Declassified effects of nuclear weapons and other threats: minimizing weapons effects on civilians

Can Britain and America prevail over an alliance of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea in WWIII? American sanctions on Japan in 1940 led to Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, so beware of the lessons of history Mr President, and get civil defense

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Radiation Effects Research Foundation lumps data together to cover up benefits of low dose radiation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Life Span Study (LSS)!


Above: film of the Effects of Nuclear Weapons, beginning by debunking the radiation myths of Hiroshima. The 1977 edition of the Effects of Nuclear Weapons book, by Glasstone and Dolan, gives further data showing that there is evidence for "threshold" doses below which no negative effects occur:

"From the earlier studies of radiation-induced mutations, made with fruitflies [by Nobel Laureate Hermann J. Muller and other geneticists who worked on plants, who falsely hyped their insect and plant data as valid for mammals like humans during the June 1957 U.S. Congressional Hearings on fallout effects], it appeared that the number (or frequency) of mutations in a given population ... is proportional to the total dose ... More recent experiments with mice, however, have shown that these conclusions need to be revised, at least for mammals. [Mammals are biologically closer to humans, in respect to DNA repair mechanisms, than short-lived insects whose life cycles are too small to have forced the evolutionary development of advanced DNA repair mechanisms, unlike mammals that need to survive for decades before reproducing.] When exposed to X-rays or gamma rays, the mutation frequency in these animals has been found to be dependent on the exposure (or dose) rate ...

"At an exposure rate of 0.009 roentgen per minute [0.54 R/hour], the total mutation frequency in female mice is indistinguishable from the spontaneous frequency. [Emphasis added.] There thus seems to be an exposure-rate threshold below which radiation-induced mutations are absent ... with adult female mice ... a delay of at least seven weeks between exposure to a substantial dose of radiation, either neutrons or gamma rays, and conception causes the mutation frequency in the offspring to drop almost to zero. ... recovery in the female members of the population would bring about a substantial reduction in the 'load' of mutations in subsequent generations."

- Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 3rd ed., 1977, pp. 611-3.




Above: the theory of the experimentally observed threshold doses for the radium dial painters and for the Hiroshima survivors.



In 1996, half a century after the nuclear detonations, data on cancers from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors was published by D. A. Pierce et al. of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, RERF (Radiation Research vol. 146 pp. 1-27; Science vol. 272, pp. 632-3) for 86,572 survivors, of whom 60% had received bomb doses of over 5 mSv (or 500 millirem in old units) suffering 4,741 cancers of which only 420 were due to radiation, consisting of 85 leukemias and 335 solid cancers.




Above: how to lie with statistics, applied by the 'Radiation Effects Research Foundation' (RERF) in its deceiving propaganda online guide, A Brief Description (6 MB) which is U.S. Department of Energy part-funded; you lump together all the low dose-end Hiroshima and Nagasaki lifespan study (LSS) data until you get enough higher dose survivors in the group so that the overall excess risk for that disproportionately large group becomes positive, to cover up the truth.

They are covering up the data at low doses to obfuscate statistical evidence of benefits and threshold for injury (for low doses the dosimetry is most accurate as we shall see, due to the little shielding that the average survivor had; the shielding calculations for large shielding factors at high doses are the major source of dosimetry error as indicated by the temporary epilation dose-response curve).

RERF are also lumping together Hiroshima data (where neutron doses were relatively high) with Nagasaki data (where the hydrogen nuclei - protons - in the implosion TNT shell around the plutonium core substantially slowed down the neutrons that escaped, reducing the neutron doses in Nagasaki to below those from the gun-type assembly Hiroshima bomb). Threshold and beneficial effects of gamma radiation should show up most strongly in the Nagasaki data, where neutron doses were smallest (gamma rays at Nagasaki usually just knocked out electrons from atoms by the Compton effect, but at Hiroshima, the higher contribution of neutrons knocked whole protons out of hydrogen nuclei, which caused more irrepairable DNA damage and probably prevented low dose benefits or threshold response, and this effect is not corrected by simply assigning a relative biological effectiveness of 20 or so to neutron doses).

Thus, lumping the data from both cities together tragically obscures the beneficial effects of gamma radiation at low doses in the resulting statistics; the Nagasaki data is vitally important for fallout decontamination in civil defence.

Additionally, the RERF must publish a full analysis of the effects of average dose rate at Hiroshima and Nagasaki upon the effects of particular dose intervals. Dose rates did vary because the time interval (up to tens of seconds for most of the gamma radiation from the buoyantly rising fireball) over which the initial nuclear radiation was emitted was only a weak function of distance, whereas the doses were a strong function of distance. Because single strands of DNA in each body cell are naturally broken about twice a second in each cell and are naturally repaired, the dose rate variations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have been enough to have had some effect on cancer induction. In any case, knowledge of the averaged dose rates are vital for comparison with other human cancer induction data where the dose rate was different.

The statistics in the paper by Chen and others has been alleged to apply to a younger age group than the general population, affecting the significance of the data, although in other ways the data are more valid than Hiroshima and Nagasaki data extrapolations to low doses. For instance, the radiation cancer scare mongering of survivors of high doses in Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been prejudiced in the sense of preventing a blind to avoid “anti-placebo” effect, e.g. increased fear, psychological stress and worry about the long term effects of radiation, and associated behaviour. The 1958 book about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, “Formula for Death”, makes the point that highly irradiated survivors often smoked more, in the belief that they were doomed to die from radiation induced cancer anyway. Therefore, the fear culture of the irradiated survivors would statistically be expected to result in a deviancy from normal behaviour, in some cases increasing the cancer risks above those due purely to radiation exposure.

For up-to-date data and literature discussions on the effects of DNA repair enzymes on preventing cancers from low-dose rate radiation, please see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_hormesis

See the earlier post, linked here, and also the post here on the history of the low-level effects exaggeration. The linear non-threshold (LNT) anti-civil defence dogma results from ignoring the vitally important effects of the dose rate on cancer induction, which have been known and published in papers by Mole and a book by Loutit for about 50 years; the current dogma which is falsely based on merely the total dose, thus ignoring the time-dependent ability of protein P53 and other to cancer-prevention mechanisms to repair broken DNA segments. This is particularly the case for double strand breaks (which form about 4% of radiation induced DNA breaks, and 0.007% of spontaneous breaks at body temperature, i.e. typically 15 natural double strand breaks per cell per day), where the whole double helix gets broken; the repair of single strand breaks is less time-dependent because there is no risk of the broken single strand being joined to the wrong end of a broken DNA segment. Repair is only successful in preventing cancer if the broken ends are rapaired correctly before too many unrepaired breaks have accumulated in a short time; if too many double strand breaks occur quickly, segments can be incorrectly 'repaired' with double strand breaks being miss-matched to the wrong segments ends, possibly inducing cancer if the resulting somatic cell can then undergo division successfully without apoptosis. In these earlier posts, we saw how the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) website was covering up the scientific effects on radiation and presenting false information as propaganda to exaggerate the effects of nuclear weapons and thus devalue civil defence. Now they have removed some of the offensive material and put up some facts (however notice that they omit error-bars from their data points, so they are still not following strictly scientific protocol):



Above: the new graph on the Radiation Effects Research Foundation website (note that the unit 1 Gy = Gray = 1 Joule/kilogram of deposited radiation energy in the target material = 100 cGy = 100 rads), showing the non-linear radiation effects of leukemia, the biggest radiation cancer problem (but notice that this curve only applies to one age group and one year after exposure, and is just a carefully selected subset of the data they now have which we will examine later; notice also how they literally cover-up the latest 2002 DS02 dosimetry data points for low doses, with irrelevant obsolete data points from the superseded 1986 DS86 dosimetry report!):

'As of the year 2000, there were 204 leukemia deaths among 49,204 Life Span Study survivors with a bone marrow dose of at least 0.005 Gy, an excess of 94 cases (46%) attributable to A-bomb radiation. In contrast to dose-response patterns for other cancers [which are generally more survivable and show far less radiation effects response anyway], that for leukemia appears to be nonlinear; low doses may be less effective than would be predicted by a simple linear dose response.'




Above: graph using earlier 1982 data, demonstrating why leukemia is so important: it shows a greater dose-effects response than other cancers. Solid cancers tend to respond better to treatment than leukemia. Notice the log-log scales (with marked discontinuity to linear scale where zero dose is indicated, since of course zero does not appear on a logarithmic axis): this log-log scale is needed to clearly show the effects at low doses, where the results are more accurate due to more people being exposed to lower doses than higher doses. The new presentation tries to cover-up the effects of low doses by using linear (not logarithmic) graph axes! It is very important to emphasise the two essential reasons why the data for low doses is more accurate:

(1) the dosimetry is more accurate for lower doses (the average shielding of survivor is less at low doses, for obvious reasons, making dosimetry far more accurate), and
(2) the sample size of exposed people is bigger than at high doses.

There is evidence that the dosimetry is inaccurate for high doses from the curve of temporary epilation (hair loss) versus dose, which we will discuss later. The problem with dosimetry at the high doses, near ground zero, is that the relatively few survivors at high doses tended to have substantial radiation protection by buildings, so the shielding calculations (which were not checked against atmospheric nuclear test data like the free-field dose data) were very important for survivors with high doses, but were not important for survivors with lower doses (where many people survived despite being outdoors and relatively unprotected). The larger number of people exposed to lower doses also makes the effects curve more accurate at lower doses than at higher doses, because statistically the larger sample at low doses is less likely to be in error due to mistakes in the locations of survivors than the smaller sample for higher doses. These facts would make the lower dose data more accurate, and is why there should be error bars on the data points to show which parts of the data are the most accurate: but the RERF is omitting error bars from data points!

The illustrated ABC Dose/Dose Rate Model that predicts the beneficial effects of radiation and the threshold is described in its formative stages in an earliest post (linked here): this model includes constants A, B and C, and dose or dose rate D, and predicts beneficial effects from low doses or low dose rates by a natural exponential term (beneficial effect = A*e-BD where A is the cancer risk at zero dose or dose rate D, and B is a constant) which, when summed with the usual linear no-threshold curve for high doses/rates, produces:

(A) the observed small benefit of very low doses/rates,
(B) the threshold dose/rate, and then
(C) the linear response at high doses/rates, which is why it can be called an ABC Dose Model (obviously the linear response curve must break down at very high doses because the risk of 1 person getting cancer can never exceed 100%).


There should be two versions of the model, one for acute doses and one for dose rates (chronic exposure). The dose rates involved for initial nuclear radiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were very high, since most of the radiation was received within a minute. Similar doses received at lower dose rates would not overwork DNA repair mechanisms so much, so they should allow greater repair of DNA and greater beneficial effects by stimulation of the repair mechanisms (like regular workouts at a gym; building up strength).

This model is based on the review, in 2005, of the mechanism behind the Hiroshima and Nagasaki data at low doses, by L. E. Feinendegen in his paper, 'Evidence for beneficial low level radiation effects and radiation hormesis' in the British Journal of Radiology, vol. 78, pp. 3-7:

'Low doses in the mGy range [1 mGy = 0.1 rad, since 1 Gray = 1 Joule/kg = 100 rads] cause a dual effect on cellular DNA. One is a relatively low probability of DNA damage per energy deposition event and increases in proportion to the dose. At background exposures this damage to DNA is orders of magnitude lower than that from endogenous sources, such as reactive oxygen species. The other effect at comparable doses is adaptive protection against DNA damage from many, mainly endogenous, sources, depending on cell type, species and metabolism. Adaptive protection causes DNA damage prevention and repair and immune stimulation. It develops with a delay of hours, may last for days to months, decreases steadily at doses above about 100 mGy to 200 mGy and is not observed any more after acute exposures of more than about 500 mGy. Radiation-induced apoptosis and terminal cell differentiation also occur at higher doses and add to protection by reducing genomic instability and the number of mutated cells in tissues. At low doses reduction of damage from endogenous sources by adaptive protection maybe equal to or outweigh radiogenic damage induction. Thus, the linear-no-threshold (LNT) hypothesis for cancer risk is scientifically unfounded and appears to be invalid in favour of a threshold or hormesis. This is consistent with data both from animal studies and human epidemiological observations on low-dose induced cancer. The LNT hypothesis should be abandoned and be replaced by a hypothesis that is scientifically justified and causes less unreasonable fear and unnecessary expenditure.'




Above: non-cancerous effects of radiation show low dose benefits and threshold evidence.

Notice how in their leukemia effects curve, RERF deliberately cover-up the new DS02 data points using old obsolete and irrelevant DS86 data points! But since they're abusing the earlier DS86 data, let's look at some facts in that DS86 data that they want to hush up:



Above: Y. Shimizu, et al., Life Span Study Report II, Part 2, Cancer Mortality in the Years 1950-1985 Based on the Recently Revised Doses (DS86), Radiation Effects Research Foundation, RERF-TR-5-88. You can see that small doses up to 5 rads have no effect either way on the leukemia risk, while 6-9 rads in this data seems to cause a reduction in normal leukemia risk from 0.17% to 0.12%. Doses which exceed this are harmful: the P53 repair mechanism was saturated and could not repair radiation induced damage to DNA due to the rate it occurred at the higher doses.

DS86 and DS02 in the RERF curve above refer to the 1986 and 2002 dosimetry systems, which are nuclear radiation transport codes developed originally for predicting the effects of nuclear weapons. The 2002 dosimetry system for Hiroshima and Nagasaki was validated against the measured radiation doses from the 500 kt pure fission IVY-KING nuclear air burst at Eniwetok Atoll, as well as against the early Nevada tests of heavy implosion devices, very similar in design to the Nagasaki bomb: RANGER-FOX, BUSTER JANGLE-CHARLIE, and BUSTER JANGLE-DOG. (Reference: DS02 dosimetry report, pages 167-8.) It was also accurately validated for neutrons by comparing neutron induced residual radioactivity measurements in various impurities in structural steel and other materials in the cities at various distances with the amounts of neutron induced activity predicted by the computer code, and for gamma radiation doses the model was accurately validated by thermoluminescence of crystalline materials in roof tiles and such like (gamma radiation exposure causes electron displacements in crystals, and thus rearranges the crystal structure; this trapped energy can subsequently be emitted as light when the crystal is heated years later, allowing many crystalline materials to behave as accurate gamma dosimeters after correction for background radiation by correlation with similar materials which were at distances that did not receive bomb radiation).



Above: 'Sex and Civil Defense' unhelpfully tries to use humour to discredit lying propaganda hype on the genetic effects of radiation, published in the February 1983 issue of the Journal of Civil Defense page 10, linked here. However, there is no humour to be found in the sad facts about lying radiation propaganda and its effects on the world. Because the scientific community were unable to communicate the facts efficiently against pseudo-scientific propaganda, over 100,000 human lives were lost by abortions after Chernobyl: in 1995, environmentalist Michael Allaby stated on pages 191-7 of his book Facing the Future: the Case for Science (Bloomsbury, London):

'The clear aim of the anti-nuclear movement is to silence all opposition ... theirs are now the only voices heard ... In the Gomel district ... which was one of the most heavily contaminated [after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986], the death rate per thousand newborn babies was 16.3 in 1985, 13.4 in 1986, and 13.1 in 1987; in Kiev region the figures ... were, respectively, 15.5, 12.2, and 12.1.'


The International Atomic Energy Authority has reported that over 100,000 excess abortions were performed throughout Western Europe after the Chernobyl accident (reference: L. E. Ketchum, Lessons of Chernobyl: SNM members try to decontaminate world threatened by fallout, Part I [Newsline], J. Nucl. Med., vol. 28, 1987, pp. 413-22).

Therefore, unjustified fear of radiation promoted by people with axes to grind is not 'harmless scare-mongering quackery for promoting terrorism by communist or other groups of dictatorial thugs', but it has been proved by experience to be nefarious; costing many, many human lives. We rightly denounce the pseudoscience of Nazi eugenics for the Holocaust and we denounce the flawed Marxist utopian ideology which needs to be fostered on people by Stalinism for killing more innocent human beings than the Holocaust in the purges, so scientifically we must place the lethal effects of pseudoscience on low level radiation for political purposes into the same category of fanatical dogma and groupthink that murdered so many people. The lesson? Pseudoscience, when widely promoted and made into mainstream dogma, can result in evil consequences.

‘Today we have a population of 2,383 [radium dial painter] cases for whom we have reliable body content measurements. . . . All 64 bone sarcoma [cancer] cases occurred in the 264 cases with more than 10 Gy [1,000 rads], while no sarcomas appeared in the 2,119 radium cases with less than 10 Gy.’


- Dr Robert Rowland, Director of the Center for Human Radiobiology, Bone Sarcoma in Humans Induced by Radium: A Threshold Response?, Proceedings of the 27th Annual Meeting, European Society for Radiation Biology, Radioprotection colloquies, Vol. 32CI (1997), pp. 331-8.



Dr Philip Abelson, Editor Emeritus of Science journal, in an editorial on 'Risk Assessments of Low-Level Exposures' published in Science, vol. 265, 9 September 1994 issue, p. 1507, wrote:

'The current mode of extrapolating high-dose to low-dose effects is erroneous for both chemicals and radiation. Safe levels of exposure exist. The public has been needlessly frightened and deceived, and hundreds of billions of dollars wasted. A hard-headed, rapid examination of phenomena occurring at low exposures should have a high priority.'


J. Strzelczyk, W. Potter and Z. Zdrojewicz state in their paper, 'Rad-By-Rad (Bit-By-Bit): Triumph of Evidence Over Activities Fostering Fear of Radiogenic Cancers at Low Doses', Dose Response, vol. 5 (2007), issue 4, pp. 275-283:

'Large segments of Western populations hold sciences in low esteem. This trend became particularly pervasive in the field of radiation sciences in recent decades. The resulting lack of knowledge, easily filled with fear that feeds on itself, makes people susceptible to prevailing dogmas. Decades-long moratorium on nuclear power in the US, resentment of "anything nuclear", and delay/refusal to obtain medical radiation procedures are some of the societal consequences. The problem has been exacerbated by promulgation of the linear-no-threshold (LNT) dose response model by advisory bodies such as the ICRP, NCRP and others. This model assumes no safe level of radiation and implies that response is the same per unit dose regardless of the total dose. The most recent (June 2005) report from the National Research Council, BEIR VII (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) continues this approach and quantifies potential cancer risks at low doses by linear extrapolation of risk values obtained from epidemiological observations of populations exposed to high doses, 0.2 Sv to 3 Sv. It minimizes the significance of a lack of evidence for adverse effects in populations exposed to low doses, and discounts documented beneficial effects of low dose exposures on the human immune system. The LNT doctrine is in direct conflict with current findings of radiobiology and important features of modern radiation oncology.

'Fortunately, these aspects are addressed in-depth in another major report—issued jointly in March 2005 by two French Academies, of Sciences and of Medicine. The latter report is much less publicized, and thus it is a responsibility of radiation professionals, physicists, nuclear engineers, and physicians to become familiar with its content and relevant studies, and to widely disseminate this information. To counteract biased media, we need to be creative in developing means of sharing good news about radiation with co-workers, patients, and the general public.'



W. L. Chen, Y. C. Luan, M. C. Shieh, S. T. Chen, H. T. Kung, K. L. Soong, Y. C. Yeh, T. S. Chou, S. H. Mong, J. T. Wu, C. P. Sun, W. P. Deng, M. F. Wu, and M. L. Shen, ‘Is Chronic Radiation an Effective Prophylaxis Against Cancer?’, published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 2004, page 6, available in PDF format here:


‘An extraordinary incident occurred 20 years ago in Taiwan. Recycled steel, accidentally contaminated with cobalt-60 ([low dose rate, gamma radiation emitter] half-life: 5.3 y), was formed into construction steel for more than 180 buildings, which 10,000 persons occupied for 9 to 20 years. They unknowingly received radiation doses that averaged 0.4 Sv, a collective dose of 4,000 person-Sv. Based on the observed seven cancer deaths, the cancer mortality rate for this population was assessed to be 3.5 per 100,000 person-years. Three children were born with congenital heart malformations, indicating a prevalence rate of 1.5 cases per 1,000 children under age 19.


‘The average spontaneous cancer death rate in the general population of Taiwan over these 20 years is 116 persons per 100,000 person-years. Based upon partial official statistics and hospital experience, the prevalence rate of congenital malformation is 23 cases per 1,000 children. Assuming the age and income distributions of these persons are the same as for the general population, it appears that significant beneficial health effects may be associated with this chronic radiation exposure. ...’





Above: the harmful effects of radiation are approximately linear but there is another effect which also needs to be incorporated into the overall dose-effects curve for radiation, even where the dose rate is high as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki initial nuclear exposure lasting under a minute. This extra effect is the increased stimulation of DNA repair and self-destruction enzymes, which work faster when they detect the free radicals and hydrogen peroxide formed by radiation hitting cellular water, preventing the usual cancer incidence occurring at low doses. This beneficial effect is similar to the hormesis effect that most vitamins and certain minerals have on us: too much sodium kills you, but too little sodium kills you because it’s needed for electrolyte balance. There is a range over which the dose has a benefit: outside that range, it is bad. The radiation hormesis effect exponentially reduces the natural cancer incidence as dose increases, while the harmful component of the overall effect of the dose is more simple and rises linearly. The net result is a curve that dips into negative effects (i.e. benefits of reduced risk, not harmful effects) for a while at low doses, before hitting a threshold equal to the zero dose incidence, and then rising at higher doses into harmful overall results.

Zbigniew Jaworowski, 'Radiation Risk and Ethics: Health Hazards, Prevention Costs, and Radiophobia', Physics Today, April 2000, pp. 89-90:


‘... it is important to note that, given the effects of a few seconds of irradiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, a threshold near 200 mSv may be expected for leukemia and some solid tumors. [Sources: UNSCEAR, Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation, New York, 1994; W. F. Heidenreich, et al., Radiat. Environ. Biophys., vol. 36 (1999), p. 205; and B. L. Cohen, Radiat. Res., vol. 149 (1998), p. 525.] For a protracted lifetime natural exposure, a threshold may be set at a level of several thousand millisieverts for malignancies, of 10 grays for radium-226 in bones, and probably about 1.5-2.0 Gy for lung cancer after x-ray and gamma irradiation. [Sources: G. Jaikrishan, et al., Radiation Research, vol. 152 (1999), p. S149 (for natural exposure); R. D. Evans, Health Physics, vol. 27 (1974), p. 497 (for radium-226); H. H. Rossi and M. Zaider, Radiat. Environ. Biophys., vol. 36 (1997), p. 85 (for radiogenic lung cancer).] The hormetic effects, such as a decreased cancer incidence at low doses and increased longevity, may be used as a guide for estimating practical thresholds and for setting standards. ...


‘Though about a hundred of the million daily spontaneous DNA damages per cell remain unrepaired or misrepaired, apoptosis, differentiation, necrosis, cell cycle regulation, intercellular interactions, and the immune system remove about 99% of the altered cells. [Source: R. D. Stewart, Radiation Research, vol. 152 (1999), p. 101.] ...


‘[Due to the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986] as of 1998 (according to UNSCEAR), a total of 1,791 thyroid cancers in children had been registered. About 93% of the youngsters have a prospect of full recovery. [Source: C. R. Moir and R. L. Telander, Seminars in Pediatric Surgery, vol. 3 (1994), p. 182.] ... The highest average thyroid doses in children (177 mGy) were accumulated in the Gomel region of Belarus. The highest incidence of thyroid cancer (17.9 cases per 100,000 children) occurred there in 1995, which means that the rate had increased by a factor of about 25 since 1987.


‘This rate increase was probably a result of improved screening [not radiation!]. Even then, the incidence rate for occult thyroid cancers was still a thousand times lower than it was for occult thyroid cancers in nonexposed populations (in the US, for example, the rate is 13,000 per 100,000 persons, and in Finland it is 35,600 per 100,000 persons). Thus, given the prospect of improved diagnostics, there is an enormous potential for detecting yet more [fictitious] "excess" thyroid cancers. In a study in the US that was performed during the period of active screening in 1974-79, it was determined that the incidence rate of malignant and other thyroid nodules was greater by 21-fold than it had been in the pre-1974 period. [Source: Z. Jaworowski, 21st Century Science and Technology, vol. 11 (1998), issue 1, p. 14.]’



Here is a brief explanation from the December 2002 issue of Discover magazine article Is radiation good for you? by Will Hively:

‘Any idiot should be able to poison a plant. That's what Edward Calabrese thought in 1966 as a junior at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts. He was in a plant physiology class at the time, and his lab group had been told to dose some peppermint with an herbicide called Phosfon. ... the lesson backfired. Instead of shriveling, the crop grew green and luxuriant. "Either you treated the plants with the wrong chemical, or you mislabeled them," the professor said. "God forbid, you discovered something new."

‘When Calabrese next tried to repeat the experiment, the peppermint shriveled as expected. But the professor had been right: Calabrese had discovered something new. When he sprayed the plants with a diluted dose of the poison, as he had done mistakenly the first time, the plants thrived. By every measure—height, weight, root length—they did about 40 percent better than those that did not get Phosfon. ...

‘Poisons that injure or kill at high doses can have the opposite effect at low doses, he says, and the paradox holds true for every conceivable measure of health—growth, fertility, life span, and immune and mental function. The effect is known as hormesis, from the Greek word for excite. "The implications," he says, "are enormous."

‘During the past decade, Calabrese has combed through tens of thousands of studies for examples of the effect, and he has found them in impressive numbers. Worms exposed to excessive heat, rats given a little dioxin, mice and humans exposed to low-level radiation—all have lived longer, in controlled experiments, than they would have without the toxins. ...

‘It also becomes scary. Using toxins to improve health sounds both irresponsible and suspiciously convenient for polluters. If a little dioxin is good for you, why bother to clean up the Hudson River? If a touch of arsenic can fend off cancer, why lower the allowable amount in drinking water, as the Environmental Protection Agency has urged? "This is one of the major awakenings we are going through," Calabrese says. "We really don't see any exceptions, and that's hard for people to deal with. But I have so much data—this is so overwhelmingly convincing—that I don't think anyone rational could deny that hormesis exists." ... Paracelsus, a 16th-century Swiss-German pharmacologist ... declared: "All things are poison and nothing is without poison. It is the dose that makes a thing a poison." This was common sense of a sort: We all know that even essential nutrients like sodium become toxic in high doses. ...

‘Poisons, the psychiatrist Rudolf Arndt and the pharmacologist Hugo Schulz declared, simply have a lower threshold of toxicity than other substances; taken in the right quantity, they can do good. As the Arndt-Schulz law put it: Poisons are stimulants in small doses. Arndt based his conclusions on animal experiments, Schulz on studies of yeast fermentation. ...

‘Soon after the discovery of X rays in 1895, researchers began publishing reports of radiation hormesis, claiming, for example, that low doses stimulated plants. At the same time, some quacks began touting radioactive patent medicines for every conceivable human ailment. It's not clear how many people exposed themselves to such elixirs, but the fad came to an abrupt halt with several well-publicized poisonings. In 1932, for instance, industrialist Eben Byers died from bone cancer presumably caused by his regular intake of radium supplements. Meanwhile, other researchers had shown that radiation causes chromosome damage in fruit flies—the higher the dose, the more mutations.

‘After World War II, physicists and others unhappy with the spread of nuclear weapons fanned the fear of radiation. By the time Calabrese's generation went to school, all mention of hormesis had dropped out of textbooks. ...

‘The general principle behind hormesis ... is homeostasis: the tendency of an organism to keep itself on an even keel. We respond to a rise in temperature by sweating. We respond to invading microbes by cranking up the immune system. Hormesis occurs when our bodies overcompensate, reaching a new and healthier equilibrium. When the immune system "remembers" foreign proteins, for instance, it can gear up quicker to cope with similar challenges, and the organism becomes more resistant to disease. Friedrich Nietzsche wasn't far off the mark, hormesis researchers say: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Some would even cite weightlifting, running, and character-building experiences as examples of stresses that produce hormesis. ...

‘Drugs typically lock onto receptors that signal the body to produce more of some needed chemical—a hormone, say—or to remove it from circulation. If low doses of poisons act just like medicines, then they should affect the same pathways. Calabrese and Baldwin have identified about 30 types of receptors that drugmakers target. They regulate important functions such as cell division, immune responses, and nerve signals, and they seem likely places where toxins would act. ...

‘As for immune-system stimulants, the best example may be radiation. While most scientists dismissed radiation treatments as quackery after World War II, a handful continued to test it as a way to prevent metastasis in cancer patients. In 1976 and 1979, two small clinical trials at Harvard found that low-dose radiation boosted four-year metastatic cancer survival rates from 40 to 70 percent and from 52 to 74 percent. Five years ago, a study at Tohoku University in Japan reported that patients who received low-dose radiation had an 84 percent chance of surviving for 12 years; those who didn't receive it had only a 50 percent chance of surviving nine years. ...

‘Myron Pollycove ... finds that low-level radiation benefits the body in at least two ways: It stimulates the immune system in the constant search-and-destroy mission against cancerous cells, and it stimulates DNA repair. ... all radiation causes damage, even at low doses, but ... the stimulation it provides more than compensates [at low doses] for the damage. For cancer therapy, they recommend the Japanese procedure, in which patients first get conventional high-dose radiation and/or chemotherapy to kill off tumors, then follow it up with low-dose treatments to stimulate hormesis and fight metastasis.’


THE FACTS ABOUT DNA REPAIR MECHANISMS AND LOW LEVEL RADIATION

The structure of DNA was of course discovered using DNA in a solid crystalline form by X-ray diffraction (Crick and Watson, 1953). However, in the human body DNA is not in that form but is immersed in water at 37 oC and is therefore continually being buffeted by Brownian motion from other molecules. The DNA strands in every single cell on the human body are naturally broken (single strand breaks) 200,000 times every single day, or 2.3 times per second! About 4% of the total number of radiation-induced DNA breaks are double strand breaks (the DNA molecule is a double helix, with two strands in it), and 0.007% of spontaneous DNA breaks are double strand breaks. To prevent every cell rapidly turning cancerous, the human body dedicates a great deal of effort to repairing the damage occurring all the time.

It is well known that the rate at which mammals breathe is depends in part upon the concentration of harmful carbon dioxide in the air. Similarly, the rate at which DNA damage is repaired depends partly upon the rate at which damage is done to DNA.

In the late 1970s, proteins like P53, involved in the repair of the broken DNA strands, were discovered. In the 1960s, French studies were carried out on the effect of background radiation upon protozoans shielded from the natural background radiation by 5 and 10 cm of lead: they grew at 60% and 40%, respectively, of the natural growth rates for normal background radiation! This was the first solid evidence that indicated that background gamma radiation is actually beneficial to life, like vitamins in small doses (vitamins are harmful in excessive doses, but essential in small doses). Soon there was evidence from mice which confirmed this, but obviously human evidence was needed, because DNA repair mechanisms may differ between species:




In 1993, Dr Sohei Kondo's book Health Effects of Low-Level Radiation (Kinki University Press, Osaka) reported two Chinese studies, over 10 years, comparing cancer rates in 74,000 people exposed to 3.5 times the normal background radiation for 16 generations, with a control group of 77,000 people who were exposed to normal background radiation. The group exposed to 3.5 times normal background radiation had the lowest overall cancer rate.

Then, in 1995, James Muckerheide's report 'The Health Effects of Low-Level Radiation: Science, Data, and Corrective Action', was published in Nuclear News, vol. 38, pp. 26-34. Muckerheide presented smaller sample sizes than the Chinese study (12,918 people in Kerala, India, exposed to 4 times normal background, and a control group of 5,938 exposed to normal background), but at least confirmed that there was no rise in cancer rates in the more highly exposed group. Muckerheide has further interesting reports here, here, here, and here. (However, see the concluding notice to this blog post about the harmful effects of high-LET radiation like alpha particles from radon gas which deposit their energy over such a short distance in tissue they overload DNA repair mechanisms and probably have no threshold; some advocates of beneficial effects of radiation do not have reliable data. The beneficial effects of low-LET gamma radiation described in this post do not necessarily apply to internal emitters of high-LET radiation like alpha and beta particles; although we will discuss the evidence from the radium dial painters which shows that there were no bone cancers or leukemias below a threshold alpha emitting radium intake, which was accurately determined from the radioactivity of bone samples after death.)

We shall now discuss the effects documented in the new online effects summary (PDF document). First of all, DS02 reassesses the Hiroshima yield and burst altitude to be 16 kt at 600 metres above ground zero (the 'hypocenter'). For Nagasaki, DS02 uses 21 kt yield at 503 metres burst altitude. We'll discuss the new dose-versus-distance and dose-shielding data later on, after discussing the key effects data as a function of the latest DS02 dose data.

ACUTE RADIATION EFFECTS: HAIR LOSS (EPILATION) AND THE SYNERGISTIC LD50 DOSE FOR ALREADY UNDERNOURISHED, THERMAL FLASH BURNED, BLAST DEBRIS LACERATED NUCLEAR WEAPON CASUALTIES



The summary document states on page 11: ‘Early estimates from survivor interviews measured the LD50 in terms of the distance from the hypocenter at which 50% of people survived: 1,000 to 1,200 meters in Hiroshima and 1,000 to 1,300 meters in Nagasaki. Dose estimation was not possible at that time because of insufficient shielding information. Later analyses of extensive records at RERF were able to make estimates of shielding and to calculate that a bone marrow dose of 2.7 to 3.1 Gy caused 50% mortality within 60 days (with the new DS02 dosimetry system, the corresponding doses would be 2.9 to 3.3 Gy). The data came from about 7,600 survivors in 2,500 households exposed inside Japanese houses located within 1,600 meters of the hypocenter in Hiroshima. Survivors inside Japanese houses received special scrutiny because the homogeneity of such housing structures allowed better estimation of individual radiation doses. The closer one was to the hypocenter, however, the higher the radiation dose received and the more severe the effects of blast and heat in terms of destruction of houses and subsequent fires. It was thus impossible to classify deaths that occurred within a few weeks after the bombings as due to radiation, injuries, or burns.’

Hence, the DS02 measured LD50/60 (lethal dose for 50% for acute radiation syndrome effects occurring within 60 days of exposure) for thermal flash burned, blast debris lacerated nuclear weapon casualties who are suffering from malnutrition due to severe food rationing before exposure, is 290-330 cGy.

Page 11 adds that using this data, 'together with other information from cases involving exposure to accidental radiation or radiation therapy, the United Nations’ Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation has estimated the bone marrow LD50/60 at around 2.5 Gy when little or no medical assistance is available and at 5 Gy or more with extensive medical care.'


This is important: these LD50/60 estimates are based on data from radiation exposure to people malnourished with thermal flash burns and blast debris laceration trauma (in the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki casualties), and very ill cancer patients in the case of whole-body gamma radiotherapy data. This is why the figures are so low. In addition, note that the bone marrow dose is only a fraction of the free-in-air dose, because bone marrow is substantially shielded against radiation by the human body (by the soft tissue and also of course by the bone which surrounds the marrow). These two factors account for why the LD50/60 doses reported are relatively low compared to those for healthy people where the exposure is measured in air (by radiation meters) and not caclulated for the shielded bone marrow.

LONG-TERM CANCER EFFECTS



Above: the non-linear dose-response leukemia effects curve published for DS02 data. Page 11 of the summary reports that cataracts also may show a non-linear or theshold dose-effect response: ‘It is unclear how frequently radiation cataracts advance to severe visual impairment, although we have documented in a recent study about a 20–30% excess at 1 Gy of cataracts that prompted cataract surgery. A low-dose threshold may exist below which radiation cataract does not arise, although our recent analyses suggest that there may not be a threshold, or if one exists, it is somewhere in the range of 0 to 0.8 Gy.’



Above: effects of age at time of exposure, and also age attained in the years after exposure, on the leukemia risk for a dose of 100 cGy (1 Gy). Because the immune systems of very young people are still in the process of development, they are relatively vulnerable to cancer and infections.



Above: cynical cover-up (which we have highlighted with a red box) in the table of data published: what they have done is cover-up the threshold or beneficial immune system boosting by low doses, by lumping together all the 0.005-0.1 Gy (0.5-10 cGy or 'rads') dose effects data, instead of breaking it down as they previously did! This is a cynical cover-up of low-dose effects data from the largest irradiated survivor group (30,387 survivors)! By lumping the results together, they manage to get an excess leukemia of just 4 survivors, making their statistics fit fashionable prejudice. If they hadn't lumped together the statistics for that group of 30,387 survivors but had broken down the doses within it, the results would have shown - like earlier results - a 'politically incorrect' threshold and beneficial effects from low doses. So it is a case of the abuse of science. This criticism also applies to the lumping of solid cancer data into the same dose range. Page 17 of the summary states:

‘Excess leukemia was the earliest delayed effect of radiation exposure seen in A-bomb survivors. Japanese physician Takuso Yamawaki in Hiroshima first noted an increase of leukemia cases in his clinical practice in the late 1940s. This led to the establishment of a registry of leukemia and related disorders and to the initial reports on elevated leukemia risks published in the early 1950s. Risks for radiation-induced leukemia differ in two major respects from those for most solid cancers. First, radiation causes a larger percent increase in leukemia rates (but a smaller number of cases since leukemia is relatively rare, even in heavily exposed survivors), and second, the increase appears sooner after exposure, especially in children. The excess leukemias began appearing about two years after radiation exposure, and the excess peaked at about 6–8 years after exposure. Today, little if any excess of leukemia is occurring. Because the LSS cohort was based on the 1950 national census, quantitative descriptions of leukemia risks in A-bomb survivors have been based on cases diagnosed from that year on. As of the year 2000, there were 204 leukemia deaths among 49,204 LSS survivors with a bone marrow dose of at least 0.005 Gy, an excess of 94 cases (46%) attributable to A-bomb radiation (Table 4). In contrast to dose-response patterns for other cancers, that for leukemia appears to be nonlinear; low doses may be less effective than would be predicted by a simple linear dose response. Even for doses in the 0.2 to 0.5 Gy range, however, risk is elevated (Figure 7).’

What they are still doing is for political expediency reasons, deliberately ignoring the effects below 0.2 Gy (20 cGy), which they should be studying closely: this is where the threshold and non-linear response is to be found, and this is where the data is most reliable since there were a vast number of survivors exposed to low doses, contrasted to few survivors from very high doses! Dose estimates at low doses are more reliable (see the suggested dose error at high doses in the graph of epilation effects, above) than at high doses. So the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, which is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, is still issuing propaganda.

Page 19 states: ‘In an unexposed Japanese population, the lifetime risk of leukemia is about seven cases per 1,000 people. For typical survivors in the LSS, who received 0.005 Gy or greater (a mean dose of about 0.2 Gy), the lifetime leukemia risk increases to about 10 cases per 1,000 (or the relative risk is nearly 1.5).’

NO GENETIC EFFECTS WERE OBSERVED

Page 30 of the summary states: ‘While high doses in experimental animals can cause various disorders in offspring (birth defects, chromosome aberrations, etc.), no evidence of clinical or subclinical effects has yet been seen in children of A-bomb survivors.’

Page 46 of the summary adds: ‘One of the earliest concerns in the aftermath of the atomic bombings was how radiation might affect the children of survivors. Efforts to detect genetic effects began in the late 1940s and continue. Thus far, no evidence of increased genetic effects has been found.’

Naturally about 4% of all babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth, 2.7% are born with congenital abnormalities, and 0.011% are born blind due to genetic mutations. In the early days of genetic theory, the idea of dominant and recessive genes held sway. A gene is a section of DNA which carries the instructions for producing a specific protein.

A baby inherits genes from each parent, and while dominant genes always make their presence known, the effect of a recessive gene will only appear if both parents contribute the same recessive gene to the baby, i.e., if the baby has two copies of that recessive gene in each cell nucleus. It is now well established that no genes are entirely dominant or entirely recessive.

Examples of relatively dominant gene effects are haemophilia, which is sex-linked, and the Duchenne type of muscular dystrophy. However, most of the common genetic defects are mainly recessive in nature, such as colour blindness.

In 1950, Dr H. J. Muller and others reported in Genetics, vol. 35, p. 125, that a radiation dose of 390 rem (3.9 Sv or 3.9 Gy for gamma radiation) doubled the natural mutation rate for nine relatively recessive genes which produce visibly obvious effects in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). For mice (Mus musculus), the corresponding natural 'doubling dose', for seven visibly obvious relatively recessive genetic effects, was 50 rem. (W. L. Russell, Quantitative Biology, vol. 16, 1952, p. 327; T. C. Carter, et al., British Journal of Radiology, New Series, vol. 29, 1956, p. 106.) Hence, the mouse is 390/50 = 7.8 times more sensitive to radiation induced genetic damage than the fruit fly.

In 1956, C. F. Konzak and W. R. Singleton reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 42, p. 78, that using thermal neutrons on maize cereal pollen (Zea mays) gave a genetic doubling dose of just 28 rem, so that maize seemed to be 14 times as sensitive as the fruit fly (although this precise figure is suspect because of the relatively high biological effectiveness of neutron radiation, which is now known to be about 20 more effective than a similar dose of gamma rays).

With such a variation in the 'doubling dose' for natural genetic defects between species, it was widely feared (and hyped in the media) that the human genetic effects of large doses of radiation after a nuclear war may be disastrous for future generations. The effects were statistically calculated for a population of a given size, generation time, and assumed doubling dose: the genetic effects were simply the natural incidence multiplied up linearly by ratio of the received dose to the 'doubling dose' (it was usually assumed that the human was like a mouse and had a doubling dose was 50 rem). Relatively dominant genetic defects would show up in the first generation after radiation exposure, but the more recessive effects could be postponed for generations (until a baby inherited the same defective recessive gene from each parent).

However, serious problems with the linear dose-effects law for genetic damage were immediately evident. In 1954, H. J. Muller and others published a paper called 'A non-linear relation between X-ray dose and recovered lethal mutations' in Genetics, vol. 39, p. 741, which found evidence that the relationship between dose and the incidence of recessive lethal mutations in the fruit fly is extremely non-linear:

'... we may conclude that when the dose was quadrupled the frequency of lethals was not even doubled; that is, the frequency at the higher dose was less than half what it would have been on the linearity principle. ... This marked flattening of the lethal frequency-dosage curve at high doses is interpreted as an effect of selection, operating more strongly at higher doses to kill off preferentially, by chromosome breakage, the descendants of the more susceptible germ cells, in which recessive lethals had been induced at a higher frequency. It is inferred that the germ cells of the period in question are heterogeneous in their susceptibilities, and that there is a strong positive correlation between susceptibility to the chromosome-breaking and that to the recessive-lethal-inducing effect of X-rays.'

Thus, mutations to genes from very large doses are often accompanied by other damage to germ cell such as chromosome breakage, which 'weeds out' that particular germ cell from the potential gene pool. This discovery in 1954 - of an effect of DNA apoptosis, or programmed cell death in the fruit fly, reducing the observable genetic damage at high doses to way, way below what is predicted by a linear dose-effects law - has great significance for not just genetic but also cancer effects in human beings: when the DNA in a non-germ cell is seriously damaged by radiation it can be weeded out by apoptosis, instead of going on to divide and proliferate somatic effects like cancer.

In human beings, no radiation induced effects in descendants has occurred unless the mother was pregnant when irradiated (which is why pregnant mothers are not X-rayed); in the case of a pregnant mother receiving a large dose of radiation the effect is a spontaneous abortion. Notice that the RERF report doesn't give statistical data, to show whether genetic effects in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were actually reduced below the incidence in the control group, or whether they were just statistically insignificant. But, just as with cancer suppression by radiation, mechanisms do exist to suppress genetic effects using apoptosis, or programmed cell death, to the germ cells which are damaged by radiation.

CONTINUING FALSE PROPAGANDA OVER THE RADIOACTIVITY OF FIRESTORM SOOT RAINOUT



Above: false claims about soot-rain fallout from firestorm, on page 5 of a 'Basic Guide to Radiation and Health Sciences' booklet RERF have published, based on radiation prejudice, not scientific facts. In their more detailed summary of data, page 40 falsely claims: ‘Radioactive material in the bomb fireball ascended and cooled, a fraction falling as “black rain” which contaminated the ground (although the black rain was primarily soot particles from the extensive fires). Because of wind directions, the rain fell mainly in northern and western Hiroshima, with the highest measured gamma dose rates from fallout being in the Koi-Takasu area to the southwest, and in eastern Nagasaki, in the Nishiyama area. The maximum estimates of fallout dose from external exposure to gamma rays, assuming that a person remained in one place throughout life, are 0.01 to 0.03 Gy in Koi- Takasu, Hiroshima, and 0.2 to 0.4 Gy in Nishiyama, Nagasaki. [Notice the greater fallout dose in Nagasaki, which did not suffer a raging firestorm like Hiroshima!] The corresponding fallout doses at the hypocenters are believed to be only about 1/10 of these values.’

Page 48 adds: ‘The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs exploded 500 to 600 meters above the ground, and the explosions created huge fireballs that rose with ascending air currents. The material then cooled and started to fall with rain. Because of the wind, the rain did not fall directly on the hypocenters but rather in northwestern Hiroshima, in the Koi-Takasu area, and in eastern Nagasaki, in the Nishiyama area.’

In fact, the radioactive mushroom cloud was blown downwind, away from the fire and soot area, long before any moisture condensed on soot in the cool air above the fires to produce rain:

'About 20 minutes after the detonation of the nuclear bomb at Hiroshima, a mass fire developed showing many characteristics usually associated with fire storms. A wind blew toward the burning area of the city from all directions, reaching a maximum velocity of 30 to 40 miles per hour about 2 to 3 hours after the explosion, decreasing to light or moderate and variable in direction about 6 hours after. The wind was accompanied by intermittent rain, light over the center of the city and heavier about 3,500 to 5,000 feet (0.67 to 0.95 mile) to the north and west. Rain in these circumstances was apparently due to the condensation of moisture on particles from the fire when they reached a cooler area. ...' - The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 3rd ed., 1977, page 305.

The small amounts of fission products deposited on surrounding high hills were from the stem of the mushroom cloud (unlike Nevada tests, both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were beside the ocean, so both entrained - and carried to cooler higher altitudes - some sea level moist air containing tiny airborne salt crystals, which created a very small amount of stem salt slurry fallout as was also observed in Pacific air burst tests like KING and CHEROKEE: see the footnote to Table 1 on page 5 of Crocker, O'Connor and Freiling's report USNRDL-TR-899, Physical and Radiochemical Properties of Fallout Particles, 1965 and weapon test report WT-1317), and had nothing to do with the soot and moisture rainout that occurred during the firestorm an hour after the Hiroshima detonation, when the mushroom cloud was many miles downwind. The height attained by the mushroom cloud far exceeded the height attained, much later, by the cloud of soot and moisture due to the fires. The black rain is significant not because it was radioactive (it wasn't significantly contaminated), but because it shows that soot from mass fires tends to be hydroscopic, absorbs moisture and returns to the ground quickly, instead of blocking out the sun as claimed in 'nuclear winter' garbage (firestorms are only possible in wooden cities, and are not possible in modern brick and concrete cities, as proven by World War II data; in modern cities there are not enough ignition points, let alone enough flammable material, as firestorm expert George R. Stanbury proved in his analysis of firestorms at Hamburg and elsewhere). (For a different analysis debunking the 'nuclear winter' hoax of Sagan et al., see Brian Martin's article, 'Nuclear winter: science and politics', Science and Public Policy, Vol. 15, No. 5, October 1988, pp. 321-334.)

'We have studied the process of wet fallout from a tactical nuclear explosion due to scavenging of radioactivity by self-induced rain (rain produced by the explosion itself) using a numerical two-dimensional model of an axisymmetric cloud. Under mid-latitude summertime conditions and for yields of 20 to 100 kilotons, the model shows that self-induced rainout is not significant for low relative humidities, is very important for high relative humidities (> 80%), and is moderately important for relative humidities down to about 50%. When self-induced rainout occurs, it is heavy within a couple of kilometers of ground zero and peaks early in the episode. The model has successfully predicted observed radioactive self-induced rainout for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki detonations (both in the 20 kiloton range), and does not predict rain under conditions typical of U.S. tests in Nevada, where self-induced rainout has not been observed.'

- R. A. Carhart (Department of Physics, University of Illinois) and A. J. Policastro (Energy and Environmental Systems Division, Argonnne National Laboratory, 'Effects of relative humidity and yield on self-induced rainout from tactical nuclear explosions', Simulation, vol. 51, no. 5, pp. 191-194 (1988).





Above: measured neutron induced activity and fallout in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, from the DTRA. There are further reports here and here.

‘Nuclear winter’ lies debunked by Saddam Hussein in 1991

Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army invaded Kuwait and set all of its oil wells on fire as it was driven back into Iraq by American in 1991. Paul Crutzen who had started the nuclear winter myth in 1982 before Carl Sagan and others became involved, in 1991 predicted that the burning of Kuwait’s oil wells would cause a nuclear winter which would devastate the northern hemisphere:

‘The fears expressed last week centred around the cloud of soot that would result if Kuwait’s oil wells were set alight by Iraqi forces ... with effects similar to those of the “nuclear winter” ... Paul Crutzen, from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, has produced some rough calculations which predict a cloud of soot covering half of the Northern Hemisphere within 100 days. Crutzen ... estimates that temperatures beneath such a cloud could be reduced by 5-10 degrees C ...’

- Peter Aldhous, ‘Oil-well climate catastrophe?’, Nature, vol. 349 (1991), p. 96.

Dr Richard D. Small of Pacific-Sierra Research Corporation, California, responded in Nature, vol. 350 (1991), pp. 11-12, that 16,000 metric tons of actual soot is produced from 220,000 metric tons of oil burned every day, and anyway:

‘My estimates of the smoke produced by destruction of Kuwait’s oil wells and refineries and the smoke stabilization altitude do not support any of the purported impacts. The smoke is not injected high enough to spread over large areas of the Northern Hemisphere, nor is enough produced to cause a measurable temperature change or failure of the monsoons.’

It is significant that oil soot, being 69% elemental carbon, is the most effective particulate known for absorbing sunlight. The nuclear winter propaganda is a hoax. When you look at the data on liquid petroleum tanks exposed at Nevada nuclear tests, they did not rupture let alone ignite at the damaging overpressures which dented them, and which the nuclear winter propaganda people used in their calculations for the ignition of oil facilities! The nuclear winter hoax people started off by assuming that brick and concrete cities burn, and when that was debunked as unable to cause nuclear winter, they then exaggerated the ignition and effects of nuclear attacks on oil refineries.

Cression H. Kearny explained the following facts in the 1987 revised edition of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory book. Nuclear War Survival Skills (Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine), page 18:

‘Soviet propagandarists promptly exploited belief in unsurvivable “nuclear winter” ... because raging city firestorms are needed to inject huge amounts of smoke into the stratosphere ... according to one discredited theory ... the Soviets changed their descriptions of how a modern city will burn. Thus, in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory translation (ORNL-TR-2793) of Civil Defense, Second Edition (500,000 copies), Moscow, 1970, by Egorov, Shlyakhov and Alabin, we read: “Fires do not occur in zones of complete destruction ... that are characterized by an overpressure exceeding 0.5 kg/cm2 [7.1 psi or 49 kPa] ... because rubble is scattered and covers the burning structures. As a result, the rubble only smoulders, and fires as such do not occur. Firestoms destroyed the centers of Hamburg, Dresden, and Tokyo. The old-fashioned buildings of these cities contained large amounts of flammable materials ... In a free country, truth will out – although sometimes too late to effectively counter fast-hitting propaganda.’

HIROSHIMA (6 August 1945, 16 kt at 600 metres burst height) DS02 DOSIMETRY





NAGASAKI (9 August 1945, 21 kt yield at 503 metres burst height) DS02 DOSIMETRY





The DS02 report on page 167 states: ‘Delayed radiation is generated by the emission of neutrons and gamma rays from fission products in the fireball. The low air density in the fireball enhances the transport of these particles and results in their becoming a large contribution to the radiation fluences. For example, delayed radiation contributes more than one-half of the gamma-ray dose out to 1,500 m slant distance at both cities. At Hiroshima, the delayed neutrons add less than 10% to the dose and thermal activation and less than 5% to fast neutron activation at all ranges. However at Nagasaki, the delayed neutrons are significant, having their maximum contribution to thermal neutron activation (approximately 60%) at about 700 m slant range and to the neutron dose (approximately 40%) at the hypocenter. The delayed neutron contribution drops rapidly at distance, and at 2,500 m, it contributes less than 5% to either neutron dose or thermal neutron activation. Delayed neutrons contribute less than 10% to the Nagasaki fast neutron activation at all ranges. ...

‘The improved methods used to calculate the delayed radiation for this work were also used to improve the analysis of several Nevada and Pacific test shots. For those test shots, calculated activation results were compared with measurements of time-dependent and time-integrated neutron and gamma measurements. For example, calculations of time-dependent delayed gamma radiation of the Pacific test shot KING (Kaul and Egbert 1991) showed good agreement with measurements.’

The cited Kaul and Egbert references are:

D. C. Kaul and S. D. Egbert, Debris Gamma Dose Rate Calculations Using a Multi-Dimensional Hydrodynamic Model, presented at Cloud Program Review, DNA/SPWE Meeting held Logicon RDS, Los Angles, California, December 4-5, 1991.

D. C. Kaul, F. Dolatshahi, S. D. Egbert, J. A. Roberts, and W. H. Scott, The Development and Testing of the Air Transport of Radiation Code Version 6 (ATR). Washington, D.C.: Defense Nuclear Agency; DNA-TR-91-237; 1992.

DS02 RADIATION SHIELDING FACTORS FOR SURVIVORS PROTECTED BY BUILDINGS




COMPARISON OF DS02 FREE-IN-AIR DOSES IN HIROSHIMA TO THOSE IN NAGASAKI




Above: notice that the Nagasaki bomb (21 kt) produced the largest initial gamma radiation doses, but the Hiroshima bomb, despite its lower yield (16 kt), produced the largest neutron doses of the two weapons. This was due to fact that the bomb core of the Nagasaki bomb was surrounded by a lot of hydrogen nuclei (protons) due to the TNT surrounding the core of that implosion weapon. When neutrons hit protons, they lose a lot more of their energy than when they are scattered by very heavy nuclei such as the steel barrel of the Hiroshima gun-type assembly bomb.

This has a very important effect on the quality of the radiation from the two cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Neutron doses are found to be about 20 times as effective at producing cancers than gamma doses. This is because gamma rays tend to knock electrons flying by the Compton effect, but high energy neutrons knock protons flying when they hit hydrogen nuclei. Protons are heavy and can generally cause more damage to DNA than electrons, knocking whole chunks of DNA out rather than just inducing single strand breakage. It is also now clear that merely applying a 'relative biological effectiveness' factor of 20 or so for neutrons is not a complete solution to the difference in effects produced. I.e., neutron radiation is less likely to have a threshold and beneficial effects at low doses than gamma radiation.

For this reason, the RERF must publish separate analyses of the effects for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so that the exact differences in cancer rates, particularly leukemia, will be apparent and correlatable to the known differences in the neutron-to-gamma dose ratios in the two cities.

Because of the higher gamma-to-neutron dose ratio in Nagasaki than in Hiroshima, the effects of a threshold and also beneficial effects at low doses are predicted to be far greater in Nagasaki than in Hiroshima.

By lumping the data from both cities together, this vital effect is being covered up statistically by the RERF. The quality of the dosimetry now permits the data to be resolved in this way to learn more about the effects of radiation at low doses:

‘The results reported in this chapter are state-of-the-art. They were obtained using the best available codes and data and clearly represent the best available data of the air-over-ground neutron and gamma-ray radiation environments for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The agreement between the calculated and measured responses, as shown in the ensuing chapters, is notable. Achieving 10-20% agreement between a controlled measurement and calculation is generally quite acceptable. Achieving similar agreement between measured responses and calculations from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki events is remarkable.’ – Page 198 of the DS02 dosimetry report.

OUTDOOR GAMMA DOSE RATES AND GAMMA DOSES FROM NEUTRON-INDUCED ACTIVITY IN THE GROUND




Above: neutron induced gamma radiation in the ground. Page 40 of the summary states: ‘Doses due to induced radioactivity were highest at the hypocenters. Past investigations have suggested that the maximum cumulative doses of residual hypocenter radiation since the bombing are 0.8 Gy in Hiroshima and 0.3 to 0.4 Gy in Nagasaki. At 500 and 1,000 meters from the hypocenters, the respective estimates are about 1/10 and 1/100 of the hypocenter value. The induced radioactivity decayed very quickly with time. In fact, nearly 80% of the above doses were released within a day, about 10% between days 2 and 5, and the remaining 10% from day 6 onward. Considering the extensive fires near the hypocenters that prevented people from entering the cities until day 2, it seems unlikely that any person received more than 20% of the maximum induced doses (0.16 Gy in Hiroshima and 0.06 to 0.08 Gy in Nagasaki.’

EXAGGERATIONS OF THE EFFECTS AT HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI FOR POLITICAL REASONS SINCE 1945

Extract from a previous post: in 1950, the Top Secret British Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch report SA/16 concluded:

‘The wide publicity given to the appalling destruction caused by the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki has possibly tended to give an exaggerated impression of their effectiveness. Perhaps the best way to counteract this impression, and to help to get the atomic bomb to scale, is to consider the numbers of atomic bombs that would have to be dropped on this country and on Germany to have caused the same total amount of damage as was actually caused by attacks with high explosive and incendiary bombs.

‘During the last war a total of 1,300,000 tons [of bombs] were dropped on Germany by the Strategic Air Forces [of Britain and America]. If there were no increase in aiming accuracy, then to achieve the same amount of material damage (to houses, industrial and transportational targets, etc.) would have required the use of over 300 atomic bombs together with some 500,000 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs for targets too small to warrant the use of an atomic bomb ... the total of 300,000 civilian air raid deaths in Germany could have been caused by about 80 atomic bombs delivered with the accuracy of last war area attacks, or by about 20 atomic bombs accurately placed at the centres of large German cities ...’


This vital report, SA/16, was kept Top Secret for 8 years, and then Restricted for another 22 years. It was never published, for fear of undermining the value of the nuclear deterrent against Russian expansion.

CUMULATIVE BLAST WAVE PRESSURE REDUCTION BY DAMAGE CAUSED

*The average density of ground coverage by buildings in Hiroshima determined from aerial photographs of the target taken before detonation was 5,400 buildings per square kilometre (the values in most British cities vary from about 5,000 near the centre to 2,000 near the outer boundaries). It is recommended that the housing density for modern Western cities be taken as half that in Hiroshima. (Data from Penney, et al., 1970.)

Lord William Penney visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the American occupation forces, measured all of the damage and shipped it back to Britain for laboratory analysis. He determined the bending moments for steel poles by the blast wave, the overpressures required to reduce the volume of blueprint containers and petrol cans, and many other natural blast wave gauges. The value of these studies was proved in the 1946 ABLE nuclear test, where the bomb was dropped off target by accident and Penney had to determine the air pressures from the collapse of petrol cans. This is a precise measurement because by filling the petrol can with water before and after partial collapse by blast, the volume reduction is measured, which correlates with the blast wave peak overpressure. Therefore, several items of this type can be used to get a statistically good measurement, unlike the piezoelectric electronic blast sensors used at the TRINITY test in 1945 which were of course wrecked by EMP (as predicted by Enrico Fermi). Later, Penney used empty toothpaste tubes to measure the peak overpressure at early British nuclear tests, averting the risk of EMP damage to electronic sensors.

Penney used the Hiroshima and Nagasaki data to do a secret study of the reduction in peak overpressure caused by the irreversible energy loss from the blast wave as it flattened house after house in each radial line outward from ground zero. Penney found that at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the peak overpressure fell faster than in British nuclear tests at similar scaled burst heights over smooth unobstructed desert. The peak blast overpressure fell exponentially due to the cumulative irreversible energy loss done in blowing up successive buildings.

At a distance of 1.74 km from ground zero in Hiroshima, the peak overpressure was only 50% of what it would have been over an ideal smooth desert without houses. This figure applies only to the wooden houses in Hiroshima where there were 5,400 houses per square kilometre. In most modern Western cities the number of buildings per square kilometre is on average only half that figure, but the buildings are brick or concrete and this means that they can absorb more energy in the act of being blown up by the blast wave. In a modern British city, the peak overpressure could therefore fall by 50% every 340 metres that the shock wave progressed, causing a dramatic reduction in damage at great distances, compared to the effects predicted for unobstructed ideal desert terrain in Glasstone and Dolan’s 1977 book The Effects of Nuclear Weapons. The reduction factor for peak blast overpressure at Hiroshima due to destruction caused was: (peak overpressure in built up area) / (peak overpressure over unobstructed ideal desert terrain in nuclear tests) = e-0.41R where R is ground range in kilometres; for typical Western brick and concrete cities they estimated the reduction factor to be e-2.0R.

It is important to note that this irreversible cumulative energy loss from the blast wave is a straightforward consequence of the laws of physics and is not speculative: the work energy E needed to push in a brick wall the distance X against resistance force F is simply E = FX. This is a simple property of physics. The energy lost from the supersonic shock front is converted into relatively slow-moving debris and a heating of the rubble, there is no mechanism for it to get back into the blast wave. This process of irreversible energy loss has nothing to do with the mere scattering of blast waves by multiple reflections between the walls of buildings which is the basis of the obfuscating discussion in Glasstone and Dolan, 1977. Analysis of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki data by Penney showed that after 75 wooden buildings had been damaged in a radial line from ground zero, the peak overpressure had fallen to only half that which would have occurred on an unobstructed ideal desert surface.

Penney kept this secret until 1970 when he gave some details in a published paper comparing the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blast waves to British nuclear test data for ideal terrain. Penney had earlier supported some experiments at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment by W. Worsfold, published in the 1957 secret report The Effects of Shielding a Building from Atomic Blast by Another of the Same Size and Shape, AWRE-E4/57 (declassified only in May 1985) and further experiments in the report AWRE-E8/57. Each individual building causes only a trivial net reduction in the peak overpressure (1-5 % as shown in the following table), but after some tens or hundreds of houses in any radial line from ground zero have been totalled, the blast wave is seriously depleted in energy. Hence, predictions of blast damage using desert nuclear test data with the cube-root scaling law are massive exaggerations.
*Data are computed for a peak overpressure of 50 kPa (7.2 psi) for the total energy loss in the blast wave, which is why there is a dependence on the weapon yield. The longer duration blast winds from a higher yield weapon loses more energy in accelerating blast debris than the shorter duration blast wave from a low yield weapon. However, the amount of reduction in the peak overpressure (at the front of the shock wave) by causing damage will be independent of the blast wave duration. It is therefore recommended that the data for 20 kilotons be used for estimating the percentage reduction in peak overpressure, regardless of the blast wave duration or weapon yield.

All buildings tend to absorb approximately the same fraction of the blast wave energy regardless of the peak overpressure when struck because the amount of kinetic energy imparted by the blast wave to the debris and damaged materials increases approximately in direct proportion to the energy in the blast wave. Therefore, regardless of the weapon yield, in a modern American city the blast reduction factor for blast overpressure due to energy loss in causing the damage done to structures will be roughly exp(-d/750) where d is distance in metres. This will obviously have a more dramatic effect on reducing damaged areas for high yield weapons (where the low levels of blast overpressure cover immense distances on unobstructed desert terrain) than low yield weapons (where the damage distances are small in any case).

But even in the case of a 1 kt terrorist surface burst in an American city, the data in Glasstone and Dolan 1977 are still gross exaggerations! The 600 R initial nuclear radiation radius will be reduced from 808 m in Nevada tests to 245 m by buildings due to the elimination of most direct (line of sight) unscattered relativistic radiation by structures long before such structures can be destroyed by the much slower-moving blast wave! The 5 cal/cm2 thermal flash burn radius of 750 m in Nevada tests will be practically eliminated because the thermal pulse from such a small weapon will be over before the fireball becomes buoyant (this happens when its density falls below ambient air density, in the late stages) and rises into view above the structures which have yet to be destroyed by the blast wave. The 5 psi peak overpressure radius for severe damage to light residential structures will be reduced from 442 m in Nevada tests to 350 m, and the 2.5 psi peak overpressure radius for serious flying debris and glass injuries to persons standing behind windows will be reduced from 640 m in Nevada tests to 460 m. Because damaged areas are proportional to the square of the radius, the actual number of casualties and amount of damage reduction is far more impressive than these figures for radii suggest.


Above: the official U.S. nuclear weapons effects horror story; it is a gross exaggeration, showing how the U.S. government lied about the effects of nuclear weapons during the cold war. They predicted blast effects to buildings in cities assuming that the terrain was unobstructed and ignored the irreversible loss of energy in the blast as it flattens house after house in any radial line outward from ground zero, which quickly soaks up the energy in the ground level diverging blast wave and contains the damaged area (particularly in large explosions). They also exaggerated the fire situation by neglecting the fact that piles of concrete and bricks don't burn (as proved in Britain in World War II, and by the fact that firestorms only occurred in wooden medieval cities in Europe such as ancient wooden parts of Hamburg and Dresden, and wooden cities in Japan; and even then this was not due to thermal radiation but due to a mixture of high explosives to damage the houses by blast and incendiaries to get inside, or in Hiroshima and Nagasaki where detonations occurred at breakfast and lunch time respectively so that charcoal cooking braziers were overturned by the blast amidst bamboo and paper screens, starting the tindering fires inside wooden houses), and by ignoring the shielding of thermal radiation by shadowing effects:




Above: dangerous abdominal penetration 3 metres behind windows (when glass fragments have been accelerated to high speed by the blast winds) during OPERATION TEAPOT Nevada nuclear tests in 1955. Notice that at low overpressures, there is no danger from low-overpressure broken windows because the blast wind behind the shock front is far too weak to accelerate the large fragments to high momenta, while at very high overpressures the window gets broken into dust-sized fragments that are simply far too small to carry enough momentum to penetrate clothing or skin. Thus, like Goldilocks' porridge, the peak overpressure ideally needs to be just right (2-5 psi) to break windows into big fragments that carry enough momentum to penetrate the abdomen when accelerated by the blast winds behind the shock front. Ducking and covering under a table or desk would avert this danger, and even dropping flat on the floor would help because the most dangerous fragments are blasted horizontally from the window. Contrary to lying propaganda films of nuclear explosions, the blast wave NEVER ACCOMPANIES THE VISIBLE FLASH, BUT IS ALWAYS DELAYED LIKE THUNDER AFTER LIGHTNING, ALWAYS MAKING DUCK AND COVER POSSIBLE. The graph is taken from: I. G. Bowen, D. R. Richmond, M. B. Wetherbe and C. S. White, Biological effects of blast from bombs. Glass fragments as penetrating missiles and some of the biological implications of glass fragmented by atomic explosions, Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission progress report AECU-3350, June 1956, p. 46.


Above: a more recent report based on nuclear test research at OPERATION TEAPOT in 1955 and OPERATION PLUMBBOB in 1957 for house debris injury and also human displacement by blast is Dr Anatol Longinow's 161 pages long report Survivability in a Nuclear Weapon Environment, DCPA Contract DCPA01-77-0229, for Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, Washington, D.C. 20301, report ADA076026, May 1979, which estimates the following casualties in framed buildings (steel and concrete), of up to four stories with weak exterior walls (weak curtain walls, large glass windows, etc.) when subject to 1 Mt weapon:

90 % survival at a peak overpressure of 5 psi
50 % survival at a peak overpressure of 7 psi
10 % survival at a peak overpressure of 11 psi








Above: because it didn't contain charcoal cooking stoves surrounded by paper screens and bamboo furnishings, this American two-story wood frame house survived unburned 25 cal/cm2 thermal radiation with just white-washed paint (which was quickly charred off) before the house was blown up by 5 psi (35 kPa) peak overpressure at 3,500 feet from 16 kt UPSHOT KNOTHOLE-ANNIE on 17 March 1953, Nevada Test Site; anti-civil defense propaganda in 2004 Cornell-published book by Lynn Eden Whole World on Fire while quoting in detail Dr Glasstone's 1957 Effects of Nuclear Weapons statement that the house had whitewash on it (just like most wooden houses) completely ignores the fact that Dr Glasstone states in paragraph 7.30 on page 292 of the 1957 Effects of Nuclear Weapons: 'a material which blackens (or chars) readily in the early stages of exposure to thermal radiation behaves essentially as black, i.e., as a strong absorber irrespective of its original color. [Emphasis added.] On the other hand, if smoke is formed [by dark coloured wood] it will partially shield the underlying material from the subsequent radiation.' Lynn Eden also ignores the facts that:

(1) the ordinary white-washed (quite normal) house did not ignite or burn despite being charred by the thermal flash and covered in black smoke due to thermal radiation. Lynn falsely claims that the whitewash was a 'heroic' precaution to avoid ignition. But it was burned off. Even unpainted poles in Hiroshima didn't catch fire, they just charred. Window blinds were blown in by the blast. So these things which Lynn biasedly sees as bad didn't prevent fire, because as other tests like ENCORE (which we will discuss below in detail) proved it takes more than a brief pulse of heat to set thick wood on fire. Anyway, the safeguards aren't 'bad' but are actually good benefits which would help survival by minimising glass fragments and flash burns. Contrary to the totally false and civil defence demeaning impression given by Lynn Eden's prejudiced, partial quotations from Dr Glasstone's 1957 edition, rooms don't need metal window blinds: in an attack warning you can instantly protect rooms containing beds or upholstered furniture and a window which would potentially let in thermal radiation by simply drawing curtain, or by simply taping sheets of white paper over the inside of the window glass - which will protect against thermal radiation for the crucial interval of time until the delayed arrival of the blast wave!

(2) the basement survived, and

(3) the house was not knocked over by the blast overpressure; the front was cracked by the reflected overpressure and the roof was peeled off by the blast winds, but then the house exploded due to the low pressure (suction) phase of the blast occurring while there was still overpressure trapped inside the house (which had entered through the windows but could not escape as fast as the external pressure dropped). This is vital because it shows that most of the debris (with the exception of window glass) was blown outwards from the exploding house, not inwards against the occupants. Although debris landed on the family car and dented the roof, it could still be driven away after the explosion, illustrating that the debris load from the collapse of a house is not always the end of the universe as portrayed by evil propaganda:

‘We have often been accused of underestimating the fire situation ... we are unrepentant in spite of the television utterances of renowned academic scientists ... Air cannot get into a pile of rubble 80% of which is incombustible anyway. This ... is the result of a very complete study of some 1,600 flying bomb incidents ... Secondly, there is a considerable degree of shielding of one building by another ... Thirdly, even when the windows of a building can "see" the fireball, and something inside is ignited ... even with the incendiary bomb the chance of a continuing fire developing in a small room is only 1 in 5 ...’

– George R. Stanbury, ‘The Fire Hazard from Nuclear Weapons’, Fission Fragments, Scientific Civil Defence Magazine, No. 3, August 1962, pp. 22-6, British Home Office, Scientific Adviser’s Branch, originally classified 'Restricted'.


‘Dense smoke, and even jets of flame, may be emitted, but the material does not sustain ignition... smoke formed in the early stages will partially shield the underlying material from subsequent radiation. This behaviour is illustrated in the photographs taken of one of the wood-frame houses exposed in the 1953 Nevada tests... the house front became covered with a thick black smoke... within less than 2 seconds from the explosion, the smoke ceased... Ignition of the wood did not occur... The thermal energy incident upon the material was apparently dissipated in the kinetic energy of the "exploding" surface molecules before the radiation could penetrate into the depth of the material.’

– Dr Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan, editors, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, U.S. Department of Defence, 1977, pp. 285-6.

‘The measured total radiation at [9.1-km] from the centre was 0.29 calories/cm2 ... Examination of the specimen exposed at [975 m] shows ... the charred layer does not appear to be thicker than 1/10 millimetre.... scorching of the fir lumber used to support signal wires extended out to about [1.9 km] ... the risk of fire due to the radiation ... is likely to be much less than the risk of fire from causes existing in the buildings at the time of explosion.’ – W. G. Marley and F. Reines, July 16th Nuclear Explosion: Incendiary Effects of Radiation, Los Alamos report LA-364, October 1945, originally Secret, pp. 5-6.

‘Persons exposed to nuclear explosions of low or intermediate yield may sustain very severe burns on their faces and hands or other exposed areas of the body as a result of the short pulse of directly absorbed thermal radiation. These burns may cause severe superficial damage similar to a third-degree burn, but the deeper layers of the skin may be uninjured. Such burns would heal rapidly [emphasis added; this is true unless the person also receives a concurrent massive nuclear radiation dose], like mild second-degree burns.’

– Dr Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan, editors, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, U.S. Department of Defence, 1977, p. 561.

The 1950 edition of the U.S. Department of Defense Effects of Atomic Weapons, edited by Dr Glasstone, on pages 392-9 justifies each protective action:


'If a person is in the open when the sudden illumination is apparent, then the best plan is instantaneously to drop to the ground, while curling up so as to shade the bare arms and hands, neck and face with the clothed body. ... A person who is inside a building or home when a sudden atomic bomb attack occurs should drop to the floor, with the back to the window, or crawl behind or beneath a table, desk, counter, etc.; this will also provide a shield against splintered glass due to the blast wave. The latter may reach the building some time after the danger from radiation has passed, and so windows should be avoided for about a minute, since the shock wave continues for some time after the explosion. ... planning will be necessary to avoid panic, for mass hysteria could convert a minor incident into a major disaster.'



Above: although American wood-frame houses offer less blast protection indoors than brick houses, they mostly have basements which are ideal for improvised shelters such as strong tables, because nuclear test data from OPERATION UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE at Nevada in 1953 and OPERATION TEAPOT at Nevada in 1955 showed that the blast winds carry most of the debris past the house, so that the debris load on the basement is minimal and survival is easy there (below).



'This report contains information on protective capabilities of a variety of different personnel shelters against prompt effects of nuclear weapons. This information was collected from previous studies performed for DCPA in this subject area. Protective capabilities are expressed in terms of 'people survivability functions' which relate the probability of survival (or percent survivors) to the free field overpressure at the shelter site. Respective shelters are described in terms of their geometry and material properties. The following shelter categories are included. (1) Existing Engineered Buildings (Upper Stories and Basements), (2) Designed Basements, (3) Single-Purpose Shelters, (4) Dual-Purpose Shelters, (5) Expedient and Special Purpose Shelters and (6) Expediently Upgraded Shelters.'

'Casualty mechanisms included blast translation terminating in impact with hard surfaces and interaction with debris from the breakup of the building walls, partitions, furniture, etc.'


Above: proof of duck and cover effectiveness for reducing the blast wind drag from standing and lying anthropometric dummy human beings at an ideal peak overpressure of 5.3 psi / 37 kPa (with 0.964 second positive phase duration) at 1,622 metres from PLUMBBOB-PRISCILLA (37 kt, 700 ft balloon, 24 June 1957, Nevada) where the standing dummy was blasted 13 feet in the air before hitting the ground and tumbling for 9 feet, coming to rest 22 feet from the starting point, but the lying dummy was not even moved. In the PLUMBBOB-SMOKY test (44 kt, 700 ft tower, 21 August 1957, Nevada), dummies were exposed to a non-ideal precursor-type blast wave such as occurs over dark coloured desert sand (which is popcorned into a hot dust cloud which increases the density of the air and increases the dynamic pressure and duration of the blast wave while reducing the peak overpressure) and were displaced considerably larger distances by the increased dynamic pressure impulse of the precursor (like a dust storm). However, for cities which are not covered in dark desert sand, a precursor will not occur, as demonstrated by nuclear tests over water and light colour surfaces. (Source: Donald R. Richmond and Clayton S. White, Biological Effects of Blast and Shock, Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research, report AD638342, DASA1777, 1966. ‘We were fortunate enough at a 5 psi station in one of the 1957 shots in Nevada to photograph the time-displacement history of a 160-pound [standing] dummy, and we were able from analysis of the movies to determine the maximal velocity reached ... about 21 feet per second. This velocity developed in 0.5 second. The total displacement of the dummy was near 22 feet ... It was this piece of empirical information that helped greatly in getting an analytical “handle” on the “treatment” of man as missile.’ – Dr Clayton S. White, who worked on nuclear weapon blast effects at Nevada test series’ Upshot-Knothole (1953), Teapot (1955) and Plumbbob (1957), Testimony to the U.S. Congressional Hearings, 22-26 June 1959, Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear War, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1959, pp. 364-5.)

‘... it must be recognised that the amount of protection that will be available to individuals is, in a large degree, directly related to the extent of public knowledge concerning nuclear weapons effects and associated protective measures ... By falling prone and covering exposed portions of the body or getting behind opaque objects, much of the thermal radiation may be avoided, especially in the case of large-yield detonations ... Staying behind thick walls or lying in a deep ditch may help to avoid initial nuclear radiation ... the above actions will also help to decrease the possible danger from the blast wave.’ - Samuel Glasstone, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, U.S. Department of Defense, 1962, pp. 660-1.

Further evidence on blast displacement is available from British nuclear test studies of human displacement. In 1948, R. H. A. Liston of the Atomic Research Establishment, UK, did a theoretical study of the displacement of man by a blast wave (The kinematic effect of blast on a man in the open, ARE Report 1/48), in which he assumed a drag coefficient for a standing man of 0.8, and predicted that a standing 76 kg man would be displaced 20 feet by a blast of 7 psi peak overpressure from a 20 kt bomb. For a peak overpressure of 3 psi, he predicted a displacement of 4 ft. On 27 September 1956 Liston's theory was checked out and found to make perfect predictions for a nearly ideal blast wave and soft ground at the 15 kt BUFFALO-1 nuclear test at Maralinga, Australia, by W. J. H. Butterfield et al., The Effects of Blast on Dummy Men Exposed in the Open, Atomic Weapons Reearch Establishment report AWRE-T2/59 (1959). For a peak overpressure of 6.4 psi, standing dummies facing BUFFALO-1 were displaced 16 feet, while those standing sideways were displaced only 10 feet. At a peak overpressure of 4.3 psi, standing dummies facing the burst were displaced 4 feet, while those standing sideways to the burst were only displaced 3 feet:

Psi_____________Facing burst_____Sideways to burst
10______________10.5 m_____________6 m
8.5_____________9 m________________5 m
6.4_____________5 m________________3 m
4.3_____________1.25 m_____________1 m
2.4_____________0.67 m_____________0 m

Information on the effects of human impacts and displacements are plentiful: car accidents and impact fall statistics are available. A person free-falling 1 m gains a velocity, v = (2gH)1/2 = 4.4 m/s. If the person lands prepared, feet-first with the knees slightly bent (to avoid transmitting the shock to the spine), this fall is usually safe; but head first this impact speed can result in being knocked unconscious and possibly suffering a cracked skull. If a person falls from a great altitude (such as suicide attempts from a high cliff, bridge or aircraft) without a parachute, then air drag becomes important and causes an average terminal velocity of v = [2g/(acceleration coefficient * air density)]1/2 = 51 m/s, which almost always proves to be lethal. However, there are cases of survival due to luck or to landing on soft surfaces, even from great heights. For example, see Christopher K. Kepler, et al., ‘Orthopaedic Injuries Associated With Fall From Floor Forty-Seven’, Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma, vol. 23, No. 2, Feb. 2009, pp. 154-158: ‘This case report provides background reviewing mortality rates associated with falls from height before detailing the clinical history of a patient who survived a fall from a height of 43 stories.’

For a curve of survival incidence versus number of stories fallen, see: Sylvia M. Ramos and Harry M. Delany, ‘Free Falls From Heights: A Persistent Urban Problem’, Journal of the National Medical Association, vol. 78, no. 2, February 1986, pp. 111–115. U.K. data for road accidents indicates that 50% lethal trauma occurs for a person hit by a car moving at only 13.4 m/s (such casualties suffer additional injuries from tumbling after the initial impact). There is also good survival data from patients jumping out of windows in burning hospitals: W. S. Lewis, et al., ‘Jumpers syndrome: The trauma of high free fall as seen at Harlem Hospital’ Journal of Trauma, vol. 5, no. 6, Nov. 1965, pp. 812-8. Suicide attempts from bridges and cliffs as well as parachute failure data also help to determine the exact effects from decelerative impact to different parts of the body, which we will discuss in detail in a later post.

‘Collapse of a brick house is expected to result in approximately 25% mortality, 20% serious injury and 10% light injury to the occupants. Reinforced concrete structures, though much more resistant to blast forces, will produce almost 100% mortality on collapse ... based on data from British World War II experience ... for cases where the population expects bombing and most personnel have selected the safest places in the buildings.’ – Philip J. Dolan, editor, Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, U.S. Department of Defence, DNA-EM-1, 1978, c. 10, p. 5, Secret – Restricted Data. This data comes in part from the effects of the 12,000 German V1 subsonic cruise missiles and V2 supersonic rockets, each armed with a similar-sized 0.001 kt warhead. Because the V1 cruise missile was subsonic and made a well-known pulsating engine sound, people had more time to take cover and therefore each V1 only killed an average of 2.8 people, compared to 5 people per V2 supersonic rocket because there was no warning. The first sound from the V2 was the explosion shock.

The collapse of buildings creates voids since the weight of debris depends just on the mass of the building, not upon the blast pressure, so survival under a strong table or staircase in a brick house proved possible during World War II. In wood frame houses at Hiroshima, about 50% of people trapped were able to free themselves and escape before the firestorm (5% were rescued by others), while in brick houses in Britain only 25% could escape of their own accord, because the brick debris was much heavier. Bricks cannot burn, so there is a lower fire risk in brick houses. The major problem is explained clearly in Robert Jungk's book, Children of the Ashes, Heinemann, London, 1961, which cites a report in Hiroshima by American psychologist Woodbury Sparks called Panic Among A-Bomb Casualties at Hiroshima which showed that due to their surprise at the effects of the nuclear explosion, only 26 percent (153 out of a random sample of 589 bomb survivors in Hiroshima) gave any assistance at all to anybody else after the explosion. Seeing that the majority of the people in each city survived and that a major cause of death was the burning of blast damaged wooden houses containing persons trapped by blast debris, a lot more could have been done if people had been prepared. This is one of the civil defence lessons from Hiroshima: the emotional shock prevented proper action. Effective civil defence training in the solid, unvarnished facts about nuclear effects phenomenology can avert this shock, enabling help to be given more efficiently where and when practical to save lives and minimise injury.

Regarding vehicle displacement, four heavy British Army Daimler Scout Cars were exposed to the 6-kt ANTLER-2 test at Maralinga, 25 September 1957 (report AWRE-T6/59). The car exposed side-on to a peak overpressure of 76-kPa at 527 m was just turned on its side without significant displacement, and cars exposed at 48-kPa or less (671 m or more) were unmoved, although the flash scorched the paint and ‘slightly charred’ tyres facing detonation.


Above: effects of blast wind drag on a standing anthropometric dummy human being at a peak overpressure of 6 psi (41 kPa) during the 0.5 kt SAILOR HAT-CHARLIE shot at Kahoolawe Island in Hawaii on 16 April 1965. The dummy briefly behaves like superman, taking off and flying, then summersaulting gymnastically through the air before hitting the camera. A basketball beside the dummy shows the motion of a less aerodynamic object to this blast wave. You can see the 0.5 kt explosion fireball in the background. Contrary to anti-civil defense propaganda, duck and cover would have saved a human being in this situation: 'it requires about 8 times the blast wind force to move a person who is lying down compared to a standing person. People crouched or lying down also offer a much poorer target to glass shards and debris missiles. [Not to mention thermal radiation shadowing.]' (Panel 11 of DCPA Attack Environment Manual: Chapter 2, What the Planner Needs to Know about Blast and Shock, U.S. Department of Defense, report CPG 2-1A2, June 1973.)


Above: the gas holder paint (actually bitumen) deception by the Americans: the photo on the left was taken by the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey and published as Figure 7.50b the 1962 book The Effects of Nuclear Weapons as being ‘Paint on gas holder scorched by the thermal radiation, except where protected by the valve (1.33 miles from ground zero at Hiroshima)’, while that on the right is the British Government’s Photo No. 23 of the Report of the British Mission to Japan, 1946, showing that there was no scorched paint at that distance, but just melted bitumen, stating: ‘Shadow cast by valve-wheel on side of gasholder 1.25 miles from the centre of damage. The bituminous coating on the steel plates was affected by heat radiation except where shielded by the wheel and spindle.’ Since bitumen melts more easily than paint scorches, the American book gives a wildly deceptive exaggeration of the true thermal effect. The shadow effect in fact proves that direct, not scattered, thermal radiation predominates even at large distance where scattering is significant, which makes simple line-of-sight shielding effective. Notice that the valve that cast the shadow has not been vaporised! Anti-civil defense propaganda shows similar shadows cast by people with the false and pathetic claim that (since the person walked away) they ‘must’ certainly have been vaporised. Many political American and British anti-civil defence propaganda organisations, formerly funded by the Soviet Union, published a photo of a human shadow, claiming that the person was vaporised, ‘ceased to exist’. The objective was to discourage any duck-and-cover civil defence as being ‘useless’. In fact, the shadow is not the ash of a vaporised person but the shadow of a person with very painful skin flash burns! The vast amount of energy necessary to vaporise a human being (mainly water), compared to the thermal energy delivered, disproves the vaporisation claim (a myth invented to devalue civil defence by those either ignorant or sinisterly inhumane for political purposes): those exposed directly who did not ‘duck and cover’ received very painful burns, window glass fragments, and unshielded nuclear radiation.







Above: Hiroshima wasn't vaporised. A firestorm developed half an hour later (by which time the radioactive mushroom cloud had been blown several miles downwind) from thousands of blast-overturned charcoal cooking braziers (being used at breakfast time when the Hiroshima bomb was dropped; the Nagasaki bomb was dropped at lunch time) inside wood frame houses filled with bamboo furnishings and paper screens. There had been no rain for many weeks. The mechanisms used to achieve the appalling effects were deliberately exaggerated for military propaganda purposes during the war, because the aim was to end the war, saving a million American and Japanese lives in the invasion of Japan, rather than to inform people how to survive and mitigate the effects for civil defence! This worked, because the two bombs convinced Russia - which Japan had hoped would help it negotiate a surrender - to suddenly declare war on Japan so as to be included as a victor when Japan surrendered. As a result of Russia's declaration of war on Japan (caused directly by the two nuclear attacks), Japan surrendered. America accepted their surrender. The use of two nuclear bombs over just three days was a propaganda tool to make it look as if America had a large number of bombs available, which it didn't due to the very slow production of oralloy (enriched U-235) and Pu-239. The effects of those weapons would have been rather different if used against Western brick and concrete buildings which are not surrounded by tens of thousands of easily inflammable wooden houses. This is the whole reason why the hydrogen bomb was developed, and why much higher yields than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki weapons would be needed today to achieve the same effects.

It's curious how attitudes have changed since World War II. The American Institute of Public Opinion in the United States for the Fall 1945 found that 85 percent of Americans supported the use of atomic bombs against Japan in the war, while a poll taken by Dr Arthur Holly Compton and others of 150 Manhattan Project nuclear weapons researchers at the same time gave exactly the same result! In 1950, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reported a Gallup Poll which found that 61 percent of Americans said yes in reply to the question, 'Should the U.S. use the atom bomb if it gets into another world war?'

From Dr Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons (1962/64 ed., page 631):

'At distances between 0.3 and 0.4 mile from ground zero in Hiroshima the average survival rate, for at least 20 days after the nuclear explosion, was less than 20 percent. Yet in two reinforced concrete office buildings, at these distances, almost 90 percent of the nearly 800 occupants survived more than 20 days, although some died later of radiation injury.

'Furthermore, of approximately 3,000 school students who were in the open and unshielded within a mile of ground zero at Hiroshima, about 90 percent were dead or missing after the explosion. But of nearly 5,000 students in the same zone who were shielded in one way or another, only 26 percent were fatalities. ... survival in Hiroshima was possible in buildings at such distances that the overpressure in the open was 15 to 20 pounds per square inch. ... it is evident ... that the area over which protection could be effective in saving lives is roughly eight to ten times as great as that in which the chances of survival are small.'



Above: photos of exterior and interior of reinforced concrete frame buildings surviving at distances of 210 metres and 1,620 metres from ground zero in Nagasaki. In the interior photo of the building at 210 metres, you can see that the roof sagged down slightly due to the downward regular blast reflection pressure on the roof. The interior was burned out causing the roof plaster to spall due to fire ignited by the bamboo furnishings and paper screens in the surrounding wooden houses which suffered overturned charcoal cooking stoves from the blast of the lunch-time detonation. There is no damage to exterior walls which remained intact and uncracked. If fire sprinklers had been installed, they would have prevented the fires. In the building at 1,620 metres from ground zero, the only damage is broken windows. (Photographs are from Figures 5.54a and b on pp. 140-1 of Glasstone's 1950 Effects of Atomic Weapons, U.S. Department of Defense.)

Above: line-of-sight shadowing in Hiroshima (Glasstone and Dolan, 1977). What really angers people who are against terrorism is the the fact that the anti-civil defence lobby uses this evidence for pseudo-scientific purposes, claiming falsely that anything in Hiroshima and Nagasaki which cast a burns shadow was 'vaporized'. People who cast 'shadows' on otherwise burned materials were not vaporized, they were painfully burned, and if they had ducked and covered behind anything opaque, they wouldn't have been. E.g., ‘A soldier on picket duty at Nagasaki was vaporised by the explosion even though he was 3.5 km from the centre of the blast.’ – Professors Tony Hey and Patrick Walters, The Quantum Universe, Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 69. The soldier was only subject to skin reddening because of the brief pulse, which even a leaf or a sheet of paper stopped. The wooden panel behind the person was slightly scorched where shielded by the person. Hey and Walters’ are unaware that it takes more energy to evaporate water (people are 70% water) than to burn dry wood! If the flash had been sufficient to ‘vaporise’ anyone, the wooden panel would have burned first. Totally ignorant and shameful abuse of 'scientific authority' from two physics professors. Shameful to the publishers' physics editor at Cambridge University Press, too.

ABOVE: U.S. Army photo showing how a mere leaf of Fatsia japonica attenuated the heat flash enough to prevent scorching to the bitumen on an electric pole near the Meiji Bridge, 1.3 km range, Hiroshima. It didn't even vaporize the leaf before the pulse ended, let alone did it somehow ignite the wooden pole (most photos claiming to show thermal flash radiation effects in Hiroshima and Nagasaki purely show effects from the fires set off by the blast wave overturning cooking stoves, which developed 30 minutes to 2 hours later).

'Even blades of grass cast permanent shadows on otherwise badly scorched wood. The [Hiroshima nuclear bomb heat] flash lasted less time than it took the grass to shrivel.' - Chapman Pincher, Into the Atomic Age, Hutchinson and Co., London, 1950, p. 50.



Above: people in Hiroshima mainly died from combined flash burns and radiation exposure (data from: Dr Ashley Oughterson and Dr Shields Warren, Medical Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1956). The graph shows the impact of any kind of light shadow (not nuclear radiation shielding) from the line of sight of the fireball to the person on survival probability. Nuclear radiation interfered with burn recovery, turning mild superficial burns into a lethal source of infection when the white blood cell count was depressed during the recovery phase by the fact that the burns were accompanied by concurrent nuclear radiation exposure. Hiroshima’s wood-frame houses shielded the heat flash, as did vehicles, trees, hills, bridges, tunnels and clothing, and by removing thermal burns, nuclear radiation became survivable. Glass/debris impacts are also avoided by ducking down since the blast is delayed like thunder after lightning. Notice that ‘duck and cover’ action would have increased survival probability at 1.75-2.5 km by a factor of 5.8-5.9.

'Don't stand behind windows in an attack. First you will get burned and then you will have fine glass splinters driven into you very deeply within distances like 7 miles from a 1-megaton burst. ... Glass in any disaster like the Texas City disaster is one of the primary materials found in the normal home which can result in blinding and all other types of effects due to the flying small splinters of glass.'

- Dr Frank H. Shelton, Technical Director of U.S. Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, testimony to U.S. Congressional Hearings on the Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear War, 22-26 June 1959, page 41. (Although windows are just broken by the peak overpressure out to 25 miles from a 1 Mt surface burst, the hazard from the blast wind pressure accelerating the glass fragments into a missile threat only extends to 7 miles. E.g., many windows were broken in Las Vegas after Nevada tests due to the refraction of blast waves, but the glass fell vertically to the ground without hurting anybody.)

Nuclear radiation by itself was an extremely survivable effect, but in combination with thermal flash burns and blast debris injuries, there was a synergism which decreased the LD50 dramatically. Burns wounds which would not be fatal in the absence of simultaneous radiation exposure proved lethal even where the amount of nuclear radiation was not by itself lethal. The mechanism is that the moderate doses of nuclear radiation depressed the white blood cell count for several weeks after exposure, which proved lethal when the patient also had infected burns wounds, because of the absence of enough white blood cells to combat the infection during this crucial time.

A month before nuclear weapons were exploded at Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 of August 1945, weather aircraft were sent over the cities daily to ‘accustom the Japanese to seeing daytime flights of two or three bombers’ (autobiography of 509th bombing group commander and Hiroshima pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets). B-29 weather aircraft preceded the nuclear B-29 bomber, giving a false sense of security. In Hiroshima the air-raid warning sounded at 7 am, and the all-clear at 7:30 am, but the bomb was dropped at 8:09 am. People cooked breakfasts with charcoal braziers in inflammable wood homes, with paper screens and bamboo furniture. Blasted red-hot charcoal and screens in the wooden houses started fires. In Nagasaki, the air-raid siren sounded at 7:50 am but was cleared before the bomb fell at 11 am.


Above: photo of the tunnel shelters in the hillside near ground zero, Nagasaki. According to both the originally secret U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey 1947 detailed report on Nagasaki and also the openly-published 1956 book The Medical Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan, these tunnel shelters had places for 70,000 people but fewer than 400 were in them when the bomb dropped, because the small number of American aircraft passing daily over the cities for weeks beforehand (to build up weather data and target surveillance, as well as to get the anti-aircraft gunnery crews complacent so that the nuclear bomb aircraft would not be shot down before dropping the bomb) without attacking the cities, had gradually worn down the civil defence response to small groups of aircraft passing overhead. People in the shelters survived all the effects intact, as they provided adequate shielding. If the people had taken used the shelters, they would have survived. This photo is Figure 12.52a on page 389 of Glasstone's The Effects of Atomic Weapons, U.S. Department of Defense, 1950.

The originally ‘secret’ May 1947 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey report on Nagasaki states (vol. 1, p. 10): ‘... the raid alarm was not given ... until 7 minutes after the atomic bomb had exploded ... less than 400 persons were in the tunnel shelters which had capacities totalling approximately 70,000.’ This situation, of most people watching lone B-29 bombers, led to the severe burns by radiation and flying debris injuries in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The originally ‘secret’ May 1947 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey report on Hiroshima, pp. 4-6:

‘Six persons who had been in reinforced-concrete buildings within 3,200 feet [975 m] of air zero stated that black cotton black-out curtains were ignited by flash heat... A large proportion of over 1,000 persons questioned was, however, in agreement that a great majority of the original fires were started by debris falling on kitchen charcoal fires... There had been practically no rain in the city for about 3 weeks. The velocity of the wind ... was not more than 5 miles [8 km] per hour....

‘The fire wind, which blew always toward the burning area, reached a maximum velocity of 30 to 40 miles [48-64 km] per hour 2 to 3 hours after the explosion ... Hundreds of fires were reported to have started in the centre of the city within 10 minutes after the explosion... almost no effort was made to fight this conflagration within the outer perimeter which finally encompassed 4.4 square miles [11 square km]. Most of the fire had burned itself out or had been extinguished on the fringe by early evening ... There were no automatic sprinkler systems in building...’

The vital six secret volumes of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey consist of three volumes on Hiroshima dated May 1947 and three on Nagasaki dated June 1947. (These are completely separate from the brief unclassified summary on the effects published by the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey in 1946.) These secret volumes were finally declassified in 1972 and may be inspected at the British National Archives, as documents AIR 48/160, AIR 48/161, AIR 48/162, AIR 48/163, AIR 48/164, and AIR 48/165.

Dr Ashley Oughterson and Dr Shields Warren noted a fire risk in Medical Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1956, p. 17):

‘Conditions in Hiroshima were ideal for a conflagration. Thousands of wooden dwellings and shops were crowded together along narrow streets and were filled with combustible material.’

The British Mission to Japan also analysed the damage and casualties in 1945, and comprised of 10 Home Office scientists who had been studying effects of conventional bombing on Britain, and 6 military scientists. One of these Home Office scientists, F.H. Pavry, continued to work on nuclear weapons effects at the Home Office throughout the 1950s, and accompanied by George R. Stanbury (who set up Home Office experiments at the first British nuclear test, Hurricane, 1952) and others, worked out civil defence countermeasures.

The British Mission to Japan, unlike the Americans, discriminated data between the casualties in areas with modern brick houses and those in areas of wood-frame traditional Japanese buildings. The results for Nagasaki were two curves for the percentage dead as a function of distance. For people in wood-frame buildings, the percentage killed was 96*exp(-0.45R2); for brick houses it was 96*exp(-0.63R2). In the formulae, based on the curves published in 1946, R is distance from ground zero in km. Each formula applies to the population ignoring air raid warnings and taking no evasive action. For wood-frame areas, 50% mortality occurs at 1.20 km, compared to 1.02 km for brick areas. (However, this estimate for brick houses only applies to brick houses in a firestorm area, surrounded by tens of thousands of burning wooden houses, and was later rejected by those Home Office scientists when they realized that such firestorm conditions - and thus mortality to trapped people in the buildings - would not apply to modern brick and concrete cities where firestorms cannot occur.)


Above: photos of crude earth covered wood-frame shelters that survived at 90 metres from ground zero in Nagasaki and 274 metres from ground zero in Hiroshima, amidst the debris from blast and fire effects on the surrounding wooden houses. These photos were first published as photographs 17 and 18 in the 1946 H.M. Stationery Office publication of the report of the British Mission to Japan, The Effects of the Atomic Bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They next appeared in a 1963 article by F. X. Lynch entitld 'Adequate Shelters and Quick Reactions to Warning: A key to Civil Defense', published in Science, vol. 142, pp. 665-7, and finally in Cresson H. Kearny's 1979 Oak Ridge National Laboratory publication, Nuclear War Survival Skills. The Japanese wooden frames (they were very short of steel, due to the war effort using up steel to produce aircraft, ships, etc.) were far less protective than the corrugated steel arches of British Anderson shelters, which survived even better when exposed to measured air blast at the Operation HURRICANE nuclear bomb test in 1952. But the basic principle of earth arching worked even with the wooden frame of the Hiroshima shelter, as Kearny's 1979 book explained : 'It's narrow room and a 3-foot-thick earth cover brought about effective earth arching; this kept its yielding wooden frame from being broken.' Earth arching makes the force from the applied air blast loading conduct through the compressed soil, diffracting around the wood or steel frame instead of being passed on to the frame. This arch arching mechanism was a late discovery in the nuclear testing programme, but it was extensively investigated in nuclear tests from 1957 onwards.

The British Mission to Japan found that the mortality for Nagasaki, assuming the standard wartime population density used for proper comparisons in Britain (45 people/acre) would be 65,000 for wood-frame houses or 50,000 for brick houses in firestorm areas. These figures compare directly to the average of 15 for the Nazi V2 rocket landing on brick housing with the same standard population density (12 for people lying down, 25 for people standing up). Because the V2 was supersonic, no air raid warnings could be given (unlike the case of normal bombing and V1 cruise missiles).

According to the report of the British Mission to Japan, wood-frame house damage was severe: ‘Complete collapse of these buildings from blast extended to 1.25 miles from the centre of damage in Hiroshima, and to an average of 1.5 miles in Nagasaki.’ This difference is due to the fact that the Nagasaki bomb was 22-kt, compared to 12-kt for Hiroshima, and blast effects radii scale as roughly {yield}1/3. The report also notes:

‘The provision of air raid shelters throughout Japan was much below European standards. Those along the verges of the wider streets in Hiroshima were comparatively well constructed: they were semi-sunk, [6 m] long, had wooden frames, and [0.5-0.6 m] of earth cover... Exploding so high above them, the bomb damaged none of these shelters.

‘In Nagasaki ... most householders had made their own backyard shelters, usually slit trenches or bolt holes covered with [0.3 m] or so of earth carried on rough poles and bamboos. These crude shelters ... nevertheless had considerable mass and flexibility ... Most of these shelters had their roofs forced in immediately below the explosion; but the proportion so damaged had fallen to 50 % at [274 m] from the centre of damage, and to zero at about [805 m].

‘These observations show that the standard British shelters would have performed well against a bomb of the same power exploded at such a height. Anderson shelters, properly erected and covered, would have given protection. Brick or concrete surface shelters with adequate reinforcement would have remained safe from collapse. The Morrison shelter is designed only to protect its occupants from the debris load of a house, and this it would have done. Deep shelters such as the refuge provided by the London Underground would have given complete protection.’

The report also debunks myths about people being vaporised where shadows were cast on flash-burned material: ‘There were cases where a clump of grass or the leaf of a tree has cast a sharp shadow on otherwise scorched wood. Therefore the most intense flash from the ball of fire had ended in a time less than that required to shrivel vegetation.’ It also notes that: ‘even the thin clothing protected from flash burn.’

Equally important, it debunks some of the horror rumours which were spread: ‘a rumour was current which age has made almost respectable, for it appeared in the London Blitz and before that in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War. This was that large numbers of people had been ripped open by the blast, and their entrails exposed; their eyes and tongues were said also to have hung out. Experience in this country [Britain] has shown that blast pressure alone does not in fact cause these sensational effects ... two Nagasaki survivors who had spoken of seeing hundreds or thousands of such bodies on examination reduced their claim to one or two. Flying debris would be expected to produce a few such injuries.’ (Report of the British Mission to Japan, The Effects of the Atomic Bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, H.M. Stationery Office, London, 1946, pp. 17-18.)

This report does not minimise the nuclear radiation effects, noting that exposed pregnant women suffered miscarriages at up to 3.2 km from ground zero in Hiroshima. Because of the variation of effects with distance, the percentage of the total mortality occurring on the first day fell from 92% within 0.5 km to 49% at 1.5-2 km in Hiroshima. The overall average is that 70% of the deaths occurred on the first day. The major nuclear radiation hazard was the fall in the white blood cell count due to bone marrow damage (bone marrow, which produces the white blood cells that fight bacterial infection are produced inside the bones that shield the marrow from ultraviolet rays). Because this coincided with skin blistering from thermal radiation, many infections resulted which overwhelmed the immune systems of survivors. Deaths from infection due to a lack of white blood cells began within a week of the explosion, reached a peak at 3 weeks after exposure, and ceased at 6-8 weeks.

According to the 1979 U.S. Office of Technology Assessment report The Effects of Nuclear War, p. 31: ‘... on a winter night less than 1 percent of the population might be exposed to direct thermal radiation, while on a clear summer weekend afternoon more than 25 percent might be exposed (that is, have no structure between the fireball and the person).’

The secret 1981 U.S. Department of Defence Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons (c. 10, p. 10) states that pain produced by intense thermal radiation provides ‘a useful tool in warning an individual to evade the thermal pulse.’

R. A. Langevin and others in 1958 compared the ability of trained troops and the untrained civilian population to duck and turn away, covering exposed skin (Operations Research, vol. 6, p. 710). Trained troops duck and cover in 0.75 second when a very bright flash occurs. The untrained civilians fared less well: 2% protected themselves within 1 second, 15% by 2 seconds, 50% by 3 seconds, 70% by 4 seconds, 80% by 5 seconds, 90% by 7 seconds, but 7.5% are still fully exposed at 10 seconds after detonation. The young and the old react most slowly if they lack clear simple knowledge of the dangers. Langevin shows that even this untrained protective reaction increases the amount of energy required to cause burns to an exposed population, especially in the case of high-yield weapons which expose the most people.

Dr Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan stated in the 1977 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (U.S. Department of Defence, p. 561):

‘Persons exposed to nuclear explosions of low or intermediate yield may sustain very severe burns... These burns may cause severe superficial damage similar to a third-degree burn, but the deeper layers of the skin may be uninjured. Such burns would heal rapidly, like mild second-degree burns.’

At Hiroshima and Nagasaki, high mortality from superficial burns occurred despite the slight depth of charred skin, because of synergistic interaction between nuclear and thermal radiation exposure. This was discovered by Dr James W. Brooks et al. in 1952, and published in their paper ‘The Influence of External Body Radiation on Mortality from Thermal Burns’ (Annals of Surgery, vol. 136, p. 533). Although superficial third-degree burns from the brief thermal pulse of a nuclear explosion are easily survived, a concurrent nuclear radiation exposure of 100 r interferes with recovery by suppressing the white blood cell count, allowing otherwise minor infections to become lethal.

Contrary to antinuclear propaganda claims that people were ‘vaporised’ in Japanese photographs of human ‘shadows’ left behind on otherwise melted asphalt paint and road surfaces, the fact that these shadows exist proves that people blocked the thermal radiation without disappearing. The peak skin temperature is reached when the rate of absorption of energy equals the rate of dissipation of energy by re-emission, blood circulation, and air-cooling. The human body (mainly water) could not be vaporised by the thermal exposures present at ground zero, even if the energy could have somehow diffused throughout a person within the time available. Skin has a thermal conductance of 8 kg.cal/m2/hour/C. Another recurring myth are spectacular keloids (overgrowths of scar tissue) misrepresented as ‘nuclear bomb’ burns: ‘The degree of the keloid formation was undoubtedly influenced by secondary infections, that complicated healing of the burns, and by malnutrition, but more important is the known tendency for keloid formation to occur among the Japanese, as a racial characteristic. Thus, many spectacular keloids were formed after the healing of burns produced in the fire raids on Tokyo.’ (Dr Samuel Glasstone, editor, The Effects of Atomic Weapons, U.S. Department of Defence, September 1950, p. 337.)

In a controlled sample of 36,500 survivors, 89 people got leukemia over a 40 year period, above the number in the unexposed control group. (Data: Radiation Research, volume 146, 1996, pages 1-27.) Over 40 years, in 36,500 survivors monitored, there were 176 leukemia deaths which is 89 more than the control (unexposed) group got naturally. There were 4,687 other cancer deaths, but that was merely 339 above the number in the control (unexposed) group, so this is statistically a much smaller rise than the leukemia result. Natural leukemia rates, which are very low in any case, were increased by 51% in the irradiated survivors, but other cancers were merely increased by just 7%. Adding all the cancers together, the total was 4,863 cancers (virtually all natural cancer, nothing whatsoever to do with radiation), which is just 428 more than the unexposed control group. Hence, the total increase over the natural cancer rate due to bomb exposure was only 9%, spread over a period of 40 years. There was no increase whatsoever in genetic malformations.

Contrast these hard facts to the propaganda first spread by Dr Harold Jacobson, a nuclear effects ignorant Manhattan Project physicist at Los Alamos, who claimed to the International News Service that Hiroshima will be uninhabitable for 75 years, and then falsely added: ‘Any Japanese who try to ascertain the extent of the damage caused by the atomic bomb are committing suicide.’ Neutron activity doses were not high enough to do that, and there was no significant local fallout (firestorm soot and moisture rainout occurred an hour after the Hiroshima explosion, by which time the radioactive mushroom cloud was far downwind and did not contaminate the rain). Examine the post-attack recovery rate in Hiroshima before any significant outside help arrived:

7 August (Day 2): Survivors open bridges and roads to pedestrian traffic, clearing away debris.

8 August (Day 3): Tracks cleared and trains to Hiroshima resumed.

9 August (Day 4): Street trolley bus (electric tram) lines return to service.

Next, consider what civil defence did during the post-attack recovery process to help aid survivors in Nagasaki, subjected to a nuclear explosion just 3 days after Hiroshima:

9 August (Day 1): Emergency rations are brought in to feed 25,000 survivors (though less than the required amount, due to bureaucratic confusion). The survivors lived in the air-raid shelters, which had survived.

10 August (Day 2): Emergency rations are brought in to feed 67,000 survivors: ‘this represents a remarkable feat of organisation that illustrates the great possibilities of mass feeding.’ - Fred C. Ikle, The Social Impact of Bomb Destruction, University of Oklahoma Press, 1958, p. 147.

7 October (Day 60): The first green shoots of recovery appeared on an irradiated and firestorm burned chestnut tree, photographed by U.S. Air Force observers, and published in the U.S. Congress book, The Effects of Nuclear War, 1979.


Above: the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment published a very poorly researched book in May 1979 (full of popular lies about ozone layer damage, and so on) called The Effects of Nuclear War in which the one useful disclosure (on page 114) was this U.S. Air Force photo of the leaves and new shoots appearing on a chestnut tree in Nagasaki 2 months after being irradiated with gamma rays and neutrons and then charred and burned in the fires which followed. Predictably, this one piece of honesty is omitted from the online PDF version of that book by the Federation of American Scientists here (which is so poorly scanned for page 114 that not even a single word of the photo caption is readable), and also hosted by Princeton University here. Robert Jungk, Children of the Ashes (Heinemann, London, 1961): 'one morning in April 1946, the Vice-Mayor [of Hiroshima] gazed for a long time. For what met his eyes was a sight he had scarcely hoped ever to see again ... The blackness of the branches was dappled with the brilliant white of cherry buds opening into blossom.'

Robert Jungk carefully investigated the history of the recovery in Hiroshima by interviewing the people involved and collecting first hand reports, and gives further interesting details in his book Children of the Ashes (Heinemann, London, 1961):

1. On 31 August 1945: 'the first locally produced and locally printed post-war edition of the Chugoku Shimbun was on sale in the streets of Hiroshima ... 'Our darkroom was an air-raid shelter dug into the hillside [which survived of course]', one of the editors remembers, 'but our type had to be cast in the open air, under the sunny sky.'

2. On 7 September 1945, the Chugoku Shimbun reported that Hiroshima then had a population estimated to be 130,000.

3. On 10 September 1945, electricity was reconnected to some parts of Hiroshima: 'huts made of planks quickly knocked together ... already had electric light.'

4. On 5 November 1945, the Chugoku Shimbun reported that - despite inertia and delays due to 'the rigidity of bureaucratic procedure' which was hindering the recovery rate - a lot of progress was being made:

'Housing. The building of houses is to be systematically begun on 15 November. ...

'Tramways. At present, ten trams are in commission on the main route, eight on the Miyajima route and five muncipal buses. These twenty-three vehicles must cater for an average of 42,000 persons daily.'

Some 70% of the destroyed buildings of Hiroshima had been reconstructed by mid-1949. (Ref.: Research Department, Hiroshima Municipal Office, as cited in Hiroshima, Hiroshima Publishing, 1949. Other recovery data are given in U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, The Effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Washington, D.C., 1946, p. 8.)


Above: the Chugoku newspaper building 870 m east of GZ Hiroshima, gutted by fire. Unlike the CND-pandering 'survivors would envy the dead' propaganda-lying big name 'journalists' (mostly scum) of today, those journalists at Hiroshima didn't let a nuclear attack deflect them from their duty of reporting news truthfully. They go on with the task of helping to keep morale up, and assisting the flow of information needed to rebuild Hiroshima. They rolled their sleeves up, and got to work, setting type outdoors, processing photographic prints in an old air raid shelter! These journalists are a model for civil defense, unlike their modern lying counterparts!



'I must confess that as an expert, my original view, and the view I held during the time I was on the SALT delegation, was that there was no defense against nuclear war and that there was no realistic recovery from it. ...[However, upon checking the actual facts... ] The day after the blast, bridges in downtown Hiroshima were open to traffic. Two days later, the trains started to run again, and three days later, some of the streetcar lines were back in operation.'

- Thomas K. Jones, Program and Product Evaluation Manager, Boeing Aerospace Company, Testimony the Hearings before the Joint Committee on Defense Production, U.S. Congress, 17 November 1976.

(See also his report: T. K. Jones, Industrial Survival and Recovery after Nuclear Attack: A Report to the Joint Committee on Defense Production, U.S. Congress, Boeing Aerospace Company, Seattle, Washington, ADA041540, 1976. Another relevant report is: U.S. Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, Research Report on Recovery from Nuclear Attack, Information Bulletin No. 307, Washington, D.C., 1979.)

With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War is the title of a 285 pages long pseudoscientific political diatribe against the value of dirt in shielding fallout gamma radiation in civil defense, written by Robert Scheer and published by Vintage Books in 1983. There is an extract here which clearly shows the pseudoscientific, unbalanced, arm-waving, fact-denying style. It was reviewed by Andrew J. Pierre in the Spring 1983 issue of Foreign Affairs, who clearly doesn't know the first thing about fission product fractionation, the Compton effect, or the low energy of gamma rays from neptunium-239 produced by dirty nuclear weapons with uranium-238 casings:

'The sensationalism of the approach of this widely touted book about the Reagan Administration's attitude toward nuclear war somewhat reduces its credibility. There are too many alarums and extreme statements. Yet it remains a troubling work which emphasizes the degree to which at least some in the current Administration hold views which are outside the mainstream of America's strategic and arms control policy of the past 20 years.'

Notice the way that mainstream views are implicitly assumed to be right, contrary to all the lessons of the failure of groupthink dogma for the whole of human history in the fields of politics, war and science. All of the reader reviews currently on Amazon.com also miss the science. The nearest one to truth (at least in the context of Reagan's Starwars SDI project, which came after Scheer's book) is probably the following by Donovan Colbert (Sacramento, California United States) who focusses on Sheer's diatribe against President Reagan and his Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger who both used Jones' research as the basis for making claims to the media that America could not just survive but actually 'win' nuclear war. In 1982 the Reagan administration presented a program to Congress requesting $4.2 billion for civil defense over seven years, to save 80 percent of the U.S. population in the event of a full scale nuclear war with the USSR. In 1980, presidential candidate, George H. W. Bush, later Reagan's Vice President and President himself, answered Robert Scheer's question about how a super-power can win in a nuclear exchange: 'You have survivability of command and control, survivability of industrial potential, protection of a percentage of your citizens, you have a capability that inflicts more damage on the opposition than it can inflict on you. That's the way you have a winner ...'. It's clear that this 'Hawkish' approach was designed to stand up to the Soviet Union which had just invaded Afghanistan, and make it understand that Reagan's administration was tough on terrorist states, the nuclear threat notwithstanding. Colbert's review of Sheer's book states:

'The goal was to convince them to enter into an arms race that they couldn't possibly win, which would cause their economy to collapse and make them reform their Communist system of Government. That loony neocon Mr. Reagan... what a crazy cowboy. How could he ever have thought that this plan could have worked... What... what is that? The Soviet Union suffered an economic collapse and embraced a more democratic society? You don't say... The value of this book is that it the author got it ALL right. Reagan was in a staring contest with the Soviet Union, and he made them blink. He convinced them that he and his administration was crazy, and they were so caught up in that - they bankrupted themselves, causing the collapse of soviet communism.'




Robert Scheer wrote a series of articles in the Los Angeles Times attacking the Reagan people who tried to implement Cresson H. Kearny's 1979 Oak Ridge National Laboratory book, Nuclear War Survival Skills in national civil defense plans for American survival. In 1983, Scheer in his book With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War ridiculed the policies based on the Kearny book without once mentioning or discussing Kearny's book or his prior Oak Ridge National Laboratory research reports. Sheer attacked Thomas K. Jones, the man Ronald Reagan had appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Strategic and Theater Nuclear Forces. Sheer wrote in his yellow bellowied, subversive (non-mentioning) attack on Kearny's research:

'Very late one autumn night in 1981, Thomas K. Jones, the man Ronald Reagan had appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Strategic and Theater Nuclear Forces, told me ... that nuclear war was not nearly as devastating as we had been led to believe. He said, "If there are enough shovels to go around, everybody's going to make it." The shovels were for digging holes in the ground, which would be covered somehow or other with a couple of doors and with three feet of dirt thrown on top, thereby providing adequate fallout shelters for the millions who had been evacuated from America's cities to the countryside. "It's the dirt that does it," he said.

'What is truly astounding about my conversation with T. K. is not simply that one highly placed official in the Reagan Administration is so horribly innocent of the effects of nuclear war. More frightening is that T. K. Jones's views are all too typical of the thinking of those at the core of the Reagan Administration, as I have discovered through hundreds of hours of interviews with the men who are now running our government.'

This kind of sneering by the media against the people implementing civil defence in the Reagan administration, while ignorantly ignoring the scientific facts from tests as published in Kearny's book, led to the whole civil defence effort being ditched. Sheer also promulgated lies about civil defense evacuation effectiveness, quoting some lunatic who claimed that evacuation of densely populated cities and dispersal of the population could be overcome by the Russians if they 'simply retarget to hit the evacuated populations'. Duh! The whole point of nuclear weapons is that they concentrate the effects in a small area which is why cities could be targets, so they're no use for a dispersed population which is protected against blast, thermal and fallout effects! While you can hit 100 cities with 100 nuclear weapons, you would need millions of nuclear weapons to target a dispersed population, and then you would have to keep re-targetting every weapon non-stop as people moved around (the coordinates of cities are fixed).

America and Britain dropped 1.3 Megatons (1,300,000 tons) of conventional high explosives and incendiaries on Germany, while in August 1945 America dropped two nuclear weapons on Japan. Hiroshima and Nagasaki casualties were about 25% of the population of each city (only 1% of casualties have been due to long-term radiation injuries, such as leukemias), and the cities recovered quickly, despite a lack of assistance from other cities.

Remember that the firestorm in Tokyo from one air raid of conventional incendiaries in March 1945 produced more casualties than either atomic bomb, including long term casualties. Many of the incendiary victims suffered worse injuries than nuclear casualties. There was no significant residual fallout in Japan because the bombs were air bursts. (Compare these scientific facts to popular fiction in newspapers and widely published political books 'explaining' the horrific effects of nuclear weapons compared to other weapons.) Remember than 62 million people were killed by conventional warfare in WWII.

Also remember that the blast effects radius scales as the cube-root of yield, so the area devastated is only proportional to the two-thirds power of yield (for fallout there is an analogous effect, since the bigger areas covered by fallout involve longer fallout arrival times than in the case of smaller weapons, so more fallout decays in transit, reducing the doses below those you would expect from linear scaling). The result is that the 2 megatons of bombs dropped in WWII (in the form of 20 million TNT bombs, each of 100 kg average size) is equivalent to an 'equivalent megatonnage' of 431 nuclear bombs each of 1 megaton yield.

The thing about a big nuclear explosion is that it gives you more warning than a conventional low yield bomb - the flash of light travels faster than the blast wave(which takes about 4 seconds to travel one mile), the heat and initial nuclear radiation pulses (the heat and initial nuclear radiation pulse travels at light velocity but is released slowly and takes several seconds to be delivered from the glowing fireball), giving most people time to get out of the line of sight (duck and cover).

Fallout is wind carried dust and again takes time to arrive, giving people who are downwind vital time to evacuate or at least get some shielding in a brick building or one of Kearny's improvised shelters (e.g., each foot of dirt shielding reduces the fallout gamma dose rate by a factor of ten). The nuclear winter hype relies on firestorms, which were feasible in the medieval part of Hamburg and in Japanese cities in 1945, but are not possible with the brick/concrete modern cities around today: any fires get extinguished by rubble. You can't get firestorms. The nuclear winter people like Sagan had to invent a targetting strategy that would put nearly all nuclear bombs on oil refineries. Actually, Saddam set alight all of Kuwait's oil fields before the First Gulf War, but it didn't freeze the planet. Soot layers don't remain stable in the atmosphere: they quickly get dispersed and washed out in the 'black rain' that was seen in Hiroshima (an hour after the radioactive mushroom cloud had been blown miles away by the wind) and conventional firestorm places.



Above: Mannequins at 2.1 km ground range from the 29-kt TEAPOT-APPLE 2 Nevada 500 ft altitude tower test on 5 May 1955. Clothes did not ignite, but the exposed colour of a dark suit faded while a dark pattern on a dress was burned on to the underwear. Clothing protects skin.



Above: UPSHOT KNOTHOLE-ENCORE 27 kt air burst at 2,423 feet altitude at the Nevada nuclear test, 8 May 1953. Wooden houses, black and white, resisted ignition by a thermal flash of 12 calories/cm2, despite ‘smoking’ during exposure. But a badly decayed dark wooden fence and piles of old leaves and newspaper trash set their adjacent houses on fire within 15 minutes. The light-painted house with a tidy yard survived. Far right: two wooden houses 10-by-12 feet in size with large windows facing ground zero were exposed to 17 calories/cm2 from ENCORE. In one house piles of inflammable newspaper trash indoors set a house on fire due to thermal radiation from ENCORE entering the large window, but an identical house beside it survived because inflammable trash had been removed! Page 343 of the 1962 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons explains the significance of this ENCORE test:

‘The value of fire-resistive furnishings in decreasing the number of ignition points was also demonstrated ... where the thermal radiation exposure was 17 calories/cm2 ... draperies were of vinyl plastic, and rugs and clothing were made of wool ... the recovery party, entering an hour after the explosion, was able to extinguish the fires.’

Note that the house which did burn which was loaded with trash with a large window facing the fireball and underwent immediate room 'flashover' with no delay because all the easily ignited trash in it simultaneously burst into flames. Lynn Eden falsely makes a great issue out this fact in her 2004 book Whole World on Fire: Organizations, Knowledge, and Nuclear Weapons Devastation, on pages 256-7, where she simply ignores the vitally important civil defence fact that the identical house with the trash like old newspapers and highly inflammable old type furniture removed did not undergo instant flashover!

The immediate flashover effect was confirmed at the 1 kt high explosive test DIRECT COURSE in New Mexico, October 1983. There was no surprise there: light tinder filled rooms facing the fireball and irradiated with 17 cal/cm2 instantly burst into flame, but clean tidy rooms without trash don’t, even if they face the fireball. This is what ENCORE proved!



Thomas Goodale's report Effects of Air Blast on Urban Fires, URS Research Company, California, report URS 7009-14, also AD723429, December 1970, showed that where thermal radiation from a simulated 1 megaton burst ignites curtains and papers, the blast wave arrived and blew fires out. At 1 psi, 50% of burning curtains are extinguished by the blast wave, burning fragments from the remainder can be blown into the room by a peak overpressure of 1 psi. But in all case above 2.5 psi peak overpressure, 100% of incipient fires were extinguished by the blast wave, unless the whole room was filled with tindering like newspaper trash and directly facing the fireball so as to suffer immediate 'flashover' like the trash filled room exposed to ENCORE.

Blast winds displace flames and cool the burning material to temperatures below those needed for ignition, thus extinguishing fires. Burning beds, all curtains and upholstered furniture are only extinguished by peak overpressures of 2.5 psi and higher. The beds and upholstered furniture may then continue to smoulder, and can rekindle into fires after 15 minutes or more. During this time it is very easy to stamp out the potential fires.

Lynn Eden falsely comments on Goodale's research in her 2004 book Whole World on Fire: Organizations, Knowledge, and Nuclear Weapons Devastation, where she writes on page 218 that:

'The next year [1971] Goodale conducted more experiments ... One experiment examined the effects of blast overpressures of up to 9 psi on the smoulder that remained after the flames had been blown out. These findings, however, were not conclusive: "The higher overpressures did not produce a smoulder-extinction counterpart to the blowout of flames. No trend was evident".'

This statement about the trend in smoulder extinction with increasing peak overpressure, has nothing to do with the fact that blast waves do extinguish 100% of solid fuel (not burning liquid fuel pans or burning papers and trash such as in the ENCORE room) of incipient fires above 2.5 psi, even if some are left in a smouldering condition at high overpressures and can re-ignite if not dowsed with water or stamped out.

Lynn Eden continues:

'Another experiment showed a very different outcome in which low blast pressure could increase fire spread. In this study, Goodale subjected burning curtains to blast overpressures of 1 psi "only to discover that transport of burning curtain fragments may become a considerable hazard under suitable conditions".'

Ignition of curtains depends on the curtain colour (curtains with common white linings are resistant to ignition by thermal radiation), but if they are ignited it is true that when blasted into a room they can cause fires under some conditions. yet this does not discredit the finding that other internal room fires are blown out by the blast wave. Burning curtain fragments are easy to deal with, by stamping out. It is not an immediate flashover mechanism, like the trash filled ENCORE room.

Even where rooms are ignited by thermal radiation, this does not instantly spread burn the house down, unless the room is filled with fine tindering such as trash newspapers, magazines, etc., as in the ENCORE room which burned rapidly by immediate flashover (contrasted to the identical room without trash which did not undergo immediate flashover and was extinguished an hour later by the recovery party). It takes 17 minutes for 50% of normal living room fires to 'flashover' so that the whole room bursts into flame, and 8 minutes for 50% of bedroom bed ignitions to flashover to the rest of the room. (F. J. Vodvarka and T. E. Waterman, Fire Behavior, Ignition to Flashover, IIT Research Institute, Chicago, report AD618414, June 1965.) Until flashover occurs, it remains possible to extinguish the fire with water, sand, or by beating it out with wet blankets.

Collaborated evidence from observers at Hiroshima shows that the ignition of dark air raid blackout curtains occurred at up to 1.1 km from ground zero, whereas the more likely blast ignition due to overturned charcoal cooking stoves caused a firestorm to burn everything within an average radius of 1.9 km. Curtain ignition was limited to rooms facing the explosion with uninterrupted line-of-sight to the fireball. Now that upholstery fabrics are fire retardant by law, research has been done into the risk of internal house fires being started by bits of ignited window curtains being thrown into rooms. The main risk occurs if there are piles of old newspapers in the rooms which can act as tinder, because the wood used in flooring and furniture is too thick to be ignited before curtain fragments burn out. (Thomas Goodale, The Ignition Hazard to Urban Interiors During Nuclear Attack due to Burning Curtain Fragments Transported by Blast, URS Research Corp., San Mateo, California, report URS-7030-5, 1971.)

There are lots of simple countermeasures against thermal ignition in the threat of a nuclear attack. For rooms containing ignitable items like beds, upholstered furniture, or rugs: choose light-coloured curtains, paint a mixture of flour and water on to the inside of windows with a potential view of the fireball, or even better simply tape sheets of aluminium cooking foil over those particular windows. For other rooms and offices: dispose of loose combustible materials like newspapers, magazines and trash, and place in the rooms buckets filled with water or sand to use to extinguish fires before they can spread. Blankets soaked with water are useful to beat out tindering fires before they spread.

Lynn Eden goes on (pages 218-9):

'Many studies followed, but the results were inconclusive. One experiment undertaken in the spring of 1973 ... subjected twenty pans of burning fuel to blast ... "no fire at any of the three stations was extinguished by the shock wave". ... Some experiments ... appeared to bear out Goodale's findings, others did not.'

This is dishonest because burning liquid in pans involves the circulation of hot convection currents of liquid with a much higher specific heat capacity (heat retaining ability) than air. Solid fuels only circulate hot gases, which have a low specific heat capacity and so are easily blown out by a blast of relatively cool air. But burning liquid is totally different and can be much harder to extinguish once the liquid is heated to ignition temperature by convection currents within it. This has nothing to to with the extinguishing nature of the blast wave on burning solid fuels: it is patiently and fundamentally dishonest to compare experiments on dissimilar phenomena and then claim that they are contradictory so that those which support civil defence can be ignored as 'inconclusive'. That is just fact ignoring pseudoscience, a political dodge with no place in fact-based science.

Lynn Eden states on page 219:

'... In the "doughnut hole", the area immediately surrounding the detonation, collapsed strustures would prevent fires from burning or would extinguish incipient fires; farther away, fires would burn vigorously. ... at Hiroshima ... there was no "hole" near the detonation, nor was there evidence of such a hole at Nagasaki.'

This is a dishonest 'comparison' because Hiroshima and Nagasaki were wood frame cities, not brick and concrete. The few brick and concrete buildings survived in each city, often with minor damage. It is dishonest for Lynn Eden and her sources like Postol and Brode to ignore the fact that brick and concrete can't burn but wood can burn. The May 1947 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey report on Hiroshima, pp. 4-6:

‘Six persons who had been in reinforced-concrete buildings within 3,200 feet [975 m] of air zero stated that black cotton black-out curtains were ignited by flash heat... A large proportion of over 1,000 persons questioned was, however, in agreement that a great majority of the original fires were started by debris falling on kitchen charcoal fires... There had been practically no rain in the city for about 3 weeks. The velocity of the wind ... was not more than 5 miles [8 km] per hour....

‘The fire wind, which blew always toward the burning area, reached a maximum velocity of 30 to 40 miles [48-64 km] per hour 2 to 3 hours after the explosion ... Hundreds of fires were reported to have started in the centre of the city within 10 minutes after the explosion... almost no effort was made to fight this conflagration within the outer perimeter which finally encompassed 4.4 square miles [11 square km]. Most of the fire had burned itself out or had been extinguished on the fringe by early evening ... There were no automatic sprinkler systems in building...’

The British Home Office Manual of Civil Defence, Vol. 1, Pamphlet No. 1, Nuclear Weapons, 2nd edition, 1959, states that the 'main fire zone' in a British brick built city will not exist within the radius of peak overpressure 11 psi because the rubble will exclude air and prevent significant fires within that radius. It specified four damage zones:

A - 11 psi (75 kPa) peak overpressure: complete destruction of ordinary houses, so brick rubble extinguishes fires.

B - 6 psi (40 kPa) peak overpressure: brick walls cracked or demolished, houses irreparably damaged, streets blocked with debris until cleared with mechanical aids.

C - 1.5 psi (10 kPa) peak overpressure: doors and roofs smashed in addition to broken windows and tiles blown off roofs.

D - 0.75 psi (5 kPa) peak overpressure: light damage, just glass and tiles.

Russian nuclear test based civil defence data indicated that brick houses do not burn at overpressures above 7 psi because the rubble prevents fires, as quoted Cresson H. Kearny, Nuclear War Survival Skills, Updated and Expanded 1987 Edition, Oak Ridge National Laboratory/Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, 1987, Chapter 1:

'Soviet propagandists promptly exploited belief in unsurvivable "nuclear winter" to ... demoralize their enemies. Because raging city firestorms are needed to inject huge amounts of smoke into the stratosphere and thus, according to one discredited theory, prevent almost all solar heat from reaching the ground, the Soviets changed their descriptions of how a modern city will burn if blasted by a nuclear explosion. ... [before nuclear winter hype in 1983] Russian scientists and civil defense officials realistically described ... the burning of a city hit by a nuclear weapon. Buildings in the blasted area for miles around ground zero will be reduced to scattered rubble - mostly of concrete, steel, and other nonflammable materials - that will not burn in blazing fires. Thus in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory translation (ORNL-TR-2793) of Civil Defense, Second Edition (500,000 copies), Moscow, 1970, by Egorov, Shlyakhov, and Alabin, we read: "Fires do not occur in zones of complete destruction . . . that are characterized by an overpressure exceeding 0.5 kg/cm2 [7 psi peak overpressure], because rubble is scattered and covers the burning structures. As a result the rubble only smolders, and fires as such do not occur." ... No firestorm has ever injected smoke into the stratosphere, or caused appreciable cooling below its smoke cloud.

'The theory that smoke from burning cities and forests and dust from nuclear explosions would cause worldwide freezing temperatures was conceived in 1982 by the German atmospheric chemist and environmentalist Paul Crutzen, and continues to be promoted by a worldwide propaganda campaign. This well funded campaign began in 1983 with televised scientific-political meetings in Cambridge and Washington featuring American and Russian scientists. A barrage of newspaper and magazine articles followed, including a scaremongering article by Carl Sagan in the October 30, 1983 issue of Parade, the Sunday tabloid read by millions. The most influential article was featured in the December 23,1983 issue of Science (the weekly magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science): "Nuclear winter, global consequences of multiple nuclear explosions," by five scientists, R. P. Turco, O. B. Toon, T. P. Ackerman, J. B. Pollack, and C. Sagan. Significantly, these activists listed their names to spell TTAPS, pronounced "taps," the bugle call proclaiming "lights out" or the end of a military funeral.

'Until 1985, non-propagandizing scientists did not begin to effectively refute the numerous errors .... A principal reason is that government organizations, private corporations, and most scientists generally avoid getting involved in political controversies ... Stephen Schneider has been called a fascist by some disarmament supporters for having written "Nuclear Winter Reappraised," according to the Rocky Mountain News of July 6, 1986. Three days later, this paper, that until recently featured accounts of unsurvivable "nuclear winter," criticized Carl Sagan and defended Thompson and Schneider in its lead editorial, "In Study of Nuclear Winter, Let Scientists Be Scientists." In a free country, truth will out - although sometimes too late to effectively counter fast-hitting propaganda.'

DPA Attack Environment Manual: Chapter 3, What the Planner Needs to Know about Fire Ignition and Spread, U.S. Department of Defense, report CPG 2-1A3, June 1973, Panels 3 and 5:

'Of course, hardly anyone lives in an area where they would be certainly exposed to thermal radiation ... There would be buildings, trees, hills ... Virtually any opaque material will serve to shield against the thermal pulse. ... nearly all of the radiation would be shielded out by objects before they are damaged or moved by the blast wave. ... tinder fuels do not usually contain sufficient energy by themselves to cause a sustained fire. What is needed is a "fuel array" containing both tinder and other burnables. ... Hardly anyone puts black curtains at their windows. In the thousands of sites that have been surveyed, none have been found. Crumpled newspaper and dry leaves are found in urban areas but, like people in the streets, they are very often not in a position to "see" the fireball and rarely are they located with other burnables to form a sufficient fuel array to cause a building fire. ... Some fire analysts consider only upholstered furniture and beds as the fuel arrays of significance. About 35 to 40 calories per square centimetre are required for ignition by a 5-Mt weapon.'

Curtains and drapes should be closed across windows in an impending nuclear attack, to shield beds and upholstered furniture from thermal radiation. Ignition of curtain fragments are easily stamped or doused out. This occurred at Hiroshima, where the main source of fires was the overturning of charcoal braziers in wooden houses by the blast wave.

John McAuliffe and Kendall Moll studied the blast wave role in starting fires in their 224 pages long report, Secondary Ignitions from Nuclear Attack, Stanford Research Institute, California, report AD625173, July 1965. They found that flying debris and building collapse data on fire ignition was available from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings, high explosive disasters such as the massive Texas City ship explosion in 1947, World War II bombings, earthquakes and tornadoes. They concluded that for American cities (which don't use Japanese charcoal cooking braziers in indoors in homes filled with paper screens and bamboo furnishings), there are only 0.006 fires ignited by the blast wave per 1,000 square feet of floor area damaged by peak overpressures of 2 psi or more. This is approximately 1% ignition of typical American homes, one fire in every three blocks, or 80 fires per square mile in an area which is 25% builtup with 2-story buildings. Electrical wiring and gas piping were considered equally vulnerable. (Actually, this will be an overestimate because the source-region cable pick up of light-speed EMP current surges will automatically shut down transformers within a few microseconds of a surface burst or low air burst on a city; power stations and substations may be ignited by the EMP, but it will prevent secondary ignitions of electrical fires by blast wave debris in homes.)

A theoretical study of the combined effects of both primary thermal ignition of American homes by thermal radiation and also blast wave effects in extinguishing most of those fires but causing some secondary fires by damaging electrical and gas installations (they ignored the role of EMP) is the 97 pages long report by R. K. Miller et al., Analysis of Four Models of the Nuclear-Caused Ignitions and Early Fires in Urban Areas, the Dirkwood Corporation, New Mexico, report AD 716807, August 1970. This report used a combination of computer models to show that a 5 megaton surface burst on Detroit would ignite 2% of buildings at 8 miles from ground zero where the peak overpressure was 2 psi, rising linearly to a maximum of 10% of buildings at 5 miles (and within 5 miles) where the peak overpressure was 5 psi or more.

The poorly researched 1979 U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment report The Effects of Nuclear War ignorantly used these figures of 2% ignition at 2 psi and 10% at 5 psi without understanding that they include thermal radiation effects and therefore do not scale with peak overpressure!

Another study of fires ignited in Detroit by a 5 Mt burst is Arthur N. Takata and Frederick Salzberg, Development and Application of a Complete Fire-Spread Model: Volume II, IIT research Institute, Chicago, report AD684874, June 1968, found that 3.8% of all buildings could be ignited initially, but that firespread could burn down many more if initial ignitions were not stamped out. Radiation from a burning wooden building emits about 4 cal/cm2/sec, and it takes only 0.4 cal/cm2/sec to ignite wood, so whenever another wooden house occupies more than 10% of the field of view of a burning house, it will be ignited. (Takata and Salzburg note that in the Darmstadt fire of 11 September 1944, where firebrands were negligible, thermal radiation from burning wooden houses caused a 72% probability of igniting immediately adjacent houses, a 50% probability of igniting houses 8 metres away, and a 10% probability of igniting houses 12 metres away.)

This short-ranged radiation firespread mechanism could nearly double the number of house ignitions in Detroit over the first hour, from 3.8% to 6.5% of houses burning at one hour post attack. After an hour, firebrands from burning houses would start to seriously contribute to the ignition of fires at much greater distances than the heat radiation from burning wooden buildings, so by 3 hours 18% of buildings in Detroit could be burnt out, and by 28 hours the figure could rise to 50%. Unlike a firestorm, this would be a very slow process, like the Great Fire of London in 1666 where only 8 people were killed when 32,000 homes were burned over 1.8 km2, because the fire spread very slowly over 4 days; and the Chicago Fire of 1871 where only 50 people were killed when 17,500 homes burned over an area of 8.6 km2 over a period of 3 days. (Wind carried burning firebrands from the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 caused fires to wooden houses at distances of up to 800 metres downwind. Landing on wooden roofs, they are very difficult to deal with when the fire brigade is preoccupied with the existing fire zone.)

In Hiroshima, the secret May 1947 report of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey (Fig 5-IX) found that for wooden houses, the probability of one burning house igniting another by firebrands is 50% for a separation distance of 26 m, and shows (Fig 4-IX) that the risk of fire spread is 50% where 21% of the ground area is covered by wooden houses or 32% of the ground area is covered by industrial buildings.

‘Considerable war-time experience in the UK established beyond doubt that the chance of a continuing fire in an ordinary British house spreading and involving another house is less than 40%.’ – George R. Stanbury, The number of fires caused by nuclear attack, British Home Office, Scientific Adviser’s Branch, report SA/PR 90, 1965.

Many American buildings are wood-frame. For the brick and concrete type buildings that prevail in Britain, the Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch Scientific Advisers' Operational Handbook, Scottish Home and Health Department, H. M. Stationery Office, Edinburgh, 1979, states on page 39:

'The density of initial ignitions in the main fire zone, for UK houses, is likely to be very roughly one house in thirty, with a fire-spread factor of about 2 [i.e., each initial ignition will on average ignite one other building by thermal radiation, wind blown convection flames, and hot burning firebrands]. About one house in fifteen is expected to become burnt out. This situation would not constitute a "firestorm" or "mass fire", and the number of fire casualties should be small.'

Firestorms have always required at least 50% of buildings to be ignited. A 71 pages long report by Robert M. Rodden, Floyd I. John, and Richard Laurino, Exploratory Analysis of Fire Storms, Stanford Research Institute, California, report AD616638, May 1965, identified the following parameters required by all firestorms:

(1) More than 8 pounds of fuel per square foot (40 kg per square metre) of ground area. Hence firestorms occurred in wooden buildings, like Hiroshima or the medieval part of Hamburg. The combustible fuel load in London is just 24 kg/m2, whereas in the firestorm area of Hamburg in 1943 it was 156 kg/m2. The real reason for all the historical fire conflagrations was only exposed in 1989 by the analysis of L. E. Frost and E.L. Jones, ‘The Fire Gap and the Greater Durability of Nineteenth-Century Cities’ (Planning Perspectives, vol. 4, pp. 333-47). Each medieval city was built cheaply from inflammable ‘tinderbox’ wooden houses, using trees from the surrounding countryside. By 1800, Britain had cut down most of its forests to build wood houses and to burn for heating, so the price of wood rapidly increased (due to the expense of transporting trees long distances), until it finally exceeded the originally higher price of brick and stone; so from then on all new buildings were built of brick when wooden ones decayed. This rapidly reduced the fire risk. Also, in 1932, British Standard 476 was issued, which specified the fire resistance of building materials. In addition, new cities were built with wider streets and rubbish disposal to prevent tinder accumulation in alleys, which created more effective fire breaks.

(2) More than 50% of structures ignited initially.

(3) Initial surface winds of less than 8 miles per hour.

(4) Initial ignition area exceeding 0.5 square mile.

The fuel loading per unit ground area is equal to fuel loading per unit area of a building, multiplied by the builtupness fraction of the area. E.g., Hamburg had a 45% builtupness (45% of the ground area was actually covered by buildings), and the buildings were multistorey medieval wooden constructions containing 70 pounds of fuel per square foot. Hence, in Hamburg the fuel loading of ground area was 0.45*70 = 32 pounds per square foot, which was enough for a firestorm.

By contrast, modern cities have a builtupness of only 10-25% in most residential areas and 40% in commercial and downtown areas. Modern wooden American houses have a fuel loading of 20 pounds per square foot of building area with a builtupness below 25%, so the fuel loading per square foot of ground is below 20*0.25 = 5 pounds per square foot, and would not produce a firestorm. Brick and concrete buildings contain on the average about 3.5 pounds per square foot of floor area, so they can't produce firestorms either, even if they are all ignited.

On the night of 9-10 March 1945, 334 B-29 aircraft dropped 1,667 tons of high explosives (to open up buildings to allow incendiary bombs inside) and incendiaries on Tokyo, creating a firestorm which burned down 41 km2 or 15.8 square miles, killing more people than at Hiroshima (where only 4.7 square miles was burned down) or Nagasaki (where the valley geography meant that only 1.8 square miles burned down). These data come from the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey report, The Effects of Atomic Bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1946.

THE BOMBING OF HAMBURG AND HOW THE FIRESTORM WAS PRODUCED

London was bombed in 1940 by about 200 aircraft for 61 consecutive nights. Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote in September 1940 that ‘The bombers alone will provide the means of victory’, but in August 1941 an analysis of British night-time bombing raids showed that only 10-33 % of British bombers dropped their bombs within 8 km of their targets, the lower (10 %) figure being due to heavy anti-aircraft artillery in Ruhr. In conclusion, it was decided that precision attacks on small targets by bombers were a waste of time, and cities would be targeted instead. Arthur Harris became chief of bomber command on 25 February 1942 and wanted to accumulate a vast number of aircraft and to pound Germany’s capital city, Berlin, into submission. In a filmed statement, Harris said: ‘There are a lot of people who say that bombing can never win a war. My answer to that is: it has never been tried yet, and we shall see.’

However, Churchill rejected Harris’ demand to concentrate on Berlin. Churchill then nick-named Harris ‘Bomber’ (Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris) and personally instructed him to bomb other German cities, such as Dresden, to support the Russian attack on Germany. On 14 February 1942, bomber command had received a directive stating: ‘the primary object of your operations should now be focussed on the morale of the enemy civil population and in particular, of the industrial workers.’

George R. Stanbury, the Home Office scientist who conducted Civil Defence research int fallout protection at Monte Bello for Operation HURRICANE, Britain’s first nuclear test in 1952, explains in detail how the Hamburg firestorm was produced in his originally restricted article, ‘The Fire Hazard from Nuclear Weapons’, Fission Fragments, Scientific Civil Defence Magazine, Home Office, London, No. 3, August 1962, pp. 22-6, British Home Office, Scientific Adviser’s Branch, originally classified Restricted:


Above: effect of the Hamburg firestorm.

'We have often been accused of underestimating the fire situation … we are unrepentant in spite of the television utterances of renowned academic scientists who know little about fire. ... Firstly ... the collapse of buildings would snuff out any incipient fires. Air cannot get into a pile of rubble, 80% of which is incombustible anyway. This is not just guesswork; it is the result of a very complete study of some 1,600 flying bomb [V1 cruise missile] incidents in London supported by a wealth of experience gained generally in the last war. Secondly, there is a considerable degree of shielding of one building by another in general. Thirdly, even when the windows of a building can "see" the fireball, and something inside is ignited, it by no means follows that a continuing and destructive fire will develop. ... A window of two square metres would let in about 105 calories at the 5 cal/cm2 range. The heat liberated by one magnesium incendiary bomb is 30 times this and even with the incendiary bomb the chance of a continuing fire developing in a small room is only 1 in 5; in a large room it is very much less. Thus even if thermal radiation does fall on easily inflammable material which ignites, the chance of a continuing fire developing is still quite small. In the Birmingham and Liverpool studies, where the most generous values of fire-starting chances were used, the fraction of buildings set on fire was rarely higher than 1 in 20.



ABOVE: the heat flash radiation which causes the scorching is so unscattered or unidirectional that any shading from the fireball source stops it even if you are exposed to the scattered radiation from the rest of the sky: shadows still present in October 1945 in the bitumen road surface of Yorozuyo Bridge, 805 m SSW of ground zero, Hiroshima, pointed where the bomb detonated (U.S. Army photo).

'And this is the basis of the assertion that we do not think that fire storms are likely to be started in British cities by nuclear explosions, because in each of the five raids in which fire storms occurred (four on Germany - Hamburg, Darmstadt, Kassel, Wuppertal and a "possible" in Dresden, plus Hiroshima in Japan - it may be significant that all these towns had a period of hot dry weather before the raid) the initial fire density was much nearer 1 in 2. Take Hamburg for example:

'On the night of 27/28th July 1943, by some extraordinary chance, 190 tons of bombs were dropped into one square mile of Hamburg. This square mile contained 6,000 buildings, many of which were [multistorey wooden] medieval.

'A density of greater than 70 tons/sq. mile had not been achieved before even in some of the major fire raids, and was only exceeded on a few occasions subsequently. The effect of these bombs is best shown in the following diagram, each step of which is based on sound trials and operational experience of the weapons concerned.

'102 tons of high explosive bombs dropped -> 100 fires
'88 tons of incendiary bombs dropped, of which:
'48 tons of 4 pound magnesium bombs = 27,000 bombs -> 8,000 hit buildings -> 1,600 fires
'40 tons of 30 pound gel bombs = 3,000 bombs -> 900 hit buildings -> 800 fires
'Total = 2,500 fires


'Thus almost every other building [1 in 2 buildings] was set on fire during the raid itself, and when this happens it seems that nothing can prevent the fires from joining together, engulfing the whole area and producing a fire storm (over Hamburg the column of smoke, observed from aircraft, was 1.5 miles in diameter at its base and 13,000 feet high; eyewitnesses on the ground reported that trees were uprooted by the inrushing air).

'When the density was 70 tons/square mile or less the proportion of buildings fired during the raid was about 1 in 8 or less and under these circumstances, although extensive areas were burned out, the situation was controlled, escape routes were kept open and there was no fire storm.'

Often people point to bits of glass melted by the firestorm in Hiroshima, and ignorantly claim it was a special effect of nuclear weapons. Alas, such melted glass occurred in the GreatFire of London, 1666, and it didn’t need a nuclear explosion:

‘Having stayed, and in an hour’s time seen the fire rage every way, and nobody, to my sight, endeavouring to quench it, but to remove their goods, and leave all to the fire; and, having seen it get as far as the Steelyard, and the wind mighty high, and driving it into the City; and everything, after so long a drought, proving combustible... So near the fire as we could for smoke; and all over the Thames, with one’s face in the wind, you were almost burned with a shower of fire-drops... took up, which I keep by me, a piece of glass of Mercers’ chapel in the street, where much more was, so melted and buckled with the heat of the fire like parchment.’ – Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), Great Fire of London, Diary, September 1666.

The Hamburg air raid be compared directly to the eventual policy of the U.S.A.F. bombers that were attacking Japan. The man who would pilot the nuclear bomber to Hiroshima, Paul Tibbets, who had been in Europe, advised General C. E. LeMay ‘many Japanese buildings were constructed of flammable material. Paper houses, we called them. “All you need to do is ‘area bomb’ these cities [using incendiaries],” I said.’ [P. W. Tibbets, The Tibbets Story, Stein & Day, 1978.]

LeMay took Tibbet’s advice and in his 1965 book (Mission with LeMay, Doublesday) explained why this was acceptable in World War II: ‘It was their system of dispersal of industry. All you had to do was visit one of those targets after we’d roasted it, and see the ruins of a multitude of tiny houses, with a drill press sticking up through the wreckage of every home. The entire population got into the act and worked to make those airplanes or munitions of war ... men, women, children.’

After the single Tokyo air raid killed 83,600 people on 10 March 1945, Dr Robert Oppenheimer predicted that a nuclear air raid at night (people indoors) would kill 20,000 people. Oppenheimer wanted the attack done at night to prevent women and children receiving flash burns in the daytime. He received a very cold reception from people like LeMay, owing to the insignificance relative to conventional air raids. Oppenheimer then began to sell the nuclear bomb as a thermal and nuclear radiation killer, instead of a blast device to be used at night.

Colonel Paul Tibbets was instructed by LeMay to ignore Oppenheimer’s wish and only to drop the bombs in the daytime visually to prevent the risk of a serious radar aiming error. He maximised casualties by minimising warning (although this was done for the deliberate purpose of minimising the risk of serious anti-aircraft gun attacks on the bombing aircraft): for weeks before dropping the bombs, the cities that had been carefully spared incendiaries were daily flown over by weather and photographic aircraft. This was to prevent surprise when the plane carrying the bomb appeared. Tibbets recorded in his autobiography that this ‘would accustom the Japanese to seeing daytime flights of two or three bombers over their target ... we hoped they would be lulled into ignoring us, when we came to deliver the real thing ... air raid sirens would sound when we came overhead.’

This ‘lulling’ meant that many people outside would merely watch the planes without taking shelter, and receive serious facial burns and direct exposure to other effects. Nobody was vaporised; the skin burns were deep enough near ground zero to be lethal in combination with the nuclear radiation exposure. In the case of Hiroshima, the weather survey aircraft caused a night time air raid, and a final weather aircraft ahead of the nuclear bomber set off air raid alarms at 7:30 am (cancelled by an all clear at 8 am), before the nuclear armed bomber arrived at 8:15 am. Mrs Nakamuru, a widow with three children had only just arrived back home after the ‘all clear’ from the weather aircraft-caused alarm, as described by John Hersey in his 1946 book Hiroshima:

‘They reached home a little after 2:30 am and she immediately turned on the radio, which, to her distress, was just then broadcasting a fresh warning. When she looked at the children and saw how tired they were, and she thought of the number of trips they had made in the past weeks, all to no purpose, she decided that inspite of the instructions on the radio, she simply could not face starting out all over again.’ When the all clear sounded at 8 am, she lit her stove and started cooking rice. She was in a wood frame house 1,230 metres from ground zero: ‘everything flashed whiter than any white she had ever seen. She had taken a single step when something picked her up and she seemed to fly into the next room over the raised sleeping platform, pursued by parts of her house ...’ Others were burned when they looked up at the B-29 and received facial flash burns, some behind windows which resulted in glass fragment lacerations in addition.

Tibbets remarked in his autobiography, The Tibbets Story: ‘Of course, one hopes that civilians will have the good sense to seek protection in bomb shelters.’ If so, there would have been far fewer casualties, and less impact, and Tibbets admitted: ‘In the case of Hiroshima, I was to learn later that Eatherly’s weather plane ... had set off air raid sirens but, when nothing happened, ours were ignored.’ The Joint Commission for the Investigation of the Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan, Medical Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan (Oughterson and Warren, editors, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1956), found ‘there only about 400 people in the tunnel shelters [Nagasaki] which had a capacity of 70,000’ and that such people survived ‘even directly below the bomb.’ Describing the situation in Hiroshima, it stated:

‘Most of the people were at home preparing breakfast; consequently thousands of fires were burning in charcoal braziers. Only a few people were in modern buildings.’

DR HAROLD L. BRODE AND FIRESTORM ERRORS IN LYNN EDEN'S BOOK, 'WHOLE WORLD ON FIRE'

'At a range of more than 1 nautical mile [= 6,076 feet = 1,851 m = 1.15 statute mile], more than half the buildings [in Hiroshima] were gutted by fire. At that point, the peak overpressure of the nuclear blast wave was about 3 psi, and the fireball heat or thermal fluence was about 8 or 9 cal/cm2.'

- Dr Harold L. Brode and Dr R. D. Small, A Review of the Physics of Large Urban Fires, in The Medical Implications of Nuclear War, U.S. National Academy Press, 1986, page 79.

This correlation of thermal radiation to the firestorm radius is totally bogus, because no fires at that radius were ignited by thermal radiation! Some 100% of house fires at that radius were ignited by the blast wave overturning charcoal cooking braziers inside wooden houses filled with paper screens and bamboo furnishings. Dr Brode and Dr Small might as well have correlated the radius of the firestorm to the EMP field or to the mushroom cloud radius, for all the relation that there was between thermal radiation and the firestorm radius in Hiroshima. They neglected the physical mechanism entirely, and practised the worst form of pseudoscience.

Brode on page 84 states that 'Threshold ignition levels ... for common susceptible materials in an urban environment increase with yield roughly as ... 3.5Wkt0.113 cal/cm2. This gives 9 cal/cm2 for 5 Mt, when as we have seen it actually takes four times more energy to ignite beds and upholstry in a sustained way which won't be blown out by the blast or die out without spreading to the rest of the room, even when the window can 'see' the fireball:

'About 35 to 40 calories per square centimetre are required for ignition by a 5-Mt weapon.' - DPA Attack Environment Manual: Chapter 3, What the Planner Needs to Know about Fire Ignition and Spread, U.S. Department of Defense, report CPG 2-1A3, June 1973, Panels 3 and 5.

Lynn Eden, who had numerous interviews and discussions with Dr Brode since the late 1980s, is also duped entirely by this outrageous anti-civil defence lie in her 2004 book Whole World on Fire: Organizations, Knowledge, and Nuclear Weapons Devastation, where she writes on page 120:

'At Hiroshima, the perimeter of mass fire ... occurred about one mile from the detonation ... at this distance, the thermal fluence deposited was estimated at 10 cal/cm2 ... The deposition of thermal fluence of 10 cal/cm2 is the basic measure used in much of Theodore Poston's published work on fire damage ...'

Theodore Poston in his ignorant paper 'Possible Fatalities from Superfires following Nuclear Attacks in or Near Urban Areas', in the 1986 U.S. National Academy of Sciences book The Medical Implications of Nuclear War, assumes falsely that brick and concrete cities can burn like the small areas of medieval German cities and like Brode and Small, he simply ignores the mechanism for the firestorm in Hiroshima which had nothing to do with thermal radiation but was just due to overturned breakfast charcoal braziers. Theodore Poston also falsely complains that wooden houses exposed to nuclear tests didn't burn because they had white paint on them and shutters over the windows. That discredits Theodore Poston's whole anti-civil defence countermeasure tirade by actually PROVING the value of simple civil defense; but actually if you open your eyes, you find that most wooden houses are painted white, and in a real city - unlike the empty Nevada desert - few windows will have a line of sight to the fireball anyway!

The pseudoscientific fanatical thuggery against civil defence countermeasures to nuclear terrorism must be deplored. (Another basic scientific error Lynn makes is trying to use firestorm data from incendiary phosphorus bombing in humid weather to discredit the fact that thermal ignition depends on humidity! Unlike nuclear weapons thermal radiation which demands dry tindering to cause ignition, phosphorus is actually ignited by water! You must never pour water on a phosphorus bomb, or it will flare up. Ignorance of such basic chemistry is lethal.)

Brode and Small make the worst error of all when they state on page 94: 'Despite a well-organized German civil defense, firefighting, rescue operations, and emergency medical aid were severely limited in many of the fires and totally ineffective in the intense fire storms.'

They incorrectly ignores all the evidence that the civil defence operations were hampered by the extended period of air raid bombing, which did not occur at Hiroshima or Nagasaki where only a single bomb was dropped. They ignorantly take no account or make any mention whatsoever of all the studies done on the efficient, extremely easy and effective firefighting that readily saved buildings near Hiroshima's ground zero, well within the firestorm area, reported by the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. For example, the Bank of Japan, Hiroshima branch, was a 3-story reinforced concrete frame building at just 400 m from ground zero. There were no initial ignitions at all by either blast or thermal radiation. However, 1.5 hours afterwards a a firebrand started a fire in a room on the second floor. The survivors in the building simply extinguished the fire with buckets of water! Duh! Hiroshima in the very middle of the intense fire storm?! Buckets of water? Yes. They simply put the fire out. Later another firebrand ignited the third floor, and the survivors this time ran out of water and just shut the doors and allowed it to burn out. The fire did not spread to the lower floors.

This incident is explained in panel 26 of the DPA Attack Environment Manual: Chapter 3, What the Planner Needs to Know about Fire Ignition and Spread, U.S. Department of Defense, report CPG 2-1A3, June 1973, which adds that the Geibi Bank Company in the firestorm area of Hiroshima also survived the bomb with no thermal or blast ignitions: 'However, at about 10:30 A.M., over 2 hours after the detonation, firebrands from the south exposure ignited a few pieces of furniture and curtains on the first and third stories. The fires were extinguished with water buckets by the building occupants. Negligible fire damage resulted.'

It is either incompetent or else dishonest of Dr Harold L. Brode and Dr R. D. Small to try to discredit civil defense countermeasures against firestorms in nuclear attack by giving the false example of German bombing raids and totally ignoring the experiences of the Hiroshima firestorm to nuclear warfare (below).



I wish the Radiation Effects Research Foundation will start caring less about abiding politically correct, scientifically misleading dogma; and instead focus on helping the world to understand the vitally important scientific facts on radiation.

DECEPTION OVER OZONE LAYER DAMAGE

One of several errors in the 1977 3rd edition of the U.S. Department of Defense book The Effects of Nuclear Weapons is the false claim on page 78 that air bursts like those over Hiroshima and Nagasaki damage the ozone (O3) layer which exists at altitudes of 15-30 km:

'... nuclear explosions are accompanied by the formation [in the blast wave at high overpressures] of oxides of nitrogen [causing the red-brown colour to the rising fireball before condensing water vapor turns it white]. An air burst, for example, is estimated to produce about 1032 molecules of nitrogen oxides per megaton of TNT equivalent ... hence, the nitrogen oxides from such explosions would be expected to enhance mechanisms which tend to decrease the ozone concentration.'

This is false because:

(1) the initial gamma radiation from both surface and air bursts produce a large ozone layer around the early fireball, shielding the early thermal radiation from the fireball after nuclear explosions, and this ozone production is not mentioned in the book. The mechanism for the production of ozone naturally is the absorption by oxygen molecules (O2) of short-wavelength ultraviolet light, bordering the soft X-ray spectrum. In addition to ozone formation by gamma radiation, nuclear weapons release typically 70-80% of their energy as such soft X-rays in a blackbody distribution (Glasstone and Dolan, pp. 23-5) which is soon degraded by air scatter into ultraviolet radiation which forms ozone. The reaction is: 3O2 + energy -> 2O3. The heat released by the natural ozone-forming process is the reason for the increase in the temperature of the stratosphere with altitude. The natural chemical reaction produces about 4,500 tons of ozone per second in the stratosphere, which maintains equilibrium by being broken down at a similar rate by other natural chemical reactions.

(2) the nitrogen oxides, largely nitrogen dioxide, in the fireball soon reacts with moisture in the white mushroom cloud to produce nitric acid, which is later precipitated in rainfall along with naturally produced nitric acid from lightning storms, and has no effect on the ozone layer. A lightning storm is qualitatively like a nuclear explosion in that it produces both ozone (from the electrical discharge air ionization) and nitrogen oxides (from the shock waves formed around the extremely hot lightning bolts, which are later heard as thunder). Nitric acid (HNO3) production from the mixing with nitrogen dioxide and water vapour in the fireball is described by the reaction:

3NO2 + H2O -> 2HNO3 + NO

then the nitrogen oxide, NO, itself gets oxidized into nitric acid by the reaction:

4NO + 3O2 + 2H2O -> 4HNO3

It was a bigger hoax than Piltdown Man to suggest that nitrogen oxides from nuclear bomb tests could break down ozone; they instead get oxidised into nitric acid by atmospheric moisture and oxygen before they can reach the ozone layer. For a published discussion of the nitric acid production in the air around the fireball from an atmospheric nuclear explosion, see Murray Scheibe, The Increased Attachment Due to Ionization-Induced Smog in EMP Environments, Mission Research Corporation, California, MRC-R-532, DNA5077F, ADA087850, 1979: 'The increased electron attachment due to HNO3 production in the EMP source region is investigated. The HNO3 produced is found to be roughly linear with the total ionization up to an ionization value of about 2 x 10 to the 16th power ion pairs. Above this, the HNO3 production is less than linear.'

P. Goldsmith, A. F. Tuck, J. S. Foot, E. L. Simmons and R. L. Newson, reported in their paper, 'Nitrogen oxides, nuclear weapon testing, Concorde and stratospheric ozone' published in Nature, vol. 244 (1973), issue 5418, pp. 545-551:

'Although amounts of nitrogen oxides equivalent to the output from many concordes were released into the atmosphere when nuclear testing was at its peak, the amount of ozone in the atmosphere was not affected.'


In total, the U.S.A, U.S.S.R., U.K., France and China detonated 545.4 megatons in the atmosphere, the peak rate of testing occurring in 1962, see page 295 of Merril Eisenbud and Thomas F. Gesell, Environmental Radioactivity, Academic Press, 4th ed., 1997 (the ten biggest atmospheric tests are listed on an earlier post, here).

Finally, for high altitude explosions, there is no high pressure air blast wave, thus no production of nitrogen oxides whatsoever, but the gamma radiation striking the atmosphere still produces ozone! Therefore, such explosions have the exact opposite effect on the ozone layer to the claims being made. This has some importance to the issue of holes in the ozone layer by CFCs, and the way to repair such damage.



Above: effect of ozone on early thermal radiation emission from a nuclear explosion. The first graph above shows the thermal radiation calculated by computer when ozone is ignored, while the second shows how it reduces the (mainly ultraviolet) radiation emission from the very hot fireball at early times, before the shock wave has formed and penetrated through the 'veil' or shell of ozone caused by the intense high energy X-ray and gamma radiation interacting with the air just around the fireball. (Thermal Radiation From Nuclear Weapons, Defense Nuclear Agency, February 1991.)

The fact that nuclear explosions produce ozone was first published in paragraph 6.26 on page 190 of the 1950 U.S. Department of Defense book, The Effects of Atomic Weapons: 'there may be some absorption of ultraviolet radiation by ozone which is produced by interaction of gamma rays from the atomic explosion with atmospheric oxygen.' Herman Hoerlin states on page 43 of his 1976 Los Aamos report LA-6405 United States High Altitude Test Experiences: 'significant amounts of ozone are produced in sea-level explosions.' (Hoerlin cites as reference: H. E. DeWitt, A Compilation of Spectroscopic Observations of Air Around Atomic
Bomb Explosions,
Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory report LAMS-1935, June 1955
.) However, since the time that was written, full calculations have been performed which show that high altitude nuclear detonations (above 100 km altitude) produce large excess amounts of ozone, strengthening rather than depleting the ozone layer. Finally, sampling of the cloud of a 1976 atmospheric Chinese megaton range test showed confirmed that there was no ozone depleting nitrogen dioxide: it reacts with water vapour to form nitric acid, instead of destroying ozone! Anyway, nitrogen dioxide is only formed in high pressure shock waves from low altitude detonations, not from high altitude bursts, which produce an excess of ozone.

The ozone destruction lie

The U.S. Department of Defense book The Effects of Atomic Weapons reported in 1950 that nuclear air bursts near sea level produce 5 tons of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) per kiloton, producing the flame-like red-brown colour of the fireball. The pressure and temperature of the shock front turns 1% of the air it contains into nitrogen dioxide when it cools to 2000 K, below which no further nitrogen dioxide is formed. The shock waves around bolts of lightning in thunderstorms also produce nitrogen dioxide, and it is quickly transformed into nitric acid, causing the natural acidity (pH 4.5) of thunderstorm rain. Thunderstorms produce 100,000 tons of nitric acid daily.

Ozone (O3) is created in the stratosphere in part by the action of ultraviolet light with wavelengths less than 0.24 microns upon molecular oxygen (O2):

3O2 + ultraviolet -> 2O3

Nitrogen oxide (NO) acts as a catalyst to break down ozone in the atmosphere. The reaction requires the energy of sunlight:

2O3 + NO + O + sunlight -> 3O2 + NO + O.

This is the principal cause of destruction of stratospheric ozone. Nitrogen oxide (NO) is naturally produced in the upper atmosphere (the thermosphere at 90-120 km altitude) by sunlight at the mean rate of 73,000 metric tons per hour!

In the troposphere (below the stratosphere), ozone is also destroyed by the reaction with sunlight:

O3 + H2O + sunlight -> O2 + 2OH,

Where OH is the hydroxyl radical (negatively charged) which is a vital catalyst in other reactions. A catalyst is defined as a vital component of a chemical reaction that is nevertheless returned to its original state at the end of a reaction, so that it is able to endlessly function without being permanently modified. (Therefore, chemical reaction formulae containing catalysts should never have the catalyst deleted from both sides of the reaction to ‘simplify’ the equation, because that will produce a false reaction that will not work!) Nitrogen oxide, NO, is also an essential catalyst in the creation of ozone in the troposphere from carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH4), both of which exist in the troposphere in concentrations of several parts per million of air. The CO reaction creating ozone requires the energy of sunlight and is given by:

CO + 2O2 + OH + NO + sunlight -> CO2 + O3 + OH + NO.

If there is an insufficient concentration of the NO catalyst present, ozone is actually destroyed by CO, since the following reaction is then favoured:

CO + O3 + OH + O2 -> CO2 + OH + 2O2.

This reaction predominates in the atmosphere today, since the concentration of NO is less than 0.025% of the concentration of ozone. If the concentration of NO were raised above 0.025% of the ozone concentration, then this rate of destruction of ozone would be overtaken by the rate of creation of ozone using the NO catalytic effect.

With CH4, the ozone creation reaction, which again requires sunlight, is represented by:

CH4 + 4O2 + OH + 2NO -> CO + H2 + H2O + 2O3 + OH + 2NO.

Finally, ethane (C2H6) in the troposphere racts with sunlight to produce ozone if NO is present:

C2H6 + 10(O2) + 2OH + 5NO + sunlight -> 2 H2O + H2 + CO2 + CO + 5(O3) + 2OH + 5NO.

The CO produced in this reaction is then available for other ozone reactions, already listed.

As a result of all these reactions, NO injections to the atmosphere at altitudes below 20 km actually increase the ozone layer concentration! For the mushroom cloud heights from the yields of stockpiled nuclear weapons today, the effect of a nuclear war would be to strengthen the ozone layer rather than to destroy it. High altitude bursts don’t produce nitrogen oxides because they don’t produce high-pressure air blast waves, although they too do produce ozone by the action of gamma radiation on oxygen! So the entire ozone destruction myth is a complete and utter fraud, both in theory and in extensive observed nuclear test evidence on the ozone layer.

Quite frequently during testing, an ‘excuse’ was made for the theoretical lies, that the ozone layer is naturally highly variable, masking any effect from the hundreds of megatons of atmospheric tests. Duh! Even if it were true (which it is not) that the ozone layer is slightly damaged by a nuclear war of hundreds of megatons (as known from testing data), what is the significance of such slight damage when the concentration is so naturally variable that it masks the effect anyway?

In a slightly different context, but to give some feel for what the nuclear effects exaggeration hype is about, see what Dr John Maddox, editor of Nature, wrote in his editorial in 1983 (vol. 312, p. 593) about the ‘nuclear winter’ scandal (‘hype’ was Maddox’s own word for it!) from the TAPPS (the ‘nuclear winter’ pseudo-scientific propaganda group consisting of Richard Turco, Carl Sagan, et al.): they got publicity by means of handing over $50,000 to a public relations company (the funding came from the Kendall Foundation). This is how political pseudo-science is marketed. Caveat emptor!

Professor Brian Martin (then a physicist at the Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Science, Australian National University, Canberra, but now he is Professor of Social Sciences in the School of Social Sciences, Media and Communication at the University of Wollongong), 'Critique of Nuclear Extinction', published in Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 287-300 (1982):

'The idea that global nuclear war could kill most or all of the world's population is critically examined and found to have little or no scientific basis. A number of possible reasons for beliefs about nuclear extinction are presented, including exaggeration to justify inaction, fear of death, exaggeration to stimulate action, the idea that planning is defeatist, exaggeration to justify concern, white western orientation, the pattern of day-to-day life, and reformist political analysis. Some of the ways in which these factors inhibit a full political analysis and practice by the peace movement are indicated. Prevalent ideas about the irrationality and short duration of nuclear war and of the unlikelihood of limited nuclear war are also briefly examined.'

The U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency report in 1975, Worldwide Effects of Nuclear War, incorrectly asserted that:

'It has been estimated that a 10,000-megaton war with half the weapons exploding at ground level would tear up some 25 billion cubic meters of rock and soil, injecting a substantial amount of fine dust and particles into the stratosphere. This is roughly twice the volume of material blasted loose by the Indonesian volcano, Krakatoa, whose explosion in 1883 was the most powerful terrestrial event ever recorded. Sunsets around the world were noticeably reddened for several years after the Krakatoa eruption, indicating that large amounts of volcanic dust had entered the stratosphere.'

This is false because 25,000,000,000 cubic metres of rock and soil per 10,000 megatons, with an average density of 2 tons per cubic metre, implies 5,000 tons of lofted fallout material per kiloton. As we saw in a previous post, the specific activity of fallout (fraction of bomb per kg of fallout debris) was extensively measured (although all this kind of vital fallout results were kept secret for some crazy reason). The 3.53 Mt ZUNI coral land surface burst and 5.01 Mt TEWA coral reef shots produced 136 and 210 metric tons of fallout per total yield kiloton, respectively (Rhodes in his book on the H-bomb confused the entire crater ejecta mass for the fallout mass, as exposed in a previous blog post). For the Nevada desert, Dr Carl F. Miller's 1963 Stanford Research Institute report Fallout and Radiological Countermeasures, vol. 1, estimated similar amounts of fallout mass per kiloton, around 200 tons per kiloton of yield. Hence, the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency exaggerated the mass of lofted fallout debris by at least a factor of 25. (In fact, a lot of the heavier particles reside in the stem of the mushroom and never make it into the stratosphere, so the exaggeration is even bigger than a factor of 25.)

DOSE RATE MECHANISM FOR LOW LEVEL RADIATION EFFECTS: AT LOW DOSE RATES P53 AND OTHER DNA REPAIR MECHANISMS, AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM, ARE STIMULATED TO REPAIR DNA DAMAGE FASTER (JUST AS REGULAR WORKOUTS AT THE GYM INCREASE FITNESS, BUT A ONCE-OFF MASSIVE EXERCISE IF TOTALLY UNFIT CAN CAUSE INJURY OR HEART DAMAGE); BUT AT HIGH DOSE RATES THE DNA REPAIR MECHANISMS ARE OVERLOADED AND UNABLE TO REPAIR ALL THE DAMAGE CORRECTLY, THUS CANCER RATES DEPEND ON THE DOSE RATE, AND NOT MERELY UPON THE TOTAL DOSE, CONTRARY TO THE CENTRAL DOGMA OF MAINSTREAM HEALTH PHYSICS TODAY

W.L. Chen,Y.C. Luan, M.C. Shieh, S.T. Chen, H.T. , Kung, K.L. Soong, Y.C.Yeh, T.S. Chou, S.H. Mong, J.T.Wu, C.P. Sun,W.P. Deng, M.F.Wu, and M.L. Shen, ‘Is Chronic Radiation an Effective Prophylaxis Against Cancer?’, published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 2004, page 6, available in PDF format here:

‘An extraordinary incident occurred 20 years ago in Taiwan. Recycled steel, accidentally contaminated with cobalt-60 ([low dose rate, low-LET gamma radiation emitter] half-life: 5.3 y), was formed into construction steel for more than 180 buildings, which 10,000 persons occupied for 9 to 20 years. They unknowingly received radiation doses that averaged 0.4 Sv, a collective dose of 4,000 person-Sv. Based on the observed seven cancer deaths, the cancer mortality rate for this population was assessed to be 3.5 per 100,000 person-years. Three children were born with congenital heart malformations, indicating a prevalence rate of 1.5 cases per 1,000 children under age 19.

'The average spontaneous cancer death rate in the general population of Taiwan over these 20 years is 116 persons per 100,000 person-years. Based upon partial official statistics and hospital experience, the prevalence rate of congenital malformation is 23 cases per 1,000 children. Assuming the age and income distributions of these persons are the same as for the general population, it appears that significant beneficial health effects may be associated with this chronic radiation exposure. ...’

A recent example of the pseudoscientific radiation 'education' masquerading as science that Feynman (quoted below) objected to in the 1960s was published in 2009 in an article called 'The proportion of childhood leukaemia incidence in Great Britain that may be caused by natural background ionizing radiation' in Leukemia, vol. 23 (2009), pp. 770–776, which falsely asserts - in contradiction to the evidence that the no-threshold model is contrary to Hiroshima and Nagasaki data: 'Risk models based primarily on studies of the Japanese atomic bomb survivors imply that low-level exposure to ionizing radiation, including ubiquitous natural background radiation, also raises the risk of childhood leukaemia. Using two sets of recently published leukaemia risk models and estimates of natural background radiation red-bone-marrow doses received by children, about 20% of the cases of childhood leukaemia in Great Britain are predicted to be attributable to this source.' The authors of this pseudoscience which is the opposite of the facts are R. Wakeford (Dalton Nuclear Institute, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK), G. M. Kendall (Childhood Cancer Research Group, Oxford, UK), and M. P. Little (Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Imperial College, London, UK). It is disgusting and sinful that the facts about childhood leukemia are being lied on so blatantly for non-scientific purposes, and it is to be hoped that these leukemia investigators will either correct their errors or alternatively be banned from using scientific literature to promote false dogma for deception until they mend the error of their ways and repent their sins in this matter.

‘What is Science?’ by Richard P. Feynman, presented at the fifteenth annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, 1966 in New York City, and published in The Physics Teacher, vol. 7, issue 6, 1968, pp. 313-20:

‘... great religions are dissipated by following form without remembering the direct content of the teaching of the great leaders. In the same way, it is possible to follow form and call it science, but that is pseudo-science. In this way, we all suffer from the kind of tyranny we have today in the many institutions that have come under the influence of pseudoscientific advisers.

‘We have many studies in teaching, for example, in which people make observations, make lists, do statistics, and so on, but these do not thereby become established science, established knowledge. They are merely an imitative form of science analogous to the South Sea Islanders’ airfields - radio towers, etc., made out of wood. The islanders expect a great airplane to arrive. They even build wooden airplanes of the same shape as they see in the foreigners' airfields around them, but strangely enough, their wood planes do not fly. The result of this pseudoscientific imitation is to produce experts, which many of you are. ... you teachers, who are really teaching children at the bottom of the heap, can maybe doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.’

Richard P. Feynman, 'This Unscientific Age', in The Meaning of It All, Penguin Books, London, 1998, pages 106-9:

'... another example of the same thing is the famous Protocol of the Elders of Zion, which was a fake document. It was supposed to be a meeting of the old Jews and the leaders of Zion in which they had gotten together and cooked up a scheme for the domination of the world. ... it was one of the strongest forces in the development of anti-Semitism.

'What I am asking for in many directions is an abject honesty. ... Scientists are not honest. ... By honest I don't mean that you only tell what's true. But you make clear the entire situation. You make clear all the information that is required for somebody else who is intelligent to make up their mind.

'For example, in connection with nuclear testing ... the greatest question on nuclear testing is the question of its future effects. ... You can play games and show that you will kill 10 million people in the next 2000 years with it. If I were to walk in front of a car, hoping that I will have some more children in the future, I will kill 10,000 people in the next 10,000 years, if you figure it out, from a certain way of calculating. ...

'How much is the increase in radioactivity compared to the general variations in the amount of natural background radioactivity from place to place? The amounts of background radioactivity in a wooden building and a brick building are quite different, because the wood is less radioactive than the bricks. ... the difference in the [weapons fallout] effects was less than the difference between being in a brick and a wooden building. And the difference [due to natural nuclear cosmic background radiation, which is well shielded at sea level because the atmosphere is a radiation shield equivalent to being protected by 10 metres of water] between being at sea level and being at 5000 feet altitude was ... bigger than the extra radioactivity produced by the atomic bomb testing.

'Now, I say if a man is absolutely honest and wants to protect the populace from the effects of radioactivity, which is what our scientific fiends often say they are trying to do, then he should work on the biggest number, not on the smallest number, and he should try to point out that the radioactivity which is absorbed by living in the city of Denver is so much more serious ... that all the people of Denver ought to move to lower altitudes.'

Protein P53, discovered only in 1979, is encoded by gene TP53, which occurs on human chromosome 17. P53 also occurs in other mammals including mice, rats and dogs. P53 is one of the proteins which continually repairs breaks in DNA, which easily breaks at body temperature due to free radicals produced naturally in various ways and also as a result of ionisation caused by radiation hitting water and other molecules in the body. Cancer occurs when several breaks in DNA happen to occur by chance at nearly the same time, giving several loose ends which P53 repairs incorrectly, causing a mutation. This cannot occur when only one break occurs, because only two loose ends are produced, and P53 will reattach them correctly. If low-LET ionising radiation levels are increased to a certain extent, causing more single strand breaks, P53 works faster and is able deal with faster breaks as they occur, so that multiple broken strand ends do not arise. This prevents DNA strands being repaired incorrectly, and prevents cancer - a result of mutation caused by faults in DNA - from arising. Too much radiation of course overloads the P53 repair mechanism, and then it cannot repair breaks as they occur, so multiple breaks begin to appear and loose ends of DNA are wrongly connected by P53, causing an increased cancer risk.

1. DNA-damaging free radicals are equivalent to a source of sparks which is always present naturally.

2. Cancer is equivalent the fire you get if the sparks are allowed to ignite the gasoline, i.e. if the free radicals are allowed to damage DNA without the damage being repaired.

3. Protein P53 is equivalent to a fire suppression system which is constantly damping out the sparks, or repairing the damaged DNA so that cancer doesn't occur.

In this way of thinking, the ‘cause’ of cancer will be down to a failure of a gene like P53 to repair the damage.

‘Professor Edward Lewis used data from four independent populations exposed to radiation to demonstrate that the incidence of leukemia was linearly related to the accumulated dose of radiation. ... Outspoken scientists, including Linus Pauling, used Lewis’s risk estimate to inform the public about the danger of nuclear fallout by estimating the number of leukemia deaths that would be caused by the test detonations. In May of 1957 Lewis’s analysis of the radiation-induced human leukemia data was published as a lead article in Science magazine. In June he presented it before the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy of the US Congress.’ – Abstract of thesis by Jennifer Caron, Edward Lewis and Radioactive Fallout: the Impact of Caltech Biologists Over Nuclear Weapons Testing in the 1950s and 60s, Caltech, January 2003.

Dr John F. Loutit of the Medical Research Council, Harwell, England, in 1962 wrote a book called Irradiation of Mice and Men (University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London), discrediting the pseudo-science from geneticist Edward Lewis on pages 61, and 78-79:

‘... Mole [R. H. Mole, Brit. J. Radiol., vol. 32, 1959, p. 497] gave different groups of mice an integrated total of 1,000 r of X-rays over a period of 4 weeks. But the dose-rate - and therefore the radiation-free time between fractions - was varied from 81 r/hour intermittently to 1.3 r/hour continuously. The incidence of leukemia varied from 40 per cent (within 15 months of the start of irradiation) in the first group to 5 per cent in the last compared with 2 per cent incidence in irradiated controls. ...

‘What Lewis did, and which I have not copied, was to include in his table another group - spontaneous incidence of leukemia (Brooklyn, N.Y.) - who are taken to have received only natural background radiation throughout life at the very low dose-rate of 0.1-0.2 rad per year: the best estimate is listed as 2 x 10-6 like the others in the table. But the value of 2 x 10-6 was not calculated from the data as for the other groups; it was merely adopted. By its adoption and multiplication with the average age in years of Brooklyners - 33.7 years and radiation dose per year of 0.1-0.2 rad - a mortality rate of 7 to 13 cases per million per year due to background radiation was deduced, or some 10-20 per cent of the observed rate of 65 cases per million per year. ...

‘All these points are very much against the basic hypothesis of Lewis of a linear relation of dose to leukemic effect irrespective of time. Unhappily it is not possible to claim for Lewis’s work as others have done, “It is now possible to calculate - within narrow limits - how many deaths from leukemia will result in any population from an increase in fall-out or other source of radiation” [Leading article in Science, vol. 125, p. 963, 1957]. This is just wishful journalese.

‘The burning questions to me are not what are the numbers of leukemia to be expected from atom bombs or radiotherapy, but what is to be expected from natural background .... Furthermore, to obtain estimates of these, I believe it is wrong to go to [1950s inaccurate, dose rate effect ignoring, data from] atom bombs, where the radiations are qualitatively different [i.e., including effects from neutrons] and, more important, the dose-rate outstandingly different.’

WHY IS THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY CONTINUING TO FUND THE RADIATION EFFECTS RESEARCH FOUNDATION (RERF), WHICH IS BLATANTLY COVERING UP THE EFFECTS OF RADIATION?

According to James Muckerheide's article, It’s Time to Tell the Truth About the Health Benefits of Low-Dose Radiation (Summer 2000 21st Century), the U.S. Department of Energy and its predecessor have cut off funding to studies which showed benefits of radiationm, and the RERF may fear the same thing if it tells the truth:

'Low-dose radiation has been shown to enhance biological responses for immune systems, enzymatic repair, physiological functions, and the removal of cellular damage, including prevention and removal of cancers and other diseases. ... about 0.012 percent of natural potassium is a radioactive isotope, potassium-40. Potassium was processed to separate the potassium-40 from natural potassium at Oak Ridge to conduct radiobiology experiments in the 1950s. Dr. Willis [Charles Willis of the NRC] confirms that radiation research, funded for radiation-protection objectives, supported the linear no-threshold concept by suppressing contrary scientific data, and that this activity dates back more than 40 years, to the 1950s.'

He quotes Dr Marshall Brucer: 'Health Physicists soon learned that their livelihood depended on scaring the pants off Congress. Every Genetics budget meeting opened its request for funds with an anti-nuclear litany. During the 1960s and 1970s about 40 articles/year described hormesis. In 1963, the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] repeatedly confirmed lower mortality in guinea pigs, rats, and mice irradiated at low dose. In 1964, the cows exposed to about 150 rads [of gamma, and about ten times as much beta skin dose due to contamination sticking to their hides in the dry Alamogordo desert] after the TRINITY A-bomb in 1946 were quietly euthanized because of extreme old age.'

Muckerheide has an interesting discussion of:

'The Case of the Radium Dial Painters

'In 1974, the pre-eminent radium health effects researcher, Dr. Robley Evans [author of the famed 972 pages long textbook, The Atomic Nucleus], of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, rigorously demonstrated in an article in the Health Physics Journal, that BEIR in 197220 [reference: R. D. Evans, 'Radium in Man', Health Physics, Vol. 27, 1974, pp. 497-510] had misrepresented the data on the health effects of radium in order to produce a linear no-threshold result from extremely non-linear data21 [ref.: BEIR, 'The Effects on Populations of Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation', Report of the Advisory Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiations (BEIR Committee), Washington, D.C., National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, 1972]. On Evans’s retirement in 1970, the Center for Human Radiobiology (CHR) was established at the Argonne National Laboratory.

'In 1981, Dr. Evans gave the "Invited Summary" at an international conference in which it was reported that in thousands of cases of radium dial painters worldwide, there were still no occurrences of bone cancer or nasal carcinoma in individuals who had ingested less than 250 microcuries [of which 50 was taken into the bone] of radium-226, which produced an estimated dose of 1,000 rad to the bone. A report on these data was published in 1983. Dr. Evans told the conference22 [ref.: R. D. Evans, 'Highlights of the Meeting—Invited Summary', In Radiobiology of Radium and the Actinides In Man, Proc. of an Int’l Conf., Health Physics, Vol. 44 (Supp 1), 1983, pp. 571-573]: The studies of the radium cases during the past dozen years . . . have continued to show no radiogenic tumors, or other effects, in hundreds of persons whose effective initial body burden was less than about 50 microcuries of Ra-226, and whose cumulative skeletal average dose is less than about 1,000 rad.

'In 1983, DOE initiated termination of this program, which had been established for the life of the dial painters, while more than 1,000 individuals were still alive. It may be that this message was received by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), which was established to follow the Japanese A-bomb survivors for life. The reports of the RERF produce consistently biased data.

'It is significant that systemic intake of 50 microcuries of radium-226 is about 125,000 times the annual ingestion of 5 picocuries/liter allowed by the EPA in its drinking water limits. The EPA is even proposing reductions in these limits, which will require even greater public water supply expenditures under EPA program control. If, instead, the EPA were to mandate a moderate revision in its limit by a factor of 4, this would essentially eliminate the need for monitoring for radium in drinking water, and eliminate significant unnecessary costs, while still providing a safety margin of 30,000 (times 50 picocuries) to a person who drinks 1.1 liters per day of that water. ...

'Further analysis by Dr. Robert Rowland, former Director of the Center for Human Radiobiology, has more conclusively determined that a threshold exists. Rowland states25 [ref.: R. Rowland, 'Bone Sarcoma in Humans Induced by Radium: A Threshold Response?', in Proc. of the 27th Ann. Meeting, European Society for Radiation Biology, Radioprotection colloquies, Vol. 32CI, 1997, pp. 331-338]: Today we have a population of 2,383 cases for whom we have reliable body content measurements. ... All 64 bone sarcoma cases occurred in the 264 cases with more than 10 Gy, while no sarcomas appeared in the 2,119 radium cases with less than 10 Gy.

'To contradict these objective results, in an analysis used in BEIR IV to misrepresent the actual data, Drs. Charles Mays and Raymond Lloyd selected, first, a wide low-dose group range that included no cancers, and, second, a wide dose-group range that included the lowest dose with cancer; from this, they manufactured a “linear” result. [Prof. Otto G. Raabe: 'By grouping the Evans data into six non-uniform dose groups selected so that only one dose group included no bone cancer cases (one with average skeletal alpha doses from zero to about 500 rad or 10,000 rem)and so that the next highest dose group included a few cases of bone cancer (cases were only observed for average skeletal alpha radiation doses that exceeded 1,000 rad or 20,000 rem), Chuck Mays and Ray Lloyd created the appealing, but misleading, linear plot shown on page 198 of BEIR IV. In their plot the "threshold" region, which is below 1,000 rad, is obscured near the origin since the abscissa is extended to 16,000 rad and only one dose group was assigned to this region. Their plot proves nothing about linearity. Evans's analysis shows that no linear model fits these data.']

'In the Federal Register in 1991, the EPA explicitly favored duplicity in the matter, by responding to a recommendation by its Science Advisory Board (SAB) that the radium dial painter data be used to establish the radium limits in water, as follows26 [ref.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Register, Vol. 56, No. 138, 1991, pp. 33050-127]: EPA policy is to assess cancer risks from ionizing radiation as a linear response. Therefore, use of the dial painter data requires either deriving a linear risk coefficient from significantly non-linear exposure response data, or abandoning EPA policy.

'Simply put, science is irrelevant in this campaign to mislead the public about the hazards of radium, and radiation generally.

'It was after a notorious radium poisoning case in 1932, that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) achieved control of radiation from Congress. Well-known Philadelphia industrialist and socialite Eben Byers, died from a massive overdose of radium ingested in large quantities over three years. The Byers case had great publicity and created great public fear of radiation. The truth is that Byers did not die of cancer. Bone necrosis led to removal of his jaw and other interventions that put a gruesome image on the radiation effects. The FDA did not then assess the dose effects to the thousands of persons who had also used radium and other radiation sources in more moderate amounts; or acknowledge that Byers had been the victim of the equivalent of a drug overdose. The amount of radium that Eben Byers ingested daily is about 2,000,000 times the current EPA limits, based on drinking 1 liter/day at 5 picocuries per liter (pCi/l). The threshold for latent bone cancers from ingesting radium by the dial painters is more than 125,000 times the annual limits from drinking water at 5 pCi/l. After the Byers case, Dr. Edna Johnson, and others, suppressed well-known data on the stimulatory effects of low doses of ionizing radiation, especially, a 1936 report for the National Research Council, to claim that “radiation is harmful at low doses”. ...

'Japanese Survivors Study

'The Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) studies of Japanese atomic bomb survivor data at low doses have been substantially questioned, without resolution. This is especially true since the Department of Energy’s arbitrary reassignment of the RERF from the National Academy of Sciences to a DOE-recruited and selected investigator at Columbia University. Many independent studies of the RERF data contradict the RERF analyses, even when limited to using the RERF’s own processed data in the absence of the ability to access the raw data. Even BEIR V consultants were unable to obtain the data to undertake an independent analysis. Some of the RERF data show more evidence of hormetic effects than adverse effects at low doses. However, critical analyses are not considered by radiation protection interests in BEIR V or NCRP SC1-6. Certainly however, in the first instance, the conditions of doses to persons exposed directly to an atomic bomb, and confounding factors of survivors, both before and after the bombing, are of no significance to the assessment of the health effects of chronic low-dose exposures to environmental contamination. Use of the RERF results for the assessment of health effects is well known to be inappropriate, because the exposure does not apply to radiation protection for workers or for the public exposed to chronic and highly fractionated and low dose-rate radiation, especially for extreme costly cleanup and decommissioning standards.'

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, ORAL HISTORY OF BIOPHYSICIST DR. ROBERT E. ROWLAND

The biophysicist in charge of dosimetry and effects studies for the radium dial painters gave is on the U.S. Department of Energy radiation research site here.

DOE/EH-0461, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years, Oral History of Biophysicist Robert Edmund Rowland, Ph.D., onducted January 27, 1995, United States Department of Energy, Office of Human Radiation Experiments, published in June 1995:

Dr Robert E. Rowland, PhD.: '... we used to think for a while that the radium cases were very lucky, because when they got induced sarcomas, maybe the alphas there that induced it were turning around and killing it. ...Well, we weren't able to prove it or anything about it. ... what we learned was that the gamma-ray measurement of a skeleton was really all you needed ... about 37 percent ... of the radon escaped from the body, so you could account for that without too big an error. So, we got a body content. ... It turned out the average dial painter was measured 40 years after their first exposure. ...

'I then was interested in getting an equation which would give me the probability of a sarcoma, for example, as a function of what went in during the exposure. We were very surprised to find that when you did this for bone sarcomas, it was an equation best described as a square of the dose, a square of the systemic intake.

'This is not very acceptable in radiobiological quarters, because everybody knows that the response is linear. There ought to be some sort of a linear relationship, extending back down to zero dose. Instead, we kept seeing that these sarcomas seemed to respond as a square. ...

'So, our earliest studies said, "Linear fits," meaning we tested by a chi-square 44 relationship. "Linear fits. Use linear for the head carcinomas. Use square for the sarcomas." This we did for some time.

'The fact of the matter is, Mays and Rowland and Stehney have a paper about radium and uranium in drinking water, and ... There, we actually go and use linear relationships, which I regret very much, because I don't believe they're true at all. ... whether we like it or not, they are the best definition of a threshold relationship that I've ever come across. ...

'The big dilemma in malignancies induced by radium is, "Why aren't there leukemias?" ... Bill Spiers, F. W. Spiers as written. He wrote what I think is the definitive paper in looking over all of the data, [and Spiers found that] there is no excess of leukemia in radium-exposed people. ... So, leukemia is a non-event. [We have, for radium-induced malignancies] bone sarcomas, a total of 85 in the whole population; carcinomas in the paranasal sinus and mastoid air cells, 37 in the whole population. [That population totals 6,675 measured and unmeasured radium-exposed individuals]. ...

'Stehney examined the life expectancy of dial painters ... If you then went back and took out all those cases that had radiation-induced malignancies — bone sarcomas and head carcinomas — took them out, there was no life shortening.

'So it says if you didn't get one of those two malignancies, you didn't have any visible effect on, at least, life shortening, which implies indirectly that other cancers aren't causing problems, cancers induced by radium.

'This was done about 15 years ago, and he brought it up-to-date at the conference in Heidelberg last April [1994]. That's a very nice paper, and it should be published sometime this summer [1995] ...

'... an initial systemic intake of less than about 75 microcuries of radium[-226] ... which is one-fifth of the total intake has never induced a malignancy, either bone sarcoma or carcinoma of the air cells. ... 75 microcuries, systemically, which is five times that in terms of oral ingestion, or 75 if you inject it with a needle in the vein. ... And that works for either of the two types of malignancies. ... if you quote rem, 20,000. And, that's another reason why I don't like to use skeletal dose, either in rad, rem, grays or sieverts, because the number is meaningless: it's so high.

'I mean, I [grew] up with the idea that 600 rad, to the whole body, was lethal. And then I go talking about, "But we've never seen a malignancy under 20,000 rem, or 1,000 rads, of radiation." You know, you don't even get a malignancy, yet you kill someone with 600 rads! It just didn't have meaning in the same sense. [Protracted, chronic exposure to radiation over 40 years from radium in the bones happens at a low dose rate so is less lethal than the same dose as rapidly received radiation given at high dose rates over a minute or so as at Hiroshima.]'

At this point Dr. Darrell Fisher from Battelle, Pacific Northwest Laboratory states: '... in the dogs that have inhaled plutonium-239 oxide, I don't believe we've seen any lung cancers in dogs with less than about 150 rads to the lungs. ... It hasn't been published, but one thing we have observed is that in dogs with some plutonium, but less than 150 rads to lungs, there have been no lung cancers, and the incidence has been zero, whereas the incidence of lung cancers in the controls range between 3 and 16 percent. ... A protective that, with no incidence of lung cancer in the very low-dose-plutonium dogs ... where plutonium is administered by inhalation.'

Dr Robert E. Rowland: 'I mentioned that we have good measurements on 2,400 people who acquired radium, either dial painters or medical injections or drinking water. ... This population of people we've measured, if we line them up in order of initial systemic intake, how much radium got into the bloodstream, and put them in pecking order — of the 2,400, all of the malignancies occur in the highest 280 cases. The lower 2,100 cases, nothing. All of it occurs right there.

'And so, another way of looking at the doses in a way, I think, that is striking to the layperson, that up to this level nothing happens, and all the experience and all the bad things you've heard about what radium can do — and it can do bad things — are all right here at the end, at the highest levels, which is another way of saying, "It sure looks like a threshold relationship".'

Dr Rowland's 246 pages long book, Radium in Humans: A Review of U.S. Studies, Argonne National Laboratory, ANL/ER-3, 1994, is available here as a PDF file (5.3 MB), and page 80 states:

'When the measured radium cases are arranged in order of increasing initial systemic intake, expressed as μCi of Ra-226 plus 2.5 times μCi of Ra-228, the lowest-dose case with a bone sarcoma is number 2,102 on the list of 2,383 cases. That is, no bone sarcomas occurred in the 2,101 cases with lower combined intakes than this case. The value of the combined systemic intake for this case was 100 μCi, from 81.53 μCi of Ra-226 and 7.42 μCi of Ra-228. This lowest-dose sarcoma case was a female dial painter who started work in 1918 and died in 1983 of a bone sarcoma diagnosed in 1981.'

Page 87 states:

'When the measured cases are arranged in order of increasing initial systemic intake, the head carcinoma occurring at the lowest dose (Figure 13) is found to be number 2,024 in the list of 2,383 cases, with a calculated intake of 25.63 μCi of Ra-226. As indicated below, this intake value is incorrect; the true value is larger ...'

THE STERNGLASS 'SECRET FALLOUT' DECEPTION AND DR ALICE STEWART'S COVER-UP OF THE TRUTH ABOUT RADIATION

We have already seen in the previous post here how Professor Sternglass, author of Secret Fallout, Low-Level Radiation from Hiroshima to Three Mile Island and Before the Big Bang (which at least is anti-groupthink rubbish in physics, such as debunking Bohr's and Heisenberg's Copenhagen Interpretation and correctly analyzing the double slit experiment where a single photon's transverse wavelength is big enough to make it interact with both slits, where the slits are close enough that you get a diffraction pattern on the screen) fabricated false 'evidence' of low level radiation effects from fallout:



Above: the biggest hoax in the history of science, bigger than Piltdown Man, Cold Fusion and 11 dimensional Superstring. Professor Ernest Sternglass plots the rate at which infant mortality falls from 1935-68. He ignores the godd*mn mechanism for the fall in infant mortality in the period 1935-50, which was better medical treatment such as the sulfonamide-based drugs! Once this had reduced the infant mortality, the rate of year on year decrease would flatten out. Sternglass ignores this mechanism, and pretends that the cause of the flattening of the curve is all due to nuclear bomb test fallout instead! DUH!!!!! What's amazing is that people want to believe such lies with no control group, no mechanism, and inconsistencies such as the implication (from Sternglass' no-fallout straight line in the graph above) that childhood mortality was above 100% in the past and will drop to zero in the future! Duh! Who is he kidding???? But unfortunately, a lot of people believe these lies, simply because they want to believe them for non-scientific reasons like wishful thinking (so they don't have to study the facts, but can just dismiss radiation as scary and believe that it can be removed as a terrorist threat somehow politically by our disarmament):

'Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."

'I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."


Sternglass' straight line extrapolation is completely pseudoscience, because if carried into the past it predicts a time with over 100% infant mortality (evidently wrong, because people are alive now!), and extrapolated into the future it predicts 0% childhood mortality (clearly false, because disease cannot be eradicated, despite the innovations like sulfonamides and antibiotics in the 1935-50 era). This type of error, due to a lack of causality and lack of proper mechanism-based predictions is not limited to the controversy over the effects of radiation. It's also shown by 10 dimensional superstring dogma and other groupthink rubbish in physics.

As shown in an earlier post, quite a bit of iodine-131 was released across America by Nevada testing in 1951-62, but even the effects of that were far smaller than what Sternglass was claiming.

Darrell Huff wrote a book called How to Lie with Statistics which has the example that researchers found that the number of children in a family in Holland correlated to the number of storks nests on the roof of the home! Perhaps that proves that storks really deliver children to families? Well, actually the bigger the family, the bigger the home they needed on the average. The bigger families with more children tended to have bigger, older houses, with big old roofs which had more storks nests because of their size and age. Professor Sternglass has recently had a change from claiming that low-level radiation is lethal: he has published a book about what happened before the big bang, an analogy to an egg dividing many times to produce all the particles.

Sternglass' first presentation was at the 9th Annual Hanford Biological Symposium, May 1969. Dr Alice Stewart was honest enough at that time to debunk Sternglass on 24 July 1969, in her article for the New Scientist, 'The Pitfalls of Extrapolation', which exposed the fatal contradiction in the Sternglass 'evidence' (besides the lack of a control group!):

'Sternglass has postulated a fetal mortality trend which would eventually produce rates well below the level which - according to his own theory - would result from background radiation.'

Dr Alice Stewart had discovered in 1956 that the exposure of pregnant mothers to an X-ray doubled the natural risk that the child would develop leukemia by the age of 10 years, but was biasedly anti-nuclear and ignorant of the initial effects of nuclear weapons. She falsely claimed that the 73.5% of the population of Hiroshima and 78.1% of the population of Nagasaki who survived the initial effects - these statistics are from Glasstone and Dolan, page 544 - were 'superfit' before exposure to radiation - when they were in fact undernourished on wartime rationing - rather than superfit as a consequence of exposure to radiation, e.g. see her lie in New Scientist magazine, 5 August 2000:

'Our paper also shows that the A-bomb survivors were not a normal, homogenous population. They were the best athletes - the top 10 per cent - and did not include the young and the old. This means that we cannot base standards of radiation safety on such an elite cohort.'


That is a blatant lie, because the initial effects survivors were 73.5% of the population in Hiroshima and 78.1% of the population, and did include young and old; additionally, at long ranges and thus low doses there were very few fatalities from initial effects. So it wasn't a biased population, it had a carefully matched control group unlike Sternglass' garbage and the Hanford study.

Despite this falsehood, Alice Stewart continued to deceive others, falsely claiming that the initial bomb effects like blast and thermal (but conveniently for her bias, not radiation!) made the survivors superfit:

STOA Workshop 5th February 1998
STOA WORKSHOP
SURVEY AND EVALUATION OF CRITICISM OF BASIC SAFETY STANDARDS FOR THE PROTECTION OF WORKERS AND THE PUBLIC AGAINST IONISING RADIATION

Brussels, LEO 5-E-2
Thursday, 5 February 1998

0925-09.40 A-bomb Survivors. Reassessment of the Radiation Hazard. A. Stewart, The University of Birmingham, UK

Summary of Dr.Stewart's Presentation at STOA 1998:


'Dr. Stewart remarked that the ... radio-sensitive people were removed from the population from the destructive effects of the bomb. That is why we are currently working on a basis which only provides for extremely resistant people. If the population was composed of young men, this condition would represent extreme-radio-resistance, which is in fact exactly what happened in the A-bomb survivor study.'

This was a tissue of lies, because at the low doses where the whole controversy arises, nobody (i.e., 0%) died from the acute radiation syndrome! There has never ever been any controversy that acute radiation syndrome has a threshold for lethal effects above at least 1 Gy (the 64 Marshallese exposed to BRAVO fallout in 1954 got 1.75 Gy of gamma plus a larger skin dose from beta, and 0% died from acute radiation syndrome). Dr Alice Stewart was covering up the truth.

She, and her supporter Klaus Becker at that meeting, simply had no excuse, because right back in 1961, Dr Clayton Samuel White (1912-2004) and others of the Lovelace Medical Center, published Comparative Nuclear Effects of Biomedical Interest, Atomic Energy Commission Civil Effects Test Operations report CEX-58.8 (also available online in a high quality format here), analyzing the mechanisms of all the initial effects. Clayton S. White, I. G. Bowen, and Donald R. Richmond also wrote A Comparative Analysis of Some of the Immediate Environmental Effects at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research, report ADA438031, 1964, also published in Health Physics, vol. 10, issue 3, pp. 89-150, March 1964:

'The problem areas of concern to those who would establish a quantitative relation between biologic response and the more immediate environmental variations caused by nuclear explosions were defined. The scope of blast and shock biology was set forth and a selective summary of current knowledge regarding biological blast effects was presented. Tentative criteria useful in assessing the hazards of some of the major nuclear effects were noted. Following elucidation of the range-yield-effects relationship applicable to high-yield explosions generally, the criteria were applied specifically to a 20-kt yield burst at heights assumed to apply to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions. The procedure, establishing the range-effect relationships for the two Japanese cities, was carried out through use of the free-field scaling laws and a mathematical model allowing scaling of translational effects for both debris and man. Thus an attempt was made to predict the ranges inside which the potential existed for producing specified levels of biological damage. For each of the predicted ranges, values for overpressure, thermal and initial nuclear radiations along with translational velocities for man and glass fragments were computed to allow a more balanced appreciation of all the effects parameters that pose a hazard to man. The implications of the free-field range-effects data in interpreting some of the immediate effects at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were explored and discussed. Though the over-all analytical approach followed was thought to be useful and sound, the tentative nature of many of the numerical data presented was emphasized. Thus those numbers employed representing best current estimates as well as values arbitrarily assigned were all noted to be subject to future refinement as new information expands the understanding of nuclear phenomenology and the consequences of exposure thereto.'

Dr Clayton S. White, who worked on nuclear weapon blast effects at Nevada test series’ Upshot-Knothole (1953), Teapot (1955) and Plumbbob (1957), testimony to the U.S. Congressional Hearings, 22-26 June 1959, Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear War, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1959, pp. 364-5:

‘We were fortunate enough at a 5 psi station in one of the 1957 shots in Nevada to photograph the time-displacement history of a 160-pound [standing] dummy, and we were able from analysis of the movies to determine the maximal velocity reached ... about 21 feet per second. This velocity developed in 0.5 second. The total displacement of the dummy was near 22 feet ... It was this piece of empirical information that helped greatly in getting an analytical “handle” on the “treatment” of man as missile.’

In his 1985 oral history for the University of New Mexico, Dr White pointed out that all researchers of Hiroshima and Nagasaki need to study initial effects of nuclear weapons:

'More time was spent right after Hiroshima-Nagasaki in picking window glass out of people than in treating any other one entity.'

See also White's reports here, here, and particularly the report by Clayton S. White, Robert K. Jones, Edward G. Damon, E. Royce Fletcher, and Donald R. Richmond, The Biodynamics of Air Blast, The Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research, report ADA384508, July 1971:

'After pointing out that accelerative and decelerative events are associated with the direct (pressure) and indirect (translational events including penetrating and nonpenetrating debris and whole body impact) effects of exposure to blast induced winds and pressure variations, some of the relevant biophysical parameters were selectively noted and discussed. These included the pressure time relationship; species differences; ambient pressure effects; the significance of positional (orientational) and geometric (situational) factors as they influence the wave form, the pressure, and the biologic response; and data bearing upon the etiology of blast injury. The consequences of pressure induced, violent implosion of the body wall and the significance of the associated variations in the internal gas and fluid pressures were described and emphasized as were alternating phases of "forced" hemorrhage and arterial air embolization; fibrin thrombi; coagulation anomalies; and renal, cardiac, and pulmonary sequelae. Tentative biomedical criteria consistent with recent interspecies scaling and modeling studies for assessing primary blast hazards were presented.'

Also, Donald R. Richmond, Edward G. Damon, E. Royce Fletcher, I. Gerald Bowen, and Clayton S. White, The Relationship between selected blast wave parameters and the response of mammals exposed to air blast, was published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 152 (2006), issue 1, pp. 103-21, while E. Royce Fletcher and I. Gerald Bowen, Blast-induced translational effects, was published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 152, issue 1, 2006, pp. 378-403.

We have given links to some of their studies on the glass fragment hazard, in the post here. See also the reports here (essential report), here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The danger that Sternglass and Alice Stewart both succumbed to is that bad science, lacking mechanism, can be asserted and become credible in the public despite being completely false; just because a scientist misuses authority to gain attention. In this case, when Sternglass' paper was rejected from a scientific journal, he had it published in the September 1969 issue of Esquire magazine, titled ‘The death of all children’. That magazine advertised the story as a selling point, and sent out copies of the magazine to prominent people in politics. If he had scientific evidence that was being covered up, that would have been reason to do that, assuming that the media would be interested in making a political storm out of the facts (which strongly support a result which is the opposite of that which Sternglass makes). So you end up with the idea that these false claims about low level radiation stem from politics: if the public wants to fear low level, low dose rate radiation, someone will fiddle the statistics accordingly. Anyone giving the facts is conveniently ignored or ridiculed as being ‘out of touch’ or part of a conspiracy and cover-up by the paranoid, deluded, media-manipulating charlatans.

R. H. MOLE AND F. W. SPIERS: HANFORD RADIATION STUDY

Mole and Spiers, as mentioned above, did the crucial work on radiation effects that others used. Both were scientific advisers to the British Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch on radiation effects for civil defence. Mole discovered the effect of dose rate on leukemia induction in mice, while Spiers discovered that the radium dial painters had no excess of leukemia, despite the gamma radiation from its decay chain daughter nuclides. There is an interesting argument by Mole over the statistical bias of the Hanford radiation study, which lacked both proper control groups and supervision of the diagnosis of cancers online here.

NUCLEAR TEST PARTICIPANTS RADIATION INDUCED CANCER RISKS

In May 1985, a U.S. National Research Council report on mortality in nuclear weapons test participants raised several questions. Some 5,113 nuclear test participants had died between 1952-81, when 6,125 deaths would be expected for a similar sized group of non-exposed Americans. The number of leukemia deaths was 56, identical to that in a similar sized non-exposed group. However, as the graph at the top of this post shows, the risk depends on the dose, so the few people with the highest doses would have far greater risks. In 1983, a C.D.C. report on the effects of fallout from the Plumbbob-Smoky test in 1957 showed that 8 participants in that test has died from leukemia up to 1979, compared to only 3 expected from a similar sized sample of non-exposed Americans. However, even for the Plumbbob-Smoky test, the overall death rate from all causes in the exposed test participants (320 deaths from 1957-79) was less than that in a matched sample of non-exposed Americans (365 deaths). The average dose to American nuclear test participants was only about 0.5 rad, although far higher doses were received by those working with fallout soon after nuclear tests. Altogether, out of 205,000 U.S. Department of Defense participants in nuclear tests, 34,000 were expected to die from naturally occurring cancer, and 11 from cancer due to radiation exposure. (According to the March 1990 U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency study guide DNA1.941108.010, report HRE-856, Medical Effects of Nuclear Weapons.)


CHERNOBYL 1986 NUCLEAR DISASTER RADIATION AFTER EFFECTS

We will now discuss the long term effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion (already discussed in some aspects, in a previous post here). Unlike the authorities in Poland, the Russians decided not to issue 130 mg potassium iodide tablets to civilians exposed to short-lived radioactive iodine isotopes like iodine-131, which is concentrated in a small area of the body (the thyroid gland) producing massive doses there (unlike other nuclides!). As a result of the lack of protection against radioactive iodine, many people subsequently had thyroid abnormalities, nodules and some cancers.

Dr Valerie Beral of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund showed in the 1 June 1995 issue of Nature that in the Ukraine there was no rise in general cancers or leukemia after Chernobyl, but there was a rise in thyroid cancers from 8 children with thyroid cancer in 1986 to 42 in 1993. The risk to children is greatest because they drink more milk and have smaller thyroid glands, which concentrates the iodine in a smaller volume, producing a greater dose within that volume. Dr Beral also found that children born after 1986 had no extra thyroid cancer risk, confirming that the threat died quickly with the 8-day half life of iodine-131.

Other data were reported in Health Physics, vo. 71 (1996), p. 47, showing that in Belarus (population 2,348,300 including 720,000 children exposed to a mean thyroid dose of 337 mGy) the number of thyroid cancers in the years from 1986 to 1992 inclusive were 1, 2, 2, 2, 10, 32, and 31. Back in 1961, the Lancet (vol. 2, p. 1097) published the fact that that 200 mg tablets of potassium iodide block iodine-131 uptake effectively even if they are taken up to 2 hours after exposure, and showed that each tablet is effective for several days. D. N. Pahuja, et al., in 1993 published the fact in Health Physics vol. 65, pp. 545-9, 'Potassium iodate and its comparison to potassium iodide as a blocker of I-131 uptake by the thyroid of rats', that although potassium iodide (KI) has a short shelf life in hot conditions, potassium iodate (KIO3) is more stable and is just as effective.

Nigel Hawkes, Science Editor, wrote an article called 'Born Under the Cloud of Chernobyl' in The Times on 1 June 1995, stating:

'Ukrainian officials reportedly claimed that 125,000 people had died as a result of the radiation release. It turned out that this was the total of all deaths in the affected area since the accident.'

Dr Roger Highfield, Science Editor of the Daily Telegraph, wrote about Chernobyl radiation hysteria on 9 April 1996:

'In 1991, 45 per cent of people in the contaminated areas claimed to be suffering from an illness due to radiation, but Western medical teams found no such effects. ... One fascinating discovery is that the feeling of fatalism is so strong among many that they do not comply with restrictions on eating contaminated foods and drinking radioactive milk.'

The cause of such hysteria is clear in the 28 April 1994 issue of the Daily Express newspaper which reported falsely that Chernobyl radiation could melt snow: 'Out here in the countryside, the land either side of us is so radioactively hot that when snow falls it melts instantly.'

In the same Daily Express newspaper on 2 May 1996, Sir Bernard Ingham stated: 'the population in general is damaged psychologically, blaming every ailment on the disaster ... a report which said radioactivity at Chernobyl "melts the winter's snow as it falls" exaggerates its effect by a factor of 26,000,000,000.'

The Chernobyl accident occured when, on 26 April 1986, a 1 GW badly designed Soviet Union nuclear reactor (i.e., it was a boiling water reactor with pressure-tube heat exchanger, and used a graphite moderator at a temperature of 700 oC with a poor safety system - an electronic safety switch which could be turned off while the reactor was in operation!) at Chernobyl in the Ukraine was being used for an unofficial experiment and a number of decisions combined to make its power level accelerate to 100 GW (100 times normal full power) in just 4 seconds. The operators (1) turned off the automatic safety protection system, (2) withdrew the neutron-absorbing control rods, then (3) turned off the coolant flow.

You don't need to be a reactor physicist to work out that the incredible heat generated in the (now stagnant) cooling water dissociated the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen gas, which then exploded, blowing the reactor lid off and sending up a cloud of fission product smoke and fallout. Potassium iodate tablets were issued to all Chernobyl workers 1.5 hours after the accident, but not the the civilians downwind! Most of the deaths occurred from whole body gamma radiation, and from beta skin contact burns when workers without waterproof protective clothing were drenched with highly contaminated water during decontamination work.

Some 31 people died from short-term exposure to gamma exposure and beta burns. One died from physical injury, one from thermal burns, and 29 from acute radiation syndrome. Out of 22 patients with dosimeter readings of 6-16 Gy, 21 died; for 23 patients with 4-6 Gy, 7 died; for 53 patients with 2-4 Gy, 1 died; and for 105 patients with dosimetry readings of 1-2 Gy, no acute radiation syndrome deaths occurred.

A total mass of 6 tons of fragmented concrete, steel and graphite debris formed the contaminated fallout from Chernobyl. Downwind fallout was substantial 6 km away on the town of Pripyat, giving a peak measured gamma dose rate of 600 mR/hr (about 0.6 cGy/hour when converting from air ionization units to absorbed dose units) at 40 hours after the explosion; by the end of 1987 it had decayed to 0.2 mR/hr (about 10-20 times the natural background radiation level for most soils at sea level). The inhabitants of Pripyat were given by potassium iodate tablets, but were evacuated beginning the day after the explosion in 1,216 buses and 300 trucks from the upwind city of Kiev.

A total of 135,000 people from a 30 km radius of Chernobyl were evacuated by 5 May 1986. The 25,000 people living within 3-15 km of the reactor received an average of 0.45 Sv (0.45 Gy for gamma radiation where the RBE is 1), while the 110,000 people within 15-30 km received an average of 0.043 Sv. On 10 May 1986, the 5 mR/hr fallout contour extended 110 km downwind, while the 2 mR/hr fallout contour covered 200,000 km2.

Initially, most of the dose rate was due to permanent gases (e.g., the full reactor inventory of 1.7 x 1018 Bq of the nobel gas Xenon-133 was released, which has a half-life of 5.27 days). But after the cloud dispersed and those gases decayed, the activity from deposited fallout and rainout predominated. About 20% of the 1.3 x 1018 Bq reactor inventory of iodine-131 was released, which decayed with a half life of 8.05 days. (This release was 350 times greater than the amount of iodine-131 emitted in the 1957 Windscale graphite reactor fire in Britain, and about a million times greater than the iodine-131 released in the Three Mile Island accident of 1979.)

Iodine-131 in the Pripyat river water reached a peak concentration of 0.03 microcuries/litre on 3 May 1986, but then fell rapidly due to the effects of dilution and natural radioactive decay.

The alleged long-term radioactive hazard was mainly due to caesium-137. Some 13% of the reactor inventory of 2.9 x 1017 Bq of caesium-137 was released, and it has a half life of 30 years. Rainout of Chernobyl smoke over North-West England on 2-3 May 1986 deposited 6 kBq/m2 of caesium-137, and by 15 June the caesium-137 content of grazing sheep exceeded the 1 kBq/kg safety limit. The sale of sheep for feed was banned, but wool production for clothing was safe and was continued. After 12 weeks, 3 million British sheep were banned from consumption due to uptake of caesium-137 from grass. Milk contamination was a short-term problem in the rainout areas of Britain, reaching a peak of up to 1.1 kBq/litre before decaying.

'The maximum measured radioactive contamination of milk in the United States by iodine-131 from the Chernobyl disaster was in milk produced by cows grazing on pasture in Washington: 560 picocuries per liter. The much greater potential danger from trans-Pacific war fallout is brought out by the fact that the approximately 300-kiloton Chinese test explosion of December 28, 1966 resulted in worse iodine-131 contamination of milk produced by a cow grazing on pasture near Oak Ridge, Tennessee: 900 picocuries per liter.' - Cresson Kearny.

But the most serious short-term effects of Chernobyl were due to fictitious media hyped scare stories from ignorant and biased non-threshold dogma-abiding idiots, setting off a series of panic-induced abortions across Europe. During May 1986 alone, 2,564 babies (23% of early pregnancies) in Greece were aborted due to radiation fears, although as we have shown these particular fears proved groundless judging by the results in the heavily-contaminated Gomel district:

'The clear aim of the anti-nuclear movement is to silence all opposition ... theirs are now the only voices heard ... In the Gomel district ... which was one of the most heavily contaminated [after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986], the death rate per thousand newborn babies was 16.3 in 1985, 13.4 in 1986, and 13.1 in 1987; in Kiev region the figures ... were, respectively, 15.5, 12.2, and 12.1.'

- Environmentalist Michael Allaby, Facing the Future: the Case for Science (Bloomsbury, London, 1995, pp.191-7).

The effects of distant strontium-90 in milk due to fallout from nuclear weapons tests were similarly exaggerated. After the largest atmospheric nuclear test series ever by America and Russian in 1962 (they ceased atmospheric tests in December 1962), the peak concentration of strontium-90 in milk in Britain reached 1.5 Bq per gram of calcium in 1963, and it thereafter diminished to half that over a period of 18 months (mainly due to the downward movement of fallout washed ever deeper in the soil by rainfall, until less and less of it was available for uptake by grass). For America, there is a graph on page 303 of Merril Eisenbud and Thomas F. Gesell, Environmental radioactivity, Academic Press, 4th ed., 1997, which shows that strontium-90 reached a peak concentration of Sr-90 in milk in New York City of about 1 Bq (26 picocuries) per gram of calcium in 1963.

Up to 1962, the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. conducted a total of 496 Mt of atmospheric tests, of which 183 Mt was from fission. The highest rate of nuclear testing was in 1962: see the graph on page 295 of Merril Eisenbud and Thomas F. Gesell, Environmental Radioactivity, Academic Press, 4th ed., 1997. Because strontium-90 is chemically similar to radium in being concentrated in the bones, and because of the censored evidence we have discussed about the threshold dose for bone cancer of radium by the 1920s luminous watch dial painters who licked the radium/zinc sulphide paint on their brushes (and in some cases painted their teeth with it), the widely believed effects of such fallout have no scientific evidence behind them. Page 305 of Eisenbud and Gesell 1997 shows that the peak concentration of strontium-90 in adult bone in New York City was 2.2 picocuries (0.08 Bq) per gram of calcium, reached in 1965. Humans are 1.5% calcium by mass, thus an average 70.0 kg adult contains 1.05 kg or 1,050 grams of calcium, so that the total peak body burden in 1965 was about 2,300 picocuries = 2.3 nanocuries. This body burden is 22,000 times lower than the 50 microcuries of Ra-226 which was the threshold needed to produce 1,000 rads and bone cancers to the radium workers. Thus the 183 megatons of fission yield in atmospheric tests was 22,000 times too low to produce the observed threshold for bone cancer from strontium-90 uptake, according to the previously quoted data.

NOT JUST 'EXAGGERATION' BUT WHOLESALE LYING ABOUT RADIATION EFFECTS FOR POLITICAL ENDS

Dr Jane M. Orient wrote a paper on 'Nuclear weapons: surrender or defense?' published in the Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, vol. 37, number 10, October 1982, pp. 260-2, stating: 'Nobody remembers that the French had enough ammunition in the Maginot Line to kill every German many times.' The Germans simply bypassed the Maginot Line and went through the Ardennes Forest to invade France. This shows why anti-nuclear 'overkill' hype totally misses the whole point: having piles of 'overkill' weapons doesn't prevent terrorism (state-sponsored or otherwise), you need the effective means to defend yourself! In 1985, she published in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, vol. 28, issue 2, Winter 1985, pp. 218-22 an analysis of 'Nuclear Winter' deceptions by TTAPS, e.g., 'the TTAPS model assumes, without comment, that 50 percent of the urban area in the 2-5 psi overpressure zone would burn, in contrast to the 10 percent or less estimated by the Office of Technology Assessment. ... Whether or not the nuclear winter is credible, the conclusions drawn by its major promoter, Carl Sagan, are non sequiturs. Sagan calls for rejecting civil defense and appears on public television to denounce the concept of weapons that might disarm nuclear warheads before they could start a firestorm.'

She states in her paper 'Homeland Security for Physicians', Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, vol. 11, number 3, Fall 2006, pp. 75-9:

'As older physicians will recall, in the 1950s and 1960s Americans had a high level of awareness that they were targeted by Soviet missiles armed with nuclear warheads. As reminders, there were periodic checks of the air-raid sirens and the Conelrad
emergency broadcast system, and signs identifying designated fallout shelters were visible in public places. Our high school had a civil defense club. ...

'In the 1960s, a group of activist physicians called Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) undertook to "educate the medical profession and the world about the dangers of nuclear weapons," beginning with a series of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine. [Note that journal was publishing information for anti-civil defense propaganda back in 1949, e.g. the article in volume 241, pp. 647-53 of New England Journal of Medicine which falsely suggests that civil defense in nuclear war would be hopeless because a single burned patient in 1947 with 40% body area burns required 42 oxygen tanks, 36 pints of plasma, 40 pints of whole blood, 104 pints of fluids, 4,300 m of gauze, 3 nurses and 2 doctors. First, only unclothed persons in direct line of sight without shadowing can get 40% body area burns from thermal radiation, second, duck and cover offers protection in a nuclear attack warning, and G. V. LeRoy had already published, two years earlier, in J.A.M.A., volume 134, 1947, pp. 1143-8, that less than 5% of burns in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were caused by building and debris fires. In medicine it is always possible to expend vast resources on patients who are fatally injured. In a mass casualty situation, doctors should not give up just because they don't have unlimited resources; as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they would need to do their best with what they have.]

'On its website, www.psr.org, the group boasts that it "led the campaign to end atmospheric nuclear testing." With this campaign, the linear no-threshold (LNT) theory of radiation carcinogenesis became entrenched. It enabled activists to calculate enormous numbers of potential casualties by taking a tiny risk and multiplying it by the population of the earth. As an enduring consequence, the perceived risks of radiation are far out of proportion to actual risks, causing tremendous damage to the American nuclear industry.

'Over the next decade, governmental civil defense programs declined, and public interest waned. By 1974, only 29 million public shelter spaces had been added to the 110 million catalogued by 1963 on order of President John F. Kennedy. The Medical Self-Help Program and the Medical Education for National Defense Program were terminated. ...

'I became involved in the early 1980s, when Australian pediatrician Helen Caldicott, M.D., gave a lecture at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She handed out copies of the articles from the New England Journal of Medicine, displayed posters equating nuclear weapons with nuclear power production, and gave an impassioned appeal for physicians to join in the disarmament movement du jour, the Nuclear Freeze. ...

'PSR's successful efforts in garnering physician members and support sparked the formation of another group, International Physicians for the Prevention of NuclearWar (IPPNW), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for its disarmament advocacy. ... Nuclear war, it declared, meant the utter destruction of the planet; if the explosive force of the weapons weren't enough, there was always an ensuing climate catastrophe. During the 1980s, that was nuclear winter, although current visitors to the PSR website will find only allusions to global warming, not the slides about the Cold and the Dark that its members formerly showed to frighten schoolchildren. Using a medical metaphor, PSR claimed that treatment was impossible, and only prevention was acceptable. Efforts to save lives were not only futile, but unethical ...

'Physicians could help save millions of lives by serving as a credible source of crucial lifesaving information. Simply preventing panic would probably save more lives than almost anything else. ...

'Chances of surviving the blast at some distance from the fireball are much enhanced by "duck and cover." Soldiers are taught to lie down immediately if they see a flash or hear an explosion. It takes eight times as much force to move someone who is lying down as opposed to standing up. The flash travels with the speed of light; the speed of the blast wave is a function of the speed of sound. Many would be killed by being thrown against hard objects or struck with flying debris. Cover could protect against flying glass shards; any type of cover, even a newspaper, would provide some protection from the thermal pulse, which can last several seconds ...

'Radioactive fallout would cause delayed casualties many miles away. But effective action can be taken. People need to understand that radiation is not forever. It has a half life, in contrast to microorganisms, which have a doubling time. The isotopes generated in a nuclear explosion decay very rapidly. The exponential decay curve is such that within 7 hours, the radiation level is one-tenth the original [1-hour] level, and within 49 (72) hours, the level is about one-hundredth (1/10)2 of the original [1-hour] level. Dangerous fallout should be visible to the naked eye, as it consists of larger particles that have come to earth quickly while still very "hot."

'No special materials are needed for shielding. People simply need to put sufficient distance or mass between themselves and the source. Water or wood or paper or buckets of rice can serve as shielding, but a greater thickness is needed, compared to denser substances such as concrete, earth, or lead ... One half-value thickness of concrete is 2.4 in; of compacted earth, 3.6 in. Five half-value thicknesses reduces the radiation dose by a factor of 25, or to 1/32 of the incident dose. Two tenth-value thicknesses reduce the dose to 1/100 of the incident dose. ...

'For the mindset that engendered and enables this situation, which jeopardizes the existence of the United States as a nation as well as the lives of millions of its citizens, some American physicians and certain prestigious medical organizations bear a heavy responsibility.

'Ethical physicians should stand ready to help patients to the best of their ability, and not advocate sacrificing them in the name of a political agenda. Even very basic knowledge, especially combined with simple, inexpensive advance preparations, could save countless lives.'

Note the we have already discussed the morality of civil defence in previous blog posts: because the facts show that nuclear explosions are survivable if the correct simple actions are taken, it is immoral and evil to not take precautions:

'On the one hand, a strong point can be made for the fact that civil defense, appropriate civil defense, would save a great many lives; on the other hand, one can also make a strong case that any civil defense, appropriate or otherwise, may increase the danger of a war because people will feel that they don't have to avoid it because they have civil defense.'

- Dr Frank Fremont-Smith, director of the New York Academy of Sciences Interdisciplinary Communications Program, Proceedings of the Second Interdisciplinary Conference on Selected Effects of a General War, DASIAC Special Report 95, July 1969, vol. 2, DASA-2019-2, AD0696959, page 281.

'I must just say that as far as I'm concerned I have had some doubts about whether we should have had a civil defense program in the past. I have no doubt whatsoever now, for this reason, that I've seen ways in which the deterrent forces can fail to hold things off, so that no matter what our national leaders do, criminal organizations, what have you, groups of people over which we have no control whatsoever, can threaten other groups of people.'

- Dr Theodore B. Taylor, Proceedings of the Second Interdisciplinary Conference on Selected Effects of a General War, DASIAC Special Report 95, July 1969, vol. 2, DASA-2019-2, AD0696959, page 298.

The big lie of the civil defense rejection is the false assumption that the only threat from nuclear weapons is a situation in which civil defense is clearly useless, e.g., if you are at ground zero and literally hit on the head by the bomb; although there is documentary evidence of survival at ground zero itself both in tunnel shelters in Nagasaki, and also at ground zero directly below the fireball of several nuclear tests. In 1958, the 3.8 megaton TEAK test missile malfunctioned and the bomb detonated 77 km directly above the control shelter on Johnston Island instead of 32 km downrange as planned (a group of men standing at the shelter entrance without goggles were filmed, and can be seen being dazzled by the flash, and running back into the shelter; nobody was injured). In 1962, 410 kt BLUEGILL was detonated just 48 km over Johnston Island and the only injuries were two people with retinal burns, neither of whom was wearing dark goggles at the time of detonation.

Dr Edward Teller and Dr Albert L. Latter on page 143 of their book Our Nuclear Future: Facts, Dangers and Opportunities (Criterion Books, New York, 1958) give details of another example where five men were deliberately exposed at ground zero to the nuclear air burst on 19 July 1957, 2 kt PLUMBBOB-JOHN, the live test firing of the Genie air-to-air nuclear warhead air defense rocket:

'This possibility would fill most people with alarm lest the population underneath the explosion be hurt. Fortunately, in a recent nuclear test in Nevada, five well-informed and courageous Air Force officers demonstrated that there is complete safety to people on the ground. They did this by standing directly beneath the explosion at ground zero. ...

'An F-89 jet fighter plane flying at 19,000 feet above sea level delivered an air-to-air atomic rocket to a preassigned point in the sky. The ground zero men were 15,000 feet immediately below. They wore no helmets, no sun-glasses, and no protective clothing.

'At the instant of the explosion the men looked up, saw the fireball and felt the heat. There was no discomfort, only a gentle warmth. Then they waited for the shock wave to arrive - approximately ten seconds. When the shock came, it was actually just a loud noise. However, one of the men ducked his head instinctively.

'The blast and the thermal pulse were over. One question still remained: Would there be any fallout? They checked their radiation instruments and waited while the cloud drifted slowly away. There was no significant rise in the [natural background] radiation level. ... The effects of the explosion were utterly insignificant on the ground.'




On page 144 they explain: '... in our conflict with the powerful communistic countries which strive for world domination, it may be too much to hope for uninterrupted peace. If we abandon our light and mobile [nuclear] weapons, we shall enable the Red bloc to take over one country after another, close to their borders, as opportunities arise. The free nations cannot maintain the massive armies throughout the world which would be required to resist such piecemeal aggression.'

On pages 170-1 they show why limited nuclear war is more likely than a massive annihilating nuclear war:

'The certainty of a counterblow gives real protection against all-out war. No such protection exists against wars limited in territory and in aims. In the history of humankind such wars have been most frequent. There is no indication that these limited wars have ended.'

The attack on civil defense by propagandarists is thus lie in which the particular details of the assumed nuclear attack are deliberately selected in order to negate the value of civil defense: such an assumption is biased against civil defense from the word go, so 'investigating' the consequences of such an attack is totally meaningless for any practical purpose, except propaganda. Objective analysis of the history of nuclear war against Japan in 1945 shows that limited nuclear war is more likely than total annihilation, so protection is both possible and desirable.

This was first made clear by Dr Paul Tompkins of the U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, in his statement to U.S. Congressional Hearings on the Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear War, 26 June 1959, pp. 953-4:

‘I had the experience of being on the Manhattan District in 1943. I am very familiar with the psychology of revulsion against the effect these weapons can produce ... The facts themselves are bad enough. However, it is crucially important to look those facts squarely in the face if one is going to face the necessity for survival, if against your will or despite anything you can do about it, it is imposed on you ... As far as I am personally concerned, by looking at the problems, understanding what they are composed of, and by necessity being an incurable optimist, I never expect to see a war of this [world destroying] kind happen. It is possible that more limited engagements of a more sharply defined type will be fought under the sword of Damocles ... If so, let us be prepared for that.’

Glasstone and Dolan's Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 2nd ed., April 1962 (reprinted with corrected, dramatically altered thermal ignition energy data in February 1964), contains a civil defense analysis chapter, Principles of Protection, which was replaced with a new EMP effects chapter in the 1977 3rd edition.

Page 645 (1962/4 edition) explains:

'The major part of the thermal radiation travels in straight lines, so any opaque object interposed between the fireball and the exposed skin will give some protection. This is true even if the object is subsequently destroyed by the blast, since the main thermal radiation pulse is over before the arrival of the blast wave.

'At the first indication of a nuclear explosion, by a sudden increase in the general illumination, a person inside a building should immediately fall prone, and, if possible, crawl behind or beneath a table or desk or to a planned vantage point. Even if this action is not taken soon enough to reduce the thermal radiation exposure greatly, it will minimise the displacement effect of the blast wave and provide a partial shield against splintered glass and other flying debris.

'An individual caught in the open should fall prone to the ground in the same way, while making an effort to shade exposed parts of the body. Getting behind a tree, building, fence, ditch, bank, or any structure which prevents a direct line of sight between the person and the fireball, if possible, will give a major degree of protection. If no substantial object is at hand, the clothed parts of the body should be used to shield parts which are exposed. There will still be some hazard from scattered thermal radiation, especially from high-yield weapons at long ranges, but the decrease in the direct radiation will be substantial.'

A person on the ground whose clothes ignite (which is only a risk under extremely high thermal exposure to dark coloured clothing) can immediately extinguish the clothes by simply rolling over to starve the flames of oxygen.

Page 653 (1962/4 edition) correctly explains:

'Some, although perhaps not all, of the fallout in the Marshall Islands, after the test explosion of March 1, 1954, could be seen as a white powder or dust. This was due, partly at least, to the light color of the calcium oxide or carbonate of which the particles were mainly composed. It is probable that whenever there is sufficient fallout to constitute a hazard, the dust will be visible.'

Page 658 (1962/4 edition) shows how to deal with fallout on food and water:

'If emergency food supplies do become contaminated, or if it is necessary to resort to contaminated sources after emergency supplies are exhausted, many types of food can be treated to remove the radioactive material. Fresh fruit and vegetables can be washed or peeled to remove the outer skin or leaves. Food products of the absorbent typecannot be decontaminated in this manner and should be disposed of by burial. Boiling or cooking of the food has no effect in removing the fallout material. Milk, from cows which survive in a heavily contaminated area, may not be safe to drink because of the radioiodine content and this condition may persist for weeks or months. [It can be turned into cheese while the iodine-131 decays rapidly with an 8-day half life.]

'Domestic water supplies from underground sources will usually remain free from radioactive contamination. Water supplies from surface sources may become contaminated if watersheds and open reservoirs are in areas of heavy fallout. However, most of the radioactive fallout material would be removed by regular water treatment which includes coagulation, sedimentation, and filtration. If a surface water supply is not treated in this manner, but merely chlorinated, it may be unfit for consumption for several days after an attack. As a result of dilution and natural decay the contamination will decrease with time.

'If the regular water supply is not usually subjected to any treatment other than chlorination, and an alternative source is not available, consideration should be given in advance planning to the provision of ion-exchange columns or beds for emergency decontamination use. Home water softeners might serve the same purpose on a small scale. The water contained in a residential hot-water heater would serve as an emergency supply, provided it can be removed without admitting contaminated water. Water may also be distilled to make it safe for drinking purposes. It should be emphasized that mere boiling of water contaminated with fallout is of absolutely no value in removal of the radioactivity.'

Decontamination of streets, buildings and farm land is discussed on page 659 (1962/4 edition):

'Because of its particulate nature, fallout will tend to collect on horizontal surfaces, e.g., roofs, streets, tops of vehicles, and the ground. In the preliminary decontamination, therefore, the main effort should be directed toward cleaning such surfaces. The simplest way of achieving this is by water washing, if an adequate supply of water is available. The addition of a commercial wetting agent (detergent) will make the washing more efficient. The radioactive material is thus transferred to storm sewers where it is less of a hazard [underground drains are well shielded from people]. ... if facilities are to be provided across open country which is contaminated over large areas, bulldozing the top few inches of contaminated soil to the sides will be satisfactory only if a wide strip is cleared. Thus, if the strip is 250 feet in width, the radiation dose rate in the middle will be reduced to one-tenth of the value before clearing. A similar result may be achieved by scraping off the top layer of soil and burying it under fresh soil. Something like a foot of earth cover would be required to decrease the dose rate by a factor of ten.'

Dr Glasstone is wrong here, assuming that gamma rays are coming straight upwards! Actually, because most radiation from fallout comes directly from a wide surrounding area, the protection afforded is much better than a factor of 10: the gamma rays from a smooth uniformly contaminated terrain come from an average distance of 15 metres from the observer centred at 1 metre height. These direct gamma rays are therefore travelling through not the 1 foot vertical earth cover (the contribution from fallout below your feet is negligible) but are travelling at an angle of only 3.8 degrees from the horizontal (not 90 degrees as the 1 foot or factor of 10 shielding suggests), and hence travel through a much bigger slant distance of earth, about 5 metres thickness of earth for the fallout 15 metres away. Obviously, this effect increases the amount of earth-scattered radiation reaching the observer, so when you put an earth layer over fallout, the distance of mean fallout contribution (i.e., the radius beyond which the fallout gives 50% of the total dose) is no longer 15 metres, but is reduced greatly. However, the shielding is still much better than Glasstone's factor of 10 protection suggests. James Sartor gives data on page 96 of The Control of Exposure of the Public to Ionizing Radiation in the Event of Accident or Attack, Proceedings of a Symposium Sponsored by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), April 27-29, 1981, Held at the International Conference Center, Reston, Virginia which show that 1 foot (30 cm) of earth cover over fallout gives a protection factor of 50, while 6 inches (15 cm) of earth cover gives a protection factor of 6.7.

The final page of Chapter 12, page 661 (1962/4 edition), has a Conclusion which states:

'Much of the discussion presented in earlier sections of this chapter have been based, for simplicity, on the effects of a single nuclear weapon. It must not be overlooked that in a nuclear attack some areas may be subjected to several bursts. The basic principles of protection would remain unchanged, but protective action against all the effects of a nuclear weapon - blast, thermal radiation, initial nuclear radiation, and fallout - would become even more important. There is a good possibility that many people would survive a nuclear attack and this possibility would be greatly enhanced by utilizing the principles of protection in preattack preparations and planning in taking evasive action at the time of an attack, and in determining what should be done in the recovery phase of an attack.'

There is also some important censored information in the earlier June 1957 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, which is available online (see pages 514-517 of the 1957 edition): on page 514-5 three photos of successful Japanese 'blast-shielding walls' at Nagasaki which stopped damage from the nuclear explosion are shown. These walls are about 10 feet tall, and are wider at their base than at their top to avoid overturning by blast. They are made out of either precast reinforced concrete or earth-filled wooden panels. Both types fully protected vital Japanese machinery, such as electrical transformers, at 0.85 mile from ground zero in Nagasaki. Pages 516-7 of the 1957 edition shows photos of unprotected earth-moving equipment (bulldozer and road grader) badly damaged by 30 psi peak overpressure in a Nevada test: the road grader has lost tyres and the bulldozer is overturned with track damage. Another picture is shown of identical equipment completely protected after exactly the same 30 psi peak overpressure nuclear blast, because the bulldozer and road grader in this example are in an open trench (at right angles to the blast motion) which has a depth equal to the height of the equipment. Although some blast wave energy diffracted straight into the trench, the main mechanism for blast damage is wind drag, which is caused by directional dynamic pressure. Unlike the overpressure, the wind pressure does not diffract unless it is forced to do so by being blocked. Hence the blast wind blew straight over the top of the open trench, without causing any displacement or damage to the equipment. All of these photos and information were removed from all future editions of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons.



Above: All that happened to the Anderson shelters 400 yards from the 25 kt Hurricane nuclear test on 3 October 1952 was that a few sand bags were blown off by the arrival of the blast wave, but by that time the initial nuclear radiation and thermal radiation pulses were already over, so the sandbags had shielded the radiation. Frank H. Pavry, who as part of the British Mission to Japan had observed the surviving air raid shelters near ground zero in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, organized the construction of 15 Anderson shelters. In World War II, two types of shelters were issued by the U.K. government to householders: the 'Morrison' (a steel table designed to resist the debris load from the collapse of a house, which was introduced in March 1941 and named after the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison), and the 'Anderson' which was an outdoor shelter supplied to 2,100,000 householders (a 14-gauge corrugated steel arch shelter, 2 m long, 1.4 m wide and 1.8 m high, designed to accommodate 6 people and to be sunk to 1.2 metre depth and covered by at least 40 cm of earth; it was invented in 1938 and named after Sir John Anderson, who was in charge of U.K. Air Raid Precautions/Civil Defence).

Frank H. Pavry's report, Operation HURRICANE: Anderson Shelters, Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, AWRE-T17/54, was originally classified 'Secret - Atomic'. The 15 Anderson shelters had survived very well. Nearest to the bomb ship, they survived a peak overpressure of 55 psi or 380 kPa without internal damage: sand bags on the outside were hurled off when the blast wave arrived, but by that time they had done their job of shielding the initial neutron and gamma radiation. (They could have been replaced before fallout arrived.) At a peak overpressure of 12 psi or 83 kPa, even the sandbags on the outside remained intact. (Pavry had used sand bags instead of the recommended packed earth as a convenience.)

This rightly gave conviction to the British Home Office civil defence effects team. The bomb ship HMS Plym, can be seen moored in 40 feet of water 400 yards off Trimouille Island, Monte Bello group. The public information film on Operation Hurricane states: 'At Montebello the advance party is already at work: 200 Royal Engineers had arrived in April to find an empty wilderness of salt, bush and spinifex ... Within the danger zone they erected the familiar [World War II British civilian] Anderson shelters, well-protected by sandbags ... These tests would influence the pattern of civil defence against some future atomic attack. ... On shore, they find many of the Anderson shelters have survived the ordeal remarkably well – better than some of the concrete-block houses.' (The full report on the Anderson shelters exposed at Operation Hurricane is 'Operation Hurricane: Anderson Shelters', Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston, report AWRE-T17/54, 1954, UK National Archives reference ES 5/19 and also duplicated at DEFE 16/933. See also 'Penetration of the gamma flash into Anderson shelters and concrete cubicles', AWRE-T20/54, 1954, UK National Archives ref ES 5/22 duplicated at DEFE 16/935.) For more about British civil defence nuclear weapons effects testing programme, and the influences of Glasstone's 1957 book and Dolan's 1974 NATO version of Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, see this post.)





PLUTONIUM DIOXIDE AND THE ANALOGY OF RADIUM-226 TO STRONTIUM-89, -90

While there is evidence mentioned in this blog post for a threshold dose for lung tumours from plutonium dioxide inhalation and from radium-226 uptake by bone, these studies have only focussed on bad effects and so there does not seem to be any research into beneficial effects. In the absence of any benefits, it is safest to try to avoid any exposure to these forms of contamination.

The analogy of radium-226 to strontium-89 and strontium-90 fallout nuclides has the following limitations. First, studies were done in the 1950s on what happens to radium-226 and strontium-89 taken up from diet or injection and deposited in bones. Although are similar in so far that they both get deposited in the bones, there may a significant chemical difference on the way they are deposited within bone: radioautographs (self-producing X-rays) of cross-sections of human leg bones from old people who died after massive doses of radium contaminated 'therapy' water showed that the radium ended up concentrated at discrete hotspots in the bone. By contrast, bones from young rabbits injected with strontium-89 contamination just a few minutes before sacrifice showed that the strontium was deposited uniformly throughout bone tissue. The difference may be due to the way calcification occurs, with crystals forming where the hotspots are located. Whether the effect is entirely due to chemical differences between radium and strontium, or whether it is due in whole or part to the age of the bone tissue, the duration of uptake and bone deposition process (just a few minutes for the rabbits, but years for radium exposure in humans) or differences in diet and calcium intake as a function of age, is unclear. The radium hotspots in the bones of old people would have produced higher doses than the uniform deposition of a similar amount of activity from strontium in the bones of young rabbits. However, as suggested in the material quoted on the radium cases earlier, there was the suggestion that some tumour incidence did not increase even at large doses because continuing irradiation of the bone marrow by alpha and gamma emitting radium-226 may have acted as automatic radiotherapy and suppressed and killed cancer. If so, then the fact that strontium-90 is a pure beta emitter, whereas radium emits gamma rays as well as alpha particles, may be a significant difference, given that there is statistical evidence that gamma radiation is a threshold effect with benefits below the threshold. So there are still unresolved questions about the way in which radium threshold doses should be modelled mathematically to predict low dose effects.

Professor Bernard L. Cohen in 1995 published a 'Test of the linear no-threshold theory of radiation carcinogenesis in the low dose, low dose rate region' in Health Physics, vol. 68, pp. 157-174, which is very unconvincing (like the Hanford radiation workers study, which reached opposite conclusions) because it lacked individual-level statistical control for factors like smoking and radon exposure. It therefore lacks statistical power. It is vital in studies to match the control group with the group under study or you end up with false excesses or false benefits. Without a properly matched unexposed control group (against which to measure excesses or benefits in the exposed group), 'adjustments' are needed to 'correct' observed data for various factors like the effect of smoking, age, diet, exercise and so on, and the uncertainties in the adjustment factors soon exceed and statistically mask the real effect, so the more convoluted the correction-analysis, the more likely it is to misinterpret data (an excellent example being Sternglass' false correlation and extrapolation, already discussed in detail).

Professor Cohen's investigations into the benefits of radiation at low doses, such as a correlation of cancer risks versus background radiation doses in America (which shows a trend to lower risks at higher doses, but is meaningless because no proper individual level control is used to exclude other factors than radiation), is damaging to the cause of promoting science in society, because it is poor science if not mere propaganda, and thus it acts as a straw man for attack by those who prefer to ignore the statistically undeniable evidence from other studies, such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those people need only point to pseudoscientific 'benefits' claims in order to falsely deny all the evidence, or to point out that there are some 'controversial' claims so they can use that as an excuse to avoid any change. For example, both Bernard Cohen and Ernest Sternglass are retired physics professors from the same institute, the University of Pittsburgh, and they are now arguing with one over whether low level radiation is harmful, through letters in the newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

In Rebuttal: Overblown fears of nuclear power
There is no credible evidence that suggests nuclear power plants give their neighbors cancer
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
By Bernard L. Cohen

I am writing in response to the Dec. 6 Forum commentary by Ernest J. Sternglass, "Trade Nukes for Gas." In it Mr. Sternglass claims that there have been excess cancers in areas near nuclear power plants, which he explains as due to radioactivity released from those plants. ...

But even if there were such excesses in the particular areas Mr. Sternglass carefully selects, he cites no reason to believe that they are caused by releases from nuclear plants. There are many environmental causes for cancer, and many of them, such as air pollution, chemicals and the effects of poverty, are especially important near the big cities cited by Mr. Sternglass. He offers no evidence that radiation was the cause. ...

... even ... natural and medical exposures cannot be responsible for more than about 1 percent of all cancers. Clearly then, the thousand-times-smaller exposures that nuclear-plant neighbors receive from those plants cannot be responsible for the effects claimed by Mr. Sternglass.

Mr. Sternglass has been making claims about excess cancers near nuclear plants for more than 45 years, never publishing them in regular scientific journals, but getting publicity from them in the mass media.

As a result of this publicity, the governor of Pennsylvania set up a fact-finding committee consisting of eight distinguished scientists, including some known to be opposed to nuclear power; the 1974 report of that committee completely rejected the Sternglass assertions. ...

The fact that Mr. Sternglass was a professor of radiology at the University of Pittsburgh is irrelevant. His research here dealt with X-ray image intensifiers, not with health impacts of radiation. ...


Errors in Bernard Cohen's 1995 paper are addressed in his 2000 paper in Technology, vol. 7, pp. 657-72, where he compensates for 450 confounding factors, but although his data survive because none of the factors can explain the 'discrepancy', it is not convincing study because of the lack of a proper individual level control. It's not clean, clear scientific evidence: without a proper control group there is always some risk that some effect is biasing results.

A good review of the problems in old studies is: Nonlinearity of Radiation Health Effects by Myron Pollycove, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C., Environmental Health Perspectives Supplements, vol. 106 (1998), Number S1.

IMPORTANT NOTICE ON LINEAR ENERGY TRANSFER (LET) AND ITS CONSEQUENCES FOR DIFFERING EFFECTS FROM ALPHA, BETA AND GAMMA RADIATIONS:

Just in case anyone ignorant of the basics of radiation reads this post, it should be explained that the data and conclusions given in this post apply to gamma and also neutron radiation, both of which are ELECTRICALLY NEUTRAL PARTICLES, which is the major threat from nuclear explosions. Because gamma rays and neutrons are UNCHARGED, they tend to be weakly ionizing (i.e., they penetrate easily, and deposit energy only in discrete events such as occasional collisions with orbital electrons and nuclei of atoms, e.g., the Compton effect for gamma rays striking electrons). Neutrons however can emulate charged radiations when they hit protons (hydrogen nuclei): the protons are electrically charged and can carry off much of the energy, behaving almost like alpha particles and causing 20 times as much damage as gamma rays for every unit of dose (Joule per kilogram). This correction factor of 20 for neutrons is termed the relative biological effectiveness (RBE). However, low-energy (well scattered or 'thermalized') neutrons are unlikely to be scattered by protons, and instead are captured by protons to form heavy hydrogen (deuterium); in this 'radiative capture' process the surplus energy is released in the form of gamma rays.

The weakly ionizing nature of gamma rays means that they deposit relatively little energy per unit length of their path through living matter, so are LOW-LET (Linear Energy Transfer) radiations. This is not the case with the ELECTRICALLY CHARGED alpha and beta particles from internal emitters like iodine-131 in the thyroid gland of people drinking milk without taking any precautions from cattle eating contaminated pasture grass, which occurred in Russia which didn't issue potassium iodide tablets to civilians after the Chernobyl disaster, but not in Poland where the tablets were issued (ion exchange removes iodine-131 from milk, as does turning it to cheese and storing it, because of the short 8-days half life of iodine-131, and if the predicted dose is above 25 cGy then the excess risk is negated by taking 130-milligram potassium iodide tablets to prevent the uptake of iodine-131); electrically charged alpha and beta particles in the body are stopped over a very small path length in tissue, and so they deposit all of their energy in that small amount of tissue which means that a single alpha or beta particle can potentially saturate the P53 DNA repair mechanism in a single cell nucleus and cause a cancer risk: hence, alpha and beta particles, because of their electrical charge, are HIGH-LET radiations, that probably have no threshold for effects, and are dangerous at all doses. On the positive side, this high-LET nature of alpha and beta particles means that they are not very penetrating, so they cause relatively little risk as long as you don't ingest or inhale contamination. Protective clothing and respirators can totally negate the risks from alpha and beta radiations during decontamination work after fallout. A report on beta skin burns from fallout on the Marshallese in 1954 is here, and calculations of the length of time over which fallout can cause beta burns when deposited on skin are reported here in the post about Dr Carl F. Miller's excellent fallout research. For proof of U.S. Department of Defense fallout exaggerations and the continuing cover-up of the limited extent of nuclear test fallout during the Cold War, see this post. For underwater burst contamination see this post. For data on the efficiency of decontamination, see this post as well of course as the post about Dr Miller's work.



Above: Cresson Kearny explains how to shield against fallout by making a 'core shelter' inside a building: put cardboard boxes on top of, and around, a strong table that you can shelter under: then put two large waterproof plastic waste bags inside one another in each box, and simply fill them up with water. This saves you messing around with dirt for shielding. Just 5 inches of water halves the intensity of 1 MeV gamma radiation penetrating it. Actually, dirty bombs with U-238 jackets produce a great deal of softer gamma rays from Np-239 (which has a half life of 56 hours and thus contributes a peak to fallout at a time of 1.73 X 56 = 4 days after burst) and U/Np-240, as well as U-237 which has a longer half life and contributes substantially during the two week sheltering period. So protection is even more efficient than Kearny quotes, due to the lower-energy of fallout from dirty hydrogen bombs with neutron capture in U-238.



Above: Kearny fallout meter (see Kearny's book Nuclear War Survival Skills for instructions on building it) being tested with a dental X-ray machine. The charged foil plates discharge and visibly fall together as soon as the X-ray machine is turned on. This is just a simple electroscope dosimeter, using the same principle as the pocket quartz fibre dosimeter. However, a more convenient radiation meter is something like a RADIAC set or PDRM82 which tells you the dose rate, so that you can see take it into a shelter and see how much the fallout dose rate drops due to the protection, or how efficient evacuation is. In reality, of course, fallout is extremely visible. A land surface burst (water surface bursts produce even more!) as proved by all the American tests ALWAYS creates roughly 200 tons of sand like fallout contaminant per kiloton of total yield, so if the 1-hour exposure rate conversion factor is taken to be typically 2000 (R/hr)/(kt/sq. mile) then the 2000 R/hr at 1 hour after bursts corresponds to 200 tons of fallout mass per square mile or 77 grams per square metre. Try sprinkling 77 grams of sand or flour per square metre. It's visible. Even when the particles themselves (like tiny flour grains) are too small to be seen, the bulk of material is visible. Similarly, atoms aren't visible to the eye, but if you have enough atoms, the bulk of material becomes visible! Rainout from air bursts is visible as rain, and runs down the drain or soaks deep into the ground (which attenuates the radiation) in the same way as rain. Ocean surface burst fallout arrives as tiny non-depositing wind-carried dry salt crystals if the humidity is very low, or as wet salt-slurry droplets in a high humidity atmosphere; the depositing droplets are visible. Anti-civil defense propaganda covers up the nuclear test data on fallout particle deposits and covers up the difference between radiation and fallout to make people confused about the danger and make it seem mysterious and fearful. Actually, you can wash fallout away, you can brush dry fallout away, it can be swept up and buried under the soil while it decays. There are numerous ways to successfully decontaminate and shield the danger.

‘A number of factors make large-scale decontamination useful in urban areas. Much of the area between buildings is paved and, thus, readily cleaned using motorized flushers and sweepers, which are usually available. If, in addition, the roofs are decontaminated by high-pressure hosing, it may be possible to make entire buildings habitable fairly soon, even if the fallout has been very heavy.’ – Dr Frederick P. Cowan and Charles B. Meinhold, Decontamination, Chapter 10, pp. 225-40 in Dr Eugene P. Wigner (editor), Survival and the Bomb, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1969.

For road sweeper decontamination data see D. E. Clark, Jr., and W. C. Cobbin, Removal of Simulated Fallout from Pavements by Conventional Street Flushers, report USNRDL-TR-797, 1964.

Small areas of fallout contamination, such as indoor ingressed fallout contamination, are always in practice found to make totally and utterly negligible contributions to gamma ray doses by comparison to the gamma hazard from the wide areas of fallout outdoors, because most of the gamma dose rate comes from large distances horizontally across a vast uniformly contaminated plane, and that coming vertically upwards from the small amount of fallout under your feet or nearby is trivial by comparison, so the ingress of fallout into damaged buildings makes no significant difference to gamma doses!


Above: 'The three factors which count in gaining protection are the distance from the radioactive dust, the weight of material in between, and the time for which one remains protected while the radioactivity decays. A slit trench with overhead cover of two or three feet of earth would give very good protection against fall-out, as well as protection against blast, but the occupants would have to remain in the trench for forty-eight hours or more while the radioactivity surrounding them decayed. ... A prepared refuge room inside a house could be made to give good protection against fall-out (although not so good as a covered slit trench) and it would also be much less uncomfortable for a period of two days or more. A cellar or basement would be by far the best place for a refuge room; next best would be the room with the fewest outside walls and the smallest windows. The windows would need to be blocked with solid material, to the thickness of the surrounding walls at least. It would help if the walls themselves were thickened, not necessarily to their full height, with sandbags, boxes filled with earth, or heavy furniture. The occupants of the refuge roof would have to remain in it until told that it was safe to come out - perhaps for a period of days - and the room would have to be prepared and equipped accordingly.’ - British Home Office civil defence booklet, The Hydrogen Bomb (Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1957, 32 pages.)



Above: The car-over-trench expedient fallout shelter from G. A. Cristy and C. H. Kearny, Expedient Shelter Handbook, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, August 1974, report AD0787483, 318 pages. In place of a car, doors, felled logs, or planks of wood heaped with soil can be used instead, depending on the resources to hand. Kearny showed in a later Oak Ridge National Laboratory book, Nuclear War Survival Skills, 2nd ed., 1987, how to build improvised efficient, self-calibrating radiation dosimeter (a comb-charged jam-jar electroscope, calibrated accurately by the size of the aluminium foil leaves which carry the charge; the charges keeps the leaves separated against gravity until air is ionized by radiation, when the leaves lose charge and fall together, the amount of declease in separation distance in millimetres being accurately correlated with radiation dose as proved by laboratory tests!) that can be quickly made by anyone with kitchen odds and ends in an emergency, a hand-powered simple string-pulled hinged panel air cooling pump for such shelters in hot weather, and how to obtain food and water in a nuclear war.

The most important for emergency use (where rapid protection is desirable) are the 'car over trench shelter' (dig a trench the right size to drive your car over, putting the excavated earth to the sides for added shielding, then drive your car over it), "tilt up doors and earth" shelter (if your house is badly damaged, build a fallout shelter against any surviving wall of the house by putting doors against it and piling earth on top in accordance to the plans), and the "above ground door-covered shelter" (basically a trench with excavated earth piles at the sides, doors placed on top, then a layer of earth piled on top of the doors).








All these shelters can be constructed very quickly under emergency conditions (in a time of some hours, e.g., comparable to the time taken for fallout to arrive in the major danger area downwind from a large nuclear explosion). For the known energy of gamma rays from fallout including neutron induced activities with low energy gamma ray emission (Np-239, U-237, etc.), a thickness of 1 foot or 30 centimetres of packed earth (density 1.6 grams per cubic centimetre) shields 95% of fallout gamma radiation, giving an additional protective factor of about 20. A thickness of 2 feet or 60 centimetres of packed earth provides a protective factor of about 400. Caravans have a protective factor of 1.4-1.8, single storey modern bungalows have a protection factor of 5-6, while brick bungalows have a protective factor of 8-9. British brick multi-storey buildings have protection factors of 10-20, while British brick house basements have protective factors of 90-150. These figures can easily be increased by at least a factor of 2-3 by making a protected ‘inner core’ or ‘refuge’ within the building at a central point, giving additional shielding:



In 1964, Britain conducted experiments with Co-60 sources to validate the ‘core’ Protect and Survive shelter plan (above videos): A. D. Perryman, Experimental Determination of Protective Factors in a Semi-Detached House With or Without Core Shelters, U.K. Home Office report CD/SA117. Using Co-60, the dry fallout protective factor was 21 on the ground floor of a brick house, increasing to 39 in a core shelter, made using furniture piled near an inner wall. For real fallout with less than the 1.25 MeV mean gamma ray energy of Co-60, the protection would be far greater. See also the 75-pages long American report on these 'Protect and Survive' core shelter experiments in Britain by Joseph D. Velletri, Nancy-Ruth York and John F. Batter, Protection Factors of Emergency Shelters in a British Residence, Technical Operations Research, Burlington, Massachusetts, report AD439332, 1963.

John Newman examined effects of fallout blown into a buildings, due to blast-broken windows, in Health Physics, vol. 13 (1967), p. 991: ‘In a particular example of a seven-storey building, the internal contamination on each floor is estimated to be 2.5% of that on the roof. This contamination, if spread uniformly over the floor, reduces the protection factor on the fifth floor from 28 to 18 and in the unexposed, uncontaminated basement from 420 to 200.’

But measured volcanic ash ingress, measured as the ratio of mass per unit area indoors to that on the roof, was under 0.6% even with the windows open and an 11-22 km/hour wind speed (U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory report USNRDL-TR-953, 1965). The main gamma hazard is from a very big surrounding area, not from trivial fallout nearby!

Dr Saad Z. Mikhail's paper, Beta-Radiation Doses from Fallout Particles Deposited on the Skin (Environmental Science Associates, Foster City, California, report AD0888503, 1971) quantified the beta contact hazard for fallout particles while they are descending in the open:

'A fission density of 1015 fissions per cubic centimeter of fallout material was assumed. Comparison of computed doses with the most recent experimental data relative to skin response to beta-energy deposition leads to the conclusion that even for fallout arrival times as early as 16.7 minutes post-detonation, no skin ulceration is expected from single particles 500 micron or less in diameter. Absorbed gamma doses calculated for one particle size (100 microns) show a beta-to-gamma ratio of about 15. Dose ratio for larger particle sizes will be smaller. Doses from arrays of fallout particles of different size distributions were computed, also, for several fallout mass deposition densities; time intervals required to accumulate doses sufficient to initiate skin lesions were calculated. These times depend strongly on the assumed fallout-particle-size distribution. Deposition densities in excess of 100 mg per square foot of the skin will cause beta burns if fallout arrival time is less than about three hours, unless the particles are relatively coarse (mean particle diameter more than 250 microns).'

Keeping the highly visible particles off the skin by wearing clothing, or removing them quickly by brushing or washing after contamination, eliminates the beta burn hazard, as demonstrated by the examples of Marshallese Islanders who washed after fallout contamination:

U.S. Congressional Hearings before the Special Subcommittee on Radiation of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, The Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man, 27 May - 3 June 1957, pages 173-216 where Dr Gordon M. Dunning testified: ‘In the case of the Marshallese who were in the fallout from the detonation at the Pacific on March 1, 1954, most of the more heavily exposed showed some degree of skin damage, as well as about half of them showing some degree of epilation [hair loss] due to beta doses. However, none of these effects were present except in those areas where the radioactive material was in contact with the skin, i.e., the scalp, neck, bend of the elbow, between and topside of the toes. No skin damage was observed where there was a covering of even a single layer of cotton clothing. ... The Marshallese were semiclothed, had moist skin, and most of them were out-of-doors during the time of fallout. Some bathed during the two-day exposure period before evacuation, but others did not; therefore, they were optimal conditions for possible beta damage. The group suffering greatest exposure [Rongelap Islanders, 175 R gamma dose from 4 hours to 2 days after burst] showed 20 percent (13 individuals) with deep lesions; 70 percent (45 individuals) superficial lesions; and 10 percent (6 individuals) no lesions. Likewise, 55 percent (35 individuals) showed some degree of epilation followed by a regrowth of hair.' On pages 944-948, Dr Eugene P. Cronkite testified: 'The fallout material consisted predominantly of flakes of calcium oxide resulting from the incineration of the coral [reef near Namu Island at Bikini Atoll]. Upon the flakes of calcium oxide fission products were deposited. At Rongelap Atoll the material was visible and described as snowlike. ... To arrive at some physical estimate of the skin dose, an attempt must be made to add up the contributions of the penetrating gamma, the less penetrating gamma, the beta bath to which the individuals were exposed from the relatively uniform deposition of fission products in the environment, and the point contact source of fallout material deposited on the skin. By all means, the largest component of skin irradiation resulted from the spotty local deposits of fallout material on deposited surfaces of the body. To put it in reverse, the individuals who remained inside had no skin burn. It was only on those on whom the material was directly deposited on the skin that received burns. ... Itching and burning of the skin occurred in 28 percent of the people on Rongelap, 20 percent of the group on Ailinginae, and 5 percent of the Americans [weather station staff exposed to fallout on Rongerik Atoll]. There were no symptoms referable to the skin in the individuals on Utirik. In addition to the itching of the skin there was burning of the eyes and lacrimation in people on Rongelap and Ailinginae. It is probable that these initial skin symptoms were due to irradiation since all individuals who experienced the initial symptoms later developed unquestioned radiation-induced skin lesions that will be described later in detail. It is possible, however, that the intensely alkaline nature of the calcium oxide [produced when the coral i.e. calcium carbonate was heated in the fireball] when dissolved in perspiration might have contributed to the initial symptoms. ... Burns were caused by direct contact of the radioactive material with the skin. The perspiration as common in the tropics, the delay in decontamination and the difficulties in decontamination certainly favored the development of the skin burns. Those individuals who remained indoors or under trees during the fallout developed less severe skin burns. The children who went wading in the ocean developed fewer lesions of the feet and most of the Americans who were more aware of the dangers of the fallout, took shelter in aluminum buildings and bathed and changed clothes. Consequently they developed only very mild beta burns. Lastly, a single layer of cotton material offered almost complete protection, as was demonstrated by the fact that skin burns developed almost entirely on the exposed parts of the body.’



Above: the Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch forerunner during World War II ensured that every civilian and soldier had a reliable gas mask, which deterred Hitler from using nerve gases tabun and sarin (discovered in the late 30s by German chemists) against England. He was not being a nice guy: he was deterred by the fact that in highly dispersed form, nerve gas inhalation (not merely skin contact, which requires far larger doses and far more nerve gas to overcome disperson by the wind) is prevented by the activated charcoal absorbers in the cannisters of standard gas masks! If Hitler had used nerve gas, it would have been largely ineffective and would have led to a retaliation with mustard gas against Germany, which did not have enough gas masks due to a rubber shortage. (In Britain, rubber was stockpiled for gas masks long before war broke out and by September 1939, no less than 38 million gas masks had been issued to civilians.) Civil defence thereby helped to negate weapons of mass destruction.



Above: cynical, evil anti-civil defence propaganda falsely claims that because gas masks helped to negate the threat of, and thus deter, gas attacks, they 'were never used and therefore a waste of time and money; no more use than home fire insurance in a year when your home doesn't burn down'. Such people miss the whole point: civil defence is not just like a worthwhile insurance policy, but it actually helps to deter the enemy from attacking because it undermines the gains to be had from making an attack! If America had better aircraft security and defences against terrorists prior to 9/11, and the terrorists had been thus deterred, then we can envisage that terrorism-supporting anti security propaganda would doubtless have cynically and nefariously claimed that the defence measures were a 'waste of time and money' because they were never needed. The gas masks that deterred Hitler from using weapons of mass destruction were successful because they were never used against gas, they were successful because they were used as a deterrent; similarly nuclear weapons in the cold war were not a waste of time because they were never dropped, they were a success, in combination with some civil defence planning, for deterring the Soviet Union from launching an invasion of the West through nuclear intimidation.


Above: this picture answers the question 'why didn't Hitler use his nerve gas against Britain in World War II?' Britain's comprehensive issue of gas masks for all civilian situations - including the unconscious and people with acute breathing disorders - meant that Nazi nerve gas production was rendered impotent and obsolete; for it was simply inadequate to gas Britain. The LDt50 (i.e., the air concentration and exposure time product which has units of dosage*time/volume, and which gives rise to 50% lethality) for skin exposure to Nazi tabun and sarin nerve gases were 3,700 and 3,100 times the inhalation LDt50's, respectively. Issuing gas masks increased the amount of nerve gas needed by a factor of 3,700 for tabun and 3,100 for sarin. To overcome dispersion by the weather, the Nazis would have had to drench the country with nerve gas to get it on people's skin asuming people were out of doors, but they simply couldn't make enough nerve gas to do this. Thus, because of Britain's civil defence - which didn't even know about nerve gas, although they did know that the pores in activated charcoal absorbers will absorb any dangerously reactive molecules apart from carbon monoxide - the Nazis were effectively deterred from making what would have been an ineffective attack inviting effective retaliation. These scientific facts are totally ignored in evil anti-civil defence propaganda which ignores the fact that simple civil defence countermeasures in Britain successfully averted weapons of mass destruction during World War II.


Above: the 1963 Civil Defence Handbook No. 10, Advising the Householder on Protection against Nuclear Attack, was cynically written by the Central Office of Information for either the illiterate or the inmates of lunatic asylums, and contained no justification or nuclear test experience to substantiate the crazy-sounding advice it offered. It quickly led to the closure of the Civil Defence Corps when it was held up and ridiculed in the House of Commons. It teaches the lesson that for civil defence, it is no good to dictatorially hand out 'official' nonsense-sounding advice, while keeping the facts that justify it secret. That is what communist and fascist dictatorships do, on the false grounds of 'secrecy' and 'national security' (in fact, some dictatorships are more open to their citizens that this). Instead of patronising citizens by refusing to reveal the solid scientific evidence for each protective measure, the facts must be disclosed to forestall cynical anti-civil defense propaganda. By contrast, the 1950 edition of the U.S. Department of Defense Effects of Atomic Weapons, edited by Dr Glasstone, on pages 392-9 justifies each protective action:

'If a person is in the open when the sudden illumination is apparent, then the best plan is instantaneously to drop to the ground, while curling up so as to shade the bare arms and hands, neck and face with the clothed body. ... A person who is inside a building or home when a sudden atomic bomb attack occurs should drop to the floor, with the back to the window, or crawl behind or beneath a table, desk, counter, etc.; this will also provide a shield against splintered glass due to the blast wave. The latter may reach the building some time after the danger from radiation has passed, and so windows should be avoided for about a minute, since the shock wave continues for some time after the explosion. ... planning will be necessary to avoid panic, for mass hysteria could convert a minor incident into a major disaster.'



It is estimated that Mongol invaders exterminated 35 million Chinese between 1311-40, without modern weapons. Communist Chinese killed 26.3 million dissenters between 1949 and May 1965, according to detailed data compiled by the Russians on 7 April 1969. The Soviet communist dictatorship killed 40 million dissenters, mainly owners of small farms, between 1917-59. Conventional (non-nuclear) air raids on Japan killed 600,000 during World War II. The single incendiary air raid on Tokyo on 10 March 1945 killed 140,000 people (more than the total for nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined) at much less than the $2 billion expense of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs! Non-nuclear air raids on Germany during World War II killed 593,000 civilians.

J. K. S. Clayton (formerly with the Weapons Department of the RAE Farnborough which he joined in 1946), as Director of the Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch oversaw Thatcher’s brilliant ‘Protect and Survive’ era civil defence assault on the Soviet Union (which was controversial because it presented facts about how to protect against nuclear weapons blast, heat and fallout without giving the nuclear test data which validated those facts). Clayton wrote about the basis of Protect and Survive policy in his lengthy and brilliant introduction, 'The Challenge - Why Home Defence?', to the Home Office 1977 Training Manual for Scientific Advisers:

'Since 1945 we have had nine wars - in Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam, between China and India, China and Russia, India and Pakistan and between the Arabs and Israelis on three occasions. We have had confrontations between East and West over Berlin, Formosa and Cuba. There have been civil wars or rebellions in no less than eleven countries and invasions or threatened invasions of another five. Whilst it is not suggested that all these incidents could have resulted in major wars, they do indicate the aptitude of mankind to resort to a forceful solution of its problems, sometimes with success. ...

'Let us consider what a nuclear attack on the United Kingdom might mean. It will be assumed that such an attack will only occur within the context of a general nuclear war which means that the UK is only one of a number of targets and probably by no means the most important. It follows that only part of the enemy's stock of weapons is destined for us. If the Warsaw Pact Nations constitute the enemy - and this is only one possible assumption - and if the enemy directs the bulk of his medium range and intermediate range weapons against targets in Western Europe behind the battle front, then Western Europe would receive about 1,000 megatons. Perhaps the UK could expect about one fifth of this, say 200 Mt. Let us assume rather arbitrarily that this would consist of 5 x 5 Mt, 40 x 2 Mt, 50 x 1 Mt and 100 x 1/2 Mt.

'An attack of this weight would cause heavy damage over about 10,000 square kilometres, moderate to heavy damage over about 50,000 square kilometres, and light damage over an additional 100,000 square kilometres. (Light damage means no more than minor damage to roofs and windows with practically no incidence of fire.) We can compare the heavy damage to that suffered by the centre of Coventry in 1940. This will amount to approximately 5% of the land area of the UK. Another 15% will suffer extensive but by no means total damage by blast and fire; another 40% will suffer superficial damage. The remaining 40% will be undamaged. In other words, four-fifths of the land area will suffer no more than minor physical damage. Of course, many of the undamaged areas would be affected by radioactive fallout but this inconvenience would diminish with the passage of time.

'Policy to meet the Threat

'The example just given of the likely severity of the attack - which is, of course, only one theoretical possibility - would still leave the greater part of the land area undamaged and more people are likely to survive than to perish. Government Home Defence policy must therefore be aimed to increase the prospects of the survivors in their stricken environment.'



Clayton's booklet Protect and Survive was first prepared and printed in 1976, but was only used for training purposes until it was published and placed on sale in May 1980. It was justified by Dr Carl F. Miller’s work on fallout radiation at the CASTLE, REDWING and PLUMBBOB nuclear test series in 1954, 1956 and 1957; the research he directed explained the nature and radiation properties of fallout, which is especially easy to shield for the case of 'dirty' bombs with U-238 casings, because much of the gamma radiation from these weapons in the period of hours to weeks after burst is very low energy (easily shielded) gamma rays from neutron induced isotopes like Np-239 (resulting from neutron capture in U-238) and U-237 (resulting from neutron capture in U-238 followed by double neutron emission, the n,2n reaction first discovered by Professor Kenjiro Kimura, who used this reaction to discover Uranium-237, and later found this isotope in the CASTLE-BRAVO fallout that landed on Japanese fishing boat 'Lucky Dragon' on 1 March 1954).

The British Home Office report reviewing in great detail Dr Carl F. Miller's 1963 Stanford Research Institute vital report Fallout and Radiological Countermeasures is: HO 227/74 Home Office: Scientific Adviser's Branch and successors: SA/PR Reports Series, Fallout and radiological counter-measures, Former reference (Department) SA/PR 74. Dr Miller's report was a complete chemical, physical and radiological model of the fallout process, and answered all of the Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch concerns about:

(1) the physical and chemical nature (solubility, stickiness, etc.) of fallout,

(2) the actual mass (kilograms per square metre) of deposited fallout (to sweep up and decontaminate) associated with given radioactivity intensities,

(3) the fractionation of fission products as a function of the distance from the detonation (the most hazardous large fallout particles near ground zero are seriously lacking in soluble, ingestible fission products like iodine-131, strontium-90 and caesium-137, because these isotopes have either gaseous precursors or are volatile with a low boiling point, so they only 'plate out' on to the surfaces of the still-present tiny particles of solidified fallout after the fireball has cooled to low temperatures in the last stages of fallout formation, and those tiny particles take a long time to fall out, being deposited globally not locally), and

(4) the radioactive decay rate as modified by fractionation of different fission product decay chains in the hot, condensing fireball and also the vital effect of neutron induced activities like U-239, Np-239, U-240, Np-240 and U-237 on the decay rate and the gamma ray spectra of fallout radiation, which of course determines the penetrating ability of the gamma radiation from fallout and the protection afforded by simple expedient countermeasures against it, particularly at times of 2 hours to 2 weeks after burst when sheltering is most important because the intensity is greatest; low-energy or soft gamma rays from fractionated local fallout fission products and in particular from neutron-induced activities such as Np-239 and U-237 formed by neutron capture in the casings of dirty fission-fusion-fission 3-stage thermonuclear weapons with U-238 jackets, are much more easily shielded than the harder gamma ray spectrum from unfractionated fission products as a whole.
(For additional data on fallout see the earlier posts here and here.)

Clayton's decisive civil defence actions based on the Miller fallout data were later strongly supported by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (a former research chemist, unlike most scientifically ignorant politicians) who - despite her widely perceived domestic policy failings as a right-wing woman - backed the morality of civil defence and on foreign policy issues stood up to terrorist state dictator Leonid Brezhnev like a man, echoing Clayton's pragmatic outlook on war in her address to the United Nations General Assembly on disarmament on 23 June 1982, when she pointed out that in the years since the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 10 million people were killed by 140 non-nuclear conflicts, so:

‘The fundamental risk to peace is not the existence of weapons of particular types. It is the disposition on the part of some states to impose change on others by resorting to force against other nations ... Aggressors do not start wars because an adversary has built up his own strength. They start wars because they believe they can gain more by going to war than by remaining at peace.’

On 29 October 1982, Thatcher stated of the Berlin Wall:

‘You may chain a man, but you cannot chain his mind. You may enslave him, but you will not conquer his spirit. In every decade since the war the Soviet leaders have been reminded that their pitiless ideology only survives because it is maintained by force. But the day comes when the anger and frustration of the people is so great that force cannot contain it. Then the edifice cracks: the mortar crumbles ... one day, liberty will dawn on the other side of the wall.’

Leonid Brezhnev fortunately died on 10 November 1982, while Reagan and Thatcher challenged the Soviet Union's nuclear superiority with increased civil defence efforts coupled to military expenditure in a successful effort to bankrupt and reform the corrupt Soviet terrorist system.

On 22 November 1990, she was able to declare: ‘Today, we have a Europe ... where the threat to our security from the overwhelming conventional forces of the Warsaw Pact has been removed; where the Berlin Wall has been torn down and the Cold War is at an end. These immense changes did not come about by chance. They have been achieved by strength and resolution in defence, and by a refusal ever to be intimidated.’



'The case for civil defence stands regardless of whether a nuclear deterrent is necessary or not. ... Even if the U.K. were not itself at war, we would be as powerless to prevent fallout from a nuclear explosion crossing the sea as was King Canute to stop the tide.' - U.K. Home Office leaflet, Civil Defence, 1982.



ABOVE: excellent nuclear test evidence-based civil defence protection film by the U.S. Navy, Nuclear Effects at Sea. Robert Jungk's book, Children of the Ashes, Heinemann, London, 1961, cites a report in Hiroshima by American psychologist Woodbury Sparks called Panic Among A-Bomb Casualties at Hiroshima which showed that due to their surprise at the effects of the nuclear explosion, only 26 percent (153 out of a random sample of 589 bomb survivors in Hiroshima) gave any assistance at all to anybody else after the explosion. Seeing that the majority of the people in each city survived and that a major cause of death was the burning of blast damaged wooden houses containing persons trapped by blast debris, a lot more could have been done if people had been prepared. This is one of the civil defence lessons from Hiroshima: the emotional shock prevented proper action. Effective civil defence training in the solid, unvarnished facts about nuclear effects phenomenology can avert this shock, enabling help to be given more efficiently where and when practical to save lives and minimise injury.



Above: Morrison steel table indoor shelter which survived the debris load of a collapsed house, and a badly damaged Anderson garden shelter which nevertheless did its job and saved lives of three children when their house was wrecked during World War II bombing.



ABOVE: a 1950s British Civil Defence Corps poster, explaining that civil defence is important in peacetime emergencies, such as the 1953 floods in England, just as it is important in war.



ABOVE: a 1950s British Civil Defence Corps poster, explaining evacuation planning and organization in September 1939 when war was declared, which is also needed in case of nuclear hostilities.



ABOVE: a 1950s British Civil Defence Corps poster, showing rescue of trapped people. The whole point of civil defence is precisely the problem that enormous numbers of houses can be destroyed in either massive enemy conventional bombing raids, or a single nuclear explosion: either way, the conventional peacetime energency services such as the fire brigade would not be able to cope with the tremendous (but not unlimited) scale of destruction in a built up area. This is the reason why hundreds of thousands of civil defence volunteers were trained in rescue, first aid, the effects of various weapons including chemical, biological, nuclear and conventional weapons, and the emergency feeding and evacuation measures which are important for any kind of emergency including natural ones like floods. Civil defence membership peaked at 336,265 by May 1956 (The Times, 2 May 1956, p 6). This would have been enough to make a large difference in the event of a war or disaster.



ABOVE: a 1950s British Civil Defence Corps poster, extrapolating damage in the wood frame inflamable cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to a British city with brick, concrete and steel-frame buildings. This poster shows the severe damage such as building collapse at 0.5 mile from ground zero after a 20 kt air burst at an altitude of 1760 feet.



ABOVE: a 1950s British Civil Defence Corps poster, showing damage at 0.67 mile from ground zero after a 20 kt air burst at an altitude of 1760 feet.



ABOVE: a 1950s British Civil Defence Corps poster, showing damage at 0.85 mile from ground zero after a 20 kt air burst at an altitude of 1760 feet.



ABOVE: a 1950s British Civil Defence Corps poster, showing damage at 1.3 mile from ground zero after a 20 kt air burst at an altitude of 1760 feet.



ABOVE: a 1950s British Civil Defence Corps poster, showing warden equipped with anti-contamination protective clothing, a pen-like quartz fibre dosimeter to measure integrated gamma radiation dose and a RADIAC (radioactivity detection, identification and computation) survey meter to measure the varying dose rate of beta and gamma radiation (a hinged aluminium flap on the base of the instrument could be opened to measure beta plus gamma, and shut to measure gamma radiation only; the dosimeters and the RADIAC Survey Meter No. 2 instruments were checked for calibration accuracy and rugged reliability against real nuclear bomb fallout at the four British-Australian nuclear tests in Maralinga, Operation Buffalo, in 1956).







ABOVE: a selection of random 1950s British Civil Defence Corps posters, focussing on the aspects of civil defence which are common to not just nuclear attack, but also to the experience of civil defence during World War II, when attacks on London occurred repeatedly by large numbers of aircraft, V1 cruise missiles and V2 rocket missiles. In 1950, the Top Secret British Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch report SA/16 (HO225/16 in the UK National Archives), 'The number of atomic bombs equivalent to the last war air attacks on Great Britain and Germany', concluded:

‘The wide publicity given to the appalling destruction caused by the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki has possibly tended to give an exaggerated impression of their effectiveness. Perhaps the best way to counteract this impression, and to help to get the atomic bomb to scale, is to consider the numbers of atomic bombs that would have to be dropped on this country and on Germany to have caused the same total amount of damage as was actually caused by attacks with high explosive and incendiary bombs.

‘During the last war a total of 1,300,000 tons [i.e. 1.3 MEGATONS of bombs] were dropped on Germany by the Strategic Air Forces [of Britain and America]. If there were no increase in aiming accuracy, then to achieve the same amount of material damage (to houses, industrial and transportational targets, etc.) would have required the use of over 300 atomic bombs together with some 500,000 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs for targets too small to warrant the use of an atomic bomb… the total of 300,000 civilian air raid deaths in Germany could have been caused by about 80 atomic bombs delivered with the accuracy of last war area attacks, or by about 20 atomic bombs accurately placed at the centres of large German cities...’

This report, SA/16, was kept Top Secret for 8 years, and then Restricted for another 22 years. It was never published, and civil defence was gradually undermined by the exaggeration of nuclear weapons effects by political groups such as CND, the full facts remaining secret.

Before Mr Pseudoscience of CND makes the claim that the Home Office miss-divided 1.3 megatons of bombs into 20 kilotons, adding that "everyone can see that 1.3 Mt is just 65 times 20 kt", it should be pointed out, as explained in the comments at http://glasstone.blogspot.com/2006/03/samuel-glasstone-and-philip-j-dolan.html and http://glasstone.blogspot.com/2007/03/above-3.html, that blast damage radii for overpressure diffraction damage scale at most as the cube-root of yield (or more slowly than the cube-root if allowance for blast attenuation by the work energy used in destroying houses while the blast knocks down successive houses in a radial line from ground zero is included in the calculations). Areas of damage scale as the square of the ground range, or the two-thirds of yield at most.

Hence, the 1.3 megatons of small bombs dropped as mentioned in this blog post is not anywhere remotely equivalent to a single 1.3 megaton nuclear bomb. It turns out that 1.3 megatons as a single explosive is only the equivalent of 4.64 kilotons of 100 kg bombs, because efficiency is greater for smaller bombs.

(This is the reason that America stopped designing very high yield thermonuclear weapons after the 1954 nuclear tests of Operation Castle, and the mean yield of the 4,552 nuclear warheads and bombs in the deployed 1.172 Gt or 1,172 Mt U.S. nuclear stockpile is only 0.257 Mt or 257 kt. 257 kt is just 12 times the yield of the Nagasaki bomb, so by the cube-root scaling law the blast destruction radii for the mean yield of 257 kt is just 2.27 times the blast destruction radii in Nagasaki. Because there are no flimsy wood-frame inflammable cities in the West, the actual effects of typical stockpiled nuclear weapons today would be less severe than they were in Nagasaki.)

Because the average bomb size of conventional (chemical) high explosive bombs was under 100 kg in WWII, they were far more efficient than a megaton nuclear bomb: relative area damaged = number of bombs * {bomb yield}2/3

Hence to get the same area damaged by 100 kg TNT bombs as by a 1 Mt nuclear bomb, you would need only 1/(10-7)2/3 = 46,400 conventional 100 kg bombs, a total of just 46400*0.0001 = 4.64 kilotons of bombs doing the same area destruction as a single 1 megaton bomb. To emphasise this non-linear addition law:

1 megaton of TNT as a single explosion = 4.64 kt of 100 kg bombs in an air raid

The relative efficiency of the single 1 Mt nuclear bomb in this example is only 0.464% compared to conventional small TNT explosive bombs.

Hence, heavy conventional high explosive bombing raids with hundreds of aircraft in WWII produced the same destruction as a relatively large thermonuclear weapon. The fact that easily mitigated effects (such as delayed fallout and thermal radiation which is easily avoided by ducking and covering skin) were absent in the high explosive attacks, where the energy wasn't wasted but mainly went into blast wave damage, made conventional warfare far more dangerous.



Above: All that happened to the Anderson shelters 400 yards from the 25 kt Hurricane nuclear test on 3 October 1952 was that a few sand bags were blown off by the arrival of the blast wave, but by that time the initial nuclear radiation and thermal radiation pulses were already over, so the sandbags had shielded the radiation. Frank H. Pavry, who as part of the British Mission to Japan had observed the surviving air raid shelters near ground zero in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, organized the construction of 15 Anderson shelters. In World War II, two types of shelters were issued by the U.K. government to householders: the 'Morrison' (a steel table designed to resist the debris load from the collapse of a house, which was introduced in March 1941 and named after the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison), and the 'Anderson' which was an outdoor shelter supplied to 2,100,000 householders (a 14-gauge corrugated steel arch shelter, 2 m long, 1.4 m wide and 1.8 m high, designed to accommodate 6 people and to be sunk to 1.2 metre depth and covered by at least 40 cm of earth; it was invented in 1938 and named after Sir John Anderson, who was in charge of U.K. Air Raid Precautions/Civil Defence).

Frank H. Pavry's report, Operation HURRICANE: Anderson Shelters, Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, AWRE-T17/54, was originally classified 'Secret - Atomic'. The 15 Anderson shelters had survived very well. Nearest to the bomb ship, they survived a peak overpressure of 55 psi or 380 kPa without internal damage: sand bags on the outside were hurled off when the blast wave arrived, but by that time they had done their job of shielding the initial neutron and gamma radiation. (They could have been replaced before fallout arrived.) At a peak overpressure of 12 psi or 83 kPa, even the sandbags on the outside remained intact. (Pavry had used sand bags instead of the recommended packed earth as a convenience.)

This rightly gave conviction to the British Home Office civil defence effects team. The bomb ship HMS Plym, can be seen moored in 40 feet of water 400 yards off Trimouille Island, Monte Bello group. The public information film on Operation Hurricane states: 'At Montebello the advance party is already at work: 200 Royal Engineers had arrived in April to find an empty wilderness of salt, bush and spinifex ... Within the danger zone they erected the familiar [World War II British civilian] Anderson shelters, well-protected by sandbags ... These tests would influence the pattern of civil defence against some future atomic attack. ... On shore, they find many of the Anderson shelters have survived the ordeal remarkably well – better than some of the concrete-block houses.' (The full report on the Anderson shelters exposed at Operation Hurricane is 'Operation Hurricane: Anderson Shelters', Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston, report AWRE-T17/54, 1954, UK National Archives reference ES 5/19 and also duplicated at DEFE 16/933. See also 'Penetration of the gamma flash into Anderson shelters and concrete cubicles', AWRE-T20/54, 1954, UK National Archives ref ES 5/22 duplicated at DEFE 16/935.)



Here again are some extracts from the civil defence chapter in the 1962/64 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons:

'At distances between 0.3 and 0.4 mile from ground zero in Hiroshima the average survival rate, for at least 20 days after the nuclear explosion, was less than 20 percent. Yet in two reinforced concrete office buildings, at these distances, almost 90 percent of the nearly 800 occupants survived more than 20 days, although some died later of radiation injury.

'Furthermore, of approximately 3,000 school students who were in the open and unshielded within a mile of ground zero at Hiroshima, about 90 percent were dead or missing after the explosion. But of nearly 5,000 students in the same zone who were shielded in one way or another, only 26 percent were fatalities. ... survival in Hiroshima was possible in buildings at such distances that the overpressure in the open was 15 to 20 pounds per square inch. ... it is evident ... that the area over which protection could be effective in saving lives is roughly eight to ten times as great as that in which the chances of survival are small.'

Page 645 (1962/4 edition):

'The major part of the thermal radiation travels in straight lines, so any opaque object interposed between the fireball and the exposed skin will give some protection. This is true even if the object is subsequently destroyed by the blast, since the main thermal radiation pulse is over before the arrival of the blast wave.

'At the first indication of a nuclear explosion, by a sudden increase in the general illumination, a person inside a building should immediately fall prone, and, if possible, crawl behind or beneath a table or desk or to a planned vantage point. Even if this action is not taken soon enough to reduce the thermal radiation exposure greatly, it will minimise the displacement effect of the blast wave and provide a partial shield against splintered glass and other flying debris.

'An individual caught in the open should fall prone to the ground in the same way, while making an effort to shade exposed parts of the body. Getting behind a tree, building, fence, ditch, bank, or any structure which prevents a direct line of sight between the person and the fireball, if possible, will give a major degree of protection. If no substantial object is at hand, the clothed parts of the body should be used to shield parts which are exposed. There will still be some hazard from scattered thermal radiation, especially from high-yield weapons at long ranges, but the decrease in the direct radiation will be substantial.'


A person on the ground whose clothes ignite (which is only a risk under extremely high thermal exposure to dark coloured clothing) can immediately extinguish the clothes by simply rolling over to starve the flames of oxygen. Page 653 (1962/4 edition):

'Some, although perhaps not all, of the fallout in the Marshall Islands, after the test explosion of March 1, 1954, could be seen as a white powder or dust. This was due, partly at least, to the light color of the calcium oxide or carbonate of which the particles were mainly composed. It is probable that whenever there is sufficient fallout to constitute a hazard, the dust will be visible.'



Below are some extracts from the British Home Office civil defence booklet, The Hydrogen Bomb (published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1957, 32 pages). The frontispiece to the booklet is a quotation from Sir Winston Churchill: 'The hydrogen bomb has made an outstanding incursion into the structure of our lives and thoughts.' Page 3 states:

'Knowledge of the effects of this weapon should be widespread. Terrible as these effects are, they can be exaggerated, and the information given in this booklet shows that much can be done to reduce them and to save lives. ... The publication of this summary does not mean that the Government think war likely. As the 1957 White Paper on Defence made clear, the existence of nuclear weapons and of the means to use them is a safeguard against aggression and a deterrent to war. But everyone should know what these weapons could do, and have some idea of how their effects could be reduced.'

It is impressive (in comparison to more 'modern' pamphlets) due to the way it conveys the facts by direct examples from thermonuclear weapons tests and from the nuclear weapon attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For example, the chapter on 'The danger from heat' (pages 8-11) draws directly on the experience of the Home Office authors (George R. Stanbury and others attended British nuclear tests at Monte Bello and elsewhere during the 1950s):

'With an atomic bomb similar [20 kilotons] to the one used at Nagasaki, the "heat flash" lasts for only about one and a half seconds, and most of it is over in half a second. With the [15 megatons] hydrogen bomb, heat is radiated for twenty seconds or more, most of it in the first ten seconds.

'THE DANGER TO PEOPLE

'What would happen to anyone in the open directly exposed to the heat? People have gained some inkling from nuclear tests. At one test, for example, the device exploded was rather more powerful than the bombs dropped in Japan. The day was clear, which favoured the radiation of heat, and the observers were six miles away. Even at this distance, their eyes would have been temporarily blinded, if not permanently injured, had they not worn very dark glasses [when staring directly at the fireball]. As the fireball rapidly expanded, they felt as if an oven door had been opened only a few feet away. If the distance had been only one or two miles, their skin would have been severely burned. At half a mile, they would have been killed.

'With a hydrogen bomb these distances would be increased, though not as much as might be expected. The "heat radiation" from a hydrogen bomb lasts longer. On a fine cloudless day, it might be felt as far as fifty miles away, but without injury to the skin. ... Mist or fog would reduce the range of the heat. They act as a barrier against heat rays, just as they do against the rays of the sun [water molecules have band absorption spectra covering the infrared radiation wavelengths].

'Anything that keeps off the sun's heat will help to give protection against the heat of a nuclear bomb. At Hiroshima, for instance, a painted surface was scorched except where it was in the shadow of a wheel. ... At Hiroshima some Japanese women, who had on white cotton dresses with a darker pattern, suffered burns only beneath the pattern. The skin under the white material escaped. This was because white or light-coloured material reflects heat while dark material absorbs it. Colour apart, woolen clothes would be less likely to catch fire than cotton. If clothing did catch fire and there was no time to throw it off, the best way to put out the flames would be to roll over and over on the ground.

'All this applies only to people caught in the path of the heat rays. Any solid substance would give full protection against this danger. ... In built-up areas, the lower storeys would probably be shielded by other buildings. Here a householder would need to pay particular attention to the upper floors with a full view of the sky ...'



ABOVE: U.S. Army photo showing how a mere leaf of Fatsia japonica attenuated the heat flash enough to prevent scorching to the bitumen on an electric pole near the Meiji Bridge, 1.3 km range, Hiroshima. It didn't even vaporize the leaf before the pulse ended, let alone did it somehow ignite the wooden pole (most photos claiming to show thermal flash radiation effects in Hiroshima and Nagasaki purely show effects from the fires set off by the blast wave overturning cooking stoves, which developed 30 minutes to 2 hours later): 'Even blades of grass cast permanent shadows on otherwise badly scorched wood. The [Hiroshima nuclear bomb heat] flash lasted less time than it took the grass to shrivel.' - Chapman Pincher, Into the Atomic Age, Hutchinson and Co., London, 1950, p. 50.



ABOVE: the heat flash radiation which causes the scorching is so unscattered or unidirectional that any shading from the fireball source stops it even if you are exposed to the scattered radiation from the rest of the sky: shadows still present in October 1945 in the bitumen road surface of Yorozuyo Bridge, 805 m SSW of ground zero, Hiroshima, pointed where the bomb detonated (U.S. Army photo).

Pages 18-19 of the 1957 British Home Office booklet The Hydrogen Bomb introduce the protected 'refuge room' against fallout gamma radiation from large contaminated areas outside and on the roof (small areas of fallout contamination, such as indoor contamination, are negligible by comparison because most of the gamma dose rate comes almost horizontally from large distances across a uniformly contaminated plane rather than vertically upwards from the small amount of fallout under your feet or nearby, so the ingress of fallout into buildings makes no siugnificant difference unless the wall protection factors are so pathetically low it is not much help anyway):

'PROTECTION FROM FALL-OUT

'The three factors which count in gaining protection are the distance from the radioactive dust, the weight of material in between, and the time for which one remains protected while the radioactivity decays.

'A slit trench with overhead cover of two or three feet of earth would give very good protection against fall-out, as well as protection against blast, but the occupants would have to remain in the trench for forty-eight hours or more while the radioactivity surrounding them decayed.

'A prepared refuge room inside a house could be made to give good protection against fall-out (although not so good as a covered slit trench) and it would also be much less uncomfortable for a period of two days or more. A cellar or basement would be by far the best place for a refuge room; next best would be the room with the fewest outside walls and the smallest windows. The windows would need to be blocked with solid material, to the thickness of the surrounding walls at least. It would help if the walls themselves were thickened, not necessarily to their full height, with sandbags, boxes filled with earth, or heavy furniture. The occupants of the refuge roof would have to remain in it until told that it was safe to come out - perhaps for a period of days - and the room would have to be prepared and equipped accordingly.

'In some places it might be practicable to make good use of both an outdoor slit trench and an indoor refuge room, using the first for protection against blast, and the second, if the house survived the blast, for subsequent protection against fall-out.'




This advice about a refuge room against fallout is actually an extension of advice in the 1938 British Home Office booklet The Protection of Your Home Against Air Raids, 38 pages. (See also the collection of official civil defence public handouts here.) Page 1 of that 1938 booklet contains a Foreword signed by Samuel Hoare (the Home Secretary of the British Government at that time), stating:

'WHY THIS BOOK HAS BEEN SENT TO YOU

'If this country were ever at war the target of the enemy's bombers would be the staunchness of the people at home. We all hope and work to prevent war but, while there is risk of it, we cannot afford to neglect the duty of preparing ourselves and the country for such an emergency. This book is being sent out to help each householder to realise what he can do, if the need arises, to make his home and his household more safe against air attack.'

Page 3 states (in italics):

'On board ship, both crew and passengers are instructed where to go and what to do, not when danger threatens, but beforehand. The captain considers it a matter of ordinary routine and everyday precaution that everything is in readiness for a shipwreck which he hopes will never happen. If the head of the house will consider himself as "the captain of the ship" and put these air raid precautions in to effect, the principal object of this book will have been achieved.'

Page 4 states:

'If air raids ever came to this country, every home should have a refuge specially prepared in which the whole household could take cover. Every shop and office, or other place of work or business, would require a place similarly prepared for those engaged on its premises.

'Every householder, or head of a family or business, should learn now how to protect, in war-time, his own people and home from the effects of explosive bombs, incendiary bombs, and poison gas. This applies to those who live in large centres of population. In more remote districts the dangers would no doubt be less, though the need for protection and precautions would still exist.

Page 8 states:

'HOW TO CHOOSE A REFUGE ROOM

'Almost any room will serve as a refuge-room if it is soundly constructed, and if it is easy to reach and to get out of. Its windows should be as few and small as possible, preferably facing a building or blank wall, or a narrow street. If a ground floor room facing a wide street or a stretch of level open ground [where bombs could fall] is chosen, the windows should if possible be specially protected. The stronger the walls, floor and ceiling are, the better. Brick partition walls are better than lath and plaster. ... An internal refuge will form a very good refuge room if it can be closed at both ends.'

Both 'Morrison' indoor refuge-room shelters (basically a steel table designed to take the weight of the house collapsing on top of it, under which people could take protection against blast damage) and 'Anderson' outdoor earth-covered corrugated steel arch shelter were used for blast protection during World War II. Tube stations were used as communal air raid shelters. The first experiment set up by George R. Stanbury and others from the Home Office who attended the British 'Operation Hurricane' nuclear weapons test at Monte Bello in 1952, was to set up Anderson shelters to see the effects of nuclear weapons against World War II style civil defence. The shelters stood up very well indeed cutting down thermal and nuclear radiation and protecting against blast, although the longer duration of the nuclear blast wave relative to the bombs used in World War II meant that at the same high overpressure levels, the air drag effect of wind pressure tended to blow some sandbags off in the case of the nuclear explosion (but not in the case of the conventional low yield chemical explosives).

The final British civil defence booklet was prepared for the Home Office by the Central Office of Information in 1976 and was first published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office in May 1980:



Protect and Survive

This booklet tells you how to make your home and family as safe as possible under nuclear attack


Foreword

If the country were ever faced with an immediate threat of nuclear war, a copy of this booklet would be distributed to every household as part of a public information campaign which would include announcements on television and radio and in the press. The booklet has been designed for free and general distribution in that event. It is being placed on sale now for those who wish to know what they would be advised to do at such a time.

May 1980

If Britain is attacked by nuclear bombs or by missiles, we do not know what targets will be chosen or how severe the assault will be.

If nuclear weapons are used on a large scale, those of us living in the country areas might be exposed to as great a risk as those in the towns. The radioactive dust, falling where the wind blows it, will bring the most widespread dangers of all. No part of the United Kingdom can be considered safe from both the direct effects of the weapons and the resultant fall-out.

The dangers which you and your family will face in this situation can be reduced if you do as this booklet describes.

Challenge to survival

Fall-out


Fall-out is dust that is sucked up from the ground by the explosion. It can be deadly dangerous. It rises high in the air and can be carried by the winds for hundreds of miles before falling to the ground.

The radiation from this dust is dangerous. It cannot be seen or felt. It has no smell, and it can be detected only by special instruments. Exposure to it can cause sickness and death. If the dust fell on or around your home, the radiation from it would be a danger to you and your family for many days after an explosion. Radiation can penetrate any material, but its intensity is reduced as it passes through - so the thicker and denser the material is, the better.

Planning for survival

Plan a Fall-out Room and Inner Refuge


The first priority is to provide shelter within your home against radioactive fall-out. Your best protection is to make a fall-out room and build an inner refuge within it.

First, the Fall-out Room

Because of the threat of radiation you and your family may need to live in this room for fourteen days after an attack, almost without leaving it at all. So you must make it as safe as you can, and equip it for your survival. Choose the place furthest from the outside walls and from the roof, or which has the smallest amount of outside wall. The further you can get, within your home, from the radioactive dust that is on or around it, the safer you will be. Use the cellar or basement if there is one. Otherwise use a room, hall or passage on the ground floor.

Even the safest room in your home is not safe enough, however. You will need to block up windows in the room, and any other openings, and to make the outside walls thicker, and also to thicken the floor above you, to provide the strongest possible protection against the penetration of radiation. Thick, dense materials are the best, and bricks, concrete or building blocks, timber, boxes of earth, sand, books, and furniture might all be used.

Flats

If you live in a block of flats there are other factors to consider. If the block is five stories high or more, do not shelter in the top two floors. Make arrangements now with your landlord for alternative shelter accommodation if you can, or with your neighbours on the lower floors, or with relatives or friends.

If your flat is in a block of four storeys or less, the basement or ground floor will give you the best protection. Central corridors on lower floors will provide good protection.

Bungalows

Bungalows and similar single-storey homes will not give much protection. Arrange to shelter with someone close by if you can do so.

If not, select a place in your home that is furthest from the roof and the outside walls, and strengthen it as has been described.

Caravans

If you live in a caravan or other similar accommodation which provides very little protection against fall-out your local authority will be able to advise you on what to do.

Now the Inner Refuge

Still greater protection is necessary in the fall-out room, particularly for the first two days and nights after an attack, when the radiation dangers could be critical. To provide this you should build an inner refuge. This too should be thick-lined with dense materials to resist the radiation, and should be built away from the outside walls.

Here are some ideas:



1. Make a 'lean-to' with sloping doors taken from rooms above or strong boards rested against an inner wall. Prevent them from slipping by fixing a length of wood along the floor. Build further protection of bags or boxes of earth or sand - or books, or even clothing - on the slope of your refuge, and anchor these also against slipping. Partly close the two open ends with boxes of earth or sand, or heavy furniture.

2. Use tables if they are large enough to provide you all with shelter. Surround them and cover them with heavy furniture filled with sand, earth, books or clothing.

3. Use the cupboard under the stairs if it is in your fall-out room. Put bags of earth or sand on the stairs and along the wall of the cupboard. If the stairs are on an outside wall, strengthen the wall outside in the same way to a height of six feet.

Essentials for survival in your Fall-out Room

1 Drinking Water


You will need enough for the family for fourteen days. Each person should drink two pints a day - so for this you will need three and a half gallons each.

You should try to stock twice as much water as you are likely to need for drinking, so that you will have enough for washing. You are unlikely to be able to use the mains water supply after an attack - so provide your drinking water beforehand by filling bottles for use in the fall-out room. Store extra water in the bath, in basins and in other containers.

Seal or cover all you can. Anything that has fall-out dust on it will be contaminated and dangerous to drink or to eat. You cannot remove radiation from water by boiling it.

2 Food

Stock enough food for fourteen days.

Choose foods which can be eaten cold, which keep fresh, and which are tinned or well wrapped. Keep your stocks in a closed cabinet or cupboard.

Provide variety. Stock sugar, jams or other sweet foods, cereals, biscuits, meats, vegetables, fruit and fruit juices. Children will need tinned or powdered milk, and babies their normal food as far as is possible. Eat perishable items first. Use your supplies sparingly.

In the open

If you are in the open and cannot get home within a couple of minutes, go immediately to the nearest building. If there is no building nearby and you cannot reach one within a couple of minutes, use any kind of cover, or lie flat (in a ditch) and cover the exposed skin of the head and hands.

Light and heat from an explosion will last for up to twenty seconds, but blast waves may take up to a minute to reach you. If after ten minutes there has been no blast wave, take cover in the nearest building.

What to do after the Attack:

After a nuclear attack, there will be a short period before fall-out starts to descend. Use this time to do essential tasks. This is what you should do.

Do not smoke.

Check that gas, electricity and other fuel supplies and all pilot lights are turned off.

Go round the house and put out any small fires using mains water if you can.

If anyone's clothing catches fire, lay them on the floor and roll them in a blanket, rug or thick coat.

If the mains water is still available also replenish water reserves.

REMEMBER:

The danger from fall-out is greatest in the first forty-eight hours. During that time you must stay in the fall-out room and as far as possible within your inner refuge. If you leave the room to dispose of waste or to replenish food or water supplies, do not stay outside it for a second longer than is necessary.



Above: The car-over-trench expedient fallout shelter from G. A. Cristy and C. H. Kearny, "Expedient Shelter Handbook", Oak Ridge National Laboratory, August 1974, report AD0787483, 318 pages. In place of a car, doors, felled logs, or planks of wood heaped with soil can be used instead, depending on the resources to hand.

The most important for emergency use (where rapid protection is desirable) are the "car over trench shelter" (dig a trench the right size to drive your car over, putting the excavated earth to the sides for added shielding, then drive your car over it), "tilt up doors and earth" shelter (if your house is badly damaged, build a fallout shelter against any surviving wall of the house by putting doors against it and piling earth on top in accordance to the plans), and the "above ground door-covered shelter" (basically a trench with excavated earth piles at the sides, doors placed on top, then a layer of earth piled on top of the doors).

All these shelters can be constructed very quickly under emergency conditions (in a time of some hours, e.g., comparable to the time taken for fallout to arrive in the major danger area downwind from a large nuclear explosion). For the known energy of gamma rays from fallout including neutron induced activities with low energy gamma ray emission (Np-239, U-237, etc.), a thickness of 1 foot or 30 centimetres of packed earth (density 1.6 grams per cubic centimetre) shields 95% of fallout gamma radiation, giving an additional protective factor of about 20. A thickness of 2 feet or 60 centimetres of packed earth provides a protective factor of about 400. Caravans have a protective factor of 1.4-1.8, single storey modern bungalows have a protection factor of 5-6, while brick bungalows have a protective factor of 8-9. British brick multi-storey buildings have protection factors of 10-20, while British brick house basements have protective factors of 90-150. These figures can easily be increased by at least a factor of 2-3 by making a protected ‘inner core’ or ‘refuge’ within the building at a central point, giving additional shielding:



Dr Saad Z. Mikhail's report, Beta-Radiation Doses from Fallout Particles Deposited on the Skin (Environmental Science Associates, Foster City, California, report AD0888503, 1971) quantified the beta contact hazard for fallout particles while they are descending in the open:

'A fission density of 10 to the 15th power fissions per cubic centimeter of fallout material was assumed. Comparison of computed doses with the most recent experimental data relative to skin response to beta-energy deposition leads to the conclusion that even for fallout arrival times as early as 1000 seconds (16.7 minutes post-detonation), no skin ulceration is expected from single particles 500 micron or less in diameter. Absorbed gamma doses calculated for one particle size (100 microns) show a beta-to-gamma ratio of about 15. Dose ratio for larger particle sizes will be smaller. Doses from arrays of fallout particles of different size distributions were computed, also, for several fallout mass deposition densities; time intervals required to accumulate doses sufficient to initiate skin lesions were calculated. These times depend strongly on the assumed fallout-particle-size distribution. Deposition densities in excess of 100 mg per square foot of the skin will cause beta burns if fallout arrival time is less than about three hours, unless the particles are relatively coarse (mean particle diameter more than 250 microns).'

Keeping the highly visible particles off the skin by wearing clothing, or removing them quickly by brushing or washing after contamination, eliminates the beta burn hazard, as demonstrated by the examples of Marshallese Islanders who washed after fallout contamination.

Manual of Civil Defence, Volume 1, Pamphlet No. 1, Nuclear Weapons, published for the Home Office and Scottish Home Department by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1956, 55 pages. This publication was written by the Scentific Advisory Branch of the Home Office, including Dr R. H. Purcell (the Home Office Chief Scientific Advisor) and his scientists Frank H. Pavey who had been in the British Mission to Japan in 1945, surveying Hiroshima and Nagasaki to examine the effects of nuclear weapons, and George R. Stanbury who (with Frank Pavey) had travelled to the Monte Bello Islands in Australia to measure the heat, blast and fallout effects as the Civil Defence Study Team at the Australian-British 25 kt nuclear test Hurricane on 3 October 1952 (including many Anderson and Morrison type World War II shelters, which stood up to the nuclear explosion very well indeed). Stanbury retired in 1967 but continued advising the Scientific Advisory Branch until his death in 1974, while Frank Pavry retired aged 65 in 1976. The 'Nuclear Weapons' 1956 report is with respect to firestorm hazards and other effects generally the best overall treatment of the problem and was influenced by Glasstone's 1950 Effects of Atomic Weapons which was based on empirical observations rather than guesses.

As with The Effects of Nuclear/Atomic Weapons (1950, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1977), the 2nd (1959) and 3rd (1974) editions of the British publication Nuclear Weapons moved away from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and nuclear test data and more towards theoretical discussions of hypothetical problems which has not been seen in practice.

HISTORY OF THE BRITISH CIVIL DEFENCE WORK BY THE HOME OFFICE SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BRANCH / EMERGENCY PLANNING DIVISION AND ITS PUBLICATION OF THE "FISSION FRAGMENTS" NUCLEAR WEAPONS EFFECTS JOURNAL

To explain the history of the British Home Office's Scientific Advisory Branch, here are quotations from Scientist in Civil Defence written by George R. Stanbury, published in two parts in Fission Fragments magazine (part 1 in issue 17, June 1971, edited by P. R. Bentley and part 2 in issue 18 of January 1972, the first issue of Fission Fragments to be edited by M. J. Thompson):

'The use of scientists in Civil Defence had its origin in a circular (how appropriate!) issued by the Home Office in July 1935 in which local authorities were told that the Government would issue general instructions on air raid precautions, based on expert study of the problems, and the first of the official ARP [air raid precautions] handbooks [handbook "No. 2" because of a delay, the "No. 1" handbook also concerned with gas was not issued until August 1936!], concerned with measures against gas attack, was issued with commendable alacrity at the end of the same month (Porton having been working on the problems for almost 10 years!).

'On the structural side [damage from blast effects of TNT bombs], a Bombing Tests Committee which which had been formed in 1934 as a sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence, was reconstituted in 1935 to work closely with the Home Office, and the Superintendent of Experiments at Shoeburyness was put in charge of the experimental work. A Structural Precautions Committee was appointed by the Home Secretary in February 1936 to report on the nature of material damage likely to result from air attack and on appropriate countermeasures. An interim report based on trials carried out by the research Department at Woolwich provided the information for Handbook No. 6 on Air Raid Precautions in Factories and Business Premises, and the fact that the final report was not issued until 1939 is an indication of the lack of relevant information at the time which had to be made good by a rapid expansion of testing facilities at the Building Research Station, the Road Research Laboratory, and elsewhere.

'In the last quarter of 1938 [e.g. the time of the Munich Crisis of September 1938 when Britain's Prime Minister Chamberlain had to visit Hitler in Germany to sign a peace pact on paper in a desperate effort to avert the impending war by appeasement of pacifist sentiments] the menacing political situation quickened interest in civil defence, and there was a rapid increase in the rating of civil defence research. ... In February 1939, therefore, the Research and Experiments Branch of the ARP Department was set up with Dr (later Sir) R. E. Stradling (the Director of the Building Research Station) as the Chief Adviser. The new branch started in two rooms in Horseferry House but soon moved across to Cleland House, where there was a staff of 24 at the outbreak of war in 1939. ... before the end of the war, over 600 people had been used in one capacity or another. ... in May 1939 a Civil Defence Research Committee was set up to advise on the formulation and execution of a programme of research by the branch [Chaired by Dr E. V. Appleton, FRS, and including such famous scientists as J. D. Bernal FRS, C. G. Darwin FRS, R. V. Southwell FRS, and G. I. Taylor FRS, the mathematician who - as part of this committee - in a famous paper predicted the blast wave and fireball growth rate for a nuclear explosion successfully ahead of the Trinity nuclear test in 1945; a paper which was only published openly in 1950 due to secrecy]. ...

'When it was decided to issue helmets to fire watchers the Department had the greatest difficulty in gaining acceptance of the idea that the metal crown should be several inches above a supporting cradle to allow any pressure from a suddenly applied load to be spread over the whole head instead of being concentrated into one place. [This is now the standard design for not just wartime use against the risk of falling bricks, but also a legal requirement for construction workers on building sites.] ...

'A similar difficulty was experienced by prof. (now Sir John) Baker and his colleagues in gaining acceptance of the idea that a shelter should be designed to absorb some part of the applied energy in its own partial collapse; complete resistance was far too costly and even unnecessary. The Morrison table shelter was an excellent example of this. It was designed to withstand the debris load of a house by its own partial collapse, whilst still giving adequate protection to the occupants. Sir John recalls with relish the long argument he had with the PM [prime Minister] before the latter was convinced about this and he still believes that it was only accepted eventually because it could also be used as a dining table! ... [End of Part 1; the following is from Part 2.]

'The British Mission to Japan with profcessor W. N. Thomas (later the Senior Regional Scientific Adviser in Wales) as its Scientific Director, had brought back to this country a vast amount of data on the effects of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and this now had to be analysed and translated into the very different [not predominantly frammable wood-frame, but brick and concrete] conditions of British cities.

'The members of the Mission were mainly drawn from the staff of the R and E Department (including Mr F. H. Pavry) whose accumulated experience in the field was now found to be invaluable. In 1946 an open report was published which served as the basis for all future Civil Defence training in this field and shortly afterwards, detailed reports were prepared on special aspects of the Mission's studies which likewise served as the basis of most of our subsequent appreciations in Scientific Advisory Branch of the effects of atomic bomb attacks on British cities.

'Reactivation of Civil Defence

'In 1948, in view of the uncertain international situation, the Home Office decided to reactivate civil defence, and appointed Dr E. T. Paris from the Ministry of Supply as its Scientific Adviser. Dr Paris had a staff of 5 scientists under Mr E. Leader Williams and Mr J. W. Martin and a small clerical staff still trying to cope manfully with the Bomb Census and the War Damage Commission, and the [bomb damage] records which were pouring in from the Regions and the various war-time out-stations of the Department. ... One interesting outcome of the study of debris problems initiated by the Working Party was ... that any incipient fires in this [blast devastated brick or concrete building] area would be crushed out by the collapse of the buildings, the fire zone being confined to the annular ring beyond this where building structure was still identifiable.

'Operation Hurricane

Above: Anderson shelters (which survived the explosion, with merely a few sandbags blown off by the blast wave after they had done their essential job of screening out the initial nuclear radiation flash, but long before fallout arrived) near the bomb ship HMS Plym, Monte Bello, 1952. The ship carrying the bomb can be seen moored in 40 feet of water 400 yards off the island (Trimouille Island, Monte Bello group). The public information film on Operation Hurricane states:

'At Montebello the advance party is already at work: 200 Royal Engineers had arrived in April to find an empty wilderness of salt, bush and spinifex... Control points and test buildings rise from the wasteland but the only local materials are sand and rock for making concrete. There wasn't even a jetty until this one was built by an Airfield Construction Unit of the Australian Air Force. ... Within the danger zone they erected the familiar Anderson shelters, well-protected by sandbags, and there too they built concrete structures of varying sizes and strengths to test the impact of blast and the penetration of gamma ray. These tests would influence the pattern of civil defence against some future atomic attack. This was one of the problems Montebello would help to decide. ... survey boats set out on patrol to find and chart the limits of contamination in the island waters before anyone can dare approach the shore. In due course recovery teams land on the stricken beach. On shore, they find many of the Anderson shelters have survived the ordeal remarkably well – better than some of the concrete-block houses.'

(The full report on the Anderson shelters exposed at Operation Hurricane is 'Operation Hurricane: Anderson Shelters', AWRE-T17/54, 1954, UK National Archives refences ES 5/19 and also duplicated at DEFE 16/933. See also 'Penetration of the gamma flash into Anderson shelters and concrete cubicles', AWRE-T20/54, 1954, UK National Archives ref ES 5/22 duplicated at DEFE 16/935.) The photos below show the effects of Operation Hurricane.


'In 1952, Scientific Advisory Branch were invited to participate in the first British atomic explosion at Monte Bello - Operation Hurricane. [Dr William Penney, in charge of the test, had witnessed the Nagasaki explosion and the base surge contamination from the Baker underwater test at Bikini Atoll in 1946, and decided that the first British test should be predominantly concerned with checking the civil defence effects of a terrorist burst of a nuclear bomb smuggled into a harbour inside the hull of a ship and detonated in shallow water. Hence, he gave civil defence special consideration at Operation Hurricane.]

'Our particular interests at the time were the resistance of reinforced concrete structures to atomic [long duration] blast, the performance under practical field conditions of the range of radiac instruments which had just been developed by AERE Harwell for the use of civil defence and the Services, the performance of ground zero indicators and the contamination of food packages by deposited fallout. The small team consisted of myself and Mr Pavry, with Mr Westbrook from the Ministry of Works. The Task Force itself was under the Command of Rear Admiral A. D. Torlesse CB who later became the Regional Director for Civil Defence in No. 3 Region. Sir William (later Lord) Penney was the chief scientist.

'The Royal Engineers erected 3 specially designed reinforced concrete box-like test structures under Mr Westbrook's direction at appropriate distances from HMS Plym, which was anchored in the nearby lagoon and which was to house the device. The front face of the closest box was completely stove in, the second received only minor damage, and the third none at all.

'As there were no other substantial structures on the island, and the camp on the shore was completely blown away, there was little else to prove to an outsider that the thing had actually gone off except a photograph of this front box, and this was in fact one of the first things shown to the PM [Winston Churchill] by Sir Wm. Penney on his return.

'As I was one of those who, a few years earlier, had recommended the Home Office to spend several millions on radiac [radioactivity detection, identification and computation] equipment, I was naturally very interested in their performance. [The Home Office ordered the manufacture of 20,000 of the 0-300 R/hr No. 2 version Radiac survey meters for civil defence fallout survey work in the 1950s. By 1990 when Cold War stockpiles of equipment peaked, Britain's Home Office Emergency Planning Division had stockpiled 100,000 digital 0-300 cGy/hr PDRM82 fallout survey meters, 1,000,000 pen-sized quartz fibre electrometer self-reading dosimeters with ranges of up to 0-500 cGy, and 66,000 dosimeter chargers of four types. A further 2,000 portable military PDRM82s and 2,000 fixed-type PDRM82Fs - which used an external probe in an above ground housing above Royal Observer Corps monitoring post fallout shelters - have been sold off since the Royal Observer Corps was stood-down at the end of the Cold War. ] On one occasion I was in a contaminated area for 20 minutes where the dose rate as measured on a No. 2 Survey meter was 10 r/hr; I must say I was quite relieved to find at the end, that according to my personal dosemeter I had just clocked up slightly over 3 r! Such are the wonders of science! ...

'At later dates, a number of other members of Scientific Advisory Branch staff together with representatives from Training Division attended British atomic trials in Australia and gained much useful experience. We were always kept fully in touch with these trials and had ready access to all the results of weapons effects tests which were gradually incorporated into our doctrine and training. ...

'The period from 1954 onwards for a few years was one of intense activity in the Branch now removed to the Home Office Building in Whitehall. Dr Paris had retired and his place was taken by Dr R. H. Purcell from the Admiralty Research Laboratory.

'The first thermonuclear device had been exploded and the whole problem of heavy fallout was beginning to rear its ugly head. Sir John Hodsoll resigned from his post as Director General of Civil Defence and was appointed Civil Defence Adviser to NATO where he soon persuaded the Civil Defence Committee to set up a Scientific Working Party for the exchange of weapons' effects data between member countries, which became a useful source of information for many years. ... conferences were being held with the Americans under various auspices at which information on weapons' effects obtained from atomic trials was exchanged and digested. The staff were augmented to cope with this flood of activity.

'Early in 1957 at one of the NATO Civil Defence Scientific Working Party Meetings an address was given by Dr Willard F. Libby [discoverer of carbon-14 dating] of the US Atomic Energy Commission based on an advance proof copy of the Effects of Nuclear Weapons which he had before him. I asked him afterwards how long it would be before we received copies, and without hesitation he gave me his own. On my return the book was broken down into Chapters so that members of Scientific Advisory Branch could burn the midnight oil over them to the exclusion of everything else. for a few months at least, until the book was published, we held the lead over other Departments and Agencies in the United Kingdom and established an advanced knowledge in this field which we never really lost. ENW was of course followed by ENW Revised [1962, 1964, and 1977] so that we have much to thank our American colleagues for. ...

'In 1962 Dr Purcell left us to be replaced by Mr H. A. Sargeaunt. The exciting period of adventure and development of the previous 8 years was coming to a close and we were entering a period of consolidation.

'One of the most important functions of any scientific establishment is the maintenance of an adequate library of relevant records and reports. We never had any difficulty in getting stuff in; the problem was almost how to keep it out! We were on the circulation lists of most of the service establishments working directly or indirectly in fields of interest to use, and we had a large intake from most of the corresponding establishments in the United States and Canada.

'Even today, after some recent severe pruning and the destruction of all duplicates, we are still left with 125 feet of closely packed shelving with corresponding card indexes and summary sheets. Early in Dr Purcell's time we found that we were spending so much time reading reports that there was hardly any time left to do any work ... The supply of new material I believe is now just beginning to fall off which is just as well as the staff has likewise been decimated. Our American friends seem to have developed the custom of paying some of their research agencies according to the thickness of the reports produced and this is taxing our resources of manpower and shelf space to the limit.

'The Birth of 'Fission Fragments'

'In 1961 we started to issue this magazine Fission Fragments [edited by Mr Greenhalgh who joined the Scientific Advisers Branch in 1959] for Scientific Intelligence Officers. ... So far 18 editions have been published at approximately 6-month intervals. The early productions looked rather poverty stricken, but since 1968 we have been allowed to produce something rather more stylish which we hope has been found useful. There was always some danger of Scientific Advisers Branch becoming a closed shop, but Dr Purcell and Mr Sargeaunt were always keen for us to use every possible opportunity of passing information on.'

According to the originally 'Restricted' classified U.K. Home Office Scientific Adviser's Branch journal Fission Fragments, W. F. Greenhalgh, Editor, London, Issue Number 3, August 1962, page 2: '... Dr R. H. Purcell, who has been Chief Scientific Adviser to the Home Office for the past eight years, took up a new post as head of the Royal Naval Scientific Service at the beginning of April. Dr Purcell was only the second holder of the post of C.S.A., which was created in 1948 [from 1939-45 the Research and Experiments Department of the Ministry of Home Security was headed by its Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Reginald Stradling, and from 1945-8 the Scientific Adviser's Branch of the Ministry of Works was responsible for assessments of nuclear and high explosive weapons], and he took office at a critical time when Civil Defence philosophy was being re-oriented away from the nominal A-bomb and towards the H-bomb.' His immediate successor, Mr Sargeaunt, was more interested in broadening the branch activities into areas such as helping the police service, prison service and fire service with scientific problems, not just focussing on civil defence - the Civil Defence Corps was closed by the Labour Government in 1968.

There was a resurgence of interest in civil defence in the 1970s and early 1980s. Mr J. D. Culshaw replaced Mr Sargeaunt as Director of the Scientific Advisory Branch, and in 1972 when Mr J. K. S. Clayton, BA, became the Assistant Director of the Scientific Advisory Branch of the Home Office, London. Culshaw as Director of Scientific Advisery Branch wrote an interesting article on pages 9-15 of issue No. 19 (September 1972) of Fission Fragments, stating:

'Apart from those who don't want to know or can't be bothered, there seem to be three major schools of thought about the nature of a possible Third World War involving the use of strategic nuclear, bacteriological or chemical weapons ...

* 'The first group think of something like World War II but a little worse ['a period of tension will precede the outbreak of war so allowing time for the implementation of emergency civil defence measures'],

* '... the second of World War II but very much worse ['the idea that one's enemy will deliver a massive attack without warning at a time calculated to cause maximum damage ... although there may be many different ways of delivering an attack this represents the worst that the enemy can do and therefore is the most likely ... this concept makes passive civil defence look very unattractive compared to having a powerful second strike capability sufficient to inflict as much or more damage on the would be enemy so as to deter him'],

* 'and the third group think in terms of a catastrophe ['Armageddon - upset the balance of ecology in favour of predator insects etc.'] ...

'When the Armageddon concept is in favour, the suggestion that such [unobserved, indirect nuclear war guesswor like brick and concrete buildings burning in mass firestorms, nuclear winter, etc.] problems exist leads to "way out" research on these phenomena, and it is sufficient to mention a new catastrophic threat to stimulate research into the possibilities of it arising. The underlying appeal of this concept is that if one could show that the execution of all out nuclear, biological or chemical warfare would precipitate the end of the world, no one but a mad man would be prepared to initiate such a war.'

Clayton was soon appointed Director after Culshaw. J. K. S. Clayton was formerly with the Weapons Department of the RAE Farnborough which he joined in 1946, and oversaw the Protect and Survive publicity campaign of British civil defence, which was controversial because it presented facts about how to protect against nuclear weapons blast, heat and fallout without giving the nuclear test data which validated those facts. The booklet Protect and Survive was first prepared and printed in 1976, but was only used for training purposes until it was published and placed on sale in May 1980. J. K. S. Clayton wrote in his lengthy and brilliant introduction, The Challenge - Why Home Defence?, to the 1977 Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch Training Manual for Scientific Advisers:

'Since 1945 we have had nine wars - in Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam, between China and India, China and Russia, India and Pakistan and between the Arabs and Israelis on three occasions. We have had confrontations between East and West over Berlin, Formosa and Cuba. There have been civil wars or rebellions in no less than eleven countries and invasions or threatened invasions of another five. Whilst it is not suggested that all these incidents could have resulted in major wars, they do indicate the aptitude of mankind to resort to a forceful solution of its problems, sometimes with success. ...

'Let us consider what a nuclear attack on the United Kingdom might mean. It will be assumed that such an attack will only occur within the context of a general nuclear war which means that the UK is only one of a number of targets and probably by no means the most important. It follows that only part of the enemy's stock of weapons is destined for us. If the Warsaw Pact Nations constitute the enemy - and this is only one possible assumption - and if the enemy directs the bulk of his medium range and intermediate range weapons against targets in Western Europe behind the battle front, then Western Europe would receive about 1,000 megatons. Perhaps the UK could expect about one fifth of this, say 200 Mt. Let us assume rather arbitrarily that this would consist of 5 x 5 Mt, 40 x 2 Mt, 50 x 1 Mt and 100 x 1/2 Mt.

'An attack of this weight would cause heavy damage over about 10,000 square kilometres, moderate to heavy damage over about 50,000 square kilometres, and light damage over an additional 100,000 square kilometres. (Light damage means no more than minor damage to roofs and windows with practically no incidence of fire.) We can compare the heavy damage to that suffered by the centre of Coventry in 1940. This will amount to approximately 5% of the land area of the UK. Another 15% will suffer extensive but by no means total damage by blast and fire; another 40% will suffer superficial damage. The remaining 40% will be undamaged. In other words, four-fifths of the land area will suffer no more than minor physical damage. Of course, many of the undamaged areas would be affected by radioactive fallout but this inconvenience would diminish with the passage of time.

'Policy to meet the Threat

'The example just given of the likely severity of the attack - which is, of course, only one theoretical possibility - would still leave the greater part of the land area undamaged and more people are likely to survive than to perish. Government Home Defence policy must therefore be aimed to increase the prospects of the survivors in their stricken environment.'


Above: J. K. S. Clayton as Director of the Scientific Advisory Branch of the British Home Office (formerly with the Weapons Department of the RAE Farnborough which he joined in 1946), oversaw the Protect and Survive publicity campaign of British civil defence, including a booklet of that name and the films above on how it is easy to shield radiation from fallout while it rapidly decays.

I should also quote here a note on page 39 of the Scottish Home and Health Department Scientific Advisers' Operational Handbook, H.M. Stationery Office, Edinburgh, 1979:

'The density of initial ignitions in the main fire zone, for UK houses, is likely to be very roughly one house in thirty, with a fire-spread factor of about 2 [i.e., the total number of house fires is 2 times the initial number of house fires]. About one house in fifteen is expected to become burnt out. This situation would not constitute a "firestorm" or "mass fire", and the number of fire casualties should be small.'

(We will consider in great detail the very solid evidence for this claim which has provided by Stanbury, later in this blog post.)

Clayton's decisive civil defence actions were later strongly supported by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who echoed his pragmatic outlook on war in her address to the United Nations General Assembly on disarmament on 23 June 1982, when she pointed out that in the years since the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 10 million people were killed by 140 non-nuclear conflicts, so:

‘The fundamental risk to peace is not the existence of weapons of particular types. It is the disposition on the part of some states to impose change on others by resorting to force against other nations ... Aggressors do not start wars because an adversary has built up his own strength. They start wars because they believe they can gain more by going to war than by remaining at peace.’

On 29 October 1982, Thatcher stated of the Berlin Wall:

‘You may chain a man, but you cannot chain his mind. You may enslave him, but you will not conquer his spirit. In every decade since the war the Soviet leaders have been reminded that their pitiless ideology only survives because it is maintained by force. But the day comes when the anger and frustration of the people is so great that force cannot contain it. Then the edifice cracks: the mortar crumbles ... one day, liberty will dawn on the other side of the wall.’

On 22 November 1990, she was able to declare: ‘Today, we have a Europe ... where the threat to our security from the overwhelming conventional forces of the Warsaw Pact has been removed; where the Berlin Wall has been torn down and the Cold War is at an end. These immense changes did not come about by chance. They have been achieved by strength and resolution in defence, and by a refusal ever to be intimidated.’



Above: The two posters on the left and the leaflet on the right were printed by the British Government in January 1964 and stockpiled in case of a repetition of the Cuban missiles crisis or similar escalation of the nuclear arms race. The idea was to evacuate all children under 15 with their mothers, children between 15-18 either alone or accompanied by a parent, expectant mothers, and all invalids to safe areas well away from potential targets like major cities, before war broke out. These people would have been billeted (by defence regulations laws, pertaining to a national state of emergency) on the rural population, which would be paid an allowance for the accommodation provided. (This evacuation plan was abandoned after the civil defence corps was abolished in 1968.)

In Britain, after being stood down in 1945, civil defence was restarted from 1948-68 with the voluntary Civil Defence Corps including rescue, warden, ambulance, and welfare sections. There were also a separate Auxiliary Fire Service (which was equipped with 1,000 Green Goddess fire engines for use in nuclear war or even by military personnel during firemen's strikes), the Royal Observer Corps (which existed from 1925-95, operating during World War II to identify enemy aircraft and generate air raid warnings - since radar could not identify friend or foe - and during the Cold War it was ready to detect and record information on nuclear explosions and fallout, which is now fully automated by computerised detectors called AWDREY, Atomic Weapons Detection, Recognition, and Estimation of Yield, which detects and analyses the long-range EMP and light flash signatures from a nuclear explosion), and National Hospital Service Reserve.

Ignoring these other volunteer run organizations organized by the Government, and just focussing on the numbers of recruits in the basic Civil Defence Corps, statistics are available which show that the number of members increased from 24,649 by May 1950 (according to the The Times 4 May 1950, p 8) to 205,392 by August 1952 (The Times 15 August 1952, p 3), and peaked at 336,265 by May 1956 (The Times, 2 May 1956, p 6). Membership remained over 300,000 at the time of the Cuban missiles crisis in October 1962, but dropped below 300,000 in 1963, was only 211,570 in November 1964 (The Times, 26 November 1964, p 8), and reached 122,000 by December 1966 (The Times, 15 December 1966, p 6). The Civil Defence Corps was closed in 1968.

The first edition (1956) of Nuclear Weapons is based on scientific facts from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and scientific facts from nuclear tests. The later editions are full of speculations and assertions followed by vague statements that the assertions have no real validity, such as speculation on the radiation recovery rate being 10 roentgens/day to the bone marrow irrespective of the dose rate or time after exposure. Anyone can see clearly that in fact recovery will be slower at higher dose rates than at lower dose rates, because of increasing damage to the biological repair mechanisms, and that the recovery rate will also not be a constant but vary with time and will decrease to a minimum when the white blood cell count is most depressed, which occurs about 30 days after exposure for humans. Another speculation consists of various political doctrines about what types and sizes of nuclear detonation a hypothetical enemy will use in a hypothetical war, and other completely speculative rubbish. For example, if to begin with you speculate that any nuclear war will involve enough nuclear weapons of high enough yield to totally wipe out everything, then you can forget the science altogether and get on with the more important business of brainwashing everyone that civil defence is a joke and surrender is worth while.

Many of the vital scientific facts based on observations of nuclear explosions in wars and in weapon trials were deleted from later editions of Nuclear Weapons and the American Effects of Atomic Weapons to make way for speculative theorising and political doctrines about procedures. I'll give examples below. (I've already given examples for The Effects of Nuclear Weapons in a previous post on this blog; 1950 fallout maps of the Baker underwater test and Trinity air burst upwind fallout data were removed and not replaced in later editions, etc.)
Nuclear Weapons is clear and concise with just four well-organised informative chapters:


  • Features of Nuclear Explosions (Types of Burst: air bursts, surface bursts, underwater bursts, etc.)

  • The Fire Risk (Thermal radiation; Effects on people; Primary fires; Secondary fires; Firestorms)

  • Nuclear Radiation Hazards (Types of radiation; Initial nuclear radiation; Neutron induced activity; Fallout; Decay rates of fallout; Distance and shielding to reduce dose, Decontamination of clothing, vehicles, streets, etc.)

  • Blast (Height of burst in relation to blast damage; Cratering and ground shock; casualties)


Pages 2-4: TYPES OF BURST


Air burst


'When the explosion takes place in the air, light and heat and the nuclear radiations are radiated outwards through the air in all directions and their effects at a distance are felt almost instantaneously [although the duration of the pulse is long and it takes 1 second for the final peak in thermal power to be reached by a 1 megaton low altitude burst] because they travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second). The blast takes the form of a pressure wave in air which travels at [a minimum of] the speed of sound 1,100 ft. (one-fifth of a mile) per second [the speed is much higher initially as the shock wave heats the air isothermally and this increases the initial speed way beyond sound speed, but it slows down and degenerates into a sound wave quickly]; this is accompanied by a powerful blast wind of short duration. Close to the explosion the pressure produced ... drops rapidly as the blast wave moves outwards. It is this pressure and the accompanying wind that are responsible for most of the damage caused to structures. ...


'When it has reached its full size the fireball is extremely light, only a tiny fraction of the density of the air surrounding it [hence initial gamma radiation is less shielded by the air causing a second gamma radiation pulse when the fireball density falls during expansion; this is 'hydrodynamic anhancement']; it therefore shoots upward very rapidly [like a hot air balloon at immense temperature], quickly losing its brilliance as it cools by [radiation of energy, by] expansion, and by turbulent mixing with the surrounding air. ... The immense suction created as the fireball rises, draws up water droplets and dust from the surrounding atmosphere into the base of the ascending mass where they mix with the products of the explosion. ...


Ground surface burst


'If the explosion takes place close to the ground about a third of the total heat produced may be lost by absorption into the ground itself. [Photo of fireball in the 1953 Australian-British Totem-1 nuclear test just 30 metres above ground level.] If, in addition, the explosion takes place in a built-up area there is a considerable reduction in heat effects because of the shielding provided by buildings which have not yet been reached by blast.


'Some of the immediate nuclear radiation is also absorbed into the ground and again the shielding of buildings on the remainder is considerable.


'The blast wave through the air is reduced in power because some of the energy is used up in producing a crater and in sending a shock wave through the ground itself. The reinforcing effect of the reflection (Mach) wave which is a feature of the air burst is reduced. ...


'The result is that the cloud contains much more solid matter than with an air burst and this increases the fall-out of radioactive material immediately downwind, the heavier particles falling out first and the lighter particles later, producing a residual radiation hazard to people on the ground. The seriousness of the hazard depends on the amount of fall-out deposited in a given area and this is more dependent on the closeness of the burst to the ground than on the power of the weapon.


An underground burst (nuclear 'earth penetrator' against hardened targets)


'In this case a large part of the heat radiation and the immediate nuclear radiation is absorbed in the crater [photos of Nevada 1951 shallow underground nuclear test Uncle and Nevada 1955 deeper underground nuclear test Ess shown] produced by the explosion, and the surrounding buildings provide considerable shielding against the remainder.


'Much of the blast energy goes into the production of a shock wave in the earth, a feature which is absent from the air burst and less important when the burst is on or near the ground. This shock will cause damage to underground structures and services as well as to buildings above ground, but the power of the blast wave in the air above is reduced.


'A greater proportion of the radioactivity is trapped in the debris of the crater, mingling with the material which spills out around the crater and immediately downwind. This gives rise to a serious but more localised residual radiation hazard; the radioactive fall-out beyond is less widely distributed.


An underwater burst (terrorist attack by trawler, cargo ship or submarine)


'The United States authorities caried out a test of this kind at Bikini in 1946 from which most of he information about such explosions has been obtained [photos of American 1946 Crossroads-Baker test and also Australian-British 1952 Hurricane nuclear underwater test at Monte Bello are shown]. The explosion took place well below the surface of a lagoon 200 ft. deep.


'The effects of light and heat, and immediate nuclear radiation were almost entirely absent since the fireball was still below the surface at its most brilliant stage. As the fireball reached the surface, however, water was thrown up with great force in a gigantic hollow cylinder of spray. Gases from the fireball were vented through this column, forming the typical mushroom shaped cloud at the top. As the water from the column fell back to the surface, a rapidly moving surge of mist, known as the base surge, travelled outwards. This was highly radioactive mist since much of the radioactive material of the explosion had been trapped in it.


'The explosion was accompanied by a strong shock wave through the water. The remaining pressure energy appeared as a blast wave through the air, but the range of its effectiveness was about 40 per cent. less than that from a surface burst.


'The explosion also produced big surface waves which would have added to the damage to harbour works and installations if the explosion had taken place in a harbour with a similar depth of water.'


Pages 5-9: THE FIRE RISK


Thermal radiation


'For convenience both the visible radiation and the radiation in the infra-red part of the spectrum (the "light and heat" ...) will be referred to as thermal radiation, since they both heat surfaces into which they are absorbed.


'With the nominal [20 kt] bomb the pulse of thermal radiation from the fireball lasts for only about 1.5 seconds though most of the energy is radiated in about half a second; because it is so transient, this pulse has been called the "heat flash". With a 10 megaton bomb the thermal radiation lasts much longer and can hardly be described as a "flash"; it may persist for 20 seconds or more though most of its energy will be radiated in the first 10 seconds.


'The heat rays from the fireball are similar to those from the sun. They travel in straight lines with the speed of light and heat up surfaces into which they are absorbed, although the degree of absorption depends upon the colour of the surface because a large proportion of the radiation is in the visible range. Just as some surfaces appear dark because they reflect little of the heat of the sun's light into the eyes, so a dark surface reflects little of the heat radiated from the explosion, most of it being absorbed to produce a rise in temperature. On the other hand, just as some substances appear white because they reflect most of the sun's rays to the eye, so a white substance reflects mos of the heat radiation and consequently absorbs little into its surface. Light coloured objects are less likely, therefore, to catch fire than dark coloured ones.


'In a clear atmosphere the intensity of the thermal radiation falls off according to the inverse-square law. Thus when the distance from the source is doubled, the intensity is reduced to a quarter. In a misty atmosphere some of this radiation may be scatered out of the direct beam, but any reduction from this cause is not as great as was at one time supposed. On the other hand, whatever may be the effect of scattering, some reduction in distance results from the fact that part of the energy of the thermal rays - especially in the infra red [infrared is strongly absorbed by both water vapour and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere] - is actually absorbed in heating the atmosphere.


Effects on people


'People directly exposed to the heat flash from an air burst nominal [20 kt] bomb within 2.5 miles of ground zero would receive burns on exposed skin; even at a distance of 5 miles it would feel as though an oven door had suddenly been opened nearby. The nearer to ground zero the greater is the danger to life, and those directly exposed within 0.5 mile of ground zero [unshielded by white paper or anything opaque] would undoubtedly be killed because of serious burns, if not from other causes. Severe third degree burns (charring) would result up to about a mile, second degree burns (blistering) up to about 1.5 to 2 miles, and first degree burns (reddening) up to about 2.5 miles.


'It is relatively easy to gain protection, since [because atmospheric scattering of thermal radiation has been found to be trivial compared to absorption] one has only to be out of the direct path of the rays from the fireball. Complete protection from heat-burn could be achieved if everyone took cover [just get out of the fireball line-of-sight from windows and skylights]...


'The clothing of exposed people, though it may itself catch fire, affords some degree of protection to the skin underneath at ranges greater than 0.5 mile, paricularly if the clothing is not in close contact with the body, and provided that the burning clothing can quickly be removed or the flames extinguished. The risk of ignition is reduced if the outer garments ... are of light rather than of a dark colour. One of the reasons for the heavy burn casualties in Japan [Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear attacks, 6 and 9 August 1945] was the fact that most people were only wearing thin cotton garments [another reason is that people were out of doors at the times - morning commuting hour for Hiroshima and lunch time for Nagasaki - and most who suffered the worst facial burns had actually stood watched the B-29 bombers drop the nuclear bombs, totally unaware of any danger at their distance, let alone of the fact they could have avoided urns by turning away or 'duck and cover'].


'The importance of covering as much of the skin as possible is illustrated by the fact that the risk of death from burns depends on the proportion of the area of the body burnt. ... Even with 50 per cent. of the body area burnt the chance of recovery with young people is 50 per cent.


Primary fires


'Many strong buildings near the centre [in Hiroshima and Nagasaki] which survived the blast were gutted by fires started earlier by the heat flash which had entered through windows and open doors and ignited combustible contents [paper screens, bamboo furniture, etc.]. Fires started in this way are usually referred to as "primary fires".


Secondary fires


'There is also a risk of fires resulting from damage caused by the blast, e.g. the collapse of buildings on to domestic fires [the overturning of breakfast time and lunchtime charcoal cooking braziers in paper screen and bamboo furniture filled Japanese wooden houses caused the firestorms], the breaking of gas pipes and short-circuiting of electrical wiring. These fires are called "secondary fires". The risk can be reduced by such simple precautions as shutting up stoves, covering open fires with sand or earth, and by turning off gas and electricity at the main [modern circuit breaker switch boxes which replace old fuse boxes reduce the electrical fire risks].


'Research into the causes of fire in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, combined with a study of the secondary fire risk from the flying bomb [V1 and V2] damage in this country during the last [1939-45] war has shown that with nuclear attack the secondary risk is likely to be small compared with the primary risk ofdirect ignition by thermal radiation.


Fire precautions


'Although the fire risk even from a nominal [20 kt] bomb is always serious, targets in this country, where the great majority of buildings are of brick, stone or concrete, are less vulnerable to fire than were those Japan, where most of the buildings were of wood. ... since the thermal radiation has no great penetrating power, any opaque screen, especially a white one, will keep it out ...


'Another obvious fire precaution is the removal of all readily combustible material from the direct path of any heat radiation that could possibly enter windows or other openings.


'Both these precautions apply only to those windows and other openings that have a direct view of some part of the sky. In a built-up area they would apply more particularly to the windows of upper floors; even for an air burst, in a closely built-up area one building shields another to a considerable extent.


The probable fire situation in a British city


'... most Japanese houses are constructed of wood and once they were set on fire they continued to burn even when knocked over. In this country only about 10 per cent. of all the material in the average house is combustible, and under conditions of completecollapse, where air would be almost entirely excluded, it is doubtful whether a fire could continue on any vigorous scale. The main fire zone will be around this central area of heavy destruction, in the region where buildings are damaged but standing sufficiently to allow free burning ... The range of ignition is affected to some extent by the state of the atmosphere and on a dull misty day will be reduced ...


The possibilities of a fire storm


'The chief feature of a fire storm is the generation of high winds which are drawn into the centre of the fire area to feed the rising column of hot air and flames. These in-rushing winds prevent the spread of fire outwards, but ensure the almost complete destruction by fire of everything within the fire area. This inevitably increases the number of casualties, since it becomes impossible for people to escape by their own efforts because they succumb to the effects of suffocation and heat stroke.


'The Hiroshima bomb (but not the Nagasaki one) caused a fire storm. A fire storm occurred in [the medieval multistorey wooden building region of] Hamburg and possibly also in several other German cities as a result of accurate and very dense attacks with incendiary and high explosive bombs by the R.A.F. ... it has been fairly well established that during these particular raids on Germany half the buildings in the target area were set on fire in about half an hour. ...


'Whether a fire storm develops depends also on the nature of the target; where there are tall buildings closely packed together with plenty of combustible material to burn, the risk is much greater than in areas less densely built up.


'It seems unlikely from the evidence available that an initial density of fires equivalent to one in every other building would be started by a nuclear explosion over a British city. Studies have shown that a much smaller proportion of buildings than this would be exposed to thermal radiation and even then it is not certain that continuing fires would develop. Curtains may catch fire, but it does not necessarly follow that they will set light to the room; in the last war it was found tha only one incendiary bomb out of every six that hit buildings started a continuing fire.


'Moreover after a nuclear explosion the large and almost completely flattened central area would counteract the development of a fire storm, since one essential requirement seems to be a continuous mass of fire over a large area. ... For a 10 megaton bomb, with its longer lasting thermal radiation, it takes about 20 calories per square centimetre to start fires [contrasted to 5 calories per square centimetres for a 20 kt low air burst] because so much of the heat (spread out over the longer emission) is wasted by conduction into the interior of the combustible material and by convection and re-radiation whilst the temperature of the surface is being raised to the ignition point. ...


'For a ground burst bomb, however, several other factors contribute to a further reduction in the fire range. Apart from an actual loss of heat by absorption into the ground and from the pronounced shielding of buildings [due to the much lower elevation of the fireball in the sky at the time of peak radiating power], the debris from the crater [some of which which gets melted to form glassy, spherical fallout particles like tiny marbles] tends to reduce the radiating temperature of the fireball and a greater proportion of the energy is consequently radiated in the infra red region of the spectrum - this proportion being more easily absorbed by the atmosphere [both carbon dioxide and water vapour in the air absorb the infrared]. ...


'An important point in relation to personal protection against the effects of hydrogen bomb explosions is that because the thermal radiation lasts so long there is more time for people who may be caught in the open, and who may be well beyond the range of serious danger from blast, to rush to cover and so escape some part of the exposure. For example, people in the open might receive second degree burns (blistering) on exposed skin at a range of 16 miles from a 10 megaton ground burst bomb. If, however, they could take cover in a few seconds they would escape this damage. Moreoer, at this range the blast wave would not arrive for another minute and a haf so that any effects due to the blast in the open (e.g. flying glass, etc.) could be completely avoided.


Pages 10-44: NUCLEAR RADIATION HAZARDS


General


'Whatever the size or nature of a nuclear explosion the material in the fireball is highly radioactive, emitting radiations which are referred to as either nuclear or ionising radiations. They are called nuclear because thet arise from disturbances taking place in the central nuclei of the atoms, and ionising because they possess the property of producing electrically charged atoms or molecules called ions in the materials through which they pass.


'Nuclear radiations consist of alpha rays, beta rays, gamma rays, and neutrons.


Alpha rays


'The alpha particle is now known to be identical with the nucleus of the helium atom, i.e. a helium atom which has been stripped of its two planetary electrons, leaving it positively charged. Alpha particles pass through only a few inches of air before losing all their energy by collisions with atoms. Those produced at the time of the explosion are all absorbed in the fireball itself; from the point of view of the immediate dager they can be disregarded. Any unfissioned uranium or plutonium that is subsequently deposited on the ground would radiate alpha particles, but since they cannot penetrate the skin they become a hazard only if the materials emitting them are taken into the body.


Beta rays


'These are streams of particles, called beta particles, which are identical in almost every respect with electrons. The electron is 1/1800 of the weight of a hydrogen atom and 1/7200 of the weight of an alpha particle. Because of its small mass the beta particle can travel several yards in air before its energy is used up in collisions producing ionisation. This range is so small that from the point of view of the immediate danger be disregarded; their contribution to the hazard from deposited radioactivity is discussed [later].


Gamma rays


'These contribute the chief danger of all nuclear radiations, and so are discussed in detail [later].


Neutrons


'These are uncharged particles, each equal in weight to a hydrogen atom, but very penetrating, since - being uncharged - they can pass close to the electrically charged nuclei of the atoms of the material through which they travel without being defected and thereby losing energy. They are discussed further [later].


The immediate danger from nuclear radiation


'There is a continuing emission of gamma rays as the fireball expands and cools, but in rapidly decreasing intensity. It is not until the cloud moves into the upper air [the radiation shielding of the full atmosphere is equivalent vertically to a water shield 10 metres thick] that the immediate danger can be said to be over. Whatever the power of the bomb, this time may be taken to be about a minute.


'The explosion products continue to emit nuclear radiations for a long time, and wherever they are subsequently deposited as fall-out the radiation hazard from them persists.


'Gamma rays ... are similar in their general nature to X-rays although they are usually shorter in wavelength and more penetrating. They travel at the speed of light and are scattered by atoms of oxygen and nitrogen in the air. At each encounter [a Compton collision between a gamma ray and an orbital electron of an air molecule, leading to the ejection of the electron and the re-emission of the gamma ray in a slightly different direction; the Compton effect mathematics treats the gamma ray as a particle not as a wave, so it interacts with the electron simply like one billiard ball striking another] the direction of the rays is changed, charged ions are produced, and some of the energy is lost [as the kinetic energy of the electron].


'Although at any one place most of the radiation comes in the direct beam from the fireball, an appreciable proportion arrives from every other part of the sky, just as in strong sunlight a room which faces north [away from the sun, which is confined to the southern hemisphere of the observer] still receives light from the visible sky, and by reflection from other objects. The mechanism of scattering is somewhat different in the two cases, but the results are similar. ...


'The amount of gamma radiation absorbed in agiven time is usually referred to as the "dose" of radiation ... While gamma rays of themselves have no effect on the shielding materials through which they pass and do not make them radioactive, they do have a harmful effect on the human body or any living tissue because of the property of ionization already referred to. Ionisation produces chemical changes which are harmful to the body cells and eventually to the organs which are made up of these cells. ... Some of the effects do not appear for some time. Delays are due to the fact that different body cells have diferent life spans which vary from several days to several weeks, and although some of the cells are affected in such a way that they can no longer reproduce themselves, they go on living for some time. ... In buildings the dose inside would only be a small percentage of that in the open ...


'Neutrons ... are ... gradually slowed down and lose their energy as a result of continual collisions with light atoms of the same size in their path, just as for example one billiard ball will lose a lot of its energy in striking another of the same size, but will bounce almost unaffected off a much larger object. The nuclei of atoms of hyrogen, since they are the same weight as neutrons, are particularly effective in this way ...


'Neutrons are occasionally captured by nuclei of some of the atoms with which they collide, making them unstable and radioactive. This "induced radioactivity", as it is called, may be quite strong in the area immediately around ground zero, but the range of neutrons in air from a nominal [20 kt] bomb explosion is not much greater than about half a mile, and beyond this distance there will be little radioactivity from this cause. Induced radioactivity takes the form of the emission of gamma and beta rays similar to those from the explosion products.


Effect of neutrons on living organisms


'Neutrons do not cause ionization directly, but because they may collide with the nuclei of light atoms in the body they can produce ionisation indirectly and are therefore harmful.


The delayed danger from residual nuclear radiation


Fall-out and induced radioactivity


'Some of the products of the explosion (which are still radioactive) settle on the ground at the point of burst; some may spill over into the immediate area around and downwind; and some are carried into the upper air to be deposited eventually perhaps much further from ground zero, depending on the winds prevailing up to the height to which the products first ascend. Any such settling, spill over, or deposition of these radioactive products of the explosion (which may be mingled with the dust, pulverised debris and earth etc., sucked up with the ascending fireball is termed fall-out.


'If the explosion takes place close to the ground there is also likely to be a good deal of neutron-induced activity because of the very close contact between the neutrons produced in the explosion and materials on the ground. This induced radioactivity, which is limited to the area of the crater, tends to decay very rapidly and, except immediately after the explosion, is unimportant compared with the radioactivity from fall-out. ...


'Heavy clothing and thick boots and socks provide fairly complete protection against beta rays [even a single thickness of thin cotton summer clothing prevented beta burns to the Marshallese Islanders contaminated by fallout from a 15 megaton bomb test near Rongelap Atoll on 1 March 1954]. The skin itself acts as a barrier to most beta rays, but beta particles on the skin produce - in extreme cases - a burning effect similar to sunburn [but with the burn onset delayed for a long period of about 14-18 days after exposure, not just 5-8 hours as is the case for sunburn]. If, however, the gamma ray exposure is controlled within permissible limits, the beta hazard should not be serious. Nevertheless it would be a wise precaution to wear gloves when handling debris which may have been contaminated, so as to keep beta particles from direct contact with the skin, and it would be advisable to wash all exposed skin as soon as possible after leaving a contaminated area.


'Because the range of gamma rays in air is much greater than that of beta rays, an appreciable part of the dose received at any one spot is made up of gamma rays coming from quite long distances; [on rough ground] half of it comes in fact from within, and the other half from beyond, a distance of about 25 feet [the radius is greater on smooth ground because there is then less shielding by irregularities in the ground surface of direct gamma rays travelling from very large distances almost parallel to the ground, i.e., along very small angles of elevation].


Radioactive decay


'Radioactivity cannot be destroyed or interfered with chemically, and its decay can neither be accelerated nor slowed down. The average decay rate of all the various products of a nuclear explosion is such that as the time [measured from the time of the detonation] is doubled, its activity is somewhat more than halved. More precisely, the activity is reduced by a factor of 10 when the time [after detonation] is multiplied by a factor of 7. ... This assumes of course that the radioactive material stays where it is originally deposited. If some of it is buried e.g. by the continual turning over of debris, or is physically removed by rain or wind or by active measures of decontamination such as hosing down paved areas, then the dose rates will be much less ...


Radioactive poisoning


'This term is used to describe the results that may follow the introduction of radioactive materials into the body. Such materials may be taken into the body in various ways, for example:



  • by breathing in contaminated dust;

  • by eating contaminated food, or drinking contaminated [milk or] water;

  • by taking in contaminated dust into the blood stream through wounds or abrasions.

'For civil defence personnel working in contaminated areas, the chance of this happening to such an extent that a dangerous dose of any one of the radioactive explosion products can be accumulated in the body in any reasonable time is not very high [the fallout particles in local fallout where the activity concentration is significant, are simply too large to be inhaled, being similar to sand particles]. For those which are absorbed to any extent in the various organs of the body, there are recognised permissible levels just as there are for external gamma radiation.


'It has been found that this internal risk is small compared with the external risk due to the gamma radiation from the surrounding contaminated area which is producing the dust, and if exposure to the external gamma radiation is controlled within permissible limits, the risk of radioactive poisoning alone is comparatively small. It is, however, important to avoid taking radioactive material into the body and various precautions to deal with this matter are given later.


'The hazard may be much more serious in the case of fall-out from a ground burst hydrogen bomb which might cover a large area of country not affected by blast. In this case radioactive material would almost certainly be deposited on crops, grazing land, and open reservoirs, and might eventually find its way into the body without any corresponding external radiation hazard to act as a control. ...


The residual radiation hazard from a nominal [20 kt] bomb


'The nominal [20 kt] bomb produces its maximum area of blast damage if it is exploded in the air, the optimum height depending on various factors such as the nature of the target, type of buildings etc. For most British cities about 1,000 ft. is usually considered the optimum height. For heights of burst 1,000 ft. and above, radioactive ground contamination is only serious in a small area round ground zero which is within the area of general destruction by blast. ...


Contamination in the devastated area


'With a 10 megaton ground burst bomb the crater itself might be a mile in diameter [this is the crater size for saturated porous coral produced in the 10.4 megaton Mike test which erased Elugelab Island of Eniwetok Atoll on 1 November 1952; craters in silicate soil or rock are much smaller and don't obey the same scaling laws as saturated porous coral which is simply pulverised to sand by the shock wave]. The crater and the surrounding debris would be made strongly radioactive by neutron bombardment and by intimate admixture with the products of the explosion in the fireball. Work in the open in the central area of devastation and in the immediate area downwind would be quite impossible for some days [under peacetime radiation exposure constraints, it was 27 days before people could safely visit the crater lip of the 100 kt Sedan cratering test at Nevada in July 1962], so that in these areas rescue and fire fighting would have to be abandoned or severely restricted. From the upwind side, approach to the devastated area would have to be under strict radiological control.


'It is likely that two main working areas would have to be established; an outer area where the surveyed activity did not exceed a certain figure and where a man could work on a shift basis for several days; and an inner area where special tasks might have to be undertaken but where it might be necessary to let a man take the whole of his permissible dose in one shift. Both areas would contract towards ground zero as time went on because of the decay of radioactivity, so that fresh operational areas would continuously be opened up.


Contamination in the undamaged area


'American tests have shown that the fall-out from a hydrogen bomb burst on the ground can be very extensive. Most of the heavy material sucked up by the rising fireball spills out of the mushroom stem fairly close to the crater. Lighter material is carried higher and deposited further downwind, perhaps clear of the actual devastated area. Finer material still, is swept up into the upper atmosphere and carried along by the prevailing winds for great distances before falling out over areas quite unaffected by blast and fire.


'This very fine material may have been sucked into the rising fireball from the ground or from the atmosphere, or may have been formed by recondensation of matter which was actually vapourised in the fireball. As the cloud drifts downwind its radioactivity decays and by the time the finest particles reach the ground they are widely dispersed and present a negligible hazard.


'The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, in a report issued on 15th February, 1955, stated that the "thermonuclear device" (estimated at equivalent to 14 megatons of T.N.T.) exploded at ground level on an island in the Pacific [Bravo was exploded on an artificial island consisting of a pile of coral sand, dredged up from the Bikini lagoon and deposited on to a remote part of the coral reef] on 1st March, 1954, contaminated a cigar-shaped area ... At a range of 190 miles it was estimated that the dose received over 36 hours in the open would have been about 300r (5 to 10 per cent. lethal dose), at 160 miles the 36 hour dose would have been 500r (50 per cent. lethal dose) and at 140 miles it would have been lethal to everyone expose in the open for 36 hours [800r shown on illustration]. People, however, do not usually spend 36 consecutive hours in the open, and it is now necessary to consider to what extent the lives and health of the people in the whole of the contaminated area could be saved by taking the appropriate protective measures.


Protection against fall-out


'Because the risk is mainly from the gamma rays from the contamination on the ground and roofs of buildings, a considerable degree of protection can be obtained by remaining under cover. There are two factors involved in this protection:



  • the distance between the person and the nearest contamination, and

  • the shielding effect of the material between him and the contamination.

Distance


It was pointed out that half the total effect from a [rough but] uniformly contaminated area comes from the fallout within a distance of 25 ft. - actually one third comes from that within a range of 12.5 ft. Thus in a house whose walls are - on the average - about 12.5 ft. from the centre, one is automatically protected from almost one third of the outside dose because the contamination which would have fallen on this area is now up on the roof. In a bungalow this would not be much of an advantage because of the low roof, but in a building with two or more storeys the contribution from the contamination on the roof would be comparatively small.


Shielding


'The intensity of the radiation coming from outside the house, i.e. from beyond 12.5 ft., is reduced by the walls to an extent depending on their thickness. Windows of course provide no protection against gamma rays, so that it would be necessary to block them up with - for example - sandbags to the equivalent thickness of the walls.


Practical protection


'Large buildings with a number of storeys, especially if they are of heavy construction, provide much better protection than small single-storey structures. Houses in terraces likewise provide much better protection than isolated houses because of the shielding effect of neighbouring houses. ... In choosing a refuge room in a house one would select a room with a minimum of outside walls and make every effort to improve the protection of such outside walls as there were. In particular the windows would have to be blocked up, e.g. with sandbags. Where possible, boxes of earth could be placed round an outside wall to provide additional protection, and heavy furniture (pianos, bookcases etc.) along the inside of the wall would also help. A cellar would be ideal. ...


'Streets and other public places: In addition to the natural decay of radioactivity and the physical removal of contamination by rain, hosing down can make an effective contribution to the decontamination of such places. If carried out with powerful jets, as for example from fire pumps, the contamination can be reduced by factors of between 5 and 10 according to circumstances. If the water thus used can be removed by the ordinary drainage system it is not likely to constitute a hazard elsewhere.


'Food: Gamma rays have no harmful effects upon foodstuffs and the only significant hazard is the deposition of contaminated dist which may eventually find its way into the human system. In the area beyond that of general destruction, where buildings are still standing though damaged, stocks of food, especially those in containers or under cover, are unlikely to be affected. Deposition of contamination on growing crops will, however, be a hazard [although nearly all of it can be removed by washing crops, milling wheat and discarding husks, or by simply discarding the outer leaves of leafy crops]. Only food within the area of complete destruction could be affected by neutron irradiation and become radioactive.


'Water: Broadly the same principles apply as with food. Gamma rays have no effect upon water, but certainly in the case of hydrogen bomb explosions the deposition of contaminated dust on catchment areas and open reservoirs would constitute a serious hazard. A special version of the contamination meter has been designed for testing water, and water undertakings are well aware of the problems which face them from this type of hazard should it arise. It is worth noting that an ordinary domestic water softener in good condition completely removes the dangerous elements (strontium and barium) from contaminated water [since fallout from surface bursts on silicate based soil is insoluble glassy spheroids, it doesn't dissolve in water and the soluble activity hazards are trivial unless the detonation occurs on coral, limestone or chalk].


Pages 45-52: BLAST


Nature of nuclear blast


'As explained in Chapter I, the expansion of the hot gases in the fireball starts a pressure wave which travels outwards through the surrounding air ... the rear part of the wave, as it moves outwards, moves through a region which has already been compressed and heated by the leading part of the wave. This enables it to move more quickly and [merge with] the leading part of the wave ... The "wave front" therefore grows progressively steeper and in a short distance becomes almost abrupt ... The wave front continues to move outwards unchanged in form, but with gradually decreasing intensity, behaving like a moving wall of highly compressed air. This is often referred to as the "shock front".


'The abrupt rise in pressure at the wave front is followed by gradually decreasing pressure, and then by a suction phase of intensity less than the pressure phase but lasting for a longer time. Associated with the rise of pressure is an intense wind which persists with diminishing velocity throughout the pressure phase, blowing in the direction in which the blast wave is travelling. The wind reverses its direction at the start of the suction phase, blowing with a lower velocity in the opposite direction, but for a longer time. The effect of these winds in the case of blast waves of long duration is to produce forces on structures for a relatively long time after the shock front itself has struct them and passed on.


'The duration of any particular feature of a blast wave varies approximately with the cube root of the power [power in common sense of energy release, not power in the physics definition of the rate of energy release] of the explosion. ... The familiar 500 lb. [230 kg] H.E. [high explosive] bomb of the last war contained about 1/15th of a ton of T.N.T. A nominal [20 kt] atomic bomb contains the equivalent explosive energy of 20,000 tons of T.N.T. The ratio of equivalent weights is therefore 300,000 to 1, and the ratio of the cube roots of these weights is about 70 to 1. The duration of the blast pressure from a 500 lb. bomb is about 1/100th second, so with a nominal atomic bomb it should be 0.7 seconds (actually the duration of the wave increases also with its distance from the source and at distances of 2 miles is about 1 second). Applying the same scaling law, the blast pressure from a [10 megaton] 500 x nominal bomb will last 5 seconds or more.


'These large differences in duration of the positive pressure phase for different sizes of explosion result in the mechanism of damage from an atomic or hydrogen bomb being quite different from that for an H.E. bomb. ... The ability of a suddenly applied blow to cause damage is determined both by the pressure and by its duration. In fact, it is the product of these two (known as the "impulse") which measures the damaging ability of the blast from an H.E. bomb.


'This point can easily be demonstrated on an ordinary door. If the door is unlatched it can be pushed open by a force of only a few ounces applied somewhat slowly by one's little finger. However, if the unlatched door is struck quite a hard blow with the fist it will not move very far, even though the instantaneous force between the fist and the door (corresponding to the blast pressure) may have been many pounds. If the door is hit hard enough it is quite likely to be torn off its hinges, and this of course is just what H.E. blast does. It gives things a hard sharp blow rather than a gentle push, and many of the so-called freaks of blast in the last war can quite easily be explained once this point is fully appreciated. ... the suction in the negative phase is only about one third of the pressure in the positive phase, but the duration is about twice as long. Thus the impulses in the two phases are of roughly the same order and their potential abilities to cause damage are also approximately equal. However, since the suction phase occurs last, there is a tendency for its effects to be noticed more - for example the wall of a building may have been badly cracked in the pressure phase and then collapse outwards in the suction phase, and it is the latter effect which is of course noticed.


'With nuclear weapons, sheer blast pressure rather than impulse tends to be the criterion of damage. If the effective blast pressure exceeds the static strength of the structure, failure must be expected. If it is less, no failure can occur however long the duration of the blast. In fact nuclear bomb blast is more like a strong wind than the sudden blow of H.E. blast, and many of the failures observed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and in subsequent tests resemble closely the kind of damage that might be done to buildings by a hurricane.


'The scarcity of suction damage from the nominal [20 kt] bombs in Japan was due to high blast pressures produced and to the fact that these were three or four times as great as the blast suction. With all such large explosions, if a building does not fail from blast pressure it is unlikely to fail under the lower stresses in the suction phase.


Scaling laws


'As already seen, the various time factors connected with the blast from a powerful explosion can be estimated from the known time values of a much less powerful explosion by applying the cube root scaling law. The distance at which a given pressure is experienced also scaled accoding to the cube root law providing the height of burst is adjusted in the same way ... the ranges of blast damage from a 10 megaton (500 x nominal) air burst bomb are those of a nominal bomb multiplied by a factor of 8 (the approximate cube root ot 8). ...


Effect of blast on structures


'When the front of the blast wave strikes the [rigid] front wall it is reflected back, and the pressure in the wave front builds up to more than double the original pressure. However, this build-up only lasts for a very short time and is mainly important for large flat surfaces such as walls of big buildings. As the blast wave passes over the building, the sides, roof, and finally the rear wall are subjected to what is known as the "side-on" pressure in the wave, but since they are side-on and not face-on there is no extra pressure due to reflection. At this stage the front, roof, sides and back of the building are all subjected to more or less the full blast pressure, and the principal tendency then is for the building as a whole to be crushed.


'But the pressure at and behind the blast front is accompanied by the blast wind which, while it exerts additional pressure on the front, exerts a suction [not to be confused with the suction in the negative phase of the blast wave] on the back (since it is sucking air away from the back wall and to some extent also from the sides and roof) which tends to cancel out the pressure on the front of the building, and most of the direct blast damage is produced there with comparatively little elsewhere. The building as a whole tends to be pushed over away from the explosion.


'However, this related only to a building with blank walls. If the blast gets inside through openings in the front wall, the pressure inside, acting upwards on the roof, is the full side-on blast pressure, whereas the pressure outside is the blast pressure less the wind suction. The net result is therefore that the roof tends to be forced violently upwards, a feature which was noted in Japan and has been observed in published photographs of American nuclear weapon trials, where houses have appeared to "explode" when struck by the blast wave [stills from movie film of the two storey brick house exposed to 5 psi peak overpressure blast at the Apple-2 nuclear test, Nevada, 1955].


'The ability of a building to withstand the shock of the blast wave depends upon its strength, its shape, and the number of openings into the building which serve to relieve the pressure on the outside walls. The strongest structures are heavily framed steel ad reinforced concrete buildings, while the weakest are probably certain shed type industrial structures having light frames and long roof spans. The resistance to blast of brick structures is rather poor, partly because of their low resilience and partly due to their weakness against pressure from inside, since a comparatively small outward movement of the walls causes the floors to collapse.


'The effect of shape on blast damage is not very marked in most conventional structures, where streamlining is usually absent. It is, however, most pronounced with such objects as large smoke-stacks and factory chimneys which, because of their relatively low wind drag, are surprisingly resistant to blast. Such chimneys often remain erect when other structures near to them are levelled to the ground in explosions of this kind. On the other hand, flat surfaces such as windows in an extensive wall surface, have a high probability of failure even at comparatively low blast pressures.


'Bridges, which are built to stand high wind pressures, stand up to blast fairly well, though if they are close to the ground zero of a ground or near-ground bomb they may be shifted bodily sideways off their abutments.


Height of burst in relation to bomb damage


'When a bomb is burst in the air the pressure wave is reflected from the ground, and since the reflected wave travells through air which has been compressed and heated by the direct wave, it tends to travel faster than, and to catch up with, the direct wave. When the reflected wave catches up with the direct wave the two join together to form what is called a Mach wave, and this accounts for a pronounced increase in range of damage.


'On the other hand when a bomb is burst on or near the ground much of the blast energy is expended in forming a crater, and in causing much heavier destruction of buildings immediately around ground zero. There is also considerable shielding of one building by another [blast cannot cause destruction without doing mechanical work, which irreversibly expends blast energy, so it is impossible for the blast not to be depleted in energy as a result of causing destruction], and by topographical features (e.g. ridges and hills), which tend to reduce the range of damage.


'The radius of blast damage from air burst bombs therefore tends to be greater than from bombs burst on or near the ground. However, if the bomb is burst too high in the air the advantage of the Mach reflection is counterbalanced by the greater distance between the explosion and the ground, so that for all powers of bombs there are optimum heights of burst which give the greatest area of blast damage.


'The optimum height also depends on the type of target being attacked. If the target area contains a high proportion of strongly constructed buildings then the bomb must be burst nearer to the ground in order to do the required damage in the central area around ground zero and so cause the maximum number of casualties. For more easily damaged types of property the maximum area of destruction can be obtained by bursting the bomb higher in the air. In Japan the height of burst of 2,000 ft. caused destruction over a very wide area to flimsy traditional Japanese buildings, but produced very little blast effect on the few earthquake-resisting buildings which were even as close as 0.25 mile to ground zero. For the average British city the height of burst which would produce the most serious blast situation from a nominal bomb is usually considered to be about 1,000 ft. ...


Effects of an air burst bomb on public utility services


'The effects of an air burst bomb, whether nominal or larger than nominal, on public utility services would be largely confined to damage above ground. Underground gas and water mains would be undamaged, except possibly where they were carried on bridges, or where they were fairly close to the surface and liable to damage by a collapse of neighbouring heavy masonry. Sewers too should be undamaged. Overground installations and services, such as gas holders, water pumping stations, electricity generating stations and sub-stations, overhead electricity, telephont and telegraph cables, buses and motor cars would be damaged more or less severely up to 1 mile or so from ground zero for a nominal [20 kt] bomb, and up to 8 miles for a 10 megaton bomb. Railway and tramway [street car] tracks would probably remain intact but might be affected by debris, overturned rolling-stock, adjacent fires, etc.


Cratering and ground shock from a ground or near-ground burst 10 megaton bomb


'A 10 megaton bomb bursting at ground level is expected to produce [according to data from the 10 megaton 1952 Mike test on water saturated porous coral, which results in a far bigger crater than a burst of similar size on earth] a saucer-shaped crater about a mile in diameter. The debris from the crater would be scattered around in a ring about 2 miles in diameter and the remains of any structures in this area might consequently be buried. Severe earth movements might be caused at greater ranges and underground structures might be affected up to a few miles. Some underground services should survive at ranges considerably less than that of general destruction on the surface. ...


Effect of blast on people


'In Japan the direct effect of blast from atomic bombs on people was found to be less than might have been expected. Where people were safe from the secondary effects of the blast there was little evidence that they had suffered from any internal injury due to the blast itself.


'Most of the blast casualties in this country would be caused by the indirect or secondary effects of the blast, such as falling masony, flying debris and glass. Such injuries would occur up to 1.25 to 2 miles from an air burst nominal bomb [20 kt], with casualties from glass fragments predominating at the greater distances. People would also be trapped by the collapse of buildings and might become casualties for this reason or even be suffocated without receiving other physical injuries.


The debris problem


'In Japan debris was not a very serious handicap because most of the material of the Japanese houses, being combustible, was destroyed by fire leaving a fairly uniformly flattened area covered with a comparatively thin layer of semi-burned or unburned material, e.g. tiles. Moreover, because the bombs were burst at 2,000 ft. the few strong buildings near to ground zero were not destroyed and therefore produced very little debris.


'The situation would be quite different in a modern city, where a large proportion of the material of almost every building is incombustible. Even if every building was affected by fire there would still remain a large amount of incombustible material to contribute to the rubble and debris which could collapse into the streets. ... At the shorter ranges, road blockage might be caused by fallen trees, etc. It will be seen at once that debris is going to be one of the outstanding problems. ... Roads with houses having front gardens or wide footpaths will obviously not be so seriously affected by debris as narrow streets, and many wide roads exist through which a way, at any rate for single line traffic, and certainly for pedestrians, could always be opened with a small amount of effort. By means of surveys in major cities suitable traffic routes can be earmarked for use should the emergency arise and ground zero occur at a variety of possible locations. Parks, open spaces, railway embankments, wide roads, rivers and canals etc., might all provide entry and exit routes because of their comparative freedom from debris.'




Above: Fission Fragments, the restricted-classified journal of the Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch. W. F. Greenhalgh was the editor of early issues in the 1960s, P. R. Bentley and later M. J. Thompson were editors in the 1970s. Here is a spoof metaphoric letter attacking 'ambulances' (civil defence) published in the originally 'Restricted' classified U.K. Home Office Scientific Adviser's Branch journal Fission Fragments, W. F. Greenhalgh, Editor, London, Issue Number 3, August 1962, pages 14-15 (these declassified magazines are now in the UK National Archives category HO229; if you are at the UK National Archives please also see HO338 and DEFE16 in the printed catalogues, which have useful lists of related file locations on the first page):


'Ambulance Service in Road Accidents


[Picture of a three-spoked car steering wheel with the shaft vertical so that it just co-incidentally forms a CND-type symbol!]



'Sir,


'It has been brought to our attention that certain elements among the driving public, no doubt inspired by the motor car manufacturers and an irresponsible clique of hospital surgeons interested in narrow sectional interests, favour the use of ambulances to take the victims of road accidents to hospital. These elements have used the excuse that such action would save lives and suffering in the event of an accident. Although we share their concern, we remain unalterably opposed to any consideration of this course of action, for the following reasons:


'1. The cost would be prohibitive. If it were borne by the state, an economic and social re-orientation would be needed; our country would be taking a step towards totalitarianism and the militarisation of society.


'2. These proposals will distract the government's attention from more important things e.g. the complete prevention of accidents by road-widening schemes. Increasing the penalty for dangerous driving is no answer. The only answer, befitting the dignity of human beings, is to ban the car.


'3. This programme would lull all road users into a false sense of security and reduce public initiative to seek means of reducing the accident rate.


'4. It would cause undue alarm and reduce the joys of motoring.


'5. It demonstrates lack of faith in the rational behaviour and self-restraint of our drivers.


'6. The road-accident hysteria is being whipped up by demagogic career politicians. Where do road-accident figures come from anyway?


'7. Motor car manufacturers will make cars which are unsafe. Big business is obviously hoping to profit from a demand for ambulances.


'8. Why should attention be directed to only one type of accident? Just because something can be done about road accidents, but not about accidents in the home, for example.


'9. All ambulance drivers will have to be medically qualified: this at a time when our hospitals are understaffed!


'10. If you had an accident, a traffic jam would ensue, and the ambulance would not be able to reach you.


'11. If the ambulance reached you, you would still be in danger from shock. Even if you do not die from shock your resistance to disease will be lowered. If you escape these horrors, you may well fall into a decline in the unfamiliar environment of hospital.


'12. If you survive your period under the strict regime of the hospital, you will have lost your belief in the freedom of the individual.


'13. If the hospital saves you and not the other occupants of the car, you will spend a life of remorse mourning your lost loved ones.


'14. Most car drivers carry in their minds a load of guilt and frustration about their affluence. It is this which subconsciously forces them to desperate deeds in difficult traffic. Even if a driver is not responsible for the accident he will either spend a life of remorse or become homicidal. If he is in fact responsible for the accident, it is clear that he ought not to survive. Better dead than discomforted.


'15. The panic engendered by a road accident would destroy all vestiges of civilised human behaviour. We shudder at the vision of one man struggling with another to get into the ambulance.


'16. Since the first motor car accident in 1850, the speed of cars has increased tenfold and, moreover, the number of cars on the roads has increased a millionfold at least. Road accidents have, in fact, become unthinkable.


'It is apparent that all measures to reduce the horror of road accidents are futile and, worse than that, they are morally wrong and contemptible since they increase the probability that an accident will occur. Anyone who does contemplate road accidents obviously advocates them.


'- Committee for a Rational Accident Policy.'


The same magazine: originally 'Restricted' classified U.K. Home Office Scientific Adviser's Branch journal Fission Fragments, W. F. Greenhalgh, Editor, London, Issue Number 3, August 1962, pages 22-26:


'The fire hazard from nuclear weapons


'by G. R. Stanbury, BSc, ARCS, F.Inst.P.


'We have often been accused of underestimating the fire situation from nuclear attack. We hope to show that there is good scientific justification for the assessments we have made, and we are unrepentant in spite of the television utterances of renowned academic scientists who know little about fire. ...


'Firstly ... the collapse of buildings would snuff out any incipient fires. Air cannot get into a pile of rubble, 80% of which is incombustible anyway. This is not just guess work; it is the result of a very complete study of some 1,600 flying bomb [V1 cruise missile] incidents in London supported by a wealth of experience gained generally in the last war.


'Secondly, there is a considerable degree of shielding of one building by another in general.


'Thirdly, even when the windows of a building can "see" the fireball, and something inside is ignited, it by no means follows that a continuing and destructive fire will develop.


'The effect of shielding in a built-up area was strikingly demonstrated by the firemen of Birmingham about 10 years ago with a 144:1 scale model of a sector of their city which they built themselves; when they put a powerful lamp in the appropriate position for an air burst they found that over 50% of the buildings were completely shielded. More recently a similar study was made in Liverpool over a much larger area, not with a model, but using the very detailed information provided by fire insurance maps. The result was similar.


'It is not so easy to assess the chance of a continuing fire. A window of two square metres would let in about 10^5 calories at the 5 cal/(cm)^2 range. The heat liberated by one magnesium incendiary bomb is 30 times this and even with the incendiary bomb the chance of a continuing fire developing in a small room is only 1 in 5; in a large room it is very much less.


'Thus even if thermal radiation does fall on easily inflammable material which ignites, the chance of a continuing fire developing is still quite small. In the Birmingham and Liverpool studies, where the most generous values of fire-starting chances were used, the fraction of buildings set on fire was rarely higher than 1 in 20.


'And this is the basis of the assertion [in Nuclear Weapons] that we do not think that fire storms are likely to be started in British cities by nuclear explosions, because in each of the five raids in which fire storms occurred (four on Germany - Hamburg, Darmstadt, Kassel, Wuppertal and a "possible" in Dresden, plus Hiroshima in Japan - it may be significant that all these towns had a period of hot dry weather before the raid) the initial fire density was much nearer 1 in 2. Take Hamburg for example:


'On the night of 27/28th July 1943, by some extraordinary chance, 190 tons of bombs were dropped into one square mile of Hamburg. This square mile contained 6,000 buildings, many of which were [multistorey wooden] medieval.


'A density of greater than 70 tons/sq. mile had not been achieved before even in some of the major fire raids, and was only exceeded on a few occasions subsequently. The effect of these bombs is best shown in the following diagram, each step of which is based on sound trials and operational experience of the weapons concerned.


'102 tons of high explosive bombs dropped -> 100 fires


'88 tons of incendiary bombs dropped, of which:


'48 tons of 4 pound magnesium bombs = 27,000 bombs -> 8,000 hit buildings -> 1,600 fires


'40 tons of 30 pound gel bombs = 3,000 bombs -> 900 hit buildings -> 800 fires


'Total = 2,500 fires


'Thus almost every other building [1 in 2 buildings] was set on fire during the raid itself, and when this happens it seems that nothing can prevent the fires from joining together, engulfing the whole area and producing a fire storm (over Hamburg the column of smoke, observed from aircraft, was 1.5 miles in diameter at its base and 13,000 feet high; eyewitnesses on the ground reported that trees were uprooted by the inrushing air).


'When the density was 70 tons/square mile or less the proportion of buildings fired during the raid was about 1 in 8 or less and under these circumstances, although extensive areas were burned out, the situation was controlled, escape routes were kept open and there was no fire storm.'


Further in the article, Stanbury gives metereological data for the U.K. which indicate a mean cloud cover of 70% of the sky at any time, and on page 24, he gives U.K. research on thermal radiation transmission: 'Lane, Stone and Edwards of the Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment at Porton have done work in this field and have shown for example that at 20 [statute] miles [32 km], the diffuse transmission of luminous flux at ground level is only 0.2 for a visibility of 16 miles; 0.1 for a visibility of 8 miles; 0.035 for a visibility of 4 miles.'


I will point out that these experimental figures are surprisingly close to the values of 0.29, 0.082 and 0.0067 you get using transmission T = e^{-R/V} where R is range and V is visibility (in same units as R, of course!). This formula is based on my analysis of all Nevada and Pacific nuclear test data, where the average visibility was 10 miles in the Pacific (Bikini and Eniwetok) and about 50 miles in Nevada due to the generally drier air over the arid desert than that in the hot, humid mid Pacific Ocean. (The raw source of this nuclear test data can now be found online in a chart and reference in: http://worf.eh.doe.gov/data/ihp1c/0439_a.pdf.)


The American manuals make a mess of thermal transmission. Glasstone and Dolan inaccurately claim that scattered radiation prevents a simple exponential law being valid, but they are thinking of a 'build-up' factor, i.e., a contribution from scattered radiation, which does not contribute significantly to thermal injury in most cases. Filtering actually offsets the 'build-up' factor. The American book Glasstone and Dolan relies on M. G. Gibbons' August 1966 report Transmissivity of the Atmosphere for Thermal Radiation from Nuclear Weapons (U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, USNRDL-TR-1060) which is based on measurements using monochromatic green light. The problem is that the true fireball radiation output covers a wide range, and some components like ultra violet and infrared tend to get filtered out more quickly than visible light, so this 'filtering' effect increases the mean penetrating powerof the remaining (filtered) thermal radiation as you get further from the bomb (at long distances, only visible light survives). The 'build-up' effect, i.e., the increased contribution of less-penetrating scattered radiation with greater distance from bomb, tends to decrease the mean penetrating power of the radiation as you get further from the bomb. So the 'filtering' effect is offset in practice by the 'build up' effect. Hence the exponential law holds good in nuclear test data!


For a variety of different American estimates (Brode 1964, Glasstone and Dolan 1977, and the 1974 NATO edition of Philip J. Dolan's Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, EM-1) of thermal transmission (some of which are nonsense) see page 11 of Dr Harold L. Brode and Richard D. Small, Fire Damage and Strategic Targeting, Pacific-Sierra Research Corporation, Los Angeles, California, Defense Nuclear Agency report DNA-TR-84-272 (1 June 1984), accession number ADA159280.


Dr Harold L. Brode in his May 1964 report A Review of Nuclear Explosion Phenomena Pertinent to Protective Construction (the RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California, report R-425-PR) had suggested that the transmittivity of the atmosphere is about T = (1 + 1.4R/V)e^{-2R/V}, where R is distance from detonation and V is atmospheric distinct visibility distance. But a later paper of Brode's, A Review of the Physics of Large Urban Fires, co-authored with Dr Richard D. Small, quotes the substantially greater attenuation of thermal radiation suggested by the empirical green light transmission formula, T = (1 + 1.9R/V)e^{-2.9R/V}, from M. G. Gibbons' August 1966 report Transmissivity of the Atmosphere for Thermal Radiation from Nuclear Weapons (U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, USNRDL-TR-1060).


For comparison, Philip J. Dolan's NATO version of the U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency manual Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, DNA-EM-1(N), Washington, D.C., 1 November 1974, gives the Gibbons formula T = (1 + 1.9R/V)e^{-2.9R/V} for burst altitudes below 400 metres, but gives a transmissivity of T = e^{-1.9R/V} for the case of a burst altitude of 1,000 metres.


I will just mention that Dr Harold L. Brode and Dr Richard D. Small, in their report Fire Damage and Strategic Targeting (Pacific-Sierra Research Corporation, Los Angeles, California, DNA-TR-84-272, June 1984) assume that 50% of houses are ignited by a thermal exposure of 16 calories per square centimetre from a 50 kt weapon or 22 cal/(cm)^2 for a 1 Mt weapon. They don't provide precise reasons for these specific numbers. It is not clear that the realistic ignition energy for curtains, armchairs, carpets, beds, and so on are in that range. Brode and Small seem to be assuming folded newspapers are everywhere. However, you need to actually work out what fraction of buildings have rooms in line of sight to the fireball and then you need to estimate the probability that something inflammable is actually in the line of sight. If only 50% or fewer of buildings will have a single room in line-of-sight of a fireball (as the British studies referred to by Stanbury above indicate to be the case), then any figure for an 'average ignition energy' produced out of the hat by Brode and Small will be wrong, misleading, and deceptive. Many modern fabrics used in furnishings are fire-resistant by law and hard to ignite properly. It is true that the blast wave could throw smouldering curtains into a room, starting fires, but only if the curtains have been exposed to the thermal flash, which depends on whether a line of sight of the fireball exists from the window in question.


In reality, in a surface burst or low air burst, the nearest buildings the the explosion will 'shadow' all the more distant buildings, and this will continue - as shown in nuclear test films - even after the blast blows to pieces the nearby buildings (the dust cloud produced by the mechanical destruction from the blast stops the thermal radiation).


Brode and Small do usefully quote a study of secondary fires caused by blast in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; J. McAuliffe and K. Moll, Secondary Ignitions in Nuclear Attack, SRI International, Menlo Park, California, SRI Project 5106, July 1965. This study found that for every 1000 square feet of modern-type damaged buildings, there was 0.006 'secondary' fire created by the blast effect on electrical or gas equipment. This estimate does not include the many thousands of wood-frame houses which were ignited by overturned charcoal cooking braziers in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (Brode and Small however ignored that hard experimental data and preferred to use a completely non-validated assumption that 100% of buildings with heavy damage - which is caused by a peak overpressure of 4 psi for American wood-frame residences - will be ignited by blast damage.)


A few more details about the Fission Fragments magazine No. 3, August 1962: inside the front cover there is the warning 'Restricted: The information given in this document is not to be communicated, either directly or indirectly, to the Press or to any person not authorised to receive it.' (It is now long since declassified, since it is openly viewable at the National Archives in Kew, London.) Below that warning, there is published a quotation from American strategist H. A. Kissinger:


'As weapons grow more destructive, and forces-in-being more invulnerable to surprise attack and to defense systems, the real contest in an all-out war will be between the vulnerabilities and the degrees of resilience of the opposing societies.'


To give a taste for the wide range of problems covered (ranging from fire, fallout, electromagnetic disruption due to high altitude tests, and detecting nerve gas in chemical warfare), it is telling to quote a couple of sentences from page 37, dealing with the use of early electronic computers to assess fallout decay rates and radiation doses:


'A danger with the use of computers is that things tend to become stereotyped. Thus people get used to a narrow range of circumstances and will be flummoxed "on the day" when - and nothing is more certain - something different will happen. It is hoped that this rigidity has been avoided to some extent here by such things as having irregular plume shapes ... and by introducing clean bombs and neutron-induced isotopes into the decay laws.'


Page 38 quotes the following extract from the May 1959 issue of Wireless World magazine:


'Man-made blackouts


'One gathers that there has been considerable uneasiness in the U.S.A. owing to the discovery that wireless and radar signals can be blocked by bursting a nuclear bomb at a great height above the earth's surface. Before any announcement on the subject was made officially in America, Russian scientists had attributed the unexpected density of the inner radiation zone (which at the magnetic equator is 1,500-4,000 miles above the earth) to the effects of nuclear explosions. Later, an official statement was made in the U.S.A. that, as part of the I.G.Y. [International Geophysical Year] programme, three such tests had taken place last year at heights of about 300 miles [actually these Argus test burst heights were 200, 240 and 540 km]. In each case the flash of the explosion was followed at once by a faint luminosity extending along the magnetic line of force through the burst point. This line of force returns to our atmosphere in the northern hemisphere near the Azores. Aircraft stationed in the region for observation purposes noted a short auroral glow. The work was then taken up by the satellite Explorer IV which, travelling day after day "through the man-made 'shell' of trapped radiation", sent back to earth measurements which enabled its intensity and shape to be worked out. It has been suggested that anyone mad enough or wicked enough to start a nuclear war could put the other side's distant early warning radar system almost, if not entirely, out of action by leading off with a number of bursts in the right places.'


The same page (38) then gives this:


'Extract from Estimated effects of nuclear explosions of various megaton yields, United States Atomic Energy Commission news release 31st October, 1961.


'Electromagnetic Effects on World Communications


'Communication blackouts due to low-altitude, high-yield explosions are probably too localised to be of interest. If the cloud stabilizes at an altitude of about 25 miles, however, the possibility exists of producing observable effects on radio waves over distances of about 100 miles from air zero.


'As a result of a 50-megaton detonation at an altitude of about 50 miles, large-scale high-frequency communications blackouts could be expected within a region of 2,500 miles radius and for a time span of the order of a day. At 30 miles altitude the radius of effect would be about 1,000 miles.'


The last page of the magazine contains a notice to the reader by the Editor, W. F. Greenhalgh which states 'Fission Fragments is in the Restricted security class. ... Views expressed in Fission Fragments are not necessarily endorsed by the Scientific Adviser's Branch of the Home Office. ... Si vis pacem, para bellum. [If you wish for peace, prepare for war.]'


Some other particularly valuable articles in Fission Fragments are:


(1) A. Preston (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Fisheries Radiobiological Laboratory, Lowestoft), 'The Effect of Fallout on Fisheries', Fission Fragments, Issue No. 14, February 1970, pages 32-41, 48.


This relates the gamma dose rate at a standard time after burst to the deposited activity of those fission product nuclides which become significantly concentrated in the aquatic food chain (in order of decreasing fission product activity in fish flesh soon within days of a nuclear explosion): iodine-131, cerium-141, cerium-144, zirconium-95, strontium-89, ruthenium-103, caesium-137, strontium-90, ruthenium-106.


Account was taken of fission product fractionation in fallout (the relative depletion from local fallout in surface bursts of those nuclides which will not have condensed or decayed into solids at the time that the large fallout particles drop out of the fireball), but neutron-induced activity in the weapon casing was ignored.


This gives the amount of nuclide deposited per square metre of surface on the water. To get the concentration of the nuclides in a cubic metre of water, the water solubility of the radioactive material in the fallout is used (this is where a knowledge of the chemistry and physical properties of fallout particles is vital):


'Using these depositions and solubilities, the activity was assumed to mix uniformly to 100 m, the average depth of the surface mixed layer of the oceans, or to the bottom in shallower water, within 48 hours. This assumption has been borne out by weapon test data in the Pacific. The resulting water activities were then used to assess the specific activities in fish flesh by the use of suitable concentration factors selected for each radionuclide.'


The doses from ingested fish were then computed. The largest fish ingestion threat within 2 weeks of a nuclear explosion thyroid irradiation from I-131 in fish. Since I-131 has a half life of only 8 days, it is not a long-term problem. The article shows that in an area where the fallout gamma dose rate at 48 hours after burst is 1 R/hour on land, assuming 10% fallout solubility in water, the total thyroid I-131 radiation dose from eating 1 kg of fresh fish caught 48 hours after the explosion would be 0.205 R, compared to a dose to the bones of only 0.117 R. The relative importance of Sr-89 and Sr-90 in fish depends crucially on the concentration factor, which depends on the salts normally present in the water. In the ocean, there is plenty of dissolved calcium present as ions which, being chemically similar to strontium, 'dilute' the radioactive Sr-89 and Sr-90 problem, crowding it out and reducing the concentration factor in biological uptake. In rivers of 'soft' water with little dissolved calcium, however, strontium uptake is concentrated in the fish to levels far above those per kilogram of the water.


(2) Fission Fragments, Issue No. 21, April 1977, pages 18-25.



This issue has not been released to the U.K. National Archives, which lists it as a 'Closed Or Retained Document, Open Description... This document was closed under the Public Records Act or is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.' However, the information in it is vitally important for understanding the real EMP problems of nuclear attack, and it includes a report on the experimental research by the Home Office into EMP on portable radios. The reason for the continued secrecy seems to be articles by Dr J. McAulay (author of the article, 'Science in civil defence' published in Contemporary Physics, Volume 2, Issue 4 April 1961 , pages 245 - 252) and others dealing with EMP effects using classified American data from the U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency's Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons. On page 18, Dr McAulay's article EMP in Proper Perspective states:


'In 1974 the US Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA) issued a new 1600 page, 2 volume new edition of their classified (Restricted) document, "The Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons".


'Vol. I "Phenomenology" has 8 chapters of which chapter 4 deals with X-ray radiation phenomena, Chapter 6 with transient radiation effects in electronics phenomena, and chapter 8 with phenomena affecting electromagnetic wave propagation.


'Vol. II "Damage Criteria" has Chapters 9 to 17 of which Chapter 7 deals with radio frequency signal degradation relevant to communications and radar systems.'


On pages 20-24 there is an article by C. H. Lewis, MSc, The Effects of EMP, in Particular on Home Defence Communications which states:


'For a near ground-burst the downward component [of the outward Compton electron current in the air, produced by initial gamma radiation] is largely suppressed leaving the upward component to form what is virtually a conventional dipole aerial with a tremendously high current. ... Field strengths for a 5 Mt weapon may be about 20 kV/m at 3 miles, 5 kV/m at 5 miles and 1 kV/m at 8 miles, where blast pressure will be down to 2 psi. ... Consider first the possible effects on the power system. Fortunately the super-grid (which is designed to work at 400 kV) is not thought to be particularly vulnerable, but perhaps 1/4 of the pulse energy picked up by the supergrid may be passed on by the distribution transformers with consequent current surges in the lower voltage systems of perhaps 20,000 amps. Thus although the supergrid may survive, the current surges in the distribution system may result in major system instability with consequent serious breakdown ... It will be remembered that system instability in 1965 resulted in a total black-out of the north-east US for several days. ... Turning to communications ... transmitters appear to be vulnerable to EMP, which can generate peak currents in the aerials of medium wave transmitters (which may be of the order of 100 m long) of several kiloamperes. As a result there is a considerable risk of breakdown in the high voltage capacitors of the transmitters. Additionally, the continuity of broadcasting depends on power supplies, communication with the studio and the studio equipment. Ironically the ordinary domestic transistor receiver with ferrite rod aerials is likely to survive, but VHF receivers with stick aerials are vulnerable when the aerial is extended. ... At this stage the vulnerability of various devices may be considered. A 300 ft length of conductor may pick up between 0.1 and 40 Joules (1 Joule = 1 watt-second). According to US sources, a motor or transformer can survive about 10,000 J, electronic valves about 0.01 J. Small bipolar transistors are sensitive to about 10^{-7} J and microwave diodes, field effect transistors, etc., are sensitive to about 10^{-9} J. ... With a rise time of 10^{-8} secs, 10^{-8} J equates to 1 watt - well beyond the capacity of small transistors. Clearly, motors and transformers are likely to survive, thermionic valves are reasonably good, but transistors in general are vulnerable, whilst equipment using field effect transistors or microwave diodes is especially vulnerable.'


The remainder of that article discussed the effects of EMP on the British wired telephone system: 'The effect of any EMP pick-up in the system will be to cause flashover at one or more of a number of points - terminal boards, relay contacts, relay coil terminations, capacitors, etc. ... There are likely to be many domestic telephones connected in part by overhead lines, and these lines can pick up EMP currents, passing them into the exchange equipment. Because most telephone lines are underground, it is no longer Post Office policy to provide lightning protectors at the exchange or on subscribers premises. Within the exchange, all incoming cables are terminated at the Main Distribution Frame, and from this point the internal wiring to the exchange equipment is unshielded. In view of the tremendous amount and complexity of this internal wiring it appears that the major source of EMP pick-up may lie within the exchange. ... The limit of satisfactory direct speech transmission is about 25 miles and since this must include the subscribers lines to and from the exchange it is customary to provide "repeaters" (amplifiers [including inductance coils to prevent frequency-dependent distortion]) at intervals of 15 miles between exchanges.'


The next very interesting article in Fission Fragments, Issue No. 21, April 1977, is at page 25: A. D. Perryman (Scientific Advisory Branch, Home Office), EMP and the Portable Transistor Radio. Perryman states: 'In an attempt to answer some of these questions [about EMP effects on communications] the Scientific Advisory Branch carried out a limited programme of tests in which four popular brands of transistor radio were exposed in an EMP simulator to threat-level pulses of electric field gradient about 50 kV/m.



'The receivers were purchased from the current stock of a typical retailer. They comprised:


'1. a low-price pocket set of the type popular with teenagers.


'2. a Japanese set in the middle-price range.


'3. a domestic type portable in the upper-price range.


'4. an expensive and sophisticated portable receiver.


'All these sets worked on dry cells and had internal ferrite aerials for medium and long wave reception. In addition, sets 2, 3 and 4 had extendable whip aerials for VHF/FM reception. Set 3 also had one short wave band and set 4 two short wave bands... .


'During the tests the receivers were first tuned to a well-known long-wave station and then subjected to a sequence of pulses in the EMP simulator. This test was repeated on the medium wave and VHF bands. Set 1 had no VHF facility and was therefore operated only on long and medium waves.


'The results of this experimentation showed that transistor radios of the type tested, when operated on long or medium waves, suffer little loss of performance. This could be attributed to the properties of the ferrite aerial and its associated circuitry (e.g. the relatively low coupling efficiency). Set 1, in fact, survived all the several pulses applied to it, whereas sets 2, 3 and 4 all failed soon after their whip aerials were extended for VHF reception. The cause of failure was identified as burnout of the transistors in the VHF RF [radio frequency] amplifier stage. Examination of these transistors under an electron microscope revealed deformation of their internal structure due to the passage of excessive current transients (estimated at up to 100 amps).


'Components other than transistors (e.g. capacitors, inductors, etc.) appeared to be unaffected by the number of EM pulses applied in these tests.


'From this very limited test programme, transistor radios would appear to have a high probability of survival in a nuclear crisis when operated on long and medium bands using the internal ferrite aerial. If VHF ranges have to be used, then probably the safest mode of operation is with the whip aerial extended to the minimum length necessary to give just audible reception with the volume control fully up.


'Hardening of personal transistor radios is theoretically possible and implies good design practice (e.g. shielding, bonding, earthing, filtering etc.) incorporated at the time of manufacture. Such receivers are not currently available on the popular market.'



The slide rule above is the Nuclear Weapon Effects Computer No. 3, issued by the Home Office in 1988 based on brand new computer model of blast casualties developed in 1986 by Home Office scientists Dr S. Hadjipavlou and Dr G. Carr-Hill, a brief description of which is published in the article, 'A Revised Set of Blast Casualty Rates for Civil Defence Use: An Overview' by S. Hadjipavlou and G. Carr-Hill, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A (Statistics in Society), Vol. 152, No. 2 (1989), pp. 139-156.



The original 1986 Home Office report, A review of the blast casualty rules applicable to U.K. houses, U.K. Home Office Scientific Research and Development Branch, Publication 34/86, is about an inch thick and printed on both sides of each sheet of paper. The report is based largely on American detailed scientific nuclear test data collected during Operations Teapot and Plumbbob in Nevada, 1955 and 1957. At these tests, the effects of window glass fragments and debris from blast broken walls was analysed in detail, together with filmed displacement data showing the 'translation' of mechanically realistic dummy human beings by blast waves. In the case of glass fragments and debris from broken walls, the distributions of fragments by size and by velocity due to blast wind pressure acceleration were deduced, and were related to the physical measurements of the blast wave.


In this way, a physically reliable mathematical model was developed which would predict how many fragments and how much debris would hit someone in a house exposed to a blast wave, and what their velocities would be. Studies of the effects of fragments striking simulated human tissue allowed prediction of biomedical effects. In the case of human translation, the acceleration coefficient for a human and the cross-sectional area exposed in a variety of orientations allowed the acceleration and velocity to be deduced for any given blast wave, and separate studies showed the deceleration effects of striking rigid objects (walls for example), and effects of being slowed down by rolling along the ground.


Effects of building collapse were available from nuclear data collected in Japan and in conventionally bombed houses in World War II. The result is that casualty rate for people prone in British brick houses with 9 inch thick outer walls was calculated to be 1% killed by 20 kPa (2.9 psi) peak overpressure 7 km from a 1 Mt surface burst and 19% killed by 40 kPa (5.8 psi) peak overpressure at 4 km from a 1 Mt surface burst. Because the blast winds last longer in a bigger bomb explosion, 50% mortality in brick houses occurs at 50 kPa (7.2 psi) for a 10 Mt bomb, but requires 67 kPa (9.7 psi) for a 100 kt bomb. Hence the range for 50% mortality in brick houses from a surface burst would be 1.45 km for 100 kt and 7.3 km for 10 Mt. There would be a lot of survivors in a nuclear attack. The effects for physical reasons do not scale up in direct proportion from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki data.


More information on thermal ignition and fire storms is available in these previous posts:


http://glasstone.blogspot.com/2006/03/fires-from-nuclear-explosions.html


http://glasstone.blogspot.com/2006/04/ignition-of-fires-by-thermal-radiation.html


http://glasstone.blogspot.com/2006/05/assistant-professor-lubo-motl-and-big.html, etc.


Earlier post on the EMP effects at nuclear tests: http://glasstone.blogspot.com/2006/03/emp-radiation-from-nuclear-space.html




SELECTED HOME OFFICE SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BRANCH CIVIL DEFENCE REPORTS AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES:

HO 226/19 The numbers of deaths resulting from an attack on the British Isles with 29 atomic bombs and 27,000 tons of high explosive/incendiary bombs 1953

HO 226/16 Atomic attacks and water undertakings: the significance of the ratio of groundburst to airburst weapons 1953

HO 226/33 The protection afforded by trenches and refuge rooms against radioactive ground contamination 1954

HO 226/36 Refuge rooms as shelter against radioactive fallout 1955

HO 226/45 Casualty rates for a groundburst 10 megaton bomb omitting residual radiation, all in houses 1956

HO 226/52 The likely extent of fallout from a nominal groundburst bomb 1956

HO 226/54 Effectiveness of gamma radiation spread, over a period of time, in producing radiation sickness 1957

HO 226/68 The hazard due to exposure in the open in the damaged area during fallout 1957

HO 226/70 A survey of methods used for the removal of radioactive contamination from water 1958

HO 226/75 The contribution of U239 and Np239 to the radiation from fallout 1959

HO 226/83 Casualties due to immediate effects of groundbursts 1963

HO 226/93 Papers read at conference on radiological recovery, Berlin, October 1967

HO 226/92 Notes on radiological decontamination for Scientific Intelligence Officer refresher courses 1968

HO 226/91 Publications of interest: chemical weapons 1967

HO 338/8 Nuclear weapons: hazards of flying glass after explosions; effects of blast winds; protection of vehicles from fall-out 1957

HO 338/7 British Scientific and Service Mission to Japan: eye-witness account of the bombing of Nagasaki; comparison with traditional bombing effects 1947

HO 338/6 British Scientific and Service Mission to Japan: diary and progress of mission; disposal of materials to various museums 1947

HO 338/9 Nuclear weapons: protection provided by open trenches; personal anti-radiation protection; production and dispersal of gamma radiation 1957

HO 338/11 Nuclear weapons: effects of thermal radiation 1957

HO 338/25 Protection afforded by smoke screens against the effects of an atomic attack 1955

HO 338/69 Thermal and fire aspects of nuclear blast: risk of fire-spread following an attack 1965

HO 338/72 Radioactive decay rates: charts and papers 1966

HO 338/73 Distribution of fall-out in and around buildings 1959

HO 338/78 Hazards of direct exposure to fall-out 1962

HO 338/80 Biological recovery and effective residual doses from gamma radiation 1961

HO 338/82 Decontamination: use of water for washdown purposes 1961

HO 338/83 Decontamination: methods of decontamination of building roofs 1965

338/116 Communications: effects of a nuclear attack on GPO communications 1964 [NEVADA TEST EMP SUMMARY]

HO 338/115 Communications: effects of radiation on radio transmission and equipment 1963 [NEVADA TEST EMP SUMMARY]

HO 338/117 Fire Service Study `Torquemada', 20-22 July 1959

HO 228/1 Notes on the occupancy of shelters during attack by V1 weapons on London, 1944 1948

HO 228/2 USA Naval Technical Mission to Japan: extracts and notes on atomic bombs, Hiroshima and Nagasaki 1948

HO 228/3 Crater debris 1948

HO 228/5 Radiation hazards from atomic bombs 1948

HO 228/6 Some thoughts on the fire problem from atomic bombs 1948

HO 228/7 Notes on the distribution of the population of Greater London 1949

HO 228/8 The effect of window opening on the fire risk in domestic property 1949

HO 228/10 The resistance of concrete to explosions and projectiles 1950

HO 228/11 Papers read at the meeting held on 12 April 1950 between the staff of the Civil Defence Staff College, the Civil Defence Schools and the Scientific Adviser's Branch: radioactive ground contamination and civil defence; shelter policy and atomic casualties; problems of civilian morale; the potentialities of nerve gas as a chemical weapon agent 1950

HO 228/13 Papers read at the meeting held on 6-8 November 1950: deaths from the explosion of an atomic bomb more or less powerful than that used at Nagasaki; debris, its distribution and the means of negotiating it; the zoning of towns for fire susceptibility; mustard gas on cities; social and economic effects of German air raids on the UK in World War II; estimates of homeless from atomic, explosive and incendiary bomb attack; the possible economic effects of atomic attack on centres of UK population; the risk of inhaled or ingested fission products compared with the external radiation risk; a problem connected with fallout 1951

HO 228/15 Papers read at the meeting held on 7-9 April 1952: Lessons from incendiary attacks on Hamburg; fireguards, to be or not to be; assessment of an attack on a city area with mustard gas; shadowgraphs; influence of the height of burst on the effects of an atomic bomb; some chemical warfare problems; combined operations; obstruction by debris in city streets after an atomic attack 1952

HO 228/14 Summary of papers read at the meeting held on 16-17 May 1951: possible trend of future developments in atomic weapons; experimental developments in air raid warnings; regional scientific advisers and technical aspects of reconnaissance; decontamination; some aspects of the debris problem arising from an airburst atomic bomb assumed to burst over Trafalgar Square; respirators and protective clothing for civil defence personnel; an appreciation of radiological hazards in time of war; nerve and mustard gas; the atomic bomb as a fire raiser; memorandum on the use of radiation metering instruments in civil defence operations and training; discussion on practical monitoring and the present position regarding policy and organisation 1951

HO 228/16 Report of a conference of the Regional Scientific Advisers for Civil Defence held at the CD Staff College Apr 1953: strategic assumptions for CD; CD aspects of the Monte Bello trial; warning systems and the general public; some factors affecting shelter design and policy; the allowable radiation dose in wartime and its implications; civilian behaviour under air attack; implications of FP (fission products) deposition 1953

HO 228/17 Report of a conference of the Regional Scientific Advisers for Civil Defence held at the CD Staff College 1-3 June 1954: impact of hydrogen bomb on civil defence; a theoretical evacuation study; expected scale of types of attack; thermal effects of the British atomic bomb trials; gamma ray penetration at the Woomera tests; Admiralty gamma ray measurements at Monte Bello and Woomera; the work of the Scientific Advisers in the regions; training of radiac officers; radioactive training grounds; biological warfare; hazards of radioactive contamination from a water burst; agricultural problems resulting from a water burst; recent trends in radiac instrumentation 1954

HO 228/18 Report of a conference of the Regional Scientific Advisers for Civil Defence held at the CD Staff College 23-25 May 1955: the consequences of a thermonuclear explosion; fallout from a groundburst bomb; the characteristics of residual radioactivity; the fallout and the metereological problems; the physiological effects of radiation; the contamination of water supplies; hazards to grazing animals in the period immediately following a nuclear explosion; hazards from fallout to vegetation immediately following a thermonuclear explosion; monitoring and plotting of fallout; problems in the fallout area; technical reconnaissance; leader equipment; concluding discussion 1955

HO 228/20 Report of a conference of the Regional Scientific Advisers for Civil Defence held at the CD Staff College 4-6 June 1957: civil defence policy; fallout prediction from meteorological information; the work of the Radiobiologist Research Unit; introductory talk on fallout plotting; aerial survey and possible applications to civil defence; report on tests on structures, of atomic trials; radiological work during the Buffalo atomic trial; thermal radiation; chemical warfare-training of radiac officers 1957

HO 228/21 Report of a course given to university physics lecturers at the Civil Defence Staff College 8-11 July 1957: nuclear weapons and their effects; blast from nuclear weapons; thermal radiation; biological effects of nuclear radiation; radiological control in the damaged area; control of civil defence forces; protection afforded by buildings against gamma radiation from fallout; meterological aspects of radioactive fallout; fallout plotting; public control in a fallout area; introductory talk on fallout plotting; problems of water contamination; effects of nuclear weapon attack on agriculture and food; radiological decontamination; trends in radiac instrumentation; radiac fallout simulator; assessment of the protection afforded by buildings against gamma radiation from fallout 1957

HO 228/22 Report of the conference of the Regional Scientific Advisers for Civil Defence held at the Civil Defence Staff College 20-22 May 1958: the travel and deposition of radioactivity in the Windscale accident; fallout - an analysis of the most recent data; meteorology and the fallout prediction; fallout plotting and reporting up to the regional level; new plans for the control of civil defence operations; the regional scientific organisation in relation to new operational plans; the effects of ionising radiation on human beings; radiation hazards 1959

HO 227/1 The effect of a limit on the travelling distance allowed between private house and communal buildings on the spectrum of protective factors 1960

HO 227/2 Refuge space in communal buildings of various classes in a sample of six towns 1960

HO 227/6 Estimated casualties from an attack with two 3 megaton bombs on each of 71 different bases, with one 3 megaton bomb on each of 16 cities 1960

HO 227/7 The adaptation of basement garages under new office buildings for use as shelters 1960

HO 227/11 Hamburg shelters: some notes on occupancy, prepared May 1960

HO 227/23 Attenuation of thermal radiation by the atmosphere 1961

HO 227/24 Science in civil defence 1961

HO 227/27 Civil defence studies 1961

HO 227/32 Note by Scientific Adviser's Branch on washdown installations 1960

HO 227/31 Inter-departmental Committee on Shelter against Fallout: the effect on casualties of moving people from bungalows and pre-fabs into communal refuge 1961

HO 227/35 The effect of high explosive bombs on the estimation of ignition ranges for megaton explosions 1961

HO 227/40 Basic assumptions for use in the assessment of the radiological hazard to food from fallout 1962

HO 227/60 Probability of becoming a casualty due to a 3 megaton groundburst weapon having various CEP's as a function of distance from the target 1962

HO 227/53 Day and night populations of the administrative County of London 1962

HO 227/51 The Soviet strategic air threat to the United Kingdom 1962

HO 227/50 The scientific data and basic information required in preparing for protection by shelter against fallout: summary of presentation to NATO Shelter Working Party 1962

HO 227/61 Annuli for calculation of prompt casualties from groundburst bombs 1962

HO 227/62 Some effects of fallout on the operation of mobile fire columns 1962

HO 227/64 Some calculations and tables on the neutron-induced activity in fallout due to soil and sea water 1962

HO 227/65 Delayed fallout in the casualty area 1962

HO 227/72 Glass breakage by blast 1963

HO 227/74 Fallout and radiological counter-measures Vol 1 1963

HO 227/75 Protection of cities against thermal flash: USA feasibility studies 1963

HO 227/78 The implication of clean bombs for civil defence 1964

HO 227/90 The number of fires caused by nuclear attack atmospheric attenuation 1965

HO 227/97 The value of area decontamination in reducing casualties from radioactive fallout 1965

HO 227/100 The protection against fallout radiation afforded by core shelters in a typical British home 1965

HO 227/105 Summary and critical review of the basis of the new Medical Research Council concept on recovery from the effects of gamma radiation 1966

HO 227/106 Distribution of basement fallout shelters by size 1966

HO 227/108 The biological effects of nuclear radiation 1966

HO 227/107 The calculation of fallout risks for a set of localities 1966

HO 227/112 Comments on Management Research Group report: A Review of Biological Warfare 1966

HO 227/114 Extracts from a draft report entitled Operation Antler, the Attenuation of Residual Radiation by Structures 1976

HO 227/121 The beta radiation hazards in fallout 1967

HO 225/1 Some aspects of shelter and dispersal policy to meet atomic attack 1948

HO 225/4 The ‘builtupness’ of Inner London 1948

HO 225/5 An assessment of the effects of an attack on an average area of Inner London with nerve gas 1950

HO 225/115 Report to NATO Shelter Working Party on Fallout Shelters 1962

HO 225/119 Civil defence aspects of radioactive contamination in agricultural produce 1964

HO 225/120 The implications of clean bombs for civil defence 1964

HO 225/121 Ignition and fire spread in urban areas following a nuclear attack 1964

HO 225/125 The behaviour of simulant fallout on roof surfaces covered in polyvinyl chloride 1965

HO 225/128 The psychology of fear 1965

HO 225/129 Civil defence in tall buildings 1965

HO 225/103 Retention of fallout particles on roof surfaces and their removal by washdown with water 1961

HO 225/109 The fire ranges of nuclear explosions in the 10-100 megaton range 1962

HO 225/112 The estimation of ignition ranges for megaton explosions outside the earth's atmosphere 1962
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=1835755&CATLN=6&accessmethod=5

HO 225/114 Chemical protection against effects of ionising radiations 1962

HO 225/113 Report on road decontamination trials carried out at the Fire Service Training Centre, Moreton in Marsh, on 16 February 1962

HO 225/116 Research on blast effects in tunnels with special reference to use of London tubes as shelter 1963

HO 225/117 Experimental determination of protective factors in a semi detached house with or without core shelters 1964

HO 225/130 The energy required for ignition with very short exposure times 1966

HO 225/92 The deployment of civil defence forces into damaged area contaminated by fallout 1959

HO 225/94 Upwind fallout from megaton explosions 1959

HO 225/95 Survey of protection afforded in communal buildings and private houses against radiation from fallout 1959

HO 225/96 The decontamination of residential areas 1959

HO 225/97 Uptake of radioactivity in fire hoses 1959

HO 225/99 The decay of fallout radiation: lecture given at Regional Scientific Advisers' Conference 11 May 1960

HO 225/100 The hazards from direct exposure to fallout in a damaged area 1960

HO 225/101 Downwind fallout area from groundburst megaton explosions 1960

HO 225/68 Protection against gamma radiation from fallout 1956

HO 225/69 The penetration of gamma radiation from a uniform contamination into houses: first report on some field trials 1956

HO 225/30 Atomic warfare in relation to civil defence: lectures given to the staffs of HO Regional Scientific Advisers at AERE, Harwell, 4-6 December 1951

HO 225/31 The standard of protection of trench shelters 1952

HO 225/42 Estimates, for exercise purposes, of the radio-active contamination of land areas from an adjacent underwater explosion 1953

HO 225/45 Gamma radiation dose rates at heights of 3-3000 feet above a uniformly contaminated area 1953

HO 225/46 Basic studies on the casualties and homeless to be expected from heavy air attacks 1953

HO 225/47 The vulnerability of flour mills to atomic attack 1954

HO 225/51 Assumed effects of two atomic bomb explosions in shallow water off the port of Liverpool 1954

HO 225/52 Fatal casualties likely to result from an air attack on UK cities with 20 atomic or hydrogen bombs of varying power 1954

HO 225/58 Seriously injured casualties likely to result from an attack on UK cities with 20 atomic or hydrogen bombs of varying power 1954

HO 225/29 The increase in the number of atomic casualties due to large public gatherings 1952

HO 225/28 Deaths from fire in large scale air attack with special reference to the Hamburg fire storm: report by Kathleen F Earp 1953

HO 225/27 Deaths from fire in large scale air attack with special reference to the Hamburg fire storm 1952

HO 225/26 Some radiological hazards of atomic warfare in relation to civil defence 1951

HO 225/23 The hazard from inhaled fission products in rescue operations after an atomic bomb explosion 1951

HO 225/17 Comparison of day and night population distributions of Birmingham 1950

HO 225/16 The number of atomic bombs equivalent to the last war air attacks on Great Britain and Germany 1950

HO 225/15 Some advantages and disadvantages of a multi-standard shelter scheme 1949
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=1835658&CATLN=6&accessmethod=5

HO 225/14 The advantage of lying prone in reducing the dose of gamma rays from an airburst atomic bomb 1949

HO 225/13 The economic and social effects of the German air attacks on certain British cities 1949

HO 225/12 A comparison between the number of people killed per tonne of bombs during World War I and World War II 1949

HO 225/11 A summary of information on the effect of atmospheric conditions on heat flash, gamma radiation, and blast from an airburst atomic bomb 1949

HO 225/10 The fire risk attendant on the use of blackout curtains during an atomic bomb attack 1949

HO 225/9 Notes on a possible method of defining ‘bulls eye’ areas 1949

HO 225/8 The risk of fire from air attack (prepared for the Working Party on Emergency Fire Fighting) 1949

HO 225/7 The relative advantages of open and closed windows during air attack 1949

HO 225/6 The atomic bomb as a fire raiser: a study of the mechanism of initiation and development 1949

HO 225/5 An assessment of the effects of an attack on an average area of Inner London with nerve gas 1950

HO 225/61 Neptunium-239 as a residual radiation hazard 1955

HO 225/62 The effective energy of fission product gamma radiation 1955

HO 225/64 The protection afforded by trenches and refuge rooms against radioactive ground contamination 1954

HO 225/70 A comparison between observed and calculated protection against fallout radiation 1956

HO 225/71 Numbers of casualties from a groundburst megaton weapon likely to be personally contaminated by radioactive material 1956

HO 225/72 Casualty estimates for ground burst 10 megaton bombs 1956

HO 225/73 The hazard from inhaled fission products in rescue operations after an atomic bomb explosion 1956

HO 225/74 Durability of coated window glass as a heat radiation shield 1956

HO 225/87 Some recent information from USA about fallout from groundburst megaton weapons 1957

‘The evidence from Hiroshima indicates that blast survivors, both injured and uninjured, in buildings later consumed by fire [caused by the blast overturning charcoal braziers used for breakfast in inflammable wooden houses filled with easily ignitable bamboo furnishings and paper screens] were generally able to move to safe areas following the explosion. Of 130 major buildings studied by the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey ... 107 were ultimately burned out ... Of those suffering fire, about 20 percent were burning after the first half hour. The remainder were consumed by fire spread, some as late as 15 hours after the blast. This situation is not unlike the one our computer-based fire spread model described for Detroit.’



- Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, U.S. Department of Defense, DCPA Attack Environment Manual, Chapter 3: What the Planner Needs to Know About Fire Ignition and Spread, report CPG 2-1A3, June 1973, Panel 27.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home