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What Would Happen If Their Was a Nuclear War

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An all-out nuclear war between Russia and the United States would be the worst catastrophe in history, a tragedy so huge it is difficult to comprehend. Even so, it would be far from the end of human life on earth. The dangers from nuclear weapons have been distorted and exaggerated, for varied reasons. These exaggerations have become demoralizing myths, believed by millions of Americans.

While working with hundreds of Americans building expedient shelters and life-support equipment, I have found that many people at first see no sense in talking about details of survival skills. Those who hold exaggerated beliefs about the dangers from nuclear weapons must first be convinced that nuclear war would not inevitably be the end of them and everything worthwhile. Only after they have begun to question the truth of these myths do they become interested, under normal peacetime conditions, in acquiring nuclear war survival skills. Therefore, before giving detailed instructions for making and using survival equipment, we will examine the most harmful of the myths about nuclear war dangers, along with some of the grim facts.

° Myth: Fallout radiation from a nuclear war would poison the air and all parts of the environment. It would kill everyone. (This is the demoralizing message of On the Beach and many similar pseudoscientific books and articles.)

° Facts: When a nuclear weapon explodes near enough to the ground for its fireball to touch the ground, it forms a crater. (See Fig. 1.1.)

Many thousands of tons of earth from the crater of a large explosion are pulverized into trillions of particles. These particles are contaminated by radioactive atoms produced by the nuclear explosion. Thousands of tons of the particles are carried up into a mushroom-shaped cloud, miles above the earth. These radioactive particles then fall out of the mushroom cloud, or out of the dispersing cloud of particles blown by the winds thus becoming fallout.

Each contaminated particle continuously gives off invisible radiation, much like a tiny X-ray machine while in the mushroom cloud, while descending, and after having fallen to earth. The descending radioactive particles are carried by the winds like the sand and dust particles of a miles-thick sandstorm cloud except that they usually are blown at lower speeds and in many areas the particles are so far apart that no cloud is seen. The largest, heaviest fallout particles reach the ground first, in locations close to the explosion. Many smaller particles are carried by the winds for tens to thousands of miles before falling to earth. At any one place where fallout from a single explosion is being deposited on the ground in concentrations high enough to require the use of shelters, deposition will be completed within a few hours.

The smallest fallout particles those tiny enough to be inhaled into a person's lungs are invisible to the naked eye. These tiny particles would fall so slowly from the four-mile or greater heights to which they would be injected by currently deployed Soviet warheads that most would remain airborne for weeks to years before reaching the ground. By that time their extremely wide dispersal and radioactive decay would make them much less dangerous. Only where such tiny particles are promptly brought to earth by rain- outs or snow-outs in scattered "hot spots," and later dried and blown about by the winds, would these invisible particles constitute a long-term and relatively minor post-attack danger.

The air in properly designed fallout shelters, even those without air filters, is free of radioactive particles and safe to breathe except in a few' rare environments as will be explained later.

Fortunately for all living things, the danger from fallout radiation lessens with time. The radioactive decay, as this lessening is called, is rapid at first, then gets slower and slower. The dose rate (the amount of radiation received per hour) decreases accordingly. Figure 1.2 illustrates the rapidity of the decay of radiation from fallout during the first two days after the nuclear explosion that produced it. R stands for roentgen, a measurement unit often used to measure exposure to gamma rays and X rays. Fallout meters called dosimeters measure the dose received by recording the number of R. Fallout meters called survey meters, or dose-rate meters, measure the dose rate by recording the number of R being received per hour at the time of measurement. Notice that it takes about seven times as long for the dose rate to decay from 1000 roentgens per hour (1000 R/hr) to 10 R/hr (48 hours) as to decay from 1000 R/hr to 100 R/hr (7 hours). (Only in high-fallout areas would the dose rate 1 hour after the explosion be as high as 1000 roentgens per hour.)


Read more truths and myths of nuclear war here: http://www.oism.org/nwss/s73p912.htm

The energy of a nuclear explosion is released in the form of a blast wave, thermal radiation (heat) and nuclear radiation. The distribution of energy in these three forms depends on the yield of the weapon. For nuclear weapons in the kiloton range, the energy is divided in various forms, roughly as 50% blast, 35% thermal and 15% nuclear radiation. Each one of these forms causes devastation on a scale that is unimaginable. Below these effects are discussed separately for a 15 kiloton bomb, which was the explosive power of the bomb detonated by the U.S. in Hiroshima during World War II. This is also the size of the weapons now possessed by India, Pakistan, North Korea and would likely be roughly the size weapon created by terrorists.

Effects of Nuclear Weapons Detonations
Because of the tremendous amount of energy released in a nuclear detonation, temper­atures of tens of millions of degrees C develop in the immediate area of a nuclear detonation (contrast this with the few thousand degrees of a conventional explosion). This compares with the tempera­ture inside the core of the Sun. At these temperatures, every thing near ground-zero vaporizes (from a few hundred meters in 15 kiloton weapons to more than a kilometer in multimegaton weapons). The remaining gases of the weapon, surrounding air and other material form a fireball.

The fireball begins to grow rapidly and rise like a balloon. As the fireball rises and subsequently expands as it cools, it gives the appearance of the familiar mushroom cloud. The vaporized debris, contaminated by radioactivity, falls over a vast area after the explosion subsides – creating a radioactive deadly fallout with long-term effects.

What are blast effects?

Because of the very high temperatures and pressures at ground zero, the gaseous residues of the explosion move outward. The effect of these high pressures is to create a blast wave traveling several times faster than sound. A 15 kiloton weapon creates pressure created in excess of 10 Psi (pounds per square inch) with wind speeds in excess of 800 km per hour up to about a 1.2 km radius. Most buildings are demolished and there will be almost no survivors (much larger strategic nuclear weapons will greatly extend this radius of destruction).

Beyond this distance, and up to about 2.5 km the pressure gradually drops to 3 Psi and the wind speed comes down to about 150 km per hour as in a severe cyclonic storm. There will be injuries on a large scale and some fatalities. Beyond this zone of fatalities, the pressure drops to less than 1 Psi, enough to shatter windows and cause serious injuries. It is the high speed combined with high pressures which causes the most mechanical damage in a nuclear explosion. Human beings are quite resistant to pressure, but cannot withstand being thrown against hard objects nor to buildings falling upon them.

Blast effects are most carefully considered by military warplanners bent upon destroying specific targets. However, it is the thermal effects which hold the greatest potential for environmental damage and human destruction.  This is because nuclear firestorms in urban areas can create millions of tons of smoke which will rise into the stratosphere and create massive global cooling by blocking sunlight.  In any nuclear conflict, it is likely that this environmental catastrophe will cause more fatalities than would the initial immediate local effects of the nuclear detonation.

Read more.... http://www.nucleardarkness.org/nuclear/effectsofnuclearweapons/

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