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Nuke Survival

Postby Sisyphus on November 23rd, 2010, 7:49 pm 

Due to recent events, and living near a potential target (D.C.), I've been wondering what I can do in the case of a nuclear attack. I vaguely remember having to read a fictional novel, in elementary or middle school, about a town in the U.S.A. that was accidentally nuked by the Soviet Union. I remember it describing people dead or dying with radiation burns, and people vomiting, and people trying to find non-radioactive drinking sources. I think they were drinking water out of the top of the toilet tank. (Now that I think about, they made us read some really depressing books back then. Wow.)

So what, if anything, can we do if we live near the site of a nuclear attack? Should we just 'duck and cover'?





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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby CanadysPeak on November 23rd, 2010, 8:35 pm 

I'll try to remember from the good old days of Nikita and his threats.

First, you need a pretty good fallout shelter. It has to have several feet of earth or perhaps a foot or so of concrete as shielding. It has to have a filtered air system to catch the radioactive dust. You need about two weeks of water (1 gallon per person per day) and some food would be helpful; canned spam, pork and beans, and corn can all be eaten cold. You can use the water from your hot water tank if you remember to turn off the outside water supply. Get a gallon of liquid bleach for disinfecting water.

Then you'll need a geiger counter. Just the kind for gamma is OK for general use; by the time the gamma level is safe, beta should be OK. You'll breathe and eat enough alpha that there's not much point in trying to measure that and it's hard to do with a hand unit anyway.

You'll need a good radio - AM and SW. This is useful for listening to broadcasts from New Zealand telling us what idiots we were for getting into this mess. You'll also need a supply of gold and silver. The government will likely re-issue currency afterwards and your old money won't buy much.

A short barreled rifle works for self-defense and game hunting. Probably a Marlin .30-30 is the best bet together with 1000 rounds of ammo. A decent survival knife and 10 pounds of salt round out the hunting setup. Don't bother trying to fish; the Potomac should be full of radioactivity.

You'll need warm clothes to get through the winter. Pay attention to the boots; remember it may be several decades before there are any cobblers available again. A short-handled axe and several thousand water-proof matches round out cold weather needs.

As soon as the radioactivity level falls to a not-lethel-within-days level, start walking southwest. There are no big targets that way and, if you can make the Blue Ridge Mountains, you have a chance, assuming the natives don't see you as a threat and kill you for your supplies. I'd recommend shooting them on sight.

If I remember anything else, I'll add it.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Sisyphus on November 23rd, 2010, 10:32 pm 

Wow... I guess I've got some work ahead of me. Although, I think I'll replace the canned spam, pork and beans, and corn with Chef Boyardee. Maybe some Hormel chili too.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Nick on November 24th, 2010, 5:48 am 

Your best bet would be to move to Switzerland. Here all the modern buildings have fallout shelters, the supermarkets are required to have stashes of canned food and the government has a massive stash of petrol. We're also less likely to get aimed at, but if we are attacked we have a much better selection of goods for the post-blast looting...
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby CanadysPeak on November 24th, 2010, 8:40 am 

I suspect that you might also be interested in what to do in the (we hope) more likely case of a "dirty bomb" in DC or environs. Those are quite survivable. Study the prevailing wind patterns. If I remember correctly, most of your weather moves to the ESE, i.e. Charles Town's weather this moment will be yours in two hours. You need to stay (or get) out of the downwind pattern. If you're in Oxon Hill, you've got problems (other than the day-to-day obvious). Find good evacuation routes (No! Not I-95.) and keep enough petrol to use it. Look at moving around to the upwind side rather than trying to outrace the downwind dispersion site.

If you must stay in your home, the duct tape and plastic really is a good idea. You want to keep as much dust out of your home as possible. And, you must have potable water - lots of it. If you have space, store the 69 cent gallons of distilled water that you can get at Giant. Every year, dump them, rinse them, and refill with tap water - it's got enough chlorine already in it for a year's safe storage.

Food is no problem (really!) for at least a week (less if you have kids).
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Greta on December 7th, 2010, 4:21 am 

Why wait for a nuclear attack - surely that is too late to do anything1

Your best bet is to inject yourslef with some cockroach genes. Your chances of surviving a nuclear attack will be greatly increased and in the mean time. You may also be able to fly saving monay on transort costs. So many advantages to having cockroach genes. At the same time we may as well get shark genes!! Then we may also be resistant to cancer. This would be the best use of gene science. so we can survive the nuclear attack and because we are cancer resistant - can eat anything that has been nuclear contaminated and be OK!!
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby linford86 on December 8th, 2010, 12:31 pm 

If you injected yourself with cockroach genes, it would likely either do nothing or, at most, make you terribly sick. Cockroaches are actually not all that resilient to radiation:

As far as sharks go, they actually aren't immune to cancer, it just has a lower prevalence amongst them than amongst humans. See

Incidentally, there is a lot more that goes into both of these things than just genetics. I'm sure that one of the other forum experts can educate us further on how there are a variety of physiological factors that come into play which are not purely genetic.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Forest_Dump on December 8th, 2010, 12:48 pm 

I remember a Reagan era movie, called "The Day After" that posed the question what happens if someone presses all the buttons. While the nuke scenes were not as high tech and expensive as Terminator 2, the movie was grime enough. The answer was basically almost no one lives and those that did were not all that happy about it. To be honest, if I lived in an area that was certain to be targeted by a lot of missiles and thus get a lot of radiation and fall out, I think I would go out for the ultra tan and be done with it.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Sisyphus on December 8th, 2010, 2:03 pm 

Nick wrote:Your best bet would be to move to Switzerland.

If only I spoke Swiss...
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby neuro on December 8th, 2010, 2:14 pm 

Greta wrote:Why wait for a nuclear attack - surely that is too late to do anything1

Your best bet is to inject yourslef with some cockroach genes. Your chances of surviving a nuclear attack will be greatly increased and in the mean time. You may also be able to fly saving monay on transort costs. So many advantages to having cockroach genes. At the same time we may as well get shark genes!! Then we may also be resistant to cancer. This would be the best use of gene science. so we can survive the nuclear attack and because we are cancer resistant - can eat anything that has been nuclear contaminated and be OK!!

Hi, Greta,
I think yours is a relevant contribution.

Not in scientific, factual, or propositive terms, actually.

I simply like the ironical attitude, which is particularly in line with the argument, that in my opinion cannot be taken too seriously, since currently proposed remedies to nuclear disaster do not look much more effective than your injecting genes.

You must admit, however, that whatever else one chose to do to survive nuke would be better than injecting heterologous genes, which would produce absolutely no effect and might in addition generate unwanted anaphylactic reactions, if the genetic material contains any ptotein stuff from roaches or sharks.

However, I repeat, nice try.
Next time, just remember to put some symbols in there, such as :), to make it clear you are joking.
You know, scientists do not expect other people not to be talking seriously...
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Lincoln on December 9th, 2010, 10:47 am 

Sisyphus wrote: If only I spoke Swiss...

See that's the problem with today's youth and their poor education. There is no "Swiss." Switzerland's languages are French, German, Italian and Romanche. Or, if, like me, you go to Switzerland routinely and speak only wretched French, they all speak English pretty well...except maybe the cabbies. And that's a problem in New York as well.

And, of course, you can get a long ways using point and nod.

You should travel more if you can. The differences and similarities across the world are interesting.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby dgerson95 on December 9th, 2010, 10:30 pm 

I was told that safety drills preformed at schools during the Cold War as a drill to provide security of thought for students. When a nuke were to strike, by following instructions such as moving away from a window, and hiding under a desk would prevent injury. Unfortunetly, we all know that Uranium 238 and a penetrating Neutron does not mix well.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Lincoln on December 10th, 2010, 9:05 am 

U238 and neutrons are great buddies. It's that pesky U235 that's nasty. (Or Pu239 or Th233.)

I know...picky, picky, picky.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby CanadysPeak on December 10th, 2010, 4:28 pm 

dgerson95 wrote:I was told that safety drills preformed at schools during the Cold War as a drill to provide security of thought for students. When a nuke were to strike, by following instructions such as moving away from a window, and hiding under a desk would prevent injury. Unfortunetly, we all know that Uranium 238 and a penetrating Neutron does not mix well.


I think the purpose of those was to have only our butts be burned and shredded by glass. In those years, I lived in a mountain valley that apparently matched one in Russia pretty closely. SAC would do low level (maybe 400 ft?) practice bombing runs down our valley, often breaking Mach 1 just for fun. We'd duck and cover a couple times a week till the broken glass from Mach 1 at treetop level convinced the Air Force to knock it off, that and the B-52s coming on line.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Sisyphus on December 10th, 2010, 5:49 pm 

Lincoln wrote:Switzerland's languages are French, German, Italian and Romanche.

Ah, I see. I don't speak those languages either. I've also never been out of the country.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Lincoln on December 10th, 2010, 6:00 pm 

It's OK. Except for a poorly-remembered trip to Quebec (something about the drinking age being like two or something in Quebec,) I didn't get out of the US until I was a smidge over 30. Of course, that was dozens of international trips ago.

Travel if you can. Start with training wheels, with Mexicon and Europe. (Canada is too much like the US to count. For all their protesting, Canada is like a nothern state...or maybe the US is like a southern province.) And then go exotic.

There was this little paperweight or something you used to be able to buy from the Wireless or Signals catalog that said "Life's never the same after you get your passport stamped." It's true.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Fuqin on December 11th, 2010, 11:49 pm 

This is outdated info but /and back in the 70s in Western Australia they had a fallout map showing that southern WestOz was the safest place on earth for avoiding fall out from global nuclear war, ‘that’ and Sothern New Zealand, however my guess is that ,at the time it was more of a (‘live here with the remaining hippies thing’) than’ a genuine survival plan. But should such an even occur I don’t have far to go, besides which the surf is really good south of Perth ,and is as good a place to blister and fall apart as any!
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Typer on December 12th, 2010, 10:24 am 

Sisyphus wrote:So what, if anything, can we do if we live near the site of a nuclear attack?


Pray that the nuke lands on your house!

A great way to go. Here one second, gone the next.

Do you really want to hang around to see what happens after Washington is nuked?
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Sisyphus on December 12th, 2010, 11:25 am 

I'd be curious, yes.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby CanadysPeak on December 12th, 2010, 2:03 pm 

Typer wrote:
Sisyphus wrote:So what, if anything, can we do if we live near the site of a nuclear attack?


Pray that the nuke lands on your house!

A great way to go. Here one second, gone the next.

Do you really want to hang around to see what happens after Washington is nuked?


It might be interesting if the nukes take out Northwest Washington and spare Anacostia Flats. :>(

But, there are contingency government sites scattered about so that the country will remain in operation. The FEMA site out at Mount Weather would likely be the new capitol. As an aside, Cooter (as in Dukes of Hazard) operated a souvenir stand not too far from Mt. Weather for many years. I always had this fantasy that the Russians take out most of the country and Cooter staggers into Mt. Weather to become the leader of the Free World.

But, it would be bad. We'd probably have to find a new Sisyphus, and those don't grow on trees.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Lincoln on December 12th, 2010, 2:26 pm 

Sisyphus wrote:I'd be curious, yes.

I hope you have your anti-zombie spray. Plus lots of psychedelics....it will make the experience more surreal....
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Heron on December 12th, 2010, 3:35 pm 

Eh, being 15 miles from a national laboratory that is next to a weapons plant.
I don't think I could find a hole deep enough anyway.

Might as well go for the tan.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Lincoln on December 12th, 2010, 3:43 pm 

So, what you're saying is that, under the right circumstances, you actually are close enough to Oakridge to glow.

I was there not that long ago to judge an undergraduate science competition. It's pretty country.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Heron on December 12th, 2010, 4:27 pm 

Ah, the SERCh event.

Yes, its a decent area.
Lots of DOE contract work and such.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Lincoln on December 12th, 2010, 4:43 pm 

Yup. It's interesting to talk to those kids. Some are very good. Some aren't. We have a local magnet high school and the kids there are probably on average better than the SERCH kids. But there is real money involved (OK, not >>REAL<< money) for the SERCH kids.

I last went last year. This year it was deciding between Tennessee and Turkey at a resort on the Mediteranean. Somehow, Tennessee didn't win.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Heron on December 14th, 2010, 2:03 pm 

Lincoln wrote:Yup. It's interesting to talk to those kids. Some are very good. Some aren't. We have a local magnet high school and the kids there are probably on average better than the SERCH kids. But there is real money involved (OK, not >>REAL<< money) for the SERCH kids.

I last went last year. This year it was deciding between Tennessee and Turkey at a resort on the Mediteranean. Somehow, Tennessee didn't win.



lol, well they probaly should have worked in dollywood tickets and a weekend in gatlinburg to woo you.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby CanadysPeak on December 18th, 2010, 8:44 am 

Sisyphus,

I forwarded your question to the feds and they responded with this up-to-date guide,
http://www.archive.org/details/Survival1951

Thought you'd get a smile from this.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Sisyphus on December 23rd, 2010, 11:55 pm 

Heh. Informative. Thanks.
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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Sisyphus on January 13th, 2011, 12:12 am 

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Re: Nuke Survival

Postby Lincoln on January 13th, 2011, 8:51 am 

Oh, you're crazy...don't give that a second thought.

This is independent of worries about living at Ground Zero....
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