First, a correction:
TSAR BOMBA: Was it 50 Megatons or 57?
Shortly after the 30 October test the US estimated the yield at 57 megatons. This value then circulated for 30 years as the actual yield of this
device, quoted by Western sources and by the Soviet government. In his 1974 memoirs Khrushchev recollects: "Our scientists calculated in advance that
the force of the bomb would equal 50 million tons of TNT. That was in theory. In actual fact, the explosion turned out to be equivalent to 57 million
tons" [Khrushchev 1974; pg. 71]. However, all Russian sources since 1991 have consistently used a figure of 50 megatons, not 57. This includes the
official Russian listing of all nuclear tests ([RFNC-VNIIEF 1996]), the personal account of the Arzamas-16's accomplishments by its long-time
director Yuli Khariton ([Khariton 1993] ), and the account of this device given by its developers Viktor Adamsky and Yuri Smirnov [Adamsky and Smirnov
TSAR BOMBA was a BIG NUKE. The biggest, in fact. However, is was very inefficient from the standpoint of doing what it was supposed to do - kill
people and irradiate land. In fact, the tactics of modern Thermo-nuclear warfare dictate that more -- is less with more. In other words, use 10
100KT nukes instead of a megaton nuke. Google to find out why.
On to the subject: Can you survive a nuclear blast?
Depends upon a lot of things. But, let's put this all in perspective: the largest threat you face TODAY is a dirty bomb or a small suitcase nuke
detonated in a city-center. If we're talking suitcase nuke (of which there are potentially hundreds floating around), that means we're talking
10-50KT MAXIMUM, and in fact it's going to probably be a lot less (on the order of 1-5KT). THAT BEING SAID, the primary factors are:
-> DISTANCE (Be far away from the heat, pressure and ionizing radiation)
-> TIME (Don't expose yourself to the fallout)
-> PROTECTION (Have enough protection to negate/minimize damages, e.g. KI [potassium iodide - fills receptors for iodine in your thyroid gland so that
the radioactive potassium doesn't bind and passes out of your system rather quickly instead of sticking around and mutating you into a lemur],
shielding from the fallout, filtered water, etc, etc, etc)
The more of these that you have the better you will end up being. What is far? Well, FAR in distance terms means as far as you need to be to avoid
the 20PSI overpressures, the XRAY/GAMMA and ALPHA/BETA radiation and also the kilo-calorie/M heat densities that tend sear flesh to a nice crispy
In other words, MILES from ground zero, preferably. But also remember, if we're talking a suitcase nuke, we're assuming that the target is a city
center. In that scenario, if you live 2 miles from that city center, you're probably more like an effective 6 or 7 miles due to the simple fact that
you have alot of MATERIAL between you and the blast, like:
-> Ground (hills/peaks)
-> Other people (yay!)
That means that -- the more material exists between you and the blast -- the less blast you're going to suck up. The analogy is that you're not
going to have the equivalent dose of heat/radiation or pressure that you'd have if you were sitting indian-style on the desert floor 3 miles away
from the Trinity blast. That's an entirely different situation.
I believe many more people would perish from the utter chaos that would ensure in the minutes, hours and days following the blast. You've not
seen bad drivers until you've seen a scared-to-death semi-truck driver who just saw a large mushroom cloud in his side-mirror. Better believe I'd
drop the load and start doing top speed, killing whatever was in my path to get the hell out of dodge.
Further, I believe that fires, building collapses and sustinance problems [food, water, shelter] would cause many more casualties than the actual
heat/radiation/pressure that the nuclear blast produced. That, in fact, is also the principal design element of many nuclear devices - the secondary
In the end: prepare, think and act. You're much more likely to survive if you kow what the potential situations are, if you realize that you need to
remain calm and collected, and that you take appropriate, measured steps to continue your existence -- you'll be doing better than 95% of the rest of
Call me crazy, but I've already talked with my wife about such potential things like a nuclear detonation in Chicago, and what our plans entail.
Basically, we're not doing anything but hiding in our basement with lots of water and a ham radio. I don't think driving to Wisconsin is in order
until a few weeks later.
[EDIT: the following information was taken from www.ki4u.com...
an excellent online reference to nuclear survival
Most fortunately for the future of all living things, the decay of radioactivity causes the sandlike fallout particles to become less and less
dangerous with the passage of time. Each fallout particle acts much like a tiny X-ray machine would if it were made so that its rays, shooting out
from it like invisible light, became weaker and weaker with time.
Contrary to exaggerated accounts of fallout dangers, the radiation dose rate from fallout particles when they reach the ground in the areas of the
heaviest fallout will decrease quite rapidly. For example, consider the decay of fallout from a relatively nearby, large surface burst, at a place
where the fallout particles are deposited on the ground one hour after the explosion. At this time one hour after the explosion, assume that the
radiation dose rate (the best measure of radiation danger at a particular time) measures 2,000 roentgens per hour (2,000 R/hr) outdoors. Seven hours
later the dose rate is reduced to 200 R/hr by normal radioactive decay. Two days after the explosion, the dose rate outdoors is reduced by radioactive
decay to 20 R/hr. After two weeks, the dose rate is less than 2 R/hr. When the dose rate is 2 R/hr, people can go out of a good shelter and work
outdoors for 3 hours a day, receiving a daily dose of 6 roentgens, without being sickened.
In places where fallout arrives several hours after the explosion, the radioactivity of the fallout will have gone through its time period of most
rapid decay while the fallout particles were still airborne. If you are in a location so distant from the explosion that fallout arrives 8 hours after
the explosion, two days must pass before the initial dose rate measured at your location will decay to 1/10 its initial intensity.
[edit on 9-11-2004 by NextLevel]