Research, Technology

What to do during a nuclear explosion?

There are many scenarios for our commonfuture. Unfortunately, today we must consider the worst possible scenarios, including the outbreak of a nuclear war. The invention of the atomic bomb in the last century forever changed the lives of those scientists who were involved in its creation - both in Russia and in the United States. Realizing the monstrous consequences of their discovery, scientists came out in a united front for nuclear disarmament. Subsequently, the participants in the Manhattan Project created the same Doomsday Clock - a metaphorical clock, midnight on which means a nuclear catastrophe. Today, the clock stopped at a hundred seconds to midnight, emphasizing how fragile the world is and how easily we can lose it. The peaceful sky above doesn't seem to be like that anymore. There is talk right now about the use of nuclear weapons. And since the situation looks, to put it mildly, not very good, let's remember what to do if this deadly weapon is used.

A mushroom cloud is formed by the explosion of a nuclear bomb.

Create a family emergency communication plan: share it with loved ones and practice it so your family knows how to deal with an emergency.


  • 1 History of nuclear weapons
  • 2 First actions in a nuclear explosion
  • 3 How to escape from a nuclear explosion on the street?
  • 4 How to survive a nuclear explosion in a shelter?
  • 5 How to escape from radiation?

History of nuclear weapons

The history of the creation of nuclear weapons began in 1939year. It was then that the physicist Frederic Joliot-Curie discovered the splitting of the uranium nucleus when it absorbs neutrons and patented the design of the uranium bomb. Then, in 1953, the Soviet Union joined in the creation of atomic weapons and eventually mastered the hydrogen bomb.

Academician Andrey Sakharov, who hosteddirect participation in the development of lethal weapons, was subsequently sent to a seven-year exile in Gorky and on December 23, 1986, together with his wife Elena Bonner, returned to Moscow. Sakharov advocated nuclear disarmament until the end of his days. However, not everyone listened to the Soviet dissident, as well as the participants in the Manhattan Project. And the further the past became from us, the more countries wanted to turn into nuclear powers.

And since today the situation in the world isrestless, no one can rule out the worst case scenario, namely what to do if someone decides to press the red button and hypersonic weapons carry their cargo to the target, promising the most dire consequences.

Radiation - streams of photons and other elementary particles or atomic nuclei capable of ionizing matter.

Let's start with the fact that ionizing radiation orRadiation is energy that comes from a source and propagates through space at the speed of light. This energy has an electric field and an associated magnetic field, creating a ripple effect.

Today, the world's nuclear arsenal has become much more powerful than during the Cold War. Modern warheads can do thousands of times more damage than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A few years ago, researchers developeda new mathematical model that will allow as many people as possible to survive. The developer of the model, physicist Michael Dillon of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, began development after the US government called for more research into nuclear shelters. After all, after a hypothetical nuclear war, such events will occur that you will have to act very decisively and you need to know what to do. Let me also remind you that a nuclear charge, as a rule, is delivered to the target by missiles. We have already told how ballistic missiles differ from cruise missiles and what else they are. So what to do if a mushroom cloud has grown in front of you?

More on the topic: What are kinetic weapons - "Star Wars" and other sad prospects

First steps in a nuclear explosion

So when a nuclear device explodes,a large fireball is created. Everything inside this fireball evaporates, including soil and water, and is carried upwards. This creates the mushroom cloud we associate with a nuclear explosion. The radioactive material from the nuclear device mixes with the vaporized material in a mushroom cloud.

Tactical nuclear weapons may not representless danger than a strategic weapon if you are in the zone of its destruction. And in some ways it is even more dangerous, since its use in military conflicts is more likely. We talked about tactical nuclear weapons in detail here.

When this vaporized radioactive materialcools, it condenses and forms particles such as dust. The condensed radioactive material then falls back to Earth, creating radioactive fallout. Since the precipitation falls in the form of particles, it can be carried by wind currents over long distances and eventually end up kilometers from the explosion site. Fallout can contaminate everything it hits, including food and water supplies.

Nuclear war is the worst thing that could happen to our planet

Rule number one: The longer you stay outside, the morereceive a dose of radiation. If your hideout is bad and the good one is less than 5 minutes away, you should run there as soon as possible - no later than 30 minutes after the explosion.

Depending on the size of the city, between 10,000 and 100,000 lives could be saved if everyone followed this advice,” Dylan writes in an article published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

Before heading to the nearest hideout,bring essentials with you: flashlight and extra batteries, radio (battery operated), first aid kit and necessary medicines, food and water. It's a good idea to have a can opener, cash and credit cards, and sturdy shoes on hand in case of an emergency.

To always be aware of the latest news from the world of science and technology, subscribe to our news channel in Telegram - so you don't miss anything interesting!

How to escape from a nuclear explosion on the street?

As recommended by the World Organizationhealth (WHO), if you are near an explosion, the first thing to do is close your eyes so as not to damage your eyesight. Then you need to lie on the ground, putting your hands under the body. In this position, it is necessary to remain motionless until two shock waves pass.

If an explosion catches you outside, find something to cover your nose and mouth with, such as a scarf or handkerchief. To remove radioactive fallout from clothing, always cover your face.

Nuclear war would release 150 million metric tons of soot into the upper atmosphere

Choosing a shelter, which can be a basement or any underground room, follows from the following considerations: the shelter is located away from the direction in which the wind blows. After you get to the shelter, take off your clothes - they may be dirty. If the situation allows you to take a shower and change clothes - do this before entering the shelter.

How to survive a nuclear explosion in a shelter?

So, if you managed to survive a nuclear explosion and get to a safe place, your actions should be as follows:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a face mask or other material until the fallout cloud has passed. It is also necessary to turn off the ventilation systems and close the doors.
  • After the fallout cloudscatter, doors and windows can be opened - this will provide some air circulation. Stay inside until the authorities say it's safe to leave.
  • Listen to local radio or TV for information and advice. The authorities may order you to stay in a shelter or evacuate to a safer place away from the epicenter of the explosion.
  • If for some reason you need to leave the shelter, cover your mouth and nose with a damp towel.
  • Use stored food anddrinking water. Do not eat local fresh produce or drink water from public water sources. Drink bottled water and eat food in sealed containers.
  • If you are injured, clean and treat open wounds on your body.

How to save yourself from radiation?

Since the most severe consequences of the explosionare radioactive fallout, the authorities may recommend potassium iodide (KI), which blocks the absorption of radioactive radiation by the thyroid gland. Important: KI (potassium iodide) only protects the thyroid gland, not other parts of the body.

A nuclear wave can destroy all life on earth

A tablet of potassium iodide in a home first aid kit will savefrom thyroid cancer in the event of an accident or explosion. Table salt and iodine-rich foods do not contain enough iodine to prevent radiation from reaching the thyroid gland. Do not use table salt or food as a substitute for KI!

Iodine prophylaxis is aimed at protection of the thyroid gland from the negative effects of radioactive isotopes of iodine. Self-consumption of potassium iodide is possible after the radioactive substances released by a nuclear explosion become known.

A single dose of KI protects the thyroid gland inwithin 24 hours. To protect it, as a rule, a single dose in the prescribed sizes is quite enough. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. And remember - it's better to be prepared for disaster - but you need to hope for the best.