If you want to be prepared for a nuclear attack, here’s a science-based guide to help you get there.
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Work on that inflection, girl. It sounds like you're about to end sentences in questions sometimes. Great job! :D I love this stuff, even though I'll never prepare for it - Zombie Apoc. Style is how I'll survive a nuke... If I do, which I probably won't. <3
sure 400kilotons doesn't sound as big as the megaton yelid warheads but most icbms use a mirv system so each missile isn't just going to have one of those it's going to have several so your dealing with a cluster of explosions not just a single large blast. The reason they switched from useing larger yields want weight baring but effectiveness as baring hardened bunkers multiple small explosions do more damage. It's also harder to stop sevral 500 kiloton warheads than one multi megaton yield one.
Are you sure? The highest yield nuclear weapon in the world at the moment is a 5 MT warhead used on a variant of China's DF-5, one that isn't common and is slated to be retired soon. Opting for multiple lower-yield MIRVs has been the standard for decades. The average yield of a nuclear warhead today is about 443 kilotons.
Should also mention how fallout manages to contaminate things, and why it's deadly.
Fallout isn't just ambient radiation, it's irradiated particulate that emits ionizing radiation. If you get some in your food, it can wreak havoc on your internal organs, and is incredibly difficult to pass.
Having sealed food sources and good hygiene are a must.
"...too heavy for long-range missiles to carry." Sheesh SciShow please do -some- research? Sub-megaton nuclear devices are used for the sake of efficiency, not necessity. The LGM-25C Titan II warhead was 9 megatons, and "could eventually carry a warhead with a 35 megaton yield, based on projected improvements." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGM-25C_Titan_II
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That wasn't the best information.
Devices delivered by ICBMs and CBMs are measured in kt; 300 kt to 500 kt max per device in the MRV package. but most "bombs" are measured in Mt; 1.5 Mt. That's just because the modern arsenal doesn't waste so much to empty air. Though the bunker buster nuke bomb is at 25 Mt.
For much of the Cold War the average bombs were in the 10 Mt range, small ones in the 2.5 Mt, and big ones near 20 Mt. But we figured you could do more damage by using smaller yields on more bombs/devices using the same amount of material.
Oh, and most of these are dial-a-yield variants, where smaller yield means way worse fallout, so you sort of prefer max yield just to keep it "clean" but sometimes it's nice having options.
Oh, yeah, the weapons in storage. My bad. I mean the US and China have probably less than 70 deployed total - I know this is true for the US, but for both countries, they're slated to be retired soon. Either way, that's not what they'd use to take out cities. The ballistic missile-mounted warheads would be doing that.
Almost no multi-megaton-class weapons exist, because it's pointless and a waste of resources. There are many 1 to 2 megaton devices, though they are dial-a-yield types. That's the size you want to take out fleets, and full sized cities.
Almost no megaton-class weapons exist today. US has a couple that are awaiting retirement; China's in the same spot. Warheads atop ballistic missiles today, according to current arsenals, range anywhere from 100 kt to 800 kt. Most are on the lower end of the spectrum to around the middle.
You've got the yield/fallout ratio backwards. Generally speaking, the higher the yield, the more fission has to be used, and thus "dirty" variants of thermonuclear weapons offer increased blast yield at the cost of more fallout as well.
How much time before the fallout? If you have just a few minutes, shelter is mandatory. But if you have 10-30 minutes, one could get the car, seal it as best as possible and try to "outrun" the very harmful first waves, couldn't they?
It's pretty much the wind. The mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion can, depending on the yield, stretch to tens of thousands of feet, and far surpass even where commercial aircraft cruise at. At that height, high atmospheric winds carry the fallout very fast and very far.
Well, nobody ever told me that, neither when learning the basics nor when learning about more technical stuff. So that's freaking good to know.^^ Thank you.
Secondary question then : why does it go that fast? Nobody ever told me about it, but it never naturally occurred to me either, so I'm missing something. Is wind *that* useful for fallout's propagation or is it simply "fast in the medium that is air", however that could make sense?
Tornado sirens went off in my area a few days ago, and literally the only thing that came to mind when I heard them was, "Oh... I guess that means we're about to be nuked in a few seconds. Oh well. I figured it was going to happen anyway." Tornados weren't even a thought in my mind when I heard the sirens, because it was only breezy outside. I just kind of immediately accepted that my life and the lives of my cats, my fish, and my parents were going to end in just moments.
So most if not all of the radiation is in the leftover bits of uranium that didn't undergo fission, and the fallout, not in the blast wave? In other words watching a nuke could blind you from the photons and cook you with the heat but not immediately kill you with radiation?
If you're the type of person who wants to be prepared for this but isn't willing (or doesn't have) thousands to spend on a purpose-built concrete shelter, you can build an expedient fallout shelter in about 48-72 hours of hard labor with a shovel, pick, a few interior doors, and some plastic sheeting/tarps. It'd be enough to protect you for a few days to a couple weeks, until the worst of the fallout has decayed. (Note that this is NOT a blast shelter - that's a little more specialized).
The trick is having enough time to build it before the fallout arrives.
"The odds of a nuclear bomb hitting anywhere near you are very low." Thank you for starting with that. Most people don't realize that even in a WWIII doomsday exchange, the vast majority of people will survive the blasts themselves.
When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in Heaven, and the seven angels before God were given seven trumpets. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and then an earthquake… And then I heard a great voice from the temple say to the angels, "Go your ways… and pour from the vials, the wrath of God upon the Earth."
Will you want to though?
Personally I'd be up on the top my house hoping for the full blast.,
Better that, than live in post-nuclear apocalypse as one of the 99% that isn't fortunate enough to afford the correct sheltering.
Most rural areas in the Western world are safe. It's the major cities they'd most likely nuke, NYC, DC, LA being that they're the most important, easily accessed on the coastal regions, and they're the biggest targets for this kind of attack. They're not bombing the likes of Oklahoma or Minnesota.
The best way to react to a nuclear attack is .... go as near as possible to the explosion ... if you turn into a shadow you have done everything right. (everything else is delaying the inevitable with the cost of immense suffering)
I understand that 'knowledge is half the battle' (pardon the pun), but some info on how utterly devastating any detonation of nuclear weapons would be could've helped round out this piece. I don't think we should be normalizing the idea of nuclear attack by pretending that we can somehow survive it in any meaningful fashion.
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