Thursday, December 16, 2010

Protecting yourself in nuclear detonation

This is one of the most interesting things I've read in a while. I saw this link a NYTimes story today about best way to survive a nuclear detonation. The new studies indicate there's lots we can do to substantially increase odds of surviving. Two keys to surviving.

1. Hide fast from radiation. Brick concrete basements of big buildings are best, or middle interior rooms of big office buildings. My initial inclination would be to try to get away as fast as possible, but it sounds like finding cover from radiation is by far the best way to go.
2. Stay put. The radioactive fallout is worst in the first few hours after the detonation and radiation levels quickly fall.

Here's a Fact Sheet from the Dept. of Homeland Security. Note the first image shows how radiation levels spike in the first hour after a blast and then fall off considerably after 6 hours or so. Taking cover can significantly reduce your exposure.

The second image on the second page shows levels of protection provided by different places and building types. Like mentioned above, lots of brick and concrete between you and radiation is good, and if you can combine that and get underground it's even better. But failing being in a big concrete building basement, an average home basement seems to provide sufficient protection.

In the article the experts make it clear that the event is more survivable than expected if shelter from the radiation can be achieved.

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