How Far Away You Need To Be To Survive a Nuclear Blast
Nuclear weapons are some of the most lethal, inhumane, and indiscriminate weapons yet created. The impacts of a nuclear blast can be devastating: From flash blindness and extreme heat to radiation poisoning, the effects can be severe. But a longer-term threat would come in the minutes and hours after the explosion. So, in an event of a nuclear blast, how far would you need to be to survive?
The Most Powerful Weapon Ever Made
The Tsar Hydrogen Bomb was the most powerful nuclear bomb ever built. The 50 megaton bomb was part of a nuclear test that was detonated by the Soviet Union on the 30th of October 1961. The bomb was 1000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. Because of its massive size, a special parachute was invented to slow down its descent and give the bomber enough time to fly away from the explosion. The scientists who created the bomb gave the bomber crew 50% chance of surviving the blast. Following the nuclear blast, shock waves were felt over 200 km (124 mi) away, shattering windows in neighboring countries. The nuclear explosion created an 8 km (5 mi) wide fireball and a 67-km high (42 mi) mushroom cloud. It was 7 times taller than Mount Everest.
The detonation flash was seen from over 1,000 km (620 mi) away. It was visible in Norway, Greenland, and Alaska. When scientists measured the shockwave created by the bomb, they found that it was equivalent to a massive earthquake of over 5.0 degrees on the Richter Scale. The heat from the explosion caused third degree burns at a distance of over 100 km (62 mi) away. The nuclear blast created a ring of absolute destruction that had a 35 km (21 mi) radius. The bomb’s large weight and bulky size made it impractical for use as a military weapon, and was only deployed one-time as a display of superiority. Before the Soviet Union developed the Tsar bomb, the father of the hydrogen bomb and theoretical physicist Edward Teller wanted to help the US build a 10,000 megatons superbomb, which is 200 times more powerful than the Soviet Tsar bomb.
The science and other stuff to know
Nuclear explosions can generate clouds of dust and sand-like radioactive particles that scatter into the sky, a phenomenon known as nuclear fallout. Exposure to this fallout can result in radiation poisoning, which can prove fatal as it damages body cells.
Today, around 12,700 nuclear warheads exist in the world, and the threat of new nuclear war looms. In a YouTube video, a team from the channel AsapSCIENCE breaks down the science of nuclear bombs to predict your chances of survival. Exploring a 1-megaton bomb, the team explains that there are some predictable stages of a nuclear weapon blast. If you want to learn more and see how far you’d need to be to survive a nuclear blast, make sure you watch the video.