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How to survive a nuclear bomb

The threat of a nuclear explosion could rekindle echoes of the Cold War, widely considered to have ended more than 30 years ago.

But with tensions rising between Russia and NATO over Ukraine and unease between the US and China over Taiwan, the prospect of nuclear war is no longer a relic of the past. .

This scenario troubles Peter Kuznick, professor of history and director of the Institute for Nuclear Studies at American University, who for decades studied the effects of nuclear bombs dropped by the United States on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima. and Nagasaki – two devastating attacks that killed 110,000 people. people according to a low estimate quoted by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

“A lot of things have stood out over the years,” he said. Pleasemynews.

“The first is the devastation caused by these two relatively small and primitive bombs. We now estimate that the Hiroshima uranium bomb had a destruction capacity of 16 kilotons and the Nagasaki bomb about 21 kilotons. Most weapons Modern nuclear power today has between 7 and 70 times more power.”

Even with these relatively small bombs, the destruction was immense. Those near the center were charred, Kuznick said, while those who managed to survive felt the effects for life.

“They are suffering from cancer and other illnesses. Some have had multiple surgeries,” he added. “It is often said that after a nuclear war, the survivors will envy the dead. I’m not sure that’s true, but the suffering endured by the survivors is painful to watch.”

With nuclear war in the public consciousness once again, some may be wondering how best to survive an explosion.

The first ill effects of a nuclear bomb would be a huge ball of fire and a flash of heat, followed by a destructive shock wave traveling faster than the speed of sound.

The extent of the damage depends on the size of the bomb, which can vary widely, and the distance between a person or building and the center of the explosion. In this regard, survival is a matter of luck.

“A 15 kiloton bomb, which is a relatively small ‘tactical’ bomb, would have a fireball radius of about 100 meters and cause complete destruction up to 1.6 km around the epicenter,” said Paul Hazell, professor of impact dynamics in the School of Engineering and Information Technology (SEIT) at the University of New South Wales, Canberra, said Pleasemynews.

Modern, more powerful bombs “are actually ‘windshield wipers,'” Hazell said. But, there are things that will improve the chances of survival in areas that wouldn’t be totally destroyed.

That includes finding a building like a concrete bunker or basement before the explosion, according to Hazell. Many modern buildings have lots of glass, but it could be dangerous.

“Buildings with glass facades would be lethal and although glass structures could withstand ‘wind’ loads and small blast loads to some extent when laminated, against a nuclear explosion they would not have no chance and the resulting shards of glass would be deadly – like millions of small knives thrown faster than the speed of sound through air, which is 343 meters per second,” he said.

“If you’re in an apartment building, run to the fire escape in the structural core of the building. Avoid wood, fiber cement, or prefabricated structures as they likely won’t survive.”

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cars will not provide good protection against radioactive materials.

If caught outdoors, the US government’s website says people should hide behind anything that might offer protection, lie face down and avoid touching their eyes, noses and the mouth if possible. If you’re driving, the site advises stopping safely and ducking into the vehicle.

After the passage of the shock wave, there are about 10 minutes to find adequate shelter.

The other deadly aspect of an atomic bomb, aside from heat and air blast, is radiation. Again, this is something that can become less serious further from the explosion, but there is no hard and fast rule as the bombs come in a wide variety of sizes and types.

Patrick Regan is a professor of radionuclide metrology at the University of Surrey, said Pleasemynews that people exposed to large enough amounts of radiation can be killed instantly – others can get sick later.

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