destroyed, but it is highly possible to survive the blast in a basement shelter at that distance. The radiation defense from the home, however, may have been ruined in the blast. At 6 and 7 miles from the epicenter, there would be more moderate damage to residences and the likelihood of surviving in a basement is much greater.
People housed in hardened blast and radiation shelters, such as are built by Disaster Bunkers, would be expected to survive all NBC weapons effects at ground zero from an air burst (50 psi), and at one quarter mile from the crater edge from a one megaton burst that made contact with the ground. At that proximity, an 8 foot diameter shelter must have at least 8 feet of dirt over the top of the cover. A 10 foot diameter shelter must have at least 10 feet of dirt over the top of the cover. Each person must have roughly 10 square feet of shelter space for a short term survival period (up to 2 weeks). We recommend you double this space requirement if the shelter is going to be used as a permanent residence.
Within less than a millionth of a second of the explosion, extremely large amounts of energy in the form of invisible x-rays are absorbed within just a few feet of the atmosphere. This leads to the development of an extremely hot and luminous mass called the fireball. If we were standing 50 miles away from it, this fireball would appear to us to be several more times as brilliant as our own sun on a bright clear day.
You should never ever look directly at the fireball of a nuclear explosion no matter how awe inspiring it is. Because of the focusing action in the lens of your eye, especially in the evening when our pupils are open, thermal radiation can cause temporary and even permanent blindness.
The thermal pulse travels at the speed of light and can last for a fraction of a second, up to several seconds. It also usually travels in straight lines, as does light. If there is no warning, you should drop and cover immediately. If you do have warning, you should take cover behind a large structure, or go to a basement or even a culvert. If you are not protected you could receive third degree burns at 6 to 8 miles from the blast; second degree burns at a distance of 8 to 10 miles; and first degree burns at 10 to 12 miles away from the blast. Burns would significantly complicate an otherwise survivable circumstance.