Learn why you should not flee by car in the event of a nuclear explosion.

As we explained in an earlier issue here from Mega Curious, there are nearly 15, 000 nuclear warheads in the world, most of them significantly larger and more powerful than the artifacts that exploded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So imagine that things go awry and the world leaders who have access to atomic arsenals decide to squeeze their little red buttons and throw bombs at each other - and that, unluckily, one of them falls near where you are.


The normal reaction would be to try to escape into the hills, preferably by stepping deep into your car's accelerator, to escape as soon as possible, right? Wrong! According to radiation expert Brooke Buddemeier, who spoke with Dave Mosher of Business Insider, trying to escape from such a situation with his car would not be the best choice to ensure his survival.


For starters, think of the chaos that would ensue if an atomic bomb exploded in your city! The survivors would probably take to the streets in an attempt to escape, and amid the destruction and the sheer volume of debris, people and vehicles, it would be rather complicated to leave the place. Also, your car, even made of metal parts, glass and such, would not protect you from what comes after a nuclear explosion.

Made of light and thin metal, automobiles wouldn't do much good even after the explosion.

According to Brooke, one of the most feared consequences of an atomic detonation is nuclear ash. As explained, it consists of a complex mixture of radioactive isotopes that are created during nuclear reactions. It turns out that most of these particles decay rapidly from an unstable to a more stable state, releasing energy in the form of gamma radiation - which, in excess, is very bad for us.

When we are exposed to a large amount of gamma radiation in a short time, our body cells suffer serious damage and lose the ability to recover. This condition is called Acute Radiation Syndrome - or simply radioactive poisoning - and can also affect the immune system and its ability to fight infections.

Useless car

Brooke used the example of what would happen in the event that a bomb with 10 kilotons of energy - or 66% less powerful than the ones that landed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki - exploded. He said the resulting fireball would rise through the atmosphere at more than 100 miles per hour, the radioactive particles would mix with the earth, debris and whatever would fly through the detonation, and all that contaminated material could reach more than eight. kilometers in altitude.

Bomb blast in Nagasaki

The problem is that while the larger and heavier fragments would fall back to the surface moments later, the smaller and lighter radioactive particles would remain in the atmosphere and could travel great distances. And you know what? Winds often reach 160 km / h at high altitudes, so trying to get away from it all with a car - made of glass and light metal layers - would leave you equally exposed to radiation.

Best, Brooke says, is to try to find a sturdy structure as quickly as possible and hide in the center of it. If this “sturdy structure” is underground and lies under layers upon layers of earth, concrete or, perhaps, lead, the better! But in the absence of such a place, the interior of a reinforced building, basement or shelter is still much safer than your car. Unless, of course, it's parked inside a Batcave garage.


Another expert tip: Try to stay in this protected location for at least 12 to 24 hours. This is because gamma radiation levels drop exponentially after a nuclear explosion, which means that the risk of contamination also decreases. In addition, Brooke points out that it is important to have a little radio nearby, as through it you can stay on top of what's going on abroad and know when and by which route is safer to get from the area hit. bomb.

Castle Bravo nuclear test at Bikini Atoll

Obviously the likelihood that any of us will see such a situation is extraordinarily remote, but knowing how to proceed in every kind of situation - especially considering the amount of crazy people in the world - is never too much!


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