In the wake of President Biden’s reference to nuclear “armageddon” and Elon Musk tweeting that “The possibility of nuclear war is rapidly increasing,” It’s only natural that people have pondered online what they would do and where they would go in the event of a nuclear war.
But the safest place to go in the event of a nuclear bomb detonation depends on where the bomb is aimed, as well as the size of the nuclear weapons, the time of year, the weather and various other factors, meaning the safest location will differs significantly.
Some estimates cite Maine, Oregon, Northern California, and West Texas as some of the safest locations in the event of a nuclear war, due to the lack of large urban centers and nuclear power plants.
Nuclear bombs use heavy, unstable isotopes of radioactive elements to release massive amounts of energy, unleashing destruction at a choice location.
The American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in August 1945 killed many hundreds of thousands of civilians using nuclear fission bombs, their uranium and plutonium fuels undergoing an almost instantaneous chain reaction of atom fission, releasing the equivalent energy of 15,000 and 21 TNT. , respectively.
Modern nuclear weapons are 20 to 30 times more powerful than those used in Japan, according to Business Insider. Russia and the US have between 5,000 and 6,000 nuclear weapons each, while China has 350, France has 290, the UK has 225, and India and Pakistan have about 160.
While there is no sure way of knowing where a nuclear bomb would be dropped, we can assume that it would initially target large and important population centers in the US, such as New York or Washington.
At the center of the bomb, the shock wave of hot air would flatten most structures in its path, burning anything flammable.
“I’m of the opinion that a rural area not opposed to an obvious target is the best place if you want to avoid the fall and other effects of the bomb. A good place would be a valley where the hills would give you some protection from heat and explosion of exploding bombs [miles] from where you are,” said Dr. Mark R. StJ Foreman, associate professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. Newsweek.
In addition to the initial burst of fire and shock waves from bomb explosions, a nuclear war would have ripple effects across the country, with radiation carried by the winds, as well as extreme weather patterns due to the disruption of the atmosphere.
“I’d like to be in a place where it’s easy to dig a shelter or adapt an existing structure to provide protection if the impacts were to scatter over the earth. I suspect that even if the nearest bomb blast were far away, it might be necessary take shelter for a few days to reduce your exposure to radiation,” Foreman said.
“A railroad tunnel would be a good place to hide if you know for sure the trains won’t be running. Another option would be to park a car over an engine inspection trench. Pack the inside of the car with dirt bags After go under the car. The dirt in the car and the fact that you’re underground will protect you from the gamma rays.”
Even if you were outside the area near the explosion, radioactive fallout from the bomb could reach you through wind and rain. Radioactive dust can be blown hundreds of miles and inhaled, and also trapped in rain clouds, falling to Earth in the water system.
“A good place to be would be in an area that is in a rain shadow, the Rockies cause the rain clouds to release their water as rain. If you go further east than the Rockies, you end up in a rain shadow ,” Foreman said. “I would like to be in a rain shadow, as rain can bring many effects from the sky.
“I’d like to be in an area where there’s clay soil and some groundwater that I can drill a well into. I’d like a post-nuclear war groundwater supply using water that’s been through soil and rock the vast majority of radioactivity will be filtered out of it.
“Also, if you put some clean clay-type soil in a bucket of rainwater and then stir it, then the majority of the radioactivity will bind tightly to the clay. This will allow you to disinfect the water.”
Radiation sickness caused by the fallout can kill, depending on the intensity of the exposure. Radiation can affect the gastrointestinal system, bone marrow and circulatory system, which can lead to rapid death, or in lower doses can cause cancer of the thyroid and other organs.
In the aftermath of a nuclear attack, the journey to rebuild civilization would be long and difficult.
After the US bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima, it took years to restore the cities to their former functionality. In the case of multiple US cities being bombed, recovery is likely to take much longer, with resources spread more widely.
“While surviving a large-scale nuclear attack is possible, the post-blast challenges are reconnecting infrastructure and restoring supply lines,” said Kathryn A. Higley, a professor at Oregon State University’s School of Nuclear Science and Engineering. Newsweek. “That would potentially be a big undertaking.”