Effects of a Nuclear Bomb

Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - 65th AnniversaryIn this guide we are going to comprehensively review the effects of a nuclear bomb in a major metropolitan area. Many people within the prepper community believe a zombie apocalypse is more likely than a nuclear war. I couldn’t disagree any more, because of a long held belief I’ve had in Murphy’s Law — anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. As of 2015, there are 9 countries with nuclear arsenals with a combined total of fifteen-thousand nuclear weapons, with three of these countries having contentious relations. You should know the effects of a nuclear bomb, thus enabling you to prepare in an adequate manner.

“There are major differences between the United States and the Soviet Union that affect the nature of their vulnerability to nuclear attacks, despite the fact that both are large and diversified industrial countries. Differences between the two countries in terms of population distribution, closeness of population to other targets, vulnerability of agricultural systems, vulnerability of cities to fire, socioeconomic system, and political system create significant asymmetries in the potential effects of nuclear attacks.” — Office of Technology Assessment

Nuclear Blast

Instantly after a nuclear detonation the heat created from the blast’s fireball will create a high pressure wave moving outward creating a blast wave up to seven miles or more. Highly compressed air will move at a powerful velocity. This immense pressure can move at the speed of sound. The graph below shows the different wind speeds, and over-pressure PSI (pounds per square inch)

As you can see the closer to the detonation site the higher the peak pressure PSI and maximum wind speed. Anything over 5 PSI guarantees fatalities, with injuries likely for subsequent PSI. Want to see a cool little trick? If you put your city’s information into this Interactive Nuke Map by NuclearSecrecy.com you’ll see blast effects for your area including; fireball radius, air-blast radius, radiation radius, secondary air-blast radius, and thermal radiation radius. If you look at the graphic below you will see the structural effects of a nuclear blast.

nuclear graphicPhysical Effects after The Flash

When people think about the effects of a nuclear blast they don’t consider the immediate physical effects of a nuclear blast, and the long lasting effects. Sure, a lot of you are going to die a quick death, but survivors of a nuclear attack will be faced with a wholly unprecedented situation. The economic, social, and political condemnations are going to be staggering, but the physical effects are going to have to be dealt with immediately.

Flash Blindness

Flash blindness is visual impairment during and following exposure to a light flash of extremely high intensity i.e. the flash from a nuclear detonation. In some instances flash blindness can be temporary, and can last for a few minutes, to a few hours, and permanently when corneal flash burns occur after a nuclear blast. Temporary blindness may be treated depending on its cause. Aspirin or blood thinners may be prescribed to prevent blood clots, high cholesterol level and high blood pressure. Ultrasound scan of blood vessels in the neck to look for narrowing or blockages after which surgical operation may be introduced. Cool wet compresses, artificial tears, special eye-drops as well as oral medication may be prescribed to reduce pain after sunburn. patients may stay in dark room, avoid rubbing the eyes and wear sunglasses until symptoms improve (this may take one to three days).

“EMP survival and preparedness guide”

Thermal Radiation

burnsDamage as a result of thermal radiation is much more severe towards humans. The very intense heating from the fireball causes “flash burns,” where the more thermal radiation absorbed, the worse the burn becomes. Interestingly, anyone within 10 miles of the blast will become blind whether their eyes are open, or shut. The burns are in degrees;

  • 1st Not serious – painful and reddening of skin. Continues for minutes to hour.
  • 2nd Dermal tissue damage – Pain and reddening with blisters. Regenerating ability, no scars. Possible infection.
  • 3rd Tissue death throughout skin – No regeneration w/o grafting. Scarring, serious risk of infection, and serious fluid loss.
  • 4th/5th Destroys tissue below skin, muscle, connective tissue – Can cause exposed flesh to flash into steam, flaying exposed body area to the bone.

Radar Blackout

Blackout is the interference with radio and radar waves resulting from an ionized region of the atmosphere. Nuclear detonations, other than those underground or far away in outer space, generate the flow of a huge number of gamma rays and X-rays that move in a general direction away from the detonation. These photons produce a large number of ionizing events in the atoms and molecules in the air, creating a very large region of ions. A large number of electrons are stripped away from their atoms, and move in a direction away from the detonation. This leaves a large number of positively charged atoms closer to the detonation, creating an ionized region with positively charged atoms close to the detonation and negatively charged particles farther from the detonation.

Electromagnetic Pulse

A high-altitude nuclear detonation produces an immediate flux of gamma rays from the nuclear reactions within the device. These photons in turn produce high energy free electrons by Compton scattering at altitudes between (roughly) 20 and 40 km. These electrons are then trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field, giving rise to an oscillating electric current. This current is asymmetric in general and gives rise to a rapidly rising radiated electromagnetic field called an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Because the electrons are trapped essentially simultaneously, a very large electromagnetic source radiates coherently. The pulse can easily span continent-sized areas, and this radiation can affect systems on land, sea, and air. The first recorded EMP incident accompanied a high-altitude nuclear test over the South Pacific and resulted in power system failures as far away as Hawaii. A large device detonated at 400-500 km over Kansas would affect all of CONUS. The signal from such an event extends to the visual horizon as seen from the burst point.

Ionizing Radiation

Ionizing radiation is radiation with enough energy so that during an interaction with an atom, it can remove tightly bound electrons from the orbit of an atom, causing the atom to become charged or ionized. Here we are concerned with only one type of radiation, ionizing radiation, which occurs in two forms – waves or particles. Forms of electromagnetic radiation. These differ only in frequency and wavelength.

  • Heat waves
  • Radio-waves
  • Infrared light
  • Visible light
  • Ultraviolet light
  • X rays
  • Gamma rays

Longer wavelength, lower frequency waves (heat and radio) have less energy than shorter wavelength, higher frequency waves (X and gamma rays). Not all electromagnetic (EM) radiation is ionizing. Only the high frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum which includes X rays and gamma rays is ionizing.

Final thoughts…

As a prepper you should prepare yourself for all forms of disaster.  I mean come on, how big a fool will you feel when you’ve felt for every form of shit to hit the fan except nuclear war?  Nuclear war is one of the few disasters that requires a lot of special planning.  If you’re not prepared feel free to read our Nuclear War Survival Guide

empBy Ryan

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