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Old 08-14-2017, 01:10 PM
JOracle JOracle is offline
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Over the years, I've studied this, met with nuke shelter designers, read books, etc.. The conclusion I've reached is that a limited nuclear attack (like the one NK is capable of launching) is devastating for a small area and possibly fatal for the economy, but not particularly dangerous if you follow some basic steps.

Please check my assumptions. Here's my nuke plan:

- Try to be behind a wall of dirt (underground) the moment a strike occurs.
- After that, stay inside a building with good "dust traps" at the entryways (Z entries made with plastic sheeting) and seal any obvious dust leakage points such as air exchangers. If possible, create active ventilation systems with fans and fine filters to bring in fresh air while removing alpha particles.
- Use bio-suits and good breathing masks anytime I go outside and leave those on the other side of the dust trap.
- After two weeks, the radiation risk of the alpha particles is largely gone, so eat and drink whatever from outside after that two weeks has expired.

What am I missing? What have I misunderstood? (other than the obvious security risks.)
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Old 08-14-2017, 02:05 PM
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There are a ton of threads in the NBC subforum that cover these subjects, but I will do my best to summarize.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JOracle View Post
Over the years, I've studied this, met with nuke shelter designers, read books, etc.. The conclusion I've reached is that a limited nuclear attack (like the one NK is capable of launching) is devastating for a small area and possibly fatal for the economy, but not particularly dangerous if you follow some basic steps.

Please check my assumptions. Here's my nuke plan:
- Try to be behind a wall of dirt (underground) the moment a strike occurs.

Being underground or behind something solid certainly doesn't hurt. If you are within the area that will be affected by blast effects, this is where "duck and cover" comes into play. The point here is to protect yourself from flying debris, building collapse, etc. Essentially it's the same as sheltering from a tornado or conventional explosion. These effects can occur even with air bursts which may not produce fallout. As a side-note, air bursts typically spread the damage out further than surface bursts so they are typically utilized against soft targets like cities. Ground bursts (which produce fallout) are used against hardened facilities (missile silos, bunkers, etc) that require a direct hit to destroy. Obviously those aren't guaranteed, either could occur do to malfunction. Terrorist incidents would likely be ground bursts because it would be easier to achieve.

Being out of line-of-sight of the flash is also good because it will protect you from the thermal pulse which can cause 3rd-Degree burns to exposed skin, ignite clothing, etc. There is also an initial "pulse" of radiation, but unless the warhead is very, very small it usually isn't a concern. If you are within range of those effects (usually less than 1 mile from the center of the blast), chances you will be killed by the blast or thermal effects anyway. Obviously the further from the blast the easier it is to survive the initial blast. Even if you think you are far enough away, be aware that a shockwave or blast wind could follow the blast a short time after you see the flash.

Flash blindness can occur, but is temporary. The receptors in your eyes get overloaded and basically need time to "reboot". On the other hand, if you stare at the fireball, you could cause a permanent vision issue for yourself. Instantaneous permanent blindness due to a nuclear flash is Hollywood invention.

- After that, stay inside a building with good "dust traps" at the entryways (Z entries made with plastic sheeting) and seal any obvious dust leakage points such as air exchangers. If possible, create active ventilation systems with fans and fine filters to bring in fresh air while removing alpha particles.

This is overkill. Turn off any fans or air circulation for the first 24 hours or so while fallout is coming down. After that, you can re-open windows or use improvised methods to circulate air. You do not need to seal yourself in a room, the fallout you need to be concerned about is the consistency of sand. It's not a gas, and it doesn't float around and into buildings easily. If the building can keep out sand, it will keep out fallout. If you have problems with sand accumulating on your windowsills with the windows closed, you might need to take more extreme measures.

The only time fallout occurs is if the fireball meets the ground. If the weapon is air burst, there won't be fallout (except in certain limited circumstances like "rainouts"). Chances are you have no way of knowing whether a strike was air or surface burst unless it's very obvious (though you shouldn't be looking at the fireball). Even air bursts can produce the typical "mushroom cloud", though the cloud will typically be white. Surface bursts on the other hand typically produce a "dirtier" looking cloud. If you still have a means to receive news and information, you will be advised of fallout threats. If in doubt, play it safe and assume there's fallout.

- Use bio-suits and good breathing masks anytime I go outside and leave those on the other side of the dust trap.

The masks are unnecessary unless you're doing something that's going to stir up a lot of dust. Yes, it would be good to leave your "outdoor" boots/shoes outside your shelter area. Coveralls are nice provided you can get them on and off without further contaminating yourself. Provide for a way to wash/wipe off your hands

- After two weeks, the radiation risk of the alpha particles is largely gone, so eat and drink whatever from outside after that two weeks has expired.

After two weeks, dose rates will be roughly 1/1000th the level they peaked at. Depending on your proximity to the blast or how many surface detonations occurred, levels could still be dangerous or they may be insignificant. You may be able to make short trips outside prior to this depending on how much fallout arrives (if any) which depends on your proximity to a surface burst. The closer you are, and/or the larger the warhead, the longer you have to shelter.

Alpha-emitting contaminants are the least of your worries when it comes to fallout. They are only a concern if inhaled or ingested. The largest concern with fallout is that it emits considerable amounts of gamma radiation which can penetrate skin, clothing, even walls. A frame structure should cut the dose in half, basements cut it by 10, purpose built shelters or underground parking garages can cut the dose by 100 to 1000 times.

Eating "out". Now, you should still thoroughly wash any fruit or vegetables. Even if low level, you still want to avoid ingesting as much contamination as you can. Leafy greens can be extremely difficult to get fallout off of and are often a conduit for stuff like I-131 to get in your body. You can take and eat wild game provided they are healthy. Animals foraging on contaminated fields will produce contaminated milk as long as they're foraging on contaminated plants. The reason you can still eat them is the materials they may pick up typically don't collect in the muscle tissue. They collect in areas you wouldn't normally eat (organs, bones). Food that has been sealed and exposed to radiation is safe... it will not become radioactive just by being exposed to radiation. In fact, the only things and areas that will become radioactive (as opposed to becoming "contaminated") are areas close to the blast which are bombarded by Neutron radiation. Contamination can be removed... something that becomes radioactive through neutron bombardment must decay like any other radioactive element. Bottom line, if it comes down to a matter of survival, don't starve yourself to death because you're afraid of radiation. The government should have recommendations based on tracking any fallout plumes as far as whether grown food and animal products are safe to consume.
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Old 08-14-2017, 03:28 PM
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Wow. Excellent response. Thank you.
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Old 08-14-2017, 04:12 PM
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Hopefully this isn't threadjacking, as it pertains to point #3 (to do with leaving contaminated wear at entrance). If you plan to re-wear that mask for example, what is best practice for not contaminating your living quarters but keeping filters clean and ready to go again? Rinsed and filters bagged/tossed, or is it one and done on those items?
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Old 08-14-2017, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTOGreg View Post
Hopefully this isn't threadjacking, as it pertains to point #3 (to do with leaving contaminated wear at entrance). If you plan to re-wear that mask for example, what is best practice for not contaminating your living quarters but keeping filters clean and ready to go again? Rinsed and filters bagged/tossed, or is it one and done on those items?


You shouldn't wash respirator filters... they're meant to be used and discarded. You can use the filter for more than one trip outside. You're not going to pick up much in the filter unless youre kicking up a ton of dirt and dust. And don't ask how many times or how long a filter can be used... because I can't answer that. Only the manufacturer of the filter/canister can.
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Old 08-14-2017, 08:44 PM
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And don't ask how many times or how long a filter can be used... because I can't answer that. Only the manufacturer of the filter/canister can.
I am not so sure they can, either, without know the specifics of its use, once it is opened and in use. Too many variables.

Just saying.
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Old 08-14-2017, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry D Young View Post
I am not so sure they can, either, without know the specifics of its use, once it is opened and in use. Too many variables.

Just saying.
Exactly. I also have yet to get a straight answer out of a manufacturer on filter life.

EDIT: This is also why I abandoned my attempt to write an "Everything you wanted to know about gas masks..." thread, which I hoped would answer a lot of the frequently asked questions about gas masks and filters. As I was researching subjects like "filter life", I found little consistency in manufacturer claims or information in areas I knew the community would find valuable. To some degree it's just as Jerry said, that there are so many variables that they can't or won't provide an estimate on filter life. I've also found that many manufacturers only test their products to meet certain standards (like NIOSH), and not to determine the upper limits of performance. They will often state their products meet or exceed those standards but they won't say by how much. Keep in mind, many (if not most) of the situations discussed on this site have the potential to fall outside of the conditions these products have been tested for due to higher than tested concentrations, unanticipated contaminant mixes, duration of use, or all of the above.

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Old 08-17-2017, 06:59 PM
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With fallout ranging in size from ridiculously small to whatever else happens to come falling out of the sky, why should we assume the only hazardous fallout is the size of sand?
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Old 08-18-2017, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Ready Lifestyle View Post
With fallout ranging in size from ridiculously small to whatever else happens to come falling out of the sky, why should we assume the only hazardous fallout is the size of sand?
Because any particulates that are small enough to "float" around will be carried up into the stratosphere by the hot fireball and or spread out via weather currents. So, the most hazardous particulates, the ones that reach the ground in the first 24 hours are roughly the size of sand... say... 40 micron and larger? I don't remember the exact size distribution and settling rates off the top of my head. It varies based on the weather, burst height, yield and other factors. Those are the most hazardous particulates. The stuff that comes down later will be spread out at a far reduced concentration and will come down for days, weeks, months, years to come... just as it has been coming down ever since the first atomic bombs were detonated.
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:24 AM
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Interesting thread. Subbing for later.
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:12 AM
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When you talk about health threats from radiological threats, there are two main categories... imminent health effects (i.e. radiation sickness) and delayed or stochastic effects (increased cancer risks). Remember, you have to survive the first to be around to worry about the second. The best way to survive both is of course to not be where the fallout is coming down. So I don't mean to imply that there's no hazard beyond 24 hours or beyond where the sand-sized fallout drops, because clearly there is. But it's a long term hazard.

If it's a TEOTWAWKI event or for whatever reason government assistance isn't possible, you, and you alone need to decide what level of risk is acceptable and you may have to do so with incomplete information. In that case, remember there are other threats like disease, famine, and lack of advanced medical care which will have a far greater impact on you and other survivors than the radiological threats that everyone worries over.

If it's not a TEOTWAWKI event, then local emergency officials will do their best to estimate the risks using advanced modelling and calculation tools like HPAC, RESRAD, Turbo FRMAC, etc. These tools help calculate the projected additional dose that could be over 50+ years, what the potential increased cancer risks might be, what or how much of a contaminant will travel through the food chain into our bodies, etc. I have used all of these tools and they are a godsend (fortunately only in exercises because radiological events are extremely few and far between).

Anyway, if you want to know more about the particulars of fallout, take a look at this thread and the resources cited in it. There's a whole lot more to understanding fallout transport than you might think.

https://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...d.php?t=608489
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WImountainMan View Post
When you talk about health threats from radiological threats, there are two main categories... imminent health effects (i.e. radiation sickness) and delayed or stochastic effects (increased cancer risks). Remember, you have to survive the first to be around to worry about the second. The best way to survive both is of course to not be where the fallout is coming down. So I don't mean to imply that there's no hazard beyond 24 hours or beyond where the sand-sized fallout drops, because clearly there is. But it's a long term hazard.

If it's a TEOTWAWKI event or for whatever reason government assistance isn't possible, you, and you alone need to decide what level of risk is acceptable and you may have to do so with incomplete information. In that case, remember there are other threats like disease, famine, and lack of advanced medical care which will have a far greater impact on you and other survivors than the radiological threats that everyone worries over.

If it's not a TEOTWAWKI event, then local emergency officials will do their best to estimate the risks using advanced modelling and calculation tools like HPAC, RESRAD, Turbo FRMAC, etc. These tools help calculate the projected additional dose that could be over 50+ years, what the potential increased cancer risks might be, what or how much of a contaminant will travel through the food chain into our bodies, etc. I have used all of these tools and they are a godsend (fortunately only in exercises because radiological events are extremely few and far between).

Anyway, if you want to know more about the particulars of fallout, take a look at this thread and the resources cited in it. There's a whole lot more to understanding fallout transport than you might think.

https://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...d.php?t=608489
After a couple hours of looking around, I may just be asking the wrong question...

I can see how it would reasonable to assume that larger particles would be expected when you're plotting fallout over a multi state or nation wide area. Even though a couple studies readily admit that they could be off by a factor of 10-100 times! Basically those plotting tools are as good as our ability to predict the weather. Good thing we can always properly predict the weather.

I'm not overly concerned with fallout from a couple states away. I'm more curious about the distance that small particulates can travel across the ground. There has to be a distance where the over-pressure is survivable but contaminated particulates continue to be carried along the ground by the blast wave and wind. (I guess the base surge?)



Is that not really discussed anywhere because there isn't a significant radiation hazard associated with it?
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:18 PM
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After a couple hours of looking around, I may just be asking the wrong question...

I can see how it would reasonable to assume that larger particles would be expected when you're plotting fallout over a multi state or nation wide area. Even though a couple studies readily admit that they could be off by a factor of 10-100 times! Basically those plotting tools are as good as our ability to predict the weather. Good thing we can always properly predict the weather.

I'm not overly concerned with fallout from a couple states away. I'm more curious about the distance that small particulates can travel across the ground. There has to be a distance where the over-pressure is survivable but contaminated particulates continue to be carried along the ground by the blast wave and wind. (I guess the base surge?)

Is that not really discussed anywhere because there isn't a significant radiation hazard associated with it?
Probably.

Remember the blast front is also a wave propagating through the air like a wave propagates across the water. If you put a leaf in the water and drop a rock next to it... it doesn't go very far. Suspended particulates would be the same. If you watch some of the old nuke tests, you'll see lines from smoke rockets near the blast. They will be distorted from the blast wave, but still visible. If there was a blast wind that blew from ground zero outward that could carry particulates with it, those smoke trails wouldn't be there (or wouldn't be there for long). There is a transient wind that blows as well after the shock front goes through, but I don't know what the range is for particulates in the air that could be affected by that transient wind. I'll have to dig up Glasstone and Dolan's Effects of Nuclear Weapons and see if there's more in there about it.
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:23 PM
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http://www.ciar.org/ttk/hew/nukeffct/undrgnd.htm

This shows the base surge at 2 miles away from a shallow subsurface 100kt detonation.

Both the base surge and the main cloud are contaminated with radioactivity, and the particles present contribute to the fallout. The larger pieces are the first to reach the earth and so they are deposited near the location of the burst. But the smaller particles remain suspended in the air some time and may be carried great distances by the wind before they eventually settle out. (Dolan & Glasstone, p. 61)

Not a firm distance but it appears to be both radioactive and relatively widespread.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Ready Lifestyle View Post
http://www.ciar.org/ttk/hew/nukeffct/undrgnd.htm

This shows the base surge at 2 miles away from a shallow subsurface 100kt detonation.

Both the base surge and the main cloud are contaminated with radioactivity, and the particles present contribute to the fallout. The larger pieces are the first to reach the earth and so they are deposited near the location of the burst. But the smaller particles remain suspended in the air some time and may be carried great distances by the wind before they eventually settle out. (Dolan & Glasstone, p. 61)

Not a firm distance but it appears to be both radioactive and relatively widespread.
Here's the reason I'm not concerned with base surge. If you're in range of the base surge from that 100kt surface (or subsurface) burst, your external gamma dose will be 5000-8000 rem in the first hour alone. Total over the 1st month, is over 14k rem (fatal is about 350-450 without serious medical intervention). Anywhere short of a purpose-built shelter, or 4-5 sub-levels down in a parking ramp will be a death sentence... respiratory protection or not. That deep in a parking garage, the base surge probably won't flow all the way down. As much of an optimist as I am about surviving nuclear detonations... 2 miles is a little too close.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:57 PM
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I don't believe survival at 2 miles is really likely either. The reading gives me the impression that this is just a snapshot and the base surge continues to move along the ground.

A similar example of a subsurface water detonation shows the base surge still moving at 35 ft/sec at 2 miles.

I'm really interested in survivability at the point that the direct effects of the detonation stop being lethal.
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Ready Lifestyle View Post
I don't believe survival at 2 miles is really likely either. The reading gives me the impression that this is just a snapshot and the base surge continues to move along the ground.

A similar example of a subsurface water detonation shows the base surge still moving at 35 ft/sec at 2 miles.

I'm really interested in survivability at the point that the direct effects of the detonation stop being lethal.
Well, that all becomes a question of warhead yield, distance, and available shelter/shielding. This stickied thread:

https://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...d.php?t=405220

has a link for a tool called HotSpot. You can use that to figure out rough survivability at any distance from a nuclear detonation of any size.
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:09 AM
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Depends entirely on the weapon and where it is detonated. Air burst - less radioactive fallout - ground burst - lots more fallout. The bigger the bomb - the farther the fallout. A 20KT bomb, detonated on the ground, with favorable winds, can spread fallout for about 35KM, although it lessens significantly with distance from ground zero and is a very narrow path. A huge hydrogen weapon - stand under it, you're done anyway.

If you want to equate this to your particular AO, go to nuclearsecrecy.com and enter your particulars. I found this site on this board and, although a little difficult at first, have found some fascinating info there.

WW

shoot straight - stay safe.
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Old 08-19-2017, 12:35 PM
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So you're telling me irradiated water is safe after two weeks?
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Old 08-19-2017, 01:26 PM
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So you're telling me irradiated water is safe after two weeks?


I don't believe I said that, there's kind of a lot of variables to make a sweeping generalization like that. It depends on the conditions, contamination, etc... Though if you have water where the weapon fallout particulates have settled out, it's probably "safe enough" to drink provided you can do so without stirring those particulates up again. I'd run it through a filter (even a simple one) just to be sure. The water itself won't be radioactive, its a matter of getting any leftover particulates and dissolved solids out.
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