Davie E. Webb, 111 English 11 Jodi Whitehurst November 30, 2010 Knowledge: The Answer to Survivability of a Nuclear Bomb “A full scale nuclear exchange, lasting less than 60 minutes…could wipe out more than 300 million Americans, Europeans, and Russians, as well as untold numbers elsewhere. And the survivors—as Chairman Khrushchev warned the Communist Chinese, ‘the survivors would envy the dead. ’ For they would inherit a world so devastated by explosions and poison and fire that today we cannot conceive of its horrors. This is a 1963 quote from President John F. Kennedy in his address to the nation (5). Unfortunately, a nuclear bomb could be launched at the United States – or any other nation – but I believe the above statistics would be drastically reduced – and the survivability be greatly increased – if the federal government would launch a national mass media campaign promoting nuclear preparedness. Dr. Irwin Redlener, Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, said in his speech on TED. om that “the key to surviving a nuclear blast is getting out, and not going into harm’s way. The farther you are away in distance, the longer it is in time from the initial blast, and the more separation between you and the outside atmosphere, the better” (1). If you are in a two mile radius of a nuclear blast you have a 50 percent chance of being killed instantly. A two to eight mile radius decreases your chance of instant death to 10 to 20 percent. If you do survive the blast there are four points you should know and memorize beforehand: 1.
Avoid staring at the light flash and keep your mouth open (staring at light can blind you, and if you don’t keep your mouth open your eardrums could burst from the pressure); 2. Get away from initial fallout from mushroom cloud (you have 10 to 20 minutes to get away before a lethal amount of radiation comes straight down from the mushroom cloud that goes up. In that 10 to 20 minutes, all you have to do is go about a mile away from the blast (you will be feeling a tremendous wind and you want to go perpendicular to the wind or downwind); 3.
Try to keep skin, mouth, nose covered if it doesn’t impede evacuation or sheltering; 4. Decontaminate as soon as possible once you have found shelter (throw away the clothes you have on and shower down to remove any radioactive material that might be on you); 4. Stay in the shelter for 48 to 72 hours minimum (Redlener 15). Shane Conner, civil defense specialist and CEO of www. ki4u. com agrees with Redlener and says, “A nuclear blast is survivable for the vast majority of American families, if they know what to do beforehand and have made even the most modest preparations (2). According to Conner, 99 percent of the fallout would be gone in two days and the majority of survivors would only need a couple or three days of hunkering down (4). A rebuttal comes from people who think there would be dangerous radioactivity for thousands of years and that food exposed to radiation would become radioactive and not edible. The question is not whether or not you are going to receive radiation, but how much and how quickly.
Yes, if you are right in the vicinity of the bomb, you will receive massive amounts of radiation – but you would also die immediately from the flash. The farther away you can get from the blast, the less radiation there is. Radiation is like that of an x-ray machine. An x-ray machine won’t kill you – and neither will the small doses of the radiation you will get if you are far enough away from the bomb. And that radiation fallout would be gone in a couple of days. The contamination of all food in a nuclear blast is another fallacy.
The alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays found in fallout can simply be washed off of many types of food that have a natural covering, such as eggs, bananas, potatoes, oranges, etc. , or off well sealed foods such as those in vacuum packed cans. Will a nuclear blast kill many people? Yes. Is it survivable if you have the right knowledge and know-how? Yes. To quote Albert Einstein, “The discovery of nuclear reactions need not bring about the destruction of mankind any more than the discovery of matches” (Calaprice 174).
Works Cited Kennedy, Robert F. Address on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. (1963): 1-5. Redlener, Irwin. ”Irwin Redlener on surviving a nuclear attack. ” TED. com The Sapling Foundation, September (2008). TED. com. November 25 (2010): 1-15. Connor, Shane. “The Good News about Nuclear Destruction. ” The WorldNet Journal (2006): 2-4. Calaprice, Alice. The New Quotable Einstein. New Jersey: Princeton University Press Publishing, 2005.