Part Two of scare the sh#t out of the sheeple.
It’s a long read this one, make coffee before you start.

nukeflashFallout is radioactive dust created when a nuclear weapon explodes.
In the case of the ground burst, a nuclear ‘pop” vaporizes anything drawn into its fireball i.e. earth, roads, buildings, forests, etc. This type of detonation is the most dangerous for long-term survival as it produces the most radioactive debris aka fallout.

The air burst will be the most powerful type of detonation as it is will not be attenuated by terrain and thus affects a larger area.airburstFor the survivor, an air burst is the “better problem” to deal with as, provided the fireball is high enough, it will draw little ground matter into the fireball. Thus fall out will be less.

The physical stuff that is fallout.
Whatever is drawn into the fireball is reduced to a dusty, light, sandy or pumice stone like material. This now highly radioactive material is what will eventually fall to earth.

In size terms it can be anything from rocks to sand to dust particles which can carry a long way on the wind. it follows that wind and weather conditions will determine the size and shape of the plume.

Rain in the area can cause fallout to settle more quickly so a rainstorm can nearly eliminate airborne hazards. It will however concentrate the radioactive fallout material within the local area.

Fallout particles
These are made up of the 3 types of radioactive material.
Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.

  • Alpha radiation is the least penetrating.
    It can be stopped, or absorbed, by clothing or even a sheet of paper. If ingested, inhaled, or gets in via injury, Alfa is the most dangerous as it easily enters body cells remaining there and imparting a long-term dose of radiation.
  • Beta radiation can penetrate air and paper.
    This can be stopped by a thin sheet of aluminum.
  • Gamma radiation is the most penetrating.
    Even low levels can penetrate air, paper or thin metal.
    Higher levels can only be stopped by many centimeters of lead or many meters of concrete, brick, and earth.The good news is most gamma material has a short life.
    For example:-
  • Roughly 90% of the gamma radiation will be gone after the first 7 hours.
  • 90% of the remaining 10% will be gone after two or three days.
  • After two weeks there would be 1/1000 of the Gamma radiation left.


Beta is different.
That can take many decades if not hundreds of years to decay. Beta radiation may travel meters in air and is moderately penetrating. It can penetrate the human skin to the “germinal layer,” where new skin cells are produced. If beta-emitting contaminants are allowed to remain on the skin for a prolonged period of time, they may cause skin injury. i.e. sores that can’t heal.

Remember my comment about keeping clean?
The survival Acronym COLDS?
Dry clothing can provide some protection against most beta radiation. The idea is to keep the stuff OFF THE SKIN!

But note! Both beta and gamma particles are not as dangerous as Alfa as if they are ingested they are less likely to be absorbed by a body and will usually just pass right through it.

However from the outside, both Beta and gamma radiation can penetrate deeply damaging anything they pass through.

As for the root material i.e. plutonium and it’s variants, try 1000’s of years before it’s safe.

So what’s protection against all of this?
Barriers, Distance, Exposure, and Time.

  • Barriers?
    They will keep you away from the fallout and lessen the penetration capabilities of the fallout.
  • Distance?
    The further away you are from the fallout, the less force the radiation can exert on you.
  • Exposure?
    The less time you are in close contact with the fallout, the less effect it will have on you.
  • Time?
    The longer you stay away from the fallout, the more it will decay and lose its ability to harm you.

The whole question of building a nuclear proof shelter has been documented to death (if you will forgive the pun).
Materials listed, ideal thicknesses, filter systems, etc, etc.
My advice here? It’s too complex a problem for me to solve within a few notes and scribbling.

Get a proper book on the subject.

My plan?
I live in a boat so short of driving it beneath a mountain aka a canal tunnel BEFORE the event, I’m looking for raiding a home and setting up camp there.
Me, SWMBO, dog, 4 large rucksacks of supplies, GO bags, and about 20 reels of gaffer tape. As for the boat? I’ll return when it is safe to do so some 3-4 weeks after the event, MAYBE.

Drugs and medicines.
Two words, YES and PLEASE!
As for protection again radio-iodines? There are¬†Potassium Iodide (KI) or Potassium Iodate (KIO3) pills that will help to protect your thyroid but they don’t work on ionizing radiation. Take too many for too long and you will knacker your thyroid anyway.
As for anything else? Pain killers, cold cures, anti diarrhea capsules although if I have plenty of water I’ll let nature flush out any nasties I may have consumed first.

And finally
A word about PPE.
Whilst being gently cooked by radiation isn’t in my top ten of ways to peg out, what’s worrying me more is the long-term effects of it all.

The most dangerous part of a nuke going pop is the large amount of ALFA particle material. Easily ingested and inhaled.
So PPE is in my mind a must as is washing gear.

In the last article I mentioned dumping your gear outside before entering your shelter. I still advocate that YET if you’re like me, you only own 3 of everything to cover one on, one in the wash, and one spare. Thus discarding clothing is expensive and not practical.

Enter the world of disposable overalls.
Remember you can do little about the Gamma, and Beta also has “range”, yet disposable overalls will allow you to easily dump your outer layer.

Simple Wellington (rubber) boots can be washed off, and FFP3 or P90-100 masks should never leave your face. As for your hands? Cotton gloves covered with Rubber kitchen gloves. Those again you can wash. If it’s raining, capes are best although UNDER the overalls you should wear waterproof leggings to protect your inner garments.

That’s it.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of what to do when the US lose taking on Russia and start chucking nukes about. What me a bit cynical? You think!

At the first sign of a pop I’m into home invasion mode.
Apart from that it’s good luck from me as you’ll need it.

I’ll catch you on “The other side” if I get it wrong.

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2 Responses to Fallout

  1. shtfprepper says:

    I’m actually going to hold onto this post. Thanks for dumbing it down for me! HaHa

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