Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cobalt-60, Radiation Shielding And Preparations

Several posters have asked in the comments section about how to prepare for a real nuclear war instead of the fake one we were told about fifty years ago.

Here are a few basic assertions:

1. Cobalt-60 and other dirty bomb salts will definitely be used in the coming war.

2. Salted nuclear weapons are worse than you have been told and not as bad as you might imagine.

3. Three feet of overhead cover, in particular crushed rock, will protect you from intercontinental fallout for extended lengths of time in 75% of the locations you might shelter on the planet. This is a real Vault situation. You can't take shelter from the cobalt death shroud by piling up some suitcases around you in an inner room.

4. You will require some air filtration in order to avoid breathing in fallout. It doesn't have to be war grade filtration but it wouldn't hurt. It is not getting a couple bad whiffs in a single day that will hurt you - it is breathing in cumulative minute doses of radioactive salts over the course of months that is the problem.

5. In reality, cobalt-60 won't make the surface of the earth uninhabitable for five years. It will make the surface unpleasant for a minimum of three months. You might be able to journey out during this time for emergency errands but you'd be a lot better off staying buttoned up for at least three months underground. Proper blocking of entryways into the shelter will be essential during this time. Correct monitoring of individual dosimeters will track radiation exposure and tell when somebody has acquired too high a dose and needs to rest for a while to recover. Sometimes people who sleep near entrances or are in parts of the shelter too close to the surface can silently get radiation poisoning unless each individual is monitored. It is impossible to know what kind of radiation levels to expect, save to say that places in the wrong wind patterns could see brief cycles of 100,000 rads or more aboveground. Some areas might see little or no fallout at all, no matter how dangerous the salts used in the warheads are.

6. The natural forces of weathering, water and wind will begin to decontaminate the planet immediately, mostly by washing off and concentrating radioactive particles in sumps, lakes and runoff areas. These areas will be deadly for any length of time if you encounter them for at least ten years after the death shroud. Most places with some drainage will see a gradual reduction over ten years that will result in livable areas and soils that can be cultivated again.

7. The biggest problems in surviving the cobalt death shroud after shelter will be access to clean drinking water and food. I would recommend you expect to store one year's worth of water at subsistence levels before turning to filtration of rain as a source. It is hard to beat water distillation for cleaning out radioactive contaminants.

8. Protective gear is advised aboveground for several years following the war, at least until you can secure a plot of land that radiation survey shows is clean and safe without wearing protective measures.


Sam said...

Thanks. One of the reasons I asked about the Cobalt radiation is I wondered how it differed from normal nukes. I assumed more higher frequency radiation like Gamma rays but wondered how that would differ. Probably everyone already knows about this book. I bought my copy back in 1983. Just in case someone missed it. This is the best book on surviving nuclear war I've seen and even better it's now free online.
"Nuclear War Survival Skills"

I've thought about ventilation some. Maybe cyclone action like in vacuum cleaners would be good for separating out radioactive particles?

To clean radioactive particles out of water. Why not a manual centrifuge?,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1680&bih=841&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=2491869695466902033&sa=X&ei=I_0MT82_EYjatgeiuPnIBQ&sqi=2&ved=0CE4Q8wIwAA

Rowan said...

A well drained steep mountain slope with thin soils and grazing animals for food. Throw away the organs.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that if you can't manage these minimums (year of water, shelter with three foot of crushed rock, etc.) you're screwed? I'd love to have all that and I've been working on my own stuff as best I could and will continune to do so regardless, but I don't know if I'd be able to manage that level for many years to come.

Texas Arcane said...

Anon 12:27

Well let's say you're well shielded. You are sitting pretty and deep below ground but there is a problem. Your water and food run out after two weeks. Now if you go topside in two weeks whoever leaves is probably getting a death sentence. You might die in an hour aboveground in these conditions.

Or you run out of electricity and have to use candles but this means your air filtration won't last long having to run it harder. So now you're breathing in very bad air that is going to kill you in days.

These severe conditions, reflective of a real nuclear war in which your country has been hit with one or more dirty weapons, all have to be taken into account.

The reason they never mentioned this stuff in the old civil defense manuals is that it would be tantamount to lifting the bar higher than most people could reach. Rather than telling them they would die, instead they just lowered the post-apocalyptic standards to something they could imagine surviving.

Anonymous said...

If you can't measure the radiation then deciding what to do is a dangerous or time wasting exercise.
Once you can measure then you know:
A)If there is radiation (ie something big is going down so react now while the sheep are ignorant)
B)If the levels are higher here or there which can help you find a safe hidey hole if you haven't built your own.
C)When it's safe to venture out.
Suitable hidey holes can be found in lift wells, basements, pumping stations, bore holes, silo elevator pits or just the geometric centre of a really big building.
As the radiation will not max out instantly you may have time to get yourself to a hidey hole and ascertain that it is indeed sheilding the radiation.
Moral:pack a fallout meter in your BOB.

Anonymous said...

Do you think this would be enough, Tex?

Texas Arcane said...

Enough for what?

At least get yourself a CD-715, at a minimum.

Texas Arcane said...

In a dirty nuclear war, it would take a month or more afterwards for all the international fallout to hit max concentrations. It might take 3 months to a year to decline to levels suitable for regular trips aboveground.

Anonymous said...


throw away BONES also, since that site is where heavy/toxic metals are sequestered


Anonymous said...

Not to ruin anyone's day ...

Most of the nuke war scenarios you see in the media go something like this : China / Russia target all the important bits of the USA - dams, mil bases, big pop centers - and outside of that stragglers are allowed to survive - Jericho is a good example of this scenario and it's the only one I've ever seen - other than the 'On The Beach' one.

That's not how I think this will work. Basic math - the contiguous US has 2.959 million square miles of land. Let's say China / Russia hit the US with 6000 nukes (a conservative estimate IMO - if each of them hammered the US with 10k each we could get hit with 20k nukes).

If I wanted to ERASE a country and their people, I would do it by gridding all the land and nuking every intersecting point. To make it worse, if there is something worth hitting in the grid, I may skip one of my 'out in the desert' grid points and double up on the target.

If you do this for the US with just 6000 nukes, you end up dropping a nuke EVERY 22 MILES on a north south east west grid. 20,000 nukes means you get to drop one every 12 miles on a grid basis.

I've been reading nuke scenarios for decades and never even seen this one mentioned anywhere.

Nuke deaths from the blast effects are secondary to the fallout effects. A grid based attack maximizes the fallut effects, especially if you double up, or even triple up for areas of high population.

You might, possibly, make it out above ground if you were situated directly on a beach on the Pacific Ocean side of the US but I wouldn't bet my life (or the life of my family) on it.

If I've thought of this - you can bet some Russian / Chinese generals have thought of this as well.

Things are not going to go the way you've been propagandized to think they are going to go.


Anonymous said...

You really need to be pulling your water from a bore. My system pulls water from a bore that filters water through the soil and rock layers and stores it in an underground tank.

Rowan, steep well drained grazing land. That is where i live! ;-)

Sam said...

Anonymous said...

Not to ruin anyone's day ...

...If you do this for the US with just 6000 nukes, you end up dropping a nuke EVERY 22 MILES on a north south east west grid. 20,000 nukes means you get to drop one every 12 miles on a grid basis...

I'm afraid you've ruined my day. I never thought about that. I assumed the U.S was larger in area so I never even thought about doing the calculation. It's very depressing.

By the way there's plans for a homemade radiation detector made from sheet rock and a coffee can in the book that I posted a link to above.

Anonymous said...


That is how I would imagine they'd do it. If you are going to exterminate a nest or rats or termites you make sure to clean it out properly. You don't leave more to breed and invade or destroy the home again. Total wipe out.

Anonymous said...

For those interested - Port Orford Oregon is one of the westernmost points in the contiguous US.

Hint Hint.

Anyone interested in that area, who has a family with kids and is interested in forming a MAG - you can PM me thru the forums.


Radiation shielding said...

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