Surviving a Nuclear Explosion, Part 2
What is a radioactive fallout?
You may have seen a radioactive fallout in movies or historical articles about nuclear explosion, but in most cases proper attention is not given to the kind of radiation that occurs following a nuclear blast.
In the previous topic, we discussed about the shockwave, excessive light and huge amounts of heat that follow up a nuclear weapon detonation.
However, we are now going to look at the radioactive material that remains in the air, atmosphere and even rainwater after a disaster has happened. Nuclear rain is corrosive and very harmful, it’s described as contaminated, radioactive water that falls back to the earth after a nuclear blast.
How does radioactive fallout occur?
Fallout consists of radioactive elements that fall back to earth after a nuclear bomb, this may be radiated soil from the ground burst, fission products or even weapon debris. The harmful components vary in size from several millimeters to much smaller ratios.
While most of the material will fall back to the ground a few minutes after the blast, some shall travel high up in the atmosphere and get dispersed in far off places.
Basically, there are 2 types of fallout. The first is Early Fallout which occurs within 24hrs after a blast, the second is Delayed Fallout which happens days or several years later.
Radioactive Fallout is more dangerous than the heat blasts and nuclear shockwaves. In fact, a nuclear bomb wouldn’t be as scary if it did not carry radioactivity effect, 1000s of tons of TNT would be less destructive than just one 5-megaton nuclear bomb.
The overall duration of radiation exposure will affect the habitability of a contaminated area. Studies show that a few days after a nuclear explosion has occurred, radioactive elements found around the blast site will quickly start to disintegrate. This is a natural process known as nuclear decay.
If your home was only slightly exposed to the fallout, then in about 2wks time the radioactive ratio of any remaining contaminated items in the home will reduce to only 0.1pct.
Nevertheless, nuclear experts must first conduct a thorough inspection of the home to measure radioactivity levels before it is considered safe for human dwelling once more.
How to protect yourself from a nuclear explosion and the ensuing fallout:-
Staying out in the open is not recommendable if you’re in a radioactive area. The best thing to do is seeking shelter at the lowest point of your house, which is usually the basement.
Creating a safe nuclear blast shelter:
- Location is very important. Try to put as much distance as possible between yourself and the nuclear radiation. Preferably, choose a corner in your basement that’s far away from windows and doors where contaminated material may pass through.
- Improvise a temporary shelter and reinforce it. You can create a makeshift place to live in by assembling some furniture, and other necessary material you may find around. Add thicker and denser layers of protection so that radiation heat, wind-spread fallout and shockwaves don’t reach you.
- It’s also possible to use dense, solid snow if the product is readily available. This material offers safe protection from nuclear fallout should an explosion occur. Just use anything you can find to absorb all the radiation that a nuclear bomb generates.
- Shut off all openings and take cover. If you find the time, it would be appropriate to block all door and window openings that have direct exposure to the outside. The extra layers of protection will also absorb the contaminated materials of the blast, therefore reducing the chances of damage to your improvised shelter.
- Cushion any space used for hiding. In the unlikely event that your house lacks a basement, it would be appropriate to go to the center-most room in your residence and cover the walls using anything you can find around.
- After blocking the doors and windows, try keeping yourself as low as possible so as to stay away from the radiation and heat. Do not go to the upper rooms where radiation is usually high, also keep off the upper-rooms that are next to walls that may have been damaged by radiation. These are likely to have suffered the greatest structural destruction in your home and can easily fall over.