Nuclear explosion, suitable shelter from radiation and the consequences of a nuclear explosion.

The likelihood of a nuclear war is relatively small, but still exists. Accidents at nuclear power plants, the use of nuclear weapons by terrorists and the use of tactical nuclear weapons in local armed conflicts are more likely. 

Nuclear explosion, suitable shelter from radiation and the consequences of a nuclear explosion.

The immediate dangers of a nuclear explosion are shockwave, thermal energy (light radiation) and radiation. The degree of impact of these factors depends on the size and type of weapon, the distance from the explosion or its height, weather conditions and terrain. Thermal energy and shock wave are similar to the same damaging factors in a conventional explosion, but many times stronger.

Shock wave from a nuclear explosion.

shelters, such as ravines, dried-up beds, rocky outcrops. If you don’t have a ready-made trench shelter, start digging and hurry up. As soon as the pit is large enough, dig down to it to reduce the surface of the lesion if the explosion catches you during operation. Make a roof. Even if it is just made of cloth, it will protect against falling radioactive dust.

Penetrating radiation can still get you, so try to make a meter layer of earth from above. If an explosion catches you in open space, immediately run to your shelter. As soon as you find shelter, remove your outer clothing and bury it to a depth of at least 30 cm in the corner of the shelter. Do not go outside unless absolutely necessary and do not reuse discarded clothing. Do not leave the shelter in the first 48 hours under any circumstances..

If you experience an acute shortage of water, you can go outside on the third day, but for a period of no more than 30 minutes. On the seventh day, you can go out again no more than half an hour, on the eighth exit time you can increase to an hour and then in the next four days from one to four hours, and from the thirteenth day the normal daily number of working hours with rest in the shelter.

Decontamination after a nuclear explosion.

If your body and even clothing are exposed to radiation, decontamination should be carried out. While in the shelter, clean the ground from the shelter floor and wipe it off your body and clothes. Shake the ground and throw it out. Wipe the skin with a clean cloth, if possible. If there is water, it’s even more efficient to wash the body thoroughly with soap instead of using earth.

Medical aspects.

All wounds must be closed to prevent the passage of alpha and beta particles through them into the body. Burns caused by beta or gamma particles, as well as light radiation and fire, must be washed with clean water and covered. If there is no uncontaminated water, you can use urine. Eyes should be protected from further penetration of particles and the mouth and nose should be covered with a wet cloth to prevent their inhalation. Radiation acts on the blood and increases susceptibility to infection. Take all precautions. Even against colds and respiratory infections.

Consequences of a nuclear explosion.

If food products were not in a deep shelter or did not have special protection, then all of them are likely to receive a certain dose of radiation. Be careful with foods that are high in salt, dairy products such as milk and cheese, and seafood. Tests have shown that foods with salt and other flavors have a higher concentration of radioactivity than foods without them. The safest canned foods were soups, vegetables and fruits. Cured and processed meat becomes infected more than raw meat. Bone absorbs more radiation than lean meat, and least fat.


If water does not come from a protected source, do not drink water for at least 48 hours after the explosion. Avoid water from lakes, puddles, ponds and other sources of stagnant water. Filter and boil all the water before drinking it. The following sources are the least infected (in order of increasing risk).

1. Underground wells and sources.
2. Water in underground pipes / tanks.
3. Snow from great depths from the surface.
4. Rivers with a fast current.

Dig a hole next to the fast water stream and let it fill with water, which will be filtered with soil. Remove the garbage from the surface and collect water. Filter it through layers of sand and pebbles poured into a can with holes in the bottom, or through a sock. Boil in uninfected dishes. Deactivate cooking utensils by rinsing them in a fast flow of water or boiled water.

Animals like food.

Animals living underground are less exposed to radiation than those living on the surface: rabbits, badgers, field voles and similar animals are the best food, but when they come to the surface, they are also irradiated. However, such food sources should not be ignored. Your dose of radiation will increase, but hunger can be an alternative. Fish and aquatic animals are more infected than land animals in the same area. Birds will receive the highest dose of radiation and should not be eaten. Eggs, however, are safe..

To reduce the radiation dose from meat, do not cut the carcasses with bare hands, put on gloves or wrap cloth with your hands, carefully remove the skin and wash the meat. Try to avoid contact of meat with bone. The skeleton retains 90% radiation, so leave a layer of tissue at least 3 mm thick on the bone. Muscle and fat are the safest parts of meat. Throw away all internal organs.

Plants like food.

Root crops and other plants with edible roots, such as carrots, potatoes and turnips, are most safe. Wash and peel the skin thoroughly before heat treatment. The following are safe fruits and vegetables with smooth skin. Wrinkled foliage plants are most difficult to deactivate due to their rough surface texture. They should be avoided.

Long-term survival after a nuclear explosion.

Views and predictions regarding the long-term environmental effects of nuclear war vary greatly. The possibility of a nuclear winter with subsequent changes in climate and vegetation far beyond the impact areas would make farming even minimally difficult.

Based on the book Complete Survival Guide for Extreme Situations, in the Wild, on Land and at Sea.
John Wiseman.

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