posted on May, 28 2007 @ 01:20 AM
The book that inspired this thread was:
The Survival Guide: What to do in a biological, chemical, or nuclear emergency. by angelo acquista, M.D., medical director of the New York
City mayor's office of emergency management.
I don't want to post his whole book online, but I'll give you the gist of what I've gotten from the "nuke" chapters.
Basically, I would divide the nuclear threat into three types: dirty bomb, small "suitcase" nuke, and military weaponry.
The author states that although this gets the biggest hype, it is probably the least threat to your health. Basically, it involves terrorists
stealing radiological waste from a hospital or power plant, and sticking explosives in the middle of it, with the goal of blowing radioactive debris
all over your town. He states that the Iraqi government actually tested this in 87 in the desert, but decided it wasn't feasable. Even the best
portable (read: terrorist) bomb only covered about 25 blocks in diameter with ANY measurable effects, even at the time of detonation. The medical
waste and fuel rods are so heavy (americium and so forth), that most of it would fall back to earth within a few blocks of the blast. Even people who
breathed the initial dust would probably remain healthy for several decades before succumbing. The main goal would be to creat hysteria, and cost
billions in cleanup. The government would almost certainly set up a "decontamination shelter" and give you better attention than you could do
yourself. From a terrorist standpoint, most of the terrorists would be sick from radiation exposure--not that they'd care, but it would reveal the
whole terror network, as a line of sick fanatics would stretch all the way back to the source material.
The other two questions are basically weapons acquired from the military.
He says the main 3 considerations for your health are time, distance, and shielding.
Here are his bullets, beginning on pg 190:
-Cover your mouth and nose with (wet) fabric
-Leave on foot.
He says you have a bigger chance of being trapped in the radiation by being bogged down in mass transit. he also states that your chances of further
contamination increase from using mass transit like subways, busses, and road surfaces where vehicles from the irradiated area will be tracking
particles into your presence.
-Shower with soap as soon as possible, and put on uncontaminated clothes that were not exposed to much fallout.
-Get to an area where you are not covered in residue, and neither is the area around you; at that point, seek shelter at once. Stay there and
minimize your exposure for as long as possible.
-Take potassium Iodide if available
-Try to meet up with search and rescue as soon as possible
-if you must leave, cover all exposed skin with cloth, including scarves, hats, and, if possible, swim-type goggles and gloves. walk into the wind
but away from the direction of the blast, even if that direction is not your immediate goal.
Acquista is pretty upbeat about what is a grim scenario, pointing out how many US soldiers survived direct radiation from atomic tests, how many
lab-workers have been exposed, and how many russian citizens actually survived the gross overdoses in the wake of Chernobyl, often many times what was
considered an instantly fatal dose.
As far as worrying that "one slip-up will kill you," he even addresses that and states that if you are aware of keeping your skin and lungs and
stomach free of radiation, the odds are not as grim as you'd imagine. The key is not to avoid any radiation, but to watch out for a lethal
build-up, by needlessly exposing yourself.