How to survive a nuclear explosion: results of an experiment

Dmitry IvancheskulLife
Scientists simulate explosion of a typical intercontinental ballistic missile

The nuclear bomb is one of the most terrifying inventions of mankind, as its destructive power leaves little hope of escape. Anything that is too close to the epicentre of the explosion is instantly vaporised, and radiation can pose a serious threat even from a distance. But even those who are far enough away can be affected by the blast wave, which will be so strong that it will lift people into the air. But not everything is so hopeless.

Physicists at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus conducted an experiment to determine the safest places in a building to escape during a nuclear explosion and its aftermath. According to Eurecalert, the results of the study were published in the journal Physics of Fluids.

For the experiment, the explosion of a typical intercontinental ballistic missile with a capacity of 750 kilotonnes of TNT equivalent was modelled.

They found that in the moderate impact zone, the shock wave after the explosion would be able to destroy some buildings and injure people who were outside. Stronger buildings, such as concrete structures, will be able to withstand. However, this does not mean that concrete buildings are a good place to hide, because even they have weaknesses.

"Prior to our study, the danger to people inside a reinforced concrete structure withstanding a blast wave was unclear. Our study shows that high wind speeds remain a significant hazard and can still cause serious injury or even death," said Dimitris Drikakis, one of the study's authors.

According to the study, simply being in a strong building is not enough to avoid the risk. Tight spaces can increase the speed of a shock wave, which can bounce off walls and round corners. In the worst cases, this can result in a force that is 18 times the weight of a person.

Another participant in the study, Ioannis Kokkinakis, noted that the most dangerous places in the room to avoid are windows, corridors and doors.

"People should stay away from these places and take shelter immediately," the researcher explained.

According to him, even if you are in a room with a wall with windows facing the epicentre of the explosion, there is a chance to protect yourself from the shock wave. To do this, you need to sit at the corners of the wall, which will take the shock wave.

The authors of the study also noted that the time between the explosion and the arrival of the shock wave is only a few seconds, so the ability to act quickly is critical at this point.

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL told how secret nuclear exercises in the USSR doomed 55,000 people to a painful death.

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