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The Horror of Nuclear Bombs

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1sticky The Horror of Nuclear Bombs on July 31st 2014, 1:23 pm


Still A Threat

There are literally tens of thousands of nuclear and thermonuclear warheads still stockpiled and more counties than ever are trying to get their hands on them or make them. As more of the smaller countries get them there is becoming an increasing amount of tensions and fear over who should have them and should not from those who do.
One good example is the situation between Israel and Iran. Israel will not tolerate a nuclear armed Iran. Another situation is the one with north Korea. Its testing is causing some nations who gave up nuclear weapons to consider rearming.  There is absolutely no doubt that as more and more smaller countries get these bombs that the threat of a regional nuclear war is steadily increasing. An even greater threat is that somehow a major nuclear power like the USA , Russia or china could be drawn into such a war. You may say its unlikely at the moment, but no one ever conceived that there would be a world war 1 or even a world war 2 when they happened either.

What Really Happens

What most people imagine when they think of a nuclear bomb is a picture of a giant mushroom. However, the fact is that the big cloud is not the explosion but it is the result.  You see, when a nuclear bomb goes off it creates super heated particles. These super heated particles are so hot that they travel at the speed light to the ground below heating and vaporizing everything in their path while at the same radiating it. By the time that the super heated particles hit the ground the explosion has already occurred and everything is in now in the process of cooling off.  A fraction of a second later , the tremendous heat from the ground rises up like steam would from a boiling pot of water which forms the classic mushroom cloud. As the steam rises it sucks a good portion of the freshly radiated particles of dust that was created with it.

In the meantime, two giant pockets of super high pressure areas have formed and combine to create what is called a mach wave. This wave then expands blasting everything to bits with winds and pressures that are far in excess of 2000 kilometers an hour (near ground zero) while the mushroom cloud continues to rise and radiate heat between 5,000F and 50,000F (2760C to 30537C) burning and roasting anything in its sight.  

Basically, the mushroom cloud is like a small sun. This is why it is important that should a war of this magnitude ever occur and you see one to get out of the site of it immediately.  Otherwise, it will cook you to death and you will not feel a thing until it is to late. The reason you won't feel anything is because it will be radiating particles too hot for your body to feel.

The giant mach wave which has formed begins to naturally expands outward at the speed of sound however,as the mach wave expands further out away from the blast area an extremely low pressure area forms around the center of where the blast took place.  Eventually, this causes the wind to shift.  Instead of pushing away from the blast area, the wind now blows toward it.  This is what is happening in the movies and films when you see the trees go one way and then a short time later bend the opposite direction. Shortly after this, the  particles in the mushroom cloud (which are highly radioactive) cool off enough that they begin to fall back to the ground. This is called fallout and anyone who was not vaporized by the heat, incinerated,thrown to their death, or died from the initial release of gamma radiation must now must now deal with radiation poisoning caused from the fallout.

Thermal Radiation Burn Images
In this first image the poor guy was close enough that as the fireball rose it literally charred him to death. The second image is what a boy looked like who had his back facing the fireball as he ran to the nearest bomb shelter.

The Difference Between Nuclear and Thermonuclear

When comparing the actual amount of possible damage , there is a large difference between these two types of bombs. So we will begin with the basics. Some believe that this simply means a bigger bomb, however it is much more than that.

Nuclear bombs cause atoms to split apart thereby releasing a massive amount of energy, radiation, and heat that is comparable to our own sun.  The temperatures produced with a nuclear bomb are around 11,000F. Additionally, nuclear bombs create a large EMP.

Thermonuclear warheads go further into the process and not only split atoms apart but also fuses them together. This creates massive heat with temperatures that are excess of 53,000F. Rock and concrete which would have only been scorched in a nuclear explosion would instead be instantly vaporized along with a good portion of the ground.  

Long Term Effects of Radiation Poisoning and Fallout

When a nuclear bomb is detonated it creates many forms of radiation which can cause anything from nausea to death and can make you go bald faster than any known form of stress. One should note that unlike with thermal radiation that the effects of gamma radiation poisoning are often not immediate but will become increasingly apparent later on. While thermal radiation will manifest in the form of burns gamma radiation will destroy bone marrow as well as villi in the intestines.  Major doses of radiation will also effect autonomic responses necessary for your body to keep living.

A Closer Look

The main source of your immune system comes from the creation of white blood cells within the bone marrow. Gamma radiation destroys the bone marrow and with the main source of your immune system destroyed white blood cells will die off and there will be no way for the body to replace them.  This will make a person an easy target for bacteria. As time goes by and the immune system continues to weaken, the person could die from something as simple as a few germs in a glass of water.

Now about those nutrients. The villi are responsible for extracting salt and nutrients from what you eat. They are located in your intestines.  If enough villi die then you will no longer be able to take in enough salt and nutrients to sustain life.

The nervous system can also be damaged by radiation. If you receive enough damage then your autonomic nervous system may fail. Things that are suppose to function automatically will stop functioning. For example, your heart beats automatically without you doing anything.  Your stomach digests food without you thinking about it. But what if your nervous system becomes damaged enough your stomach may not get a signal to digest food. The most common thing that happens though is seizures.

How Much Is Too Much

How big a dose of radiation a person takes is measured in what is called Rems. How many rems a person will receive in an hour of exposure is called Rads. 100 rem is equal to 1 Sievert. A 100% lethal dose is around 650 rems or 6.5 Sievert. Most of this radiation will come from fallout unless a bomb is ground-burst in which case the first fallout will occur shortly after the explosion, but its only a small taste of what is to come as unknown to many fallout will continue to occur months and even years later through rainfall and wind which will effectively create further radioactive hazards in both water and soil from which one could receive additional doses of radiation poisoning.

Stages of Radiation Poisoning

Radiation poisoning has 3 stages. The first stage is the initial symptoms. The second stage is called the "latency period". The third stage is the "illness stage". During the first stage nausea and vomiting are common. During the latency period the person feels fine like nothing at all is wrong. It can last from hours to weeks. During the final stage however, the person becomes extremely sick (most likely due to infection). If the person has received enough radiation poisoning then this is where it becomes apparent. At this stage , a person will either live a little longer, or die.

As radiation doses increases, the first thing that is effected is bone marrow and white blood cells. With a significant drop in the white blood cells infection is the primary concern as this makes the person's immune system as effective as someone with full blown HIV!

At moderate dosages, the villi in the intestinal tract dies. As mentioned above, the villi are located in the intestines and are responsible for absorbing salt, water and nutrients that are vital to live. If enough of villi die the person will no longer be able to absorb enough water and salt necessary for them to continue living. Since water and salt can no longer be absorbed this causes diarrhea and general state of dehydration which eventually leads to the collapse of the circulatory system. For those who receive even larger doses than this, the cells in the brain and nervous system start dying. This can cause convulsions but the person suffering from this high of dose wont have to worry as they will be gone in a short time.

Dosages and Effects
(The following chart is in REMS)

21 to 49Temporary drop in white blood cell count with a small chance for infection
50 to 99Mild nausea, headache , and infection is to be expected
100 to 150You get mild nausea, and vomit for about 1 day. 9 days later you get infection,fatigue, and flu like symptoms
151 to 200All the symptoms above in moderate doses and a 10% chance to die from infection for the next 5-6 weeks
200 to 300Moderate nausea,headache. vomiting for about 1-2 days. 6-13 days later you loose hair and a 35% chance
to die from infection within the next 14 weeks
300 to 400Severe nausea and vomiting for about 2 days. You have received enough radiation that after about 7-9 days your blood will no longer clot properly. As a result you will have bleeding gums,kidneys , and pockets of blood under your skin. Adding this to an already strained immune system you now have a 50% chance to die within 5-6 weeks from internal bleeding and infection
400 to 490This dosage is near fatal You can expect all the symptoms of 300-400 at a severe level and have a 60% chance of dying from internal bleeding or infection over the next 6 weeks
491 to 649This dosage is near fatal You will have the severest symptoms, and a 90% chance of dying from infection or internal bleeding within 2-12 weeks
649 to 999
You have received a lethal dose of radiation and will have the most severe symptoms. You will expire in 5-10 days from a most horrid death as you will have uncontrollable diarrhea,seizures,extreme fever, intestinal bleeding and then become delirious. A short time later you will go into a comma and not wake up.
1000-2999You have received a lethal dose of radiation and will have the most severe symptoms. You will expire in less than  4 days from a most horrid death as you will have uncontrollable diarrhea,seizures,extreme fever, intestinal bleeding and then become delirious. A short time later you will go into a comma and not wake up
3000+If you somehow have survived to receive this amount you have approximately 1 hour to live.

Atmospheric Effects and Nuclear Winter

Now we move on the the after effects of a nuclear war. Another result of nuclear war is that when a bomb explodes it does two additional things that so far I have not covered in this article.  The first is that creates carbon dioxide and the second is that a lot of dust is created. Both of these are thrown into the upper atmosphere. The dust, being heavier than CO2 stays at a lower elevation which effectively blocks out sunlight. After only a few days of these conditions temperatures worldwide would(or could) be near freezing. This is referred to as a nuclear winter.

So just how much does it take to cause this? It has been estimated that even a small regional nuclear war which leveled as little as 50 large cities on each side could throw enough dust into the atmosphere to cause a nuclear winter that could last from 10 to 17 years.

Now, It does not take a genius to figure this next one out but just in case you did not get it there is very little that will grow good without sunlight and a reasonable temperature. At this point I have to point out that a nuclear winter will more than likely kill off any remaining population because it will cause starvation and crop failure on a global scale.

In addition to this the ozone layer of the upper atmosphere will have some gaping holes in it. Although the effects of this wont be felt until after the dust settles, the result of this will effect future generations for years as ultra-violet radiation which at one time would have been beneficial would now do more harm than good. For more insights on this topic, do a search on ultra violet radiation.

I hope you have enjoyed this article but please do be aware that I did not cover the full effects of EMP but may do so in a future post.

Last edited by Frosty on August 1st 2014, 2:22 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added table and images)


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