The energy of a nuclear explosion is released in the form of a blast wave, thermal radiation (heat) and nuclear radiation.
Because of the tremendous amount of energy released in a nuclear detonation, temper­atures of tens of millions of degrees C develop in the immediate area of a nuclear detonation (contrast this with the few thousand degrees of a conventional explosion). Because of the very high temperatures and pressures at ground zero, the gaseous residues of the explosion move outward.
There basically are two kinds of ionizing radiation created by nuclear explosions, electromagnetic and particulate. If the fireball of the nuclear detonation touches the surface of the Earth, large amounts of soil, water, etc.
EMP from high-yield nuclear detonations will subject electrical grids to voltage surges far exceeding those caused by lightning.
Warplanners consider the EMP from the detonation of a high-yield warhead as capable of disrupting the entire communication system of their nation, and in this way a single missile launch could begin a nuclear war.
Half of 1% of the explosive power of the deployed nuclear arsenal can create nuclear darkness.


A large nuclear war could put 150 million tons of smoke in the stratosphere and make global temperatures colder than they were 18,000 years ago during the coldest part of the last Ice Age. A large nuclear war would utterly devastate the environment and cause most people to starve to death. Large nuclear weapons (in the megaton class and above) can start fires and do other thermal damage at distances far beyond the distance at which they can cause blast damage. People in the area of a nuclear explosion, and those subject to radioactive fallout stand more risk of contracting cancer.
For example, only one-half of the predicted numbers of cancer have occurred in the people exposed to the radiation produced by the atmospheric weapons tests and the explosions of the US atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that took place 50 to 60 years ago. For nuclear weapons in the kiloton range, the energy is divided in various forms, roughly as 50% blast, 35% thermal and 15% nuclear radiation. The vaporized debris, contaminated by radioactivity, falls over a vast area after the explosion subsides – creating a radioactive deadly fallout with long-term effects. As a result this is by far the most widespread of all the effects in a nuclear explosion and occurs even at distances where blast effects are minimal.


For a 15 kiloton bomb, almost everyone within 2 km will suffer third degree burns (which damage the skin and tissues below it); for 550 kiloton bomb, third degree burns occur in a radius up to 9 km. A 1000 rem exposure for the whole body over a lifetime (which is entirely possible for those surviving a nuclear war) brings about an 80% chance of contracting cancer. A single high-yield nuclear detonation will create destructive EMP over hundreds of thousands of square kilometers beneath where the explosion occurs. Below these effects are discussed separately for a 15 kiloton bomb, which was the explosive power of the bomb detonated by the U.S.
Restoring these facilities will be an arduous (and expensive) task assuming that the infrastructure required to complete this task would still exist following a nuclear war.



Emergency preparedness food supply list
Sample business continuity plan checklist
Natural disasters website


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