The effects of nuclear weapons. Credible nuclear deterrence, debunking "disarm or be annihilated". Realistic effects and credible nuclear weapon capabilities for deterring or stopping aggressive invasions and attacks which could escalate into major conventional or nuclear wars.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, Chapter 14, Effects on Personnel, 2011 revised edition

Above: some excellent Japanese studies on the good casualty rates in different concrete buildings right beside ground zero in the Hiroshima firestorm are now becoming available, e.g. Koichi Murachi and Takeo Murai, Protection by Concrete Against A-Bomb Radiation Sickness in Hiroshima City, ADA382283, 1953. The graphs shown above use data from Ashley W. Oughterson, et al., The Report of the Joint Commission for the Investigation of the Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan, Volume VI, NP-3041, 1951. See also the data analysis of over 35,000 casualties in L. Wayne Davis, Prediction of Urban Casualties and the Medical Load from a High-Yield Nuclear Burst, Dirkwood Corporation paper DC-P-1060-1 (1968), and the 323 pages long Dirkwood Corporation Analysis of Japanese nuclear casualty data, DC-FR-1054 (AD0653922). Some photos of the typeset version of the formerly secret-classified U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey's May 1947 report 92, The Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, volume 2, have also been published online by the International Center of Photography, which in 2011 finally republished some extracts from the secret reports in Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945. Note that the British National Archives has a printed typescript (not typeset) of the report, which we have quoted (which has different pages numbers), which has nothing to do with the misleading unclassified and widely published 1946 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey report The Effects of the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (which does not contain any of the detailed data collected on the cause of the firestorm, i.e. blast action on charcoal braziers in wooden houses, not heat).

Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945 is a compilation of secret USSBS data and photos for different buildings, starting literally at ground zero: the front cover photo above, of the rubble of brick Shima Surgical Hospital (USSBS building 5), which had appeared in Glasstone and Dolan's 1977 Effects of Nuclear Weapons captioned merely as debris (with no indication of the distance from ground zero!). This was directly below the explosion (the middle of the hospital was 100 feet from ground zero, so the blast wave reached it about half a second after detonation). Parts of walls, many tree stems, and a radio mast remain unvaporized at ground zero. The rubble is not vaporized or melted. Unfortunately, the editors fail to include any of the casualty data listed in DC-FR-1054 (AD0653922) for the many buildings, which was so carefully compiled by the Dirkwood Corporation. So it is a half-baked book, and casualty data for the buildings must be included, to make it less one-sided. It gives misleading impression, since people survived in the many buildings which were later burned out by the firestorm of wooden houses. It's a bit like the tactic of publishing a book full of photos of people who died in a hospital with emotional quotations from those with grievances, as a general anti-hospital propaganda, but claiming to be completely honest and objectively factual about what you do include, while excluding from the book all the key data needed to grasp the survival facts, and hiding away or ignoring the evidence which is vital to real understanding. Only on page 176, do they quote the USSBS secret Hiroshima report's volume 2, pages 126-8:

“Structural damage by blast to multistory, steel- and reinforced concrete-frame structures did not extend beyond 2,000 feet from GZ. The buildings within this radius sustained an average of 12 percent structural damage. The average for all the buildings of this type in Hiroshima was 8 percent.”

These are modern city buildings. The burned out areas in old photos are congested (a roof to ground area of over 40%) wood frame houses. On page 98, they quote the secret 1947 USSBS Hiroshima report, vol 1, pp 13-14 (typeset edition, not the typed manuscript in the UK National Archives at Kew):

“... six persons who had been in reinforced-concrete buildings within 3,200 feet of air zero stated that black cotton blackout curtains were ignited by radiant heat ... but a large proportion of over 1,000 persons questioned was in agreement that a great majority of the original fires was started by debris falling on kitchen charcoal fires, by industrial process fires, or by electric short circuits.”

The book first deals with ground zero, then has a chapter "GZ 1000" giving photos and data on buildings within 1000 feet, then "GZ 2000" detailing the buildings out to 2000 feet, and so on to "GZ 7000+". The most useful illustrations are the enormous (originally fold-out) map of Hiroshima on pages 234-235 (from USSBS Hiroshima, 1947, v2, p96) marking the positions of all 135 major modern buildings surveyed throughout Hiroshima (nobody can make any real sense of photos of damage from Hiroshima without this "SECRET"-marked map which shows locations with respect to ground zero), the building density map again "SECRET" on pages 232-233 (the area burned out around ground zero had an average of 42% area covered with buildings, mainly inflammable wooden ones), and the list of the 135 major buildings on page 247, linking the USSBS number for each building on the maps to the name of the building, e.g. 1 = Red Cross Building, 2 = Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce, 4 = Hiroshima Prefectual Commercial Exhibition Hall (the famous "dome" building 400 feet from ground zero in Hiroshima, preserved and still standing today, with completely insignificant residual radioactive contamination), and 18 = Geibi Bank Company, head office, 1000 feet from ground zero.

Due to secrecy since 1945, the Geibi Bank Company (building 18) has often since 1945 been accidentally confused in some photos with buildings 59, 92 or 110, all of which are "Geibi Bank Company" buildings in Hiroshima:

Building 18: Geibi Bank Company, 5 stories, 1,000 feet from GZ
Building 59: Geibi Bank Company, 3 stories, 4,100 feet from GZ
Building 92: Geibi Bank Company, 2 stories, 1,300 feet from GZ
Building 110: Geibi Bank Company, 2 stories, 5,900 feet from GZ

Because the few photos which originally "leaked out" simply called each of these different buildings the "Geibi Bank Company", confusion naturally reigned. This is a typical example of the fact that until the full truth is told, there is room for confusion, uncertainty, propaganda, fear mongering, and ammunition for "critics" of civil defense to simply point to such "inconsistencies" in order to ignore all of the evidence. The DCPA Attack Environment Manual used the excellent fire-fighting experience of Japanese personnel remaining in the "Geibi Bank Company", within the firestorm in Hiroshima, as a civil defence example. By keeping all the source documents limited in distribution, civil defense evidence can be ignored by the "critics" of civil defense who ignore all the hard-won facts and merely point out apparent "contradictions" in the (incompletely declassified) evidence (due entirely to secrecy and the limited distribution of the full facts).

Above: bar graph of WWII casualty rates is from the Basic methods of protection against high explosive missiles, H.M.S.O., London, 1949; the bombing effectiveness statistics from T. H. O'Brien's excellent, Civil Defence; History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Civil Series, H.M.S.O., 1955. Note that the 1950 U.K. Home Office Scientific Adviser's Branch report The Number of Atomic Bombs Equivalent to the Last War Air Attacks on Great Britain and Germany, CD/SA 16 (National Archives document reference HO 225/16) written by the scientists of the British Mission to Japan like Frank H. Pavry who in 1945 surveyed the damage in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from nuclear weapon, compared that damage to what they had surveyed from conventional bombing in England during World War II. But it was Top Secret until 1958, and then only degraded to Restricted (for another 22 years). It was never published, but formed the backdrop to British civil defence planning.

It found that Hiroshima effects are not directly proportional to the energy of the explosives dropped but that civil defence would massively reduce casualties, concluding that the 60,670 civilians killed by bombing England in World War II was equivalent to the effects from 52 nuclear bombs, while the damage to Germany was equivalent to 330: "This figure for the weight of high explosive equivalent to the atomic bomb for causing casualties increases as the amount of protection of the population increases. Thus for the night raiding conditions on London in the last war, where something like 60% of the population were in houses, 35% in shelter and 5% in the open [firefighters and anti-aircraft gun crews], the number killed in inner London per ton of bombs was 4."
The few megatons of TNT equivalent dropped in World War II in the form of many small bombs was equivalent to a far greater amount of explosive equivalent in the form of a few hundred nuclear weapons, since blast overpressure areas increase not as bomb energy but as only the two-thirds power of energy. e.g. a million tons of separate 1 ton bombs can produce 10 psi peak overpressure over an area of 106 units, while a single 1 megaton blast produces 10 psi peak overpressure over an area of (106)2/3 = 104 units, so 1 megaton in 1 ton bombs is not equivalent to a single 1 megaton explosion, but to 106/104 = 100 separate megaton explosions, thereby negating all crude CND-type and numerically illiterate historian-type comparisons of WWII bomb tonnage to nuclear war (fallout doses don't increase linearly with weapon yield either, because of the increasing average time for fallout to arrive from a higher cloud and over a greater distance, which allows more decay to occur before the fallout is deposited).

Although the blast duration increases for higher yields, the peak wind velocity is unaltered for a given peak overpressure. This only increases the severity of blast damage if the peak velocity and peak overpressure are sufficient to cause damage. If the peak overpressure and peak wind velocity are insufficient to cause damage, then increasing the duration does not affect the result. For example, a dynamic pressure of 1 psi lasting for 1000 seconds gives a dynamic pressure impulse of 1,000 psi-seconds, but will cause no damage if the damage threshold is above 1 psi. UK Civil Defence Manual of Basic Training volume 2, pamphlet 6, "Atomic Weapons" (which carried a Foreword by the Prime Minister, Attlee) explained this clearly on page 12: "The position is that the blast impulse is only the criterion of damage so long as the maximum blast pressure is substantially greater than the static strength of the target, and this is not the case at the limits of damage to normal structures with an atomic bomb." Put another way, if you push against a wall with a force less than the strength of the wall, it won't fall down, regardless of whether you apply your force for a second or a day. Therefore, the blast duration is only important in increasing the damage from nuclear weapons, if the pressure exceeds a damage threshold. Increasing the yield of the explosion spreads out the thermal radiation over a larger period of time, reducing the temperature rise caused by a given total thermal exposure, and giving more time for evasive action (the painfully dazzling brightness of several suns produces automatic evasive action, just as people blink and turn away from a photo flash at night). The blast wave and fallout arrival times increase over larger areas of destruction from higher yields, allowing more evasive action from each effect. Most of the people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki could have ducked from windows before the blast winds blew glass fragments in their faces, had they been prepared for the delayed blast. The Marshallese 115 miles downwind of the 15 megaton Bravo test in 1954 had a 4-6 hours flash-to-fallout time in which to to evacuate or take cover, but were not informed to do either for 2 days. They could have washed the fallout off skin and hair in the ocean to avoid beta burns (the fallout concentration in a body of water is totally trivial compared to that in the small amount of sweat which retains fallout). Widespread effects of weapons are due to "sitting duck" exposures, where no evasive action is taken.

See also HO 228/1, Notes on the occupancy of shelters during attack by V1 weapons on London, 1944 (which found that during V1 cruise missile/doodlebug attacks, 48% of people with outdoor Anderson shelters used them in daytime and 69% at night, compared to higher usage of the more comfortable, dry and warm indoor Morrison table/bed shelters: 69% in daytime, 76% at night) 1948, and HO 225/12, A comparison between the number of people killed per tonne of bombs during World War I and World War II, Secret, 1949 (which found that for for people in shelters, 7 times fewer were killed than outdoors, while for people indoors but not in a shelter, 3.5 times fewer were killed than outdoors; the report also shows that 69.5% or 41 of the 59 people 59 killed in the 13 June 1916 WWI air raid were outdoors, a very different situation to that in WWII!).

Until daytime public air raid warnings and "take cover" advice began in June 1917, aerial bombing was a novelty, so many people stood in the open or stood behind glass windows to observe bombing aircraft or airships dropping bombs (Jones' War in the Air, v3, p179 states that the British Government was worried that people would actually come out into the open to watch the air raids if warnings were sounded). Tables 5 and 6 of HO 225/12, A comparison between the number of people killed per tonne of bombs during World War I and World War II show that in WWII, 5% of people were outdoors, 60% were indoors and 35% were in some kind of shelter, compared to 40% outdoors and 60% indoors for WWI (based on the fact that about 70% of those killed were found outside in the 13 June 1916 air raid). The report also shows that the overcrowded slums in East End of London during WWI had about double the population density that they had in WWII, increasing casualties. The overall statistic of 4.7 people killed per ton of bombs in WWI (1,413 killed by 300 tons of bombs) was ignored by UK Government planners in the 1920s and 30s, who preferred the immense casualty rates for the worst attacks of the war, where slow moving bombers precision bombed completely unprepared civilians. This led to predictions of millions killed, and motivated Chamberlain's attempt to appease the Nazis. In the event, 0.8 people were killed per ton of bombs and missiles dropped on Britain in WWII (60,595 killed by 71,270 tons of weapons). The V2 supersonic rocket produced the highest casualty rate, 2.6 killed per ton of TNT equivalent (2,754 killed by 1,054 V2s landing on Britain), because the first sound from it was the blast wave itself, preventing evasive action (the WWII air raid radar system was for aircraft and was not designed to detect guided rockets travelling through space). (Casualty statistics from: T. H. O'Brien, Civil Defence, HMSO, 1955, Appendices II and III, pp. 677-8, 680.)

Gas scare-mongering in the 1930s forced civil defense in Britain to concentrate on gas in all of the early research, air raid precaution handbooks, the issue of gas masks, etc., so that explosives were largely ignored and Anderson shelters were a last minute adaptation of army field defenses for civilian use. During the Blitz on London, the repeated nightly air raids threatened to disrupt comfortable sleep and Anderson shelters were soon rejected because of the damp from ground water flooding and the cold conditions. A census held in November 1940 discovered that only 27% of Londoners used Anderson shelters, 9% slept in public shelters and 4% used underground railway stations; the remainder were either on duty or asleep at home. So the comfortable indoor "Morrison" table-type shelter was manufactured in March 1941 by Home Secretary Herbert Morrison, containing a sleeping mattress and affording full protection from the collapse of a house and from flying debris. The Morrison shelter piled high with dense materials was tested with cobalt-60 radioactive sources by the same shelter designer, Leader-Williams (still working on civil defence at the Home Office), in 1955 as an indoor nuclear fallout radiation shelter, following the Castle-Bravo H-bomb test. Eventually, this core-shelter idea evolved into the 1980 Protect and Survive handbook. The Home Office also funded test experiments on the London underground tube station tunnels, proving that the fast-moving ground shock and cratering of an explosion intersecting a tunnel automatically seals it off before the air blast is produced, so the tunnels are largely protected against nuclear blast wave. See for example, HO 225/116 Research on blast effects in tunnels with special reference to use of London tubes as shelter, 1963.

Above: Richard M. Titmuss shows in Problems of Social Policy; History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Civil Series (H.M. Stationery Office, 1950, pp. 103 and 172) that in fear of a knock-out bomber attack (predicted by all "next war" fiction writers) at the outbreak of war, Britain from 1-4 September 1939 evacuated 1,473,391 children, mothers, expectant mothers, teachers, and disabled persons into dispersal areas in the countryside (the Anderson Committee report of July 1938 had decided that evacuation was not compulsory, but billeting was compulsory, and a dry-run evacuating nursery children was done by London CC during the Munich crisis of September 1938). No knockout blow arrived (it was the phony war period) and by January 1940 (just four months later), only 572,580 (39%) of the evacuees remained in the evacuation areas. The majority, 900,811 (61%) had returned home, back into the target areas, within 4 months of "crying wolf". However, this return was reversed after the Blitz bombing which lasted from 7 September 1940 to 10 May 1941, when additional 1.6 million were evacuated (Titmuss, pp. 559-63). However, except for dockside warehouses of books and inflammables, incendiaries produced no firestorm, and the universal issue of gas masks and some form of shelter access averted enemy escalation to gas and limited bombing casualty rates. The V1 cruise missile and the V2 rocket each carried a roughly 1 ton warhead. Titmuss's documents the emergence of the welfare state, which began in the health and social services set up during the war to care for both the immense number of target area evacuees and also for persons displaced from their homes and families by air raid destruction. Henry L. Roberts reviewed the book in the October 1951 Foreign Affairs: "Having full access to an enormous quantity of government documents, Mr. Titmuss has selected three leading topics to illustrate the human and social problems faced in the war - the evacuation of mothers and children, the work of the hospital services, and the social consequences of air attack. The book makes a valuable case study for current civil defense efforts." (For a refutation of criticisms, see John Welshman, “Evacuation and Social Policy During the Second World War: Myth and Reality”, 20th Century British History, v9, 1999, issue 1, pp. 28-53. The emergence of the British welfare state from wartime experiences is not an unprecedented example of social change in warfare. For example, women's voting resulted from the employment of women in key industries during the first world war.)

Titmuss shows how the welfare state in Britain arose from the experiences of state welfare and health care logistics, set up originally to support mass evacuation for the evacuees and care for persons who lost homes during air raids, a proof-test of the administrative framework experience Labour needed to back up the socialist policies for the National Health Service and other innovations of Clement Attlee's first post-war Labour government. The social problems of mass evacuation for cities in war was a key part of civil defence. Titmuss's shows that - far from destroying morale and economic viability, and causing pre-emptive enemy bombing or re-targetting on dispersed evacuees - there was no social breakdown but instead positive social reforms, motivated by the experience. (John Welshman's paper, "The Unknown Titmuss", Journal of Social Policy, v. 33, no. 2, pp. 225–247, on page 228 states that Titmuss joined the Eugenics Society in 1937, reforming quack left-wing eugenics into state welfare socialism: "It has been argued he was on the liberal wing of the movement and played a pivotal role in the attempt to get the Society to move away from the old behavioural and hereditarian arguments ... Hilary Rose suggests that Titmuss’s use of the language of national efficiency was ... less concerned with fitness for breeding, than with providing the whole population with a healthy environment ...")

Herman Kahn explained the relevance of the WWII evacuation model to nuclear warfare in his testimony to the U.S. Congressional Hearings, Joint Committee on Defense Production, Civil Preparedness and Limited Nuclear War, 28 April 1976, at pp. 12-13:

“Probably an even better prototype for the situation we are thinking about is pre-World War II. After World War I, much of the world became sick of war, and war became ‘unthinkable’ to most people, particularly in the victorious ‘Allied Powers.’ Strategists and publicists rallied about poison gas and knock-out blows, they thought all the capital cities would be destroyed by poison gas in the first few days of a war. They did not understand the idea of limitations in warfare – of mutual deterrence even after hostilities have broken out. ... With the invasion of Czechoslovakia, everybody got deeply concerned. Then, finally, there was the invasion of Poland, the formal declaration of war and then 7 months of more or less ‘phony war.’ ... We would argue that similar possibilities should be considered today. Nobody is interested in jumping into a nuclear war today. Nobody is going to want to execute the usual picture of nuclear war, in which each side presses every button and goes home. It is extraordinarily difficult to believe such a scenario. ... By the way, evacuations occur not as a result of secret intelligence or in any attempt to try to outrun the missiles or the bombers. The New York Times and the Washington Post provide the warning perhaps days before the attack. People or governments then get frightened and decide to decrease their vulnerability to attack. The idea is, can you exploit such warning if it is printed in the papers?”

In the same 1976 limited nuclear war civil defense hearings, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze (Vice Chair of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey for Hiroshima and Nagasaki damage assessment in 1945), testified at pp. 3-4:

“Mr Chairman, my interest in the questions which this committee is discussing began in 1944 when I was asked to be a director of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey ... appraising the effects of the immense U.S. strategic air effort in World War II. I spent the next 2 years in Europe and then in the Pacific in intensive work ... In the Pacific portion of the survey, as Vice Chairman, I was in effective command of the operation, including the detailed study of the effects of the weapons used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. ... the largest number of our nuclear re-entry vehicles today are Poseidon warheads, each of which has an equivalent megatonnage less than twice that of the weapons used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“At Hiroshima and Nagasaki there was no air-raid warning and very few people availed themselves of the crude civil defense facilities which were available. Most of those that did, even at ground zero, in other words, directly under the explosion, which was at the optimum height of burst, survived. The trains were operating through Hiroshima 2 days after the explosion.”

Herman Kahn on pages 10-11 then gives an important discussion of the originally secret 1957 Gaither Report on civil defense, to which he was an adviser, and which disarmament activists have alleged gave a false Sputnik-era "missile gap" exaggeration that the USSR would have 300 ICBMs by 1960. Kahn points out that it is precisely the job of the defense analyst to err on the side of caution with intelligence assessments and to act before completely rock solid evidence of a threat arrives on your doorstep as a surprise missile attack on all your sitting-duck bomber bases, analogous to Pearl Harbor (the missile gap of USSR ICBM dominance finally became a reality about 15 years after the 1960 date used in the Gaither Report):

“The great contribution of the Gaither Report was to make clear that if the Soviets had 300 missiles and we did not have any kind of warning system, then we might not have 2,000 bombers, because they could be destroyed by a surprise attack while still on the ground. I also made clear, that while the Soviets probably would not have 300 operational missiles in 1960, if they did have them, we would be in trouble – that is, despite the predictions by the Republican administration we did not think they had such a force – but we were not sure. What does one do when the other side may be able to do something in the near future and if one waits until he is certain before reacting, it is too late, while if one reacts early it may turn out to have been unnecessary? Let me also make a remark about a release I saw from this committee which listed a series of predicted gaps which did not occur. In at least half the cases, people were rather clear that the gap might not occur, but they were not sure. But they felt they had to worry about it ahead of time and even make some preparations because they could not afford to wait until all the facts were in. ... Let me ask a question: what do you do if the other side exhibits a weapon system and has the production capability? You are not quite sure what he is going to do. Do you wait until he does it or do you worry about it?”

The civil defense deterrent viewpoint of Kahn and the anti-civil defense fanatics in the Cold War was no different from the situation in the 1930s, when civil defense was also opposed in Britain by idealists who believed in peace at any price. Kahn makes the point in On Thermonuclear War that the outspoken "pacifists" were effectively fellow-travellers with the aggressors, and were doing precisely the work of the enemy, in helping Hitler to coerce Britain's media and public into pro- appeasement policies. Hitler recognised that air war was primarily psychological:

“... Hitler regarded terror attacks on cities as primarily a psychological weapon which he wished to reserve for administering the coup de grace to an already defeated enemy. ... Hitler wanted to avoid a military showdown with Britain; he hoped that after the fall of France she would voluntarily agree to a negotiated settlement, or that she could be coerced into accepting one through the threat of invasion - the famous Sea Lion project - though actually he was doubtful about the success of an invasion and had no intention of carrying it out as long as Britain was still capable of effective resistance. ... The spectacular destruction of London, which would divert world attention from the invasion plan, was Hitler’s way out of this dilemma; it might even, as Goring maintained, prompt Britain to give up. On the British side, the transition to indiscriminate air warfare was gradual, delayed at least partly by moral scruples. But operational problems made it increasingly difficult for Bomber Command to hit precision targets, causing it to drift toward the night bombing of towns believed to contain military objectives.”

- F. M. Sallagar, The Road to Total War: Escalation in World War II, RAND Corporation report R-465-PR, AD688212, April 1969, pp. v-vi.

“... liberal commentator Stuart Chase warned that fleets of airplanes could attack cities with poison gas and chemical explosives so that within hours not even a roach would be left alive. ... Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin told a dismayed House of Commons in 1932 ... ‘The only defense is in offense ...’ The European public grew increasingly frightened. ... during the 1930s gruesome attacks by Japanese bombers in China, by Italian bombers in Ethiopia, and by German bombers in Spain drove home the impression ... Many ideas that became central to debates over nuclear weapons in later decades got a trial run during the 1930s. ... The loudest debate was over civil defense. Some said that gas masks and bomb shelters would dissuade an enemy from launching an attack; others declared that defense against air raids was hopeless, a ruse of the ruling classes to lull the public and keep militarism alive.”

- Dr Spencer R. Weart, Nuclear Fear, Harvard University Press, 1981, pp. 26-7.

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.” - Eisenhower

In the 1930s, civil defense was opposed in Britain as a plot to create war psychology. It was no imaginary plot: si vis pacem para bellum (if you wish for peace, prepare for war) worked in the Cold War, with the Soviet Union forced to return to the arms negotiating table when Reagan continued to build up strength. You cannot negotiate successfully and safely with thugs if you are in a position of weakness. Civil defense is actually most successful when it creates a war psychology which deters opponents from even using weapons of mass destruction in the first place: 12,000 tons of Nazi tabun nerve gas was rendered ineffective by British civil defense precautions such as gas masks, even though they were never 100% foolproof. The classic “survivors envy the dead” anti-civil defense propaganda from Khrushchev was disproved by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, British civil defence experience in WWII, the fact that civil defense actually reduces the risk of the enemy using weapons of mass destruction in the first place as with Nazi nerve gas in WWII, and the fact that Khrushchev was being two-faced because he was pushing ahead with Soviet civil defense. The psychology trick leading to war is not civil defense, but the lies used against it: WWII largely was due to deluded experts who predicted that bombing of cities would cause immediate societal breakdown and capitulation. Churchill said: “The power of an air force is terrific when there is nothing to oppose it.” Churchill also said that human morale is not destroyed by surviving: “Nothing is so exhilarating in life as to be shot at with no result.”

“No one images that coronary care units interfere with efforts to prevent myocardial infarctions, or that forbidding the use of cancer chemotherapy would encourage people to stop smoking. Furthermore, no one proposes to withhold treatment which is only partially effective. Yet, civil defense is dismissed with arguments analogous to these.”

- Dr Jane M. Orient, “Social Vulnerability or Responsible Preparedness? Physicians and Nuclear War”, Arizona Medicine, vo. XL, issue 9, September 1983, pp. 631-2.


Philip J. Dolan’s “Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons”, U.S. Department of Defense, DNA-EM-1, 1972, Chapter 9, ADA955393, “Introduction to Damage Criteria”, contains a section on pages 9-28 to 9-28 called “Survival in Fire Areas”, which states:

“The best documented fire storm in history (but not the one causing the greatest loss of life) occurred in Hamburg, Germany during the night of July 27-28, 1943, as a result of an incendiary raid by Allied forces. Factors that contributed to the fire included the high fuel loading of the area and the large number of buildings ignited within a short period of time. The main raid lasted about 30 minutes. Since the air raid warning and the first high explosive bombs caused most people to seek shelter, few fires were extinguished during the attack. By the time the raid ended, roughly half the buildings in the 5 square-mile fire storm area were burning, many of them intensely. The fire storm developed rapidly and reached its peak in two or three hours. ... Estimates of the number that were killed ranged from about 40,000 to 55,000. ... More surprising than the number killed is the number of survivors. The population of the fire storm area was roughly 280,000. Estimates have been made that about 45,000 were rescued, 53,000 survived in non-basement shelters, and 140,000 either survived in basement shelters or escaped by their own initiative. ... carbon monoxide and excessive heat are the most frequent causes of death ... For most common fuels, one of the last of the reactions is the burning of carbon monoxide to form carbon dioxide near the tips of the flames. If the air supply is limited ... the carbon monoxide will not burn completely. Fumes from the fire will contain a large amount of this tasteless, odorless, toxic gas. Carbon monoxide kills by forming a more stable compound with haemoglobin than either oxygen or carbon dioxide will form. ... Carbon monoxide that is absorbed by the blood reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, and the victim dies from oxygen deficiency. ... A person recovering from a moderate case of carbon monoxide poisoning may feel well while he is resting, but his blood may be unable to supply the oxygen his body needs when he exerts himself. ... victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, apparently in good health, collapsed and died from the strain of walking away from a shelter. ... many of the people who died in the streets of Hamburg were suffering from incipient carbon monoxide poisoning. ... The fire storm area included 19 bunkers designed to hold a total of about 15,000 people. Probably twice this number occupied the bunkers during the fire storm, and all of these people survived.”

Civilisation is built on wars that overthrew slavery, fanatical self-serving dictatorships, and authoritarian imperialistic empires. In the long run, democracy emerges triumphant from the carnage of war, because only in its diversity of ideas, free criticisms of authority, and unchained freethinking are the keys to successful innovation and progress. Idealistic utopian disarmament for pacifism has been promoted at the price of appeasement of coercive dictatorships, at great human cost via “peaceful” evil or “politically correct ethnic cleansing.” So in the long run, social risks from cold-blooded “peaceful” genocide far outweigh risks from deterrence and war.

“No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism.” - Churchill.

“It is too foolish, too fantastic to be thought of in the twentieth century ... No one would do such things. Civilisation has climbed above such perils. The interdependence of nations in trade and traffic, the sense of public law, the Hague Convention, Liberal principles, the Labour party, high finance, Christian charity, common sense have rendered such nightmares impossible.”

– Winston Churchill, The World Crisis, 1923. (Explaining the popular complacency re: mass destruction in 1911.)

The 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Asphyxiating Gases banned the use of “projectiles the sole object of which is the diffusion of asphyxiating or deleterious gases.” But this Hague Declaration didn’t prevent everyone from using gas shells in World War I. Nor did it stop Iraq from using mustard and nerve gas against Kurdish civilians and Iranian soldiers, e.g. at Halabja in 1988. This is not a matter of disarmament: the first gas used effectively in WWI was chlorine, which anyone can easily make by electrolysis of sea water. When the costs of nerve gas production and storage are compared to chlorine, as a threat it is similar overall in terms of being ineffective in stormy weather (due to dispersion) but effective in calms and inversions. That there is no such thing (outside ivory towers) as effective disarmament or arms control was well proved by the rate of secret German re-armament in the 1930s. Nuclear weapons are no longer a secret and have been tested by North Korea and Pakistan. As the untested Hiroshima bomb demonstrated (only the Nagasaki bomb had been tested in New Mexico), you do not need to test a nuclear weapon design before exploding it in a surprise attack. Nuclear reactors for plutonium production are just a matter of natural uranium and a graphite moderator, while uranium enrichment is just a matter of gaseous diffusion through porous nickel tubes, made by submerging a nickel-tin alloy in acid. Both systems could be hidden underground. There is no longer any point in trying to use imaginary secrecy to return to the arms control delusions of the 1930s.

The 9/11 terrorist attacks using hijacked American commercial aircraft in 2001 highlight the perils of trusting peacetime security to the elimination of “visible weapons” threats. The first Nazi bomber aircraft used in war was a converted civilian airliner, a Junkers Ju-52 which on 14 August 1936 bombed and destroyed a Republican battleship in the Spanish Civil War. Such aircraft were used again on 26 April 1937, bombing the town of Guernica, which surrendered without resistance two days later. It is not just a kamikaze or military bomber that can be improvised quickly using peaceful civilian aircraft: Britain actually used the flat-decked civilian container ship SS Atlantic Conveyor as an aircraft carrier for vertical-take off Harrier jet planes and helicopters during the Falklands War. In fact, the first British nuclear weapon test of 3 October 1952 used a 25 kt nuclear bomb inside the hull of a ship specifically to discover the effects of a subversive nuclear attack underwater in a harbor! Furthermore, so far the only people to have used nuclear weapons in a surprise attack were democrats. Despite endless hyperbole, nuclear weapons ended WWII quickly when used, and successfully deterred the USSR.

The nuclear weapons effects exaggeration problem is simply logical morality versus idealistic laws. People rationalize breaking rules by a higher ethical goal, such as the Robin Hood syndrome in criminals. The ethical objective (a more equal distribution of wealth, for example) is used to justify the means. So they prefer to exaggerate the effects of weapons, despite the fact that appeasement of thugs encourages them to seek out precisely the most exaggerated and feared weapons, to use for coercion and extortion. Society needs to face the fact that the only real safeguards to peace in the world are truth about the facts, and preparedness, not relying again upon psychological exaggerations of weapons effects in order to foster 1930s appeasement delusions. Deceptions are no security from surprise attack by fanatical terrorists. Educational psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg has found that peoples go through six stages of ethical development (where stage 4 is observed in wild chimps and baboons):

(1) Conformity to rules and obediance to authority, to avoid punishment.
(2) Conformity to gain rewards.
(3) Conformity to avoid rejection.
(4) Conformity to avoid censure.
(5) Arbitrariness in enforcing rules, for the common good.
(6) Conscious revision and replacement of unhelpful rules.

(Reference: Lawrence Kohlberg, “Stage and Sequence: the Cognitive Development Approach to Socialization,” in D. A. Goslin, Ed., Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research, Rand-McNally, Co., Chicago, 1969, pp. 347-380.)

Above: radiation is natural and we take massive nuclear radiation doses in medicine and natural background from the environmental uranium, thorium, potassium-40, radon, carbon-14, and cosmic rays all the time, without any political moralistic diatribes about natural radiation or assertions nobody should go to the moon where the radiation level is 1 mR/hr at solar minimum, a hundred times the level on the Earth (credit: NRC). Fear-mongering hysterical exaggerations must be ended.

Lying about civil defense did not make the world safe in the 1930s. Likewise, nuclear weapons did prove a success in ending World War II, despite the attempts of popular propaganda to ignore the facts and to pretend it was a ghastly mistake.

Henry Lewis Stimson, U.S. Secretary of War during WWII, “The Decision to Use the Bomb”, Harper’s Magazine, February 1947:

“In recent months there has been much comment about the decision to use atomic bombs in attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. ... from May 1, 1943, until my resignation as Secretary of War on September 21, 1945, I was directly responsible to the President for the administration of the entire undertaking ... On June 1, after its discussions with the Scientific Panel [Dr. A. H. Compton, Dr. Enrico Fermi, Dr. E. O. Lawrence, and Dr. J. R. Oppenheimer], the Interim Committee unanimously adopted the following recommendations:

(1) The bomb should be used against Japan as soon as possible.

(2) It should be used on a dual target plant surrounded by or adjacent to houses and other buildings most susceptible to damage, and

(3) It should be used without prior warning [of the nature of the weapon]. [In case of a misfire or fizzle and to avoid giving Japan the warning necessary to shoot down small groups of B-29s, rather than ignoring them.] One member of the committee, Mr. Bard, later changed his view and dissented from recommendation.

“In reaching these conclusions the Interim Committee carefully considered such alternatives as a detailed advance warning or a demonstration in some uninhabited area. Both of these suggestions were discarded as impractical. They were not regarded as likely to be effective in compelling a surrender of Japan, and both of them involved serious risks. Even the New Mexico test would not give final proof that any given bomb was certain to explode when dropped from an airplane [there is always a small but real statistical risk of natural pre-initiation by cosmic ray neutrons or spontaneous fission neutrons, before a nuclear weapon core has been optimally assembled, causing a very-low yield fizzle]. Nothing would have been more damaging to our effort to obtain surrender than a warning or a demonstration followed by a dud – and this was a real possibility. Furthermore, we had no bombs to waste. It was vital that a sufficient effect be quickly obtained with the few we had. ... On June 16, 1945, after consideration of that memorandum, the Scientific Panel made a report, from which I quote the following paragraphs:

The opinions of our scientific colleagues on the initial use of these weapons are not unanimous: they range from the proposal of a purely technical demonstration to that of the military application best designated to induce surrender. Those who advocate a purely technical demonstration would wish to outlaw the use of atomic weapons, and have feared that if we use the weapons now our position in future negotiations will be prejudiced. Others emphasize the opportunity of saving American lives by immediate military use, and believe that such use will improve the international prospects, in that they are more concerned with the prevention of war than with the elimination of this special weapon. We find ourselves closer to these latter views; we can propose no technical demonstration likely to bring an end to the war; we see no acceptable alternative to direct military use. ...

“In the middle of July 1945, the intelligence section of the War Department General Staff estimated Japanese military strength as follows: in the home islands, slightly under 2,000,000; in Korea, Manchuria, China proper, and Formosa, slightly over 2,000,000; in French Indochina, Thailand, and Burma, over 200,000; in the East Indies area, including the Philippines, over 500,000; in the by-passed Pacific islands, over 100,000. The total strength of the Japanese Army was estimated at about 5,000,000 men. These estimates later proved to be in very close agreement with official Japanese figures. ... The Japanese Army was in much better condition than the Japanese Navy and Air Force. ...

“We were planning an intensified sea and air blockade, and greatly intensified strategic air bombing, through the summer and early fall, to be followed on November 1 by an invasion of the southern island of Kyushu. This would be followed in turn by an invasion of the main island of Honshu in the spring of 1946. The total U.S. military and naval force involved in this grand design was of the order of 5,000,000 men; if all those indirectly concerned are included, it was larger still. We estimated that if we should be forced to carry this plan to its conclusion, the major fighting would not end until the latter part of 1946, at the earliest. I was informed that such operations might be expected to cost over a million casualties, to American forces alone. Additional large losses might be expected among our allies, and, of course, if our campaign were successful and if we could judge by previous experience, enemy casualties would be much larger than our own. ...

“With these considerations in mind, I wrote a memorandum for the President, on July 2 ... Memorandum for the President. July 2, 1945 ... There is reason to believe that the operation for the occupation of Japan following the landing may be a very long, costly, and arduous struggle on our part. The terrain, much of which I have visited several times, has left the impression on my memory of being one which would be susceptible to a last ditch defense such as has been made on Iwo Jima and Okinawa and which of course is very much larger than either of those two areas. ... The Japanese are highly patriotic and certainly susceptible to calls for fanatical resistance to repel an invasion. Once started in actual invasion, we shall in my opinion have to go through with an even more bitter finish fight than in Germany. We shall incur the losses incident to such a war and we shall have to leave the Japanese islands even more thoroughly destroyed than was the case with Germany. This would be due both to the differences in the Japanese and German personal character and the differences in the size and character of the terrain through which the operations will take place. ...

“On July 28 the Premier of Japan, Suzuki, rejected the Potsdam ultimatum by announcing that it was ‘unworthy of public notice.’ In the face of this rejection we could only proceed to demonstrate that the ultimatum had meant exactly what it said ... Had the war continued until the projected invasion on November 1, additional fire raids of B-29’s would have been more destructive of life and property than the very limited number of atomic raids which we could have executed in the same period. But the atomic bomb was more than a weapon of terrible destruction; it was a psychological weapon.

“In March 1945 our Air Force had launched its first great incendiary raid on the Tokyo area. In this raid more damage was done and more casualties were inflicted than was the case at Hiroshima. Hundreds of bombers took part and hundreds of tons of incendiaries were dropped. Similar successive raids burned out a great part of the urban area of Japan, but the Japanese fought on. On August 6 one B‑29 dropped a single atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Three days later a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and the war was over. So far as the Japanese could know, our ability to execute atomic attacks, if necessary by many planes at a time, was unlimited. ... The bomb thus served exactly the purpose we intended. The peace party was able to take the path of surrender, and the whole weight of the Emperor’s prestige was exerted in favor of peace. ...

“My chief purpose was to end the war in victory with the least possible cost in the lives of the men in the armies which I had helped to raise. In the light of the alternatives which, on a fair estimate, were open to us I believe that no man in our position and subject to our responsibilities, holding in his hands a weapon of such possibilities for accomplishing this purpose and saving those lives, could have failed to use it and afterwards looked his countrymen in the face. ... As I look back over the five years of my service as Secretary of War, I see too many stern and heartrending decisions to be willing to pretend that war is anything else than what it is. The face of war is the face of death; death is an inevitable part of every order that a wartime leader gives. ... this deliberate, premeditated destruction was our least abhorrent choice.”

U.S. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson (memorandum to President Truman on 25 April 1945, five days before Hitler's suicide in Berlin): “... it is extremely probable that the future will make it possible for atomic bombs to be constructed by smaller nations or even groups, or at least by a larger nation in a much shorter time. As a result, it is indicated that the future may see a time when such a weapon may be constructed in secret and used suddenly and effectively with devastating power by a willful nation or group against an unsuspecting nation or group of much greater size and material power. With its aid even a very powerful unsuspecting nation might be conquered within a very few days by a very much smaller one.”

This secrecy is relevant to the capabilities of Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and other states today. We cannot predict a surprise attack in detail in advance, since if we were warned, we would prevent the attack taking place. This is the basic reason why civil defense is needed before an attack. As with Pearl Harbor and other surprise attacks, preparations are needed in advance (plans to start preparations when an enemy delivers an advance warning are no use against a surprise attack). Even democratic countries like America and Britain made their decisions to make the bomb in complete secrecy without any referendum or election on the issue. In Britain's case, Roosevelt and Truman (who ordered the production and use of nuclear weapons) were Democrats, and in Britain's case nuclear weapon development was ordered in peacetime by socialist Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee in 1947, despite Britain's enormous economic deficit due to WWII. The proof that secrecy is possible is that the Hiroshima uranium-235 gun assembly nuclear weapon was never tested prior to being dropped in war (only the Nagasaki implosion type bomb was tested in New Mexico). Although America used 125,000 workers to build its Manhattan Project bomb production plants and 65,000 to operate them, this was due to enormous unnecessary redundancy (using four completely different methods, two of which were completely uneconomic) in order to guarantee having a bomb within just 4 years.

Above: Dr J. R. Oppenheimer's 11 May 1945 (over a month before the first nuclear test, and two months before the combat air bursts over Japan) memorandum on the effects of nuclear weapons to Brigadier Farrell. This disproves the notion that nuclear radiation was poorly understood: "During the detonation, radiations are emitted which (unless personnel are shielded) are expected to be injurious within a radius of a mile and lethal within a radius of about six-tenths of a mile. ... If the bomb is delivered during rain, or under conditions of such high humidity that it itself causes rain, it may be expected that most of the active material will be brought down by the rain in the vicinity of the target area." (See also this report.)

The RERF life-span study (LSS) from 1950 to 2000 for leukemia deaths and from 1958 to 1998 for solid cancer occurrence showed that for 49,204 survivors in the leukemia study group, there were an excess of 94 leukemia deaths attributed to radiation, risk of 94/49,204 or 0.191% (above the natural number of cancers in the unexposed control group), and an excess of 848 solid (tumour) cancer deaths in 44,635 survivors, a risk of 848/44,635 or 1.90%. In each case, the excess radiation cancer risk was smaller than the natural risk of 0.22% for leukemia and 15.69% for solid (tumour) cancer deaths. It is significant that the natural cancer death risk was higher than the radiation cancer death risk for both leukemia and solid tumours unless the dose exceeded about 1 Gray (100 R or 100 cGy). E.g., 48% of leukemia deaths from doses of 10-100 R were due to radiation and 52% were natural (a bigger risk than radiation). Likewise, only 16% of solid tumour cancer deaths for doses of 10-100 R were due to radiation:

Above: on 30 July 1945, Manhattan Project chief Major General L. R. Groves issued a Memorandum to Secretary of War Stimson: “The following additional conclusions have been drawn from the test in New Mexico with respect to the probable effects of the combat bomb which will be exploded about 1800 feet in the air ... To persons who are completely unshielded, gamma rays may be lethal to 3500 feet and neutrons to about 2000 feet. ... At New Mexico tanks could have gone through the immediate explosion area at normal speed within thirty minutes after the blast. With the explosion at the expected 1800 feet, we think we could move troops through the area immediately preferably by motor but on foot if desired. The units should be preceded by scouts with simple instruments. ... as we increase our rate of [plutonium] production at the Hanford Engineer Works ... the blast will be smaller due to detonation in advance of the optimum time. But in any event, the explosion should be on the order of thousands of tons. The difficulty arises from an undesirable isotope [plutonium-240, which undergoes 400 spontaneous fissions/second per gram, thus over 1,000 neutrons per gram per second, as Glasstone explains on page 12 of WASH-1037] which is created in greater quantity as the production rate increases. ... In September, we should have three or four bombs. One of these will be made from 235 material and will have smaller effectiveness, about two-thirds that of the test type, but by November we should be able to bring this up to full power. There should be either four or three bombs in October, one of the lesser size. In November there should be at least five bombs and the rate will rise to seven in December ... By some time in November, we should have the effectiveness of the 235 implosion type bomb equal to that of the tested plutonium type. ... By mid-October we could increase the number of bombs slightly by changing our design now to one using both materials in the same bomb. I have not made this change because of the ever present possibilities of difficulties in new designs. We could, if we were wise, change our plans and develop the combination bomb.”

Page 5 of volume 1, issue 2 (dated September 2011) of the U.S. Government's Defense Threat Reduction Agency's DTRIAC (Defense Threat Reduction Information Analysis Center) journal, The Dispatch (original PDF linked here, our copy is linked here in case the original DTRIAC link ever gets corrupted due to future name changes - it used to be DASIAC before becoming DTRIAC) states:

"On 11 March 2011, DTRIAC efforts at updating our understanding of radiation effects on personnel gained greater immediacy when the Tohoku earthquake precipitated a series of large tsunami waves that pounded the east coast of Japan. ...

"The DTRIAC collection contains a wealth of nuclear effects data to include radiation effects on personnel. It is for this reason DTRIAC is supporting key DTRA efforts to develop greater understanding of radiation effects, update key planning documents, and promulgate emerging research throughout the nuclear effects community. The update of EM-1, chapter 14, “Effects on Personnel,” illustrates one key initiative. In the light of the recent incident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan, this revision is even timelier.

"Last updated in 1993, EM-1, chapter 14, requires expansion to capture new research and insights. Sections on combined injury, psychological effects, and modeling and simulation will be added. Our increased understanding of the pathophysiology and treatment of acute radiation sickness (ARS) as the result of time-phased appearance of radiation effects on most organ systems rather than the traditional dose-related response of the hematopoietic, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular/central nervous systems will be reflected. Because of the changing threat environment that directly targets civilian rather than military populations, the effects of demographic factors such as age, gender, and comorbidities on radiation response will be covered.

"Late effects, both stochastic (neoplastic) and deterministic (cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease as well as cataracts) will be discussed. In the past few decades the importance of the cutaneous radiation syndrome has become better understood, and a subsection will be devoted to this as well. The expanded and technically updated chapter will hopefully be of even more value to planners and medical personnel.

"Another significant undertaking is DTRIAC publishing of U.S.-funded, Russian-conducted research on long-term exposure to radiation. This singular research and resulting papers mark a significant contribution to our collective understanding of radiation effects on personnel.

"After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the United States was concerned about the potential for scientists formerly involved in the nuclear weapons program to market their expertise abroad in an effort to make a living. To prevent this, the Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA) participated in initiating cooperative work with scientists and physicians in Russia and Kazakhstan by supporting their continuing work in related fields not involved in weaponry. One of these programs was entitled “Long-Term Evaluation of Irradiated Personnel” and involved the subject of biological effects of radiation from the Former Soviet Union's nuclear weapons program, from start (radiation exposure from fuel generation in reactors) to finish (effects of fallout from atmospheric weapons testing in Kazakhstan on the surrounding populations).

"Twenty-four scientific documents were obtained under contract with the intent to publish these documents and make them available to the worldwide scientific and medical community. The Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, then part of DNA, published 12 of these documents between 1994 and 1998. DTRIAC took the initiative to complete editing and publication of nine of the remaining documents from 2006 to 2008. This international collaborative effort has contributed much valuable information to scientists worldwide."

Some of the Russian nuclear test biological reports referred to have already been declassified and released in summary report DTRA-TR-07-38, as we commented in an earlier post.

The manual EM-1 is Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, a title which may be slightly off-putting to Japanese nuclear industry sentiments, although of course it is the book behind all nuclear industry data, because the radiation effects data from Hiroshima and Nagasaki is based on the DS02 computer calculations of initial nuclear radiation doses for the survivors and casualties which evolved from those which were developed for this book. It's the old story of using 1950s secret nuclear weapon test data to develop and check the model used for neutron and gamma ray scattering in the atmosphere during transmission from bomb to target, with compensations for the expansion of the fireball, the hydrodynamic enhancement due to the negative blast pressure phase (following the shock front), and the cloud rise rate during the fission product gamma dose delivery (it is of course the fireball's rise which actually cuts off the initial radiation arrival rate). The original forerunner of EM-1 was published in secret during the Korean War crisis. In July 1951 the Capabilities of Atomic Weapons, U.S. Army technical manual TM 23-200, was issued as a secret-classified "special supplement to the Effects of Atomic Weapons, prepared for the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project by the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory". Various "page change" revisions and new editions were released as nuclear testing provided more information. It was reclassified Secret - Restricted Data after the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, but under pressure from Britain to share H-bomb testing data, it was downgraded in November 1957 to just Confidential, and traded for British nuclear test effects data (this was prior to - and totally separate from - the major 1958 US-UK agreement to share some strategic nuclear weapon design data, the British Grapple device blueprints exchanged for the U.S. W28 warhead blueprint, etc).

The declassified November 1957 TM 23-200 Capabilities of Atomic Weapons chapter 6 on personnel casualties is linked here, and can be compared to Philip J. Dolan's later revision in the declassified DNA-EM-1 Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons personnel casualties chapter 10 linked here. The fact it was pushed back to chapter 14 in the 1993 revision of EM-1 by Harold L. Brode (editor) shows how EM-1 has become excessively massive, with 22 separate chapters in 1993 on each effect. Each chapter was becoming a book-length treatise in its own right, turning the whole thing into a multi-volume encyclopedia, which negated the original idea of being a portable and user-friendly literature summary. So, after the anti-nuclear activists had that edition declassified (leading to a silly but predictable condemnation of it in the July 1997 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) albeit with deletions of the most sensitive data) under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, John A. Northrop in 1996 edited a single handbook which compiled the key declassified equations, diagrams and tables into the Defense Special Weapons Agency's Handbook of Nuclear Weapon Effects: Calculational Tools Abstracted from DSWA's Effects Manual One (EM-1), sold on in the usual "unclassified yet limited in distribution to the American homeland only" (not for sale to the public here in the UK; despite closer proximity to Iran and Russia). Britain of course had TM 23-200 in 1957 and received Dolan's EM-1 in the 1974-dated NATO edition issued to the AWRE (AWE) and also for civil defense planning at Home Office, as Dr John McAulay explained in his Restricted-classified article "EMP in Proper Perspective", British Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch magazine Fission Fragments, issue No. 21, April 1977, page 18 (declassified in January 2008 under the 30-years-rule):

"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 17 deals with radio frequency signal degradation relevant to communications and radar systems."

One question is, should the revised EM-1 personnel effects chapter 14 be released in full, so that scientists outside the Pentagon and the American security-cleared defense science contractor community, can make use of the information for nuclear reactor "disaster" events, making them even safer than Chernobyl (see our earlier post for a debunking of the LNT and the deliberate thyroid nodule diagnosis "errors" hyped in the media but never corrected in the media when refuted).

After the final public (1977) edition of Glasstone and Dolan's Effects of Nuclear Weapons was issued, a 493-pages long report by M. K. Drake, M. P. Fricke, D. E. Groce, D. C. Kaul, and C. J. Rindfleisch, of Science Applications, Inc., was released which provided further key vital facts: Collateral Damage, DNA-4734Z, ADA071371. We will briefly summarize these key points now. Fig. 3.18 on page 3-61 shows that the mean atomspheric visibility in Northern Europe is 0-10 km, 10-20 km, and 20-50 km for 47%, 38% and 15% of the time, respectively, so the overall mean visibility is (5*0.47)+(15*0.38)+(35*0.15) = 13 km or 8.3 statute miles, much less than the typical 50 miles visibility for the Nevada desert where "successful" thermal ignition nuclear tests were done. Page 5-34 shows that in Hiroshima, 82.9% of the burns were due solely to thermal radiation (as opposed to the firestorm), compared to 90.9% in Nagasaki. Pages 5-37 and 5-61 point out that Glasstone and Dolan's estimates for harmful direct (unscattered) thermal radiation exposure do not take account of either the angle of incidence of the target surface or the effect of smoke or ground "popcorning" dust clouds formed between the target and the fireball.

The first factor requires the thermal exposure to be reduced by the cosine of the angle of incidence of the direct thermal radiation, e.g. cos 0 = 1, while cos 90 degrees = 1. So for the mean angle averaged over one side of a human body (which is curved, not flat): cos 45 degrees = 0.707. The second factor, the dust and smoke cloud created by the early thermal radiation, is clearly visible in nuclear test films which show clouds of smoke and dust rising from the heated ground near a nuclear detonation (i.e. between target or observer, and the fireball). Most thermal instrumentation was located deliberately on high towers to avoid this effect by getting a clear view of the fireball, and the early experimental bias led to film records showing the dust obscuration (rather than the fireball) being discarded in frustration, rather than used to work out the protection factor afforded by the smoke and dust. But some records were obtained on the early Nevada tests of Operation Buster in 1951, showing that for kiloton air bursts over a desert, the smoke and dust reduced the thermal exposure at ground level by 40%. (It would be greater over a darker surface, so placing strips of black plastic below or around windows will create protective smoke screens automatically by thermal ablation.)

Pages 5-85 and 5-86 summarize vital data on glass window fragment hazards from air blast. Because glass fragments from blast broken windows are small, they attain their peak speed very rapidly and the duration of the blast wave or weapon yield has no effect on their velocities for a given peak overpressure. Hence, WWII data from conventional high explosives is also valid for nuclear weapon blast, for the case of window glass. In Britain, the death rate due to hospitalized casualties with high explosive bomb blast (V1 cruise missiles with 1 ton warheads) with glass fragment injuries was only 0.3% (reference: R. C. Bell, "An Analysis of 259 of the Recent Flying Bomb Casualties", British Medical Journal, v2, 1944, pp. 689-692). Page 5-86 of the Collateral Damage report adds:

"For personnel inside structures, the probability of being hit by glass fragments decreases rapidly as a person moves laterally from behind a window. At 25 degrees from the edge of a window pane, the density of glass fragments is approximately one-tenth the density of fragments measured directly behind the window. Since the lateral spread of fragments is not great, the probability of hit decreases rapidly. This was extremely evident in injuries of British civilians during World War II. As the people learned to quit looking out of their windows during bomb raids, the number of glass casualties decreased dramatically (reference: R. C. Bell, "An Analysis of 259 of the Recent Flying Bomb Casualties", British Medical Journal, v2, 1944, pp. 689-692)."

Regarding blast effects, Collateral Damage summarizes the peak blast overpressures required for a 50% risk of lethality for both standing and lying personnel, for impacts, decelerative tumbling and direct air pressure effects on the lungs, in tables 5.27 and 5.29, for weapons of various yields (from conventional 10 ton WWII block busters to nuclear yields). The worst case for standing personnel is impact with a hard surface (like a wall) after being blown along, for which there is a 50% mortality risk at 38 psi peak overpressure for 0.01 kt (10 tons), 22 psi for 0.1 kt, 14 psi for 1 kt, 9 psi for 10 kt, and 6 psi for 100 kt nuclear yield. The peak overpressures are more than doubled for a person lying prone (again for impact on a hard wall surface, the worst case scenario): 79 psi for 0.1 kt, 34 psi for 1 kt, 20 psi for 10 kt, and 12 psi for 100 kt. The reason why the pressures required get smaller for increasing bomb yield, is simply that the time-duration of the blast wave at a fixed peak overpressure increases in proportion to the cube-root of the weapon yield. The longer blast wave at higher yields means that the blast wind blows longer, and accelerates a heavy object to a higher peak velocity before it passes by. A person standing on open terrain (no impact) will merely suffer from "decelerative tumbling", like someone falling from a moving vehicle or motorcycle. The body tends to roll along, minimising injury, or "skipping", as explained on page 5-99:

"If the angle of impact is low, the body will be able to 'skip' along the surface, releasing kinetic energy in a number of impacts and thus minimizing the seriousness of each blow."

Tables 5.27 and 5.29 show that a person standing in open terrain requires a peak overpressure of 68 psi for 50% mortality by decelerative tumbling from 0.1 kt, 33 psi for 1 kt, 21 psi for 10 kt, and 15 psi for 100 kt nuclear yield. But if the person is lying down, over 100 psi is needed for 0.1-1 kt, 43 psi is needed for 10 kt, and 24 psi for 100 kt. For 50% risk of mortality due to direct pressure effects on a person lying prone (radial to ground zero, i.e. either facing towards or away from the explosion), 74 psi is needed for 0.01 kt, 68 psi for 0.1 kt, 64 psi for 1 kt, 63 psi for 10 kt, and 62 psi for 100 kt. Conclusion: simply lying down affords immense protection against blast winds, which blow horizontally.

Table 4.2 on page 4-4 shows that the mean nuclear radiation protection factors for Northern European (e.g. West German) above ground residences are 4.6 for neutrons, and 10.6 for fission product gamma rays (not including the immense benefit Dr Carl F. Miller documents in USNRDL-466 due to low energy Np-239 and U-237 gamma rays which are easier to shield against in H-bomb fallout as explained by Dr Terry Triffet on page 205 of the unclassified June 1959 congressional hearings).

In Hiroshima, some people surviving in concrete buildings near ground zero had glass fragments injuries and were blown over, losing consciousness while the firestorm developed, but still managed to survive. For example, Akiko Takakura survived in the Bank of Japan, about 300 metres from ground zero in Hiroshima, and was knocked unconscious by the blast and received over 100 lacerations to her back from flying glass. By the time she recovered consciousness, it was too late to escape the firestorm, and she received flame burns while staying beside a water pool in the firestorm: “We first thought to escape to the parade grounds, but we couldn’t because there was a huge sheet of fire in front of us. So instead, we squatted down in the street next to a big water pool for fighting fires, which was about the size of this table.”

Irving L. Janis points out in his book Air war and emotional stress, McGraw-Hill, N.Y., 1951, pp. 37-38, that only one instance of hazardous mass panic was recorded after the nuclear attack on Hiroshima, where a group of survivors near a river at Asano Park during the firestorm crowded towards the edge of the water and some of the people at the edge were pushed into the river. This conforms with the evidence from other mass bombing air raids during WWII, where few examples of hazardous panic occurred during actual enemy attacks, although media fear-mongering hysteria over radiation in 1987 has been observed to make 5,000 unexposed people display the symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and even rashes around the face and neck:

“Prior to World War II, the British government assumed that German bombing raids would produce [mass panic] as did U.S. Civil Defense planners in the 1950s. However, an extensive literature review of bombing raids on England, Germany, and Japan found little evidence of mass panic incidents. [Irving L. Janis, Air War and Emotional Stress, RAND Corporation/McGraw-Hill, 1951] ... The power of the mass media to create or magnify mass anxiety has been demonstrated by numerous incidents. ... The most dramatic example is the radiological contamination incident in Goiania, Brazil, in 1987. Scavengers removed a cesium-137 source from an abandoned radiotherapy clinic and dismantled it for scrap metal. ... Only 249 people were contaminated; but to discover them, 112,000 people were screened for radioactive contamination in the first 2 weeks and a total of 125,800 were screened over a 7-month period. Of the first 60,000 screened, 5,000 had symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and rashes around the face and neck. Although these symptoms are consistent with acute radiation sickness, none of the symptomatic people were contaminated. [J. Petterson, “Perception vs. reality of radiological impact: the Goiania model”, Nuclear News v 31, 1988, pp. 84-90.] In the Persian Gulf War, Iraq attacked Israel with Scud missiles. Initially, there was concern that the missiles would contain nerve agent. In a study of people reporting to the emergency room at hospitals in Israel following the initial missile attack, there were 22 people physically injured, 172 psychological casualties, and 171 who injected themselves with atropine for fear that the missiles contained nerve agent.19 Thus, less than 10% of the casualties in the initial missile attack suffered from a physical injury. [A. Bleich, et al., “Psychiatric implications of missile attacks on a Civilian population”, JAMA, v. 268 (1992), pp. 613-5.]”

- LTC Ross H. Pastel, “Collective Behaviors: Mass Panic and Outbreaks of Multiple Unexplained Symptoms”, Military Medicine, Vol. 166 (2001) Supplement 2, pp. 44-46. (ADA400319).

The Bethnal Green Tube disaster in London on 3 March 1943, where 172 people including 62 children were killed in a stampede inside a badly designed, poorly-lit, underground shelter entrance, was a "friendly fire" incident and was not due an enemy air-raid, but instead by the incompetently "secret" testing of very noisy anti-aircraft missiles in nearby Victoria Park. (Bethnal Green Tube station was used purely as an air raid shelter during WWII.) One woman carrying a baby fell over at the an unlit bottom of the narrow stairwell, causing the people behind to trip and fall over them, which blocked the entrance while other people continued to enter in panic as the rockets were fired. The shelter entrance was immediately redesigned and the lighting improved to prevent the tragedy occurring again, as explained in the U.K. Government official World War II history by Terence O'Brien, Civil Defence, H.M. Stationery Office, 1955 (linked here).

“We have shown that common estimates of weapon effects that calculate a ‘radius’ for thermal radiation are clearly misleading for surface bursts in urban environments. In many cases only a few unshadowed vertical surfaces, a small fraction of the area within a thermal damage radius, receive the expected heat flux.”

– R. E. Marrs, W. C. Moss, and B. Whitlock, Thermal Radiation from Nuclear Detonations in Urban Environments, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UCRL-TR-231593, June 2007, page 11.

Above: the Secret-classified May 1947 report No. 92, volume 2, pages 4-6, of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, on the cause of the Hiroshima firestorm, has never been published, and when it is published it will discredit the Stalin-deterring claims in their published propaganda documents, alleging that the firestorm was due to thermal radiation fires, when in fact it was due instead to the overturning of obsolete charcoal braziers in obsolete, overcrowded city-centre wooden housing slums (shown burned down in the many propaganda photos), something irrelevant for all modern cities today:

Six persons who had been in reinforced-concrete buildings within 3,200 feet [975 m] of air zero [i.e., (9752 - 6002)1/2 = 770 m or 2,500 feet ground range] 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....”

America tested the first nuclear weapon on 16 July 1945 in New Mexico, three weeks before Hiroshima. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki missions were timed by U.S. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson to coincide with the expiration of Stalin's deadline for the Soviet Union's declaration of war on Japan. At the 4-11 February 1945 Yalta Conference, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin agreed (in return for Sakhalin and Kurile Islands) that the Soviet Union would declare war on Japan within 3 months of Germany's surrender, which occurred on 8 May 1945, causing Stalin to declare war on Japan on 8 August 1945. The triple effect of the Soviet Union declaring war and the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced an "unconditional surrender" end to the war (Japan's Emperor was permitted to remain). President Truman warned Japan that every single city in Japan would be flattened or burned down with incendiaries if they continued the war:

There is a gradually growing interest in facts, rather than groupthink propaganda and delusional hubris against life-saving civil defense countermeasures:

“The promulgation of unrealistic estimates does the government and the general population a great disservice. People should not be persuaded to believe that a terrorist-initiated nuclear attack is the end of the world. ... People tend to rise to the challenge in adverse situations, but they give up in situations perceived as hopeless. ... Appeasement seldom works in the long term and even appeasement will not prevent every possible attack.”

- Robert C. Harney, “Inaccurate Prediction of Nuclear Weapons Effects and Possible Adverse Influences on Nuclear Terrorism Preparedness”, Homeland Security Affairs, volume V, No. 3, September 2009, pp. 1-19 (quotation from pp. 17-18).

“... before World War II, for example, many of the staffs engaged in estimating the effects of bombing overestimated by large amounts. This was one of the main reasons that at the Munich Conference, and earlier occasions, the British and the French chose appeasement ... Many people object to air and civil defense, not because they underestimate the problem, but because they overestimate it. They think there is nothing significant that can be done to alleviate the consequences ...”

- Herman Kahn, testimony to the Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear War, Hearings before the Special Subcommittee on Radiation, Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, 86th Congress, 22-26 June 1959, Part 1, at pages 883 and 943. (Very large 139 MB PDF file; too large to open directly in most browsers.)

“The benefits of training are confirmed by the remarkable experiences of nine persons who survived the Hiroshima bombing and then fled to Nagasaki in time for the second atomic bomb. They remembered very well what they had done that allowed them to live, and they quickly instructed others in Nagasaki: “Yamaguchi's lecture on A-bomb precautions, he pointed out later, was not lost upon his colleagues. With the young designer's words still fresh in their minds [at the time of the second bombing] they leaped for the cover of desks and tables. “As a result,” said Yamaguchi, “my section staff suffered the least in that building. In other sections there was a heavy toll of serious injuries from flying glass.” (Reference: R. Trumbull, Nine who survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki, New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., 1957.)”

- Dr G. Andrew Mickley, “Psychological Factors in Nuclear Warfare”, Chapter 8 in Textbook of Military Medicine; Part I, Warfare, Weaponry, and the Casualty; Volume 2: Medical Consequences of Nuclear Warfare, U.S. Army, 1989, pp. 184-5.

After studying hundreds of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, Dr. Irving L. Janis reported that the bright flash arriving at light speed ahead of the blast wave allowed them to take evasive action in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a fact ignored in computer models of blast casualties (Psychological Effects of Atomic Bombing, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Publication No. L54-134, 14 May 1954, page 4):

“A substantial proportion of the survivors reacted automatically to the brilliant flash of the A-bomb as a danger signal, even though they knew nothing about the existence of atomic weapons at that time. Some who were not located near ground zero took prompt action – such as falling to a prone position – which minimized exposure to the blast and to the secondary heat waves. In many other cases, however, the opportunity to minimize the danger was missed because the individual remained fixed or because the action which was taken proved to be inappropriate.”

Following this up, Robert Trumbull’s Nine who survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki (E. P. Dutton and Co., N.Y., 1957) interviewed nine of the sixteen who survived both/ of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear explosions (by travelling to Nagasaki immediately after surviving at Hiroshima). The double-survivor Takejira Nishioka (a newspaper publisher) observed in Hiroshima that the blast wave was delayed after the flash, and, being friends with the Governor of Nagasaki Prefecture, tried (but failed) to get permission to send out a warning prior to the Nagasaki nuclear attack that people can avoid being knocked down or hit by horizontally-blasted window glass and debris if they duck and cover on seeing the very bright visible flash.

The advice was experimentally verified in the 37 kt Plumbbob-Priscilla nuclear test of 1957, where a standing dummy and a lying dummy were actually filmed being hit by a 5.3 psi peak overpressure blast wave. The lying dummy was completely unmoved, but the standing dummy was accelerated to 21 ft/s in just 0.5 seconds, and blasted a distance of 22 feet. However, in humans the feet rotate forward (because the centre of the body mass is above mid-height) so the only risk to the head is from the vertical fall, and even this is delayed for the blast duration, giving at least 0.5 second of extra time to use the arms to protect the head. Even in the 43.7 kt Plumbbob-Smoky nuclear test where the dummies were subject to the “precursor” (desert sandstorm blast wave) with a very much higher dynamic pressure impulse, the lying dummy was still only blown half the distance of the standing one.

In 1948, R. H. A. Liston predicted theoretically that a typical standing 76 kg man with a drag coefficient of 0.8 would be hurled 20 feet by a peak overpressure of 7 psi from a 20 kt nuclear detonation. The displacement is roughly proportional to the square of the peak overpressure, due to the dynamic pressure (wind pressure) effect. (R. H. A. Liston, The kinematic effect of blast on a man in the open, ARE Report 1/48, also FWE-224, 1949.)

Because the overpressure of a blast wave immediately engulfs small objects like a man or a glass window fragment, they are not accelerated by overpressure, but by the wind drag force or dynamic pressure. If ground friction is ignored (for standing posture), the dynamic pressure q exerts the force F = ACq (where A is the exposed area and C = 0.8 is the drag coefficient) which is equal to the inertial force ma (Newton’s 2nd law), so: F = ACq = ma. Rearranging this equation gives the acceleration: a = ACq/m, and integrating this acceleration over time (the blast duration) gives a maximum velocity of: v = ACIdynamic/m where Idynamic is the well-known “dynamic pressure impulse” (simply the dynamic pressure integrated over time). American studies designate the term AC/m as the “acceleration coefficient” (0.0061 m2/kg for a standing person or 0.0041 m2/kg for a 4.5 kg rock). But in a built-up area, most people will never even reach this peak velocity, because they will be stopped by obstructions after typically 10 ft, before they have been accelerated to that velocity. Therefore, the injuries will be less serious, due to the reduced velocity at the time of impact.

On 27 September 1956 dummy men were exposed to the 15 kt Buffalo-1 nuclear test at Maralinga (similar yield to Hiroshima). Dummies standing facing the burst were blown 0.35ppsi2 feet, where p is peak overpressure in psi. But the dummies lying facing radially towards or away from ground zero were only blown 10% of this distance, because of (1) the smaller area exposed to the blast wind and dust, and (2) the greater area in contact with the ground, providing frictional resistance against drag. Reference: W. J. H. Butterfield, E. G. Hardy and E. R. Drake Seager, The effects of blast on dummy men exposed in the open, Operation Buffalo, Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, report AWRE-T2/59, 1959 National Archives documents DEFE 16/165. See also report FWE-135, 1957. This was substantiated at the 6 kt Antler-2 nuclear test in 1957 (reference: A. R. F. Martin, The effects of blast on dummies and scout cars, Operation Antler, report AWRE-T6/59, ES 5/270, 1959). See also the research on the reduced blast displacement of lying dummies exposed to large conventional explosions: DASA 2710, illustration below.

For a person lying down facing the burst, the blast winds will be deflected over the person, thus pushing the person downwards and increasing the contact friction between the person and the ground. Gutters, ditches, walls, trees, and telegraph poles can be used to avoid air drag displacement and thermal radiation.

Glasstone and Dolan's 1977 Effects of Nuclear Weapons gives a graph which predicts that a 75 kg human at an initial velocity v m/s will tumble a distance along the ground of 0.18v1.57 metres taking a time of 0.40v0.61 seconds. On 22 December 1942, Harry Griffiths, a 20-year-old pilot, dropped 6 metres from an aircraft travelling at 160 km/hour over the snow and ice frozen Lake St Louis. He survived with just cuts and bruises. Glasstone and Dolan predict a 70 metres skidding distance taking 5.34 seconds. Once a person is in contact with the ground, friction will rapidly reduce the person’s velocity. If the person is stopped too quickly, injury occurs by collision. A person displaced should therefore try to curl up into a ball, pulling the limbs in and covering the head with the arms, and prepare to be slowed gradually by rolling and bouncing along. The instinct to extend the limbs to regain balance may lead to more serious injuries. The report by I. G. Bowen, D. R. Richmond and C. S. White, Translational Effects of Blast Waves, “Minutes of the Tripartite Technical Cooperation Program, Panel N-1, Sub-group N, 14-16 March 1963”, Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 March 1963, states on page 39 shows that the acceleration coefficient for a 76 kg human lying prone aligned with the blast wind is only 12% (0.0063 fts/lb) of that for the same human standing facing the blast (0.052 fts/lb). Page 57 shows that 77% or 23/30 goats survived a blast wave which gave them a velocity of 51-78 ft/sec and a decelerative tumbling displacement of 59-151 ft over grassland. (The proxy of goats in blast displacement was compared to human dummies in the 0.5 kt 1964 Snowball test, see report DASA-1859.)

In 1957, at the 11 kt Plumbbob-Galileo nuclear test (500 ft tower) in the Nevada test site, the debris hazard was scientifically determined. A wall 64 inches (5’ 4”) high, 40 ft long, and 7.5 inches thick was built from 34 lb concrete blocks, facing the blast wave head-on. The wall was hit by a blast wave peak overpressure of 8.7 psi and 0.58 seconds positive phase duration. The geometric mean velocity of the wall debris was 9.75 m/s, and the geometric mean mass of each fragment was 615 grams. While these could cause injury (particularly to standing personnel, who expose a maximum area to flying debris), their mean kinetic energy of E = mv2/2 = 29 Joules is unlikely to prove lethal. A 70 kg person jumping 3 feet (0.914 m) receives a non-fatal impact energy of E = mgh = 70*9.81*0.914 = 630 Joules. The flash of light preceding the blast wave enables evasive action to be taken, getting the head down to avoid flying debris.

Recently declassified and de-limited reports on thermal radiation burns at nuclear tests

Philip J. Dolan Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons DNA-EM-1, 1972, in chapter 10, page 10, states that pain produced by intense thermal radiation provides "a useful tool in warning an individual to evade the thermal pulse."

How much thermal flash radiation does it take to cause dangerous burns? Glasstone and Dolan's unclassified 1977 Effects of Nuclear Weapons is completely contradictory and obfuscating (giving a photo of a Hiroshima soldier surviving thermal burns stated elsewhere to be virtually certain of causing lethal shock) while the still-widely-used 1979 U.S. Office of Technology Assessment report The Effects of Nuclear War lies outright that 7 cal/cm2 is lethal.

Nuclear weapon test report WT-9 was written by Professor Herman E. Pearse of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and was classified Secret in 1951. Which was a shame, because it provided some answers and a debunking of the New England Journal of Medicine nuclear-exaggerations tradition. You see, Pearse had written the first nuclear-exaggerating article in the New England Journal of Medicine, an lavishly illustrated article called "Mechanical and Thermal Injury from the Atomic Bomb", in volume 241, 27 October 1949, pages 647-53. The article claimed falsely that the 70,000 burns survivors (40,000 of which were serious burns) in Hiroshima where people were taken by surprise (going outside or standing near windows to watch the B-29 actually drop the bomb) would destroy America because one single 40% burned gasoline burns patient in 1947 required miles of bandages and gallons of blood plasma. The lie was, of course, that a nuclear bomb is like the 9/11 aircraft and floods every building and every person's clothing with tons of gasoline before ignition. Not so. Pearse was duly shipped out to Eniwetok Atoll with 9 collaborators and a lot of pigs in 1951, courtesy of Uncle Sam, to see the real flash burns danger from the world's then-smallest deliverable nuclear bomb, 47 kt Greenhouse-Easy (detonated atop a 300 ft tower on Enjebi Island, a 2700 lb, 40 inch diameter, 92 point implosion B-5 bomb, with composite plutonium-oralloy core) and the world's first ever small-scale external fusion nuclear bomb, 225 kt Greenhouse-George (detonated atop a 200 ft tower on Eberiru Island, George Gamow's cylindrical implosion 8 ft diameter, 2 ft thick torus).

His report is only now publically available, sixty years later: Herman E. Pearse, Harry D. Kingsley, John A. Schilling, Lewis Hogg (Jr.), and Robert M. Blakney, Thermal Radiation Injury, Scientific Director's Report on Atomic Weapons Tests at Eniwetok, 1951, Operation Greenhouse, Weapon Test Report WT-9, University of Rochester, New York, October 1951, Secret - Security Information, ADA296858. Anesthetized pigs were used which were selected to have a skin response to thermal radiation which correlated closely to human skin.


Table 3.13 shows that the 47 kt Easy test produced:

no burns at all in 6 pigs exposed to 3.6 +/- 0.3 cal/cm2,

while for the 8 pigs exposed to 5.6 +/- 0.3 cal/cm2 2 had no burns, and 6 only had 1st degree burns (sunburn).

A further 6 pigs exposed to 6.9 +/- 0.5 cal/cm2 gave 1 with 1st degree burns, 3 with 2nd degree (blisters) and 2 with 3rd degree burns.

For the 225 kt George test:

5 pigs exposed to 6.3 +/- 0.6 cal/cm2 gave 1 with no burns and 4 with merely 1st degree burns (sunburn),

while for the 9 pigs exposed to 9.1 +/- 0.7 cal/cm2, 1 had no burns, 3 had 1st degree burns (sunburn), and the other 5 had 2nd degree burns (blisters).


On page 30 of WT-9, Pearse reveals that no burns occurred at 9.1 +/- 0.7 cal/cm2 from the 225 kt George nuclear explosion, for pigs dressed in "herringbone twill, sateen, and serge, with and without underwear."

These findings don't exactly substantiate the 1979 U.S. Office of Technology Assessment report The Effects of Nuclear War which alleges that 6.7 cal/cm2 is lethal, despite the photo in Glasstone and Dolan's Effects of Nuclear Weapons 1977 of a Hiroshima soldier at 1.23 mile from ground zero, who survived that with fairly minimal injury, due to a simple tunic and cap:

Above: protection against severe thermal radiation burns by cloth cap and summer uniform of soldier at 1.23 mile from ground zero in Hiroshima, as photographed by the Japanese on 2 October 1945. This pair of photos and this data on the date and distance are taken directly from page 16 of the 30 June 1946 (typeset version) of the U. S. Strategic Bombing Survey unclassified report, The Effects of the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There were 40,000 soldiers in Hiroshima preparing to resist the American invasion when the bomb dropped. The thermal exposure calculated for this soldier by Glasstone and Dolan (The Effects of Nuclear Weapons 3rd ed., 1977, Fig. 12.70 on page 567) is 5.5-6 cal/cm2 assuming 12.5 kt yield, which implies 7.0-7.7 cal/cm2 for the 2002 DS02 dosimetry yield revision of 16 kt. Glasstone and Dolan designate 7.1 cal/cm2 as the thermal flash energy needed for third degree burns (charring) to medium colour skin, 16 kt yield, so this is skin charring on that criterion. Whether this is a "error", a "deterrence enhancing cover-up", or "politically correct Cold War propaganda", it is unhelpful for civil defense planning and advice in a nuclear terrorism disaster. What is needed is reliable data today. By the first-aid "rule of nines" he received only 4.5% body area (face) burns and was able to survive, despite the serious nature of the burns. The widely-cited U.S. Office of Technology Assessment report The Effects of Nuclear War falsely asserts that outdoors 6.7 cal/cm2 is lethal to all exposed, even for nuclear explosion yields higher than at Hiroshima (the thermal energy needed to cause a given burn increases with bomb yield).

But the cover-up story gets worse, much much worse! The experiments didn't end in 1951. The reports go on through every series of nuclear tests, with increasing secrecy and an increasing gap between the secret literature data and the unclassified handouts from the Pentagon to the public and civil defense officials, like Glasstone's 1957-77 Effects of Nuclear Weapons.

Professor Pearse never published these secret nuclear weapon test results in medical journals, so the public remained duped on the thermal burns. He didn't withdraw his 1949 paper of falsehoods from the New England Journal of Medicine or inform the journal editors, who continue to print scare stories claiming that Glasstone's data for bare skin burns for skin at normal incidence to a nuclear fireball in an unobstructed radial line to the fireball, is somehow realistic and to be correlated with the fact that in peacetime accidents, even using hundreds or thousands pints of blood plasma and a hundred thousand specialist burns nurses for a single fatally burned petroleum-soaked automobile accident victim, the person will still die. (The New England Journal of Medicine later published the falsehood that the non-nuclear WWII incendiary firestorm in the medieval 5 story wooden building area of Hamburg has some relevance to modern cities with buildings containing concrete and steel construction, and fire sprinkler systems. This is "clever" propaganda, because most people simply don't understand that an incendiary bomb burns longer than a nuclear explosion fireball lasts, and thus has a better chance of actually igniting something in a building in a real city, which isn't in the tinder-dry Nevada desert, but is usually built around a river, ocean or lake.) Instead Pearse and Kingsley continued publishing completely obfuscating and misleading articles in unclassified journals, such as "Thermal Burns from the Atomic Bomb" in Surgery, Gynecology, and Obstetrics, vol. 98, pp. 385-94, Jan-June 1954, which fails to mention even the existence of the real nuclear test data from WT-9, instead giving useless "data" from laboratory burns which did not have the same pulse shape, thermal radiation spectrum, or any other feature of the thermal pulse from a nuclear explosion.

At Operation Upshot-Knothole in the Nevada in 1953, J. F. Oesterling led project 8.5, Degree and Extent of Burns Under Service Clothing which resulted in the secret report WT-770, Thermal Radiation Protection Afforded Test Animals by fabric Assemblies:

"Of the several summer and winter uniform assemblies evaluated at shots 9 (32 kt Harry) and 10 (15 kt Grable), two exhibited substantial degrees of protection, one of the assemblies, the four-layer temperate, provided protection against thermal burns up to 83 cal/cm2."

So the 1979 claim that 6.7 cal/cm2 is lethal is "slightly misleading"!

What about the soaking of clothing by gasoline like automobile accident victims, which the good old New England Journal of Medicine articles assume also occurs with a nuclear bomb? It's convenient to draw a false analogy with being soaked in burning petrol, you see, because it's so much harder to put the flames out by rolling on the ground or beating the flames out with your arms. Hiroshima lesson:

U. S. Strategic Bombing Survey, Medical Division, The Effects of Atomic Bombs on Health and Medical Services in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, March 1947, page 25:

“A few secondary burns resulted from primary flaming of clothing but many people reported such instances in which they were able to beat the fires out without sustaining burns of the underlying skin.”


The ability of Hiroshima survivors to beat or roll out the flames from dark coloured ignited clothing, thereby preventing any flame burns at the higher thermal exposures is discussed in the U. S. Strategic Bombing Survey, The Effects of the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 19 June 1946:

Page 17: “Uninfected burns healed promptly without any unusual clinical features ... Because of the brief duration of the flash wave and the shielding effects of almost any objects – leaves and clothing as well as buildings – there were many interesting cases of protection. ... The most striking instance was that of a man writing before a window. His hands were seriously burned but his exposed face and neck suffered only slight burns due to the angle of entry of the radiant heat through the window.”

Page 18: “Flash burns were largely confined to exposed areas of the body ...”

Page 19: “A few burns resulted from clothing set afire by the flash wave, but in most cases people were able to beat out such fires without serious injury to the skin.”

Page 21: “Treatment of victims by the Japanese was limited by the lack of medical supplies and facilities. ... Allied doctors used penicillin and plasma with beneficial effects. ... A large percentage of the cases died from secondary disease, such as septic bronchopneumonia or tuberculosis, as a result of lowered resistance. Deaths from radiation began about a week after exposure and reached a peak in three to four weeks. They had practically ceased to occur after seven to eight weeks.”

Page 32: “Clothing ignited, though it could be quickly beaten out, telephone poles charred, thatched roofs of houses caught fire. ... Clothing as well as buildings afforded considerable protection against the flash. Even a clump of grass or tree leaf was on occasion adequate.”

Page 41: “In our planning for the future, if we are realistic, we will prepare to minimize the destructiveness of such attacks, and so organize the economic and administrative life of the nation that no single or small group of successful attacks can paralyze the national organism.”

See also the detailed discussion of easily rolling out nuclear bomb flash ignited clothing in Mass burns: proceedings of a workshop, 13-14 March 1968, where on page 37, the editors write:

"If clothing ignites, education should be so thorough that the immediate reaction is smother the flames.

"Every child should be trained to roll on the floor if his clothes catch fire, and every adult should know how to extinguish flames with the nearest material at hand - his own coat, a rug, or a blanket. They should know, in advance of the actual emergency, the importance of bringing the coat (or whatever else they are using) across the face to fend the flames and smoke away from the vital air passages."

We reviewed this Mass Burns report in full detail last year in the earlier blog post linked here, which also points out the modern field-tested development of plastic kitchen wrap as an emergency countermeasure to speed up burn recovery by reducing the serious risk burns wounds infection and fallout/dust/debris contamination risk, for civil defense rescue workers and first air workers. Most of the horror stories of burns come from the lethal shock which is not a brain reaction but is simply due to fluid loss with full depth skin injury due to 3rd degree skin destruction: the human body is 70% water at a temperature 37 C so it quickly cools and also dries out due to fluid evaporation - leading to a serious fall in body and therefore severe shock - if large areas of skin are destroyed, unless the burned areas are covered with a an evaporation-proof wrapping to reduce the evaporation of fluid.

It is the combination of evaporation of fluid with the cooling of the body due to the evaporation of water from burned tissue, which causes lethal shock. The old "groupthink" medical establishment dogma was to leave the burns wounds uncovered to maximise infection, fluid loss, cooling, shock, and then try to "compensate" by a saline drip, morphine pain-killer, and also pumping in gallons of blood plasma, plus a heavy dose of broad-spectrum antibiotics. The result for large area burns was invariably painful death, after a huge, expensive, and demanding course of treatment. Some of these "doctors" would then use this false "example" in "peer-reviewed" bogus papers: see link here to Jane Orient's article, "Homeland Security for Physicians", Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 11 Number 3 Fall 2006, p. 75, for a published paper which has a discussion of the terrible editorial scams involved. The lesson is that poor treatment and failure with a gasoline soaked peacetime burns victim is somehow as a "proof" that we must surrender to terrorism. No journalist in the mass-media has the guts to confront the New England Medical Journal on this falsehood.

The more realistic solution for civil defense is to cover the full-depth burns wounds with plastic to stop evaporation, infection, cooling, shock, and to avoid the need for massive medical resources per patient in a mass-casualty situation. An even more realistic solution would be to debunk the lies and inform the public of the credible scientific facts on how they can prevent burns in a nuclear terrorism attack. The medical establishment concentrates far too much on trying to deal with preventable problems, and not enough on telling people how to avoid them.

On page 272 of Mass Burns, Dr Eric Wolman of the Committee on Fire Research, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, gave the reason to discredit groupthink anti-civil defense nuclear effects delusions:

"... the people who survive when they are in a tough spot are the ones who want to survive and are sure they can survive."

This is precisely why the public needs to understand the truth about the effects of nuclear weapons, before nuclear terrorism occurs.


Dr Harold L. Brode intelligently explained the actual evidence on the problems of trying to start a firestorm in his RAND Corporation paper P-2745, AD0414345, Thermal Radiation from Nuclear Explosions, August 1963, pages 17-19:

“We have all had the frustrating experience of trying to light a fire with green, moist, or wet wood. Just as wet wood can’t be easily induced to burn, so thick combustibles are not easily ignited. ... Modern plastics tend to smoke and boil – to ablate but not to ignite in sustained burning – while paper trash burns readily. ... Outside the region of extensive blast damage, fires in trash piles, in dry palm trunks, in roof shingles, in auto and household upholstery, drapes, or flammable stores are normally accessible and readily controllable. By the very fact that these fires start from material exposed to the incident light, they can be easily spotted [unlike incendiary bombs falling through house roofs into loft spaces, inaccessible or unnoticed until too late in WWII firestorm air-raids] ...

“The firestorms of Hamburg and Dresden were ... more akin to a bonfire, and the conditions for it are those required for a bonfire. In a bonfire, the rising column of hot air sets up a draft which fans the fire, but at the same time contains it. If there is appreciable surface wind, then the rising column of hot air is swept off and the brisk up-draft is destroyed. A firestorm like the bonfire must have reasonably still air, must have ample fuel, and must have a good start, i.e., the fuel must be burning all over at about the same time.

“Hamburg and Dresden were first bombed with high explosives to break up buildings and then seeded with vast numbers of small fire bombs. ... But this nuclear super-match to light the fires cannot cause a firestorm where there is insufficient fuel or where the topography or weather interferes with the other bonfire requirements. Nagasaki did not develop a firestorm.”

Plumbbob-Priscilla, 1957

What happens from 1957 onwards is that pigs are anesthetized and strapped down prior to a nuclear test and thus unable to roll out the flames, then filmed being slowly burned because they are unable to roll the flames out. The results are then photographed and alleged to have something to do with nuclear weapons effects on human beings. It is not explained why anybody would use a nuclear bomb against people who have been tied down and are unable to roll the flames out. There is a "reductionist error", therefore, in weapon test reports WT-1440 and WT-1441 showing the effects of Plumbbob-Priscilla, 1957, on pigs in uniforms. If you are able to capture the enemy and tie them down, you are unlikely to waste a nuclear bomb on them. Apparently the logic was that the "scientific" thing to do was a highly-artificial highly-controlled experiment, in which pigs were unable to roll out the ignited clothing. These contrived, unnatural and unrealistic results from animals slowly burned to death due to being unable to roll the flames out from trivial ignitions of the surface of clothing facing the fireball, were then used to argue that clothing gives "ambiguous" protection, and for "safety" the protection from clothing must be discounted.

Some interesting data on skin temperature rises from known thermal radiation exposures was obtained at the largest Nevada atmospheric nuclear test, 74 kt Plumbbob-Hood. Report WT-1441 (AD360876) Tables 3.6 and 3.7 show that 16.3 cal/cm2 from Hood caused surface temperature peak rises of 75-81 C for bare light colour skin and 113-114 C for bare dark colour skin, while 4.0 cal/cm2 from Hood caused a 25.2-25.8 C temperature peak rise for bare light skin and a 40 C peak rise for bare dark skin. Table 3.2 in the same report shows that 17.5 cal/cm2 from the 10 kt Plumbbob-Wilson nuclear test caused a 95 C peak temperature rise for bare light skin, and 116 C rise for bare dark skin. Note that 10 kt Wilson had a final thermal pulse peak at 0.11 second after burst, compared to 0.27 second for 74 kt Hood: the longer the time the thermal energy is spread out over, the smaller the peak temperature produced (because surface heat is dissipated into larger volume in the extra time, giving a smaller amount of energy per unit mass, and consequently a smaller temperature rise). Page 12 of the report states that 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burns result from temperature rises of 20, 25 and 35 C, respectively. This seems to be the basis of the thermal burns curves in Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons (which gives no specific literature references).

Page 49 of the Mass Burns symposium:

Dr Edward L. Alpen (U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory): “About this question of the spectral dependence of radiant energy, I think Dr Haynes may have given you the impression that [easily scattered] white light does the trick. There is later work which tends to refute that. ... When you subdivide the spectrum, the most effective energy in producing a flash burn is the infrared above about 1.2 microns.”

This is important because it explains the line-of-sight effects from unscattered infrared radiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki; scattered radiation is entirely visible light because only the fireball region is hot enough to emit infrared radiation. Infrared radiation is absorbed very easily by water vapour and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is not scattered appreciably. Therefore, scattered radiation is not a source for significant flash burns, unless a cloud is so close to the fireball that it is engulfed and heats up to a similar temperature, so that it can radiate burn-causing infrared radiation. In an case, atmospheric water vapour (humidity) cuts the infrared radiation intensity down very rapidly with increasing distance from a nuclear explosion.

Animal data from the 400 kt Russian nuclear test of 12 August 1953

V. A. Logachev and L. A. Mikhalikhina's report, Animal Effects from Soviet Atmospheric Nuclear Tests, U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, DTRA-TR-07-38, December 2007, is all useless apart from the 400 kt thermonuclear test of 12 August 1953, because the remainder of the Russian nuclear weapons test data is lumped into large yield ranges and distance ranges of data from many tests, making it too vague to be useful. (There also seem to be unit conversion errors regarding peak overpressures.) However, the 400 kt test of 1953 is the only nuclear test in its category, so the effects are specific for this test in tables 2, 3, 12, 19 and 20 of the report, which shows that 100% (all 6 animals) exposed to 8-10 cal/cm2 survived blast, thermal and initial nuclear radiation, and only 3 out of 27 animals (11%) exposed to 15-26 cal/cm2 outdoors from this test were killed by blast and thermal radiation effects (13 others in the 27 had nuclear radiation sickness symptoms). Page 14 of the report adds that: "After this shot, lethality of animals on the ground surface was observed within a radius of 2 km. The boundary of the light injury zone was about 3.2 km."

The report also notes on page 57 that after the first Russian nuclear test (22 kt tower detonation, 29 August 1949), the nuclear radiation dose in an IS-3 tank at 500 metres ground range was 85 R (for this data, the report cites V. A. Logachev's article, "Neutron Bomb", in the Soviet Union's Military Review, 1978, No. 1, pp. 115-118). Since this was a carbon-copy of the Trinity American test, the free-field radiation dose is known so the protection factor is determinable.

Smoke screen technology against thermal flash burns and fires from 15 kt Grable nuclear test

At the 15 kt Grable nuclear test in 1953 (a nuclear cannon shell detonated 524 ft above the ground), a smoke screen of 3.8 grams of smoke per square metre was laid down to the east of ground zero using 175 standard smoke pots located 200-300 ft from ground zero, 3 minutes before detonation. The results are of interest for civil defense and also for military protection (smoke screen generators are an ancient military technology, with tanks and soldiers regularly equipped with a variety of very efficient smoke generators for camouflage purposes). The report is by Elmer H. Engquist and Charles W. Forsthoff, Protection Afforded by Operational Smoke Screens Against Thermal Radiation, Operation Upshot-Knothole, Project 8.4-1, WT-768, March 1954, ADA995215.

Grable smoke screen result: at a slant distance of 2238 ft fro the bomb (2166 ft from ground zero) the free-field thermal exposure of 57.5 +/- 5.0 cal/cm2 was reduced to just 0.8 +/- 0.1 cal/cm2 due to the smoke screen east of ground zero (there was no smoke screen to the west due to other experiments). Hence, this simple and not very thick smoke screen stopped 98.6 +/- 0.3 % of the thermal radiation, despite the fact that the wind blew it about and partly dispersed it in the 3 minutes prior to detonation! Smoke screens work as a simple protection against thermal burns and firestorms for wooden buildings with no fire sprinkler systems, like Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It would be possible to cheaply use the same type of smoke screen generators employed on military tanks, in combination with ordinary building fire sprinkler systems, to prevent any fire damage in attacks, if the smoke generators were automated to produce a smoke screen directly outside the windows of school classrooms and offices when an imminent nuclear attack warning was given. Alternatively, window blinds could be closed automatically by suitable electronic devices upon an attack warning signal, or maybe even upon the receipt the EMP and the first flash peak (if the system was fast enough to cut out most of the thermal flash pulse).

The previous post on this blog is highly pertinent to this post, in the sense that we're up against the same kind of deluded "ethical ends-justify-the-lying" from your typical burns specialist who has seen plenty of road accident gasoline soaked burns casualties plus a few Hollywood "nuclear weapons" scare movies, yet are considered experts on nuclear phenomenology, flash burns, civil defense, firestorm risks, etc., by the popular media. It's impossible to overcome peer-review politics on this subject, the bias is just too great. Peer-review politics can be trusted to weed out all the facts, leaving just falsehoods that fit into CND propaganda, like the falsehoods of CND's pro-USSR-"World Peace Council"-propaganda book, Civil Defence: The Cruellest Confidence Trick. Anyone who points out the lies is attacked by the ideologues with a self-righteous arrogant fury against factual information.

Above: overcrowding of highly inflammable wooden houses led to both the 1923 Toyko great fire (caused by an earthquake), and the fires due to efficient incendiary bombing during World War II. "Built-upness" is the percentage of land area actually covered by buildings, and was over 40% in the over-crowded wooden housing areas of Hiroshima where the firestorm began after the blast wave overturned burning charcoal braziers in blast damaged wooden houses. The average inflammable fuel loading over the entire Hiroshima firestorm area was 8 lb/ft2, compared to 32 lb/ft2 reported by H. Brunswig for the Hammerbrook area of the Hamburg fire storm, which had a "built-upness" of up to 67% (AD0616638, original document pages 30-31). Some of the people outdoors (which included many people commuting to work, 15,000 school children, 40,000 soldiers, thousands of Korean "guests" and some prisoners of war) at 8:15 am in Hiroshima, 6 August 1945, were actually tearing down some of the overcrowded, paper screen and bamboo furnishings-filled wooden houses, to try to create "firebreak areas" in the city against the incendiary bombing threat which had been threatened in public broadcasts by President Truman. The small, narrow firebreaks are shown on the USSBS map below:

Jerald E. Hill, Problems of Fire in Nuclear Warfare, RAND Paper P-2414, AD673703, 1961, page 5:

"A survey of 11 Japanese cities indicated that for residential areas with 45% built-upness, 72% of the exposed areas burned. With 30.6% built-upness, 46% burned, and with 15.5% built-upness, 20% burned."

The overcrowding simply increased the probability of primary ignitions spreading to other houses (secondary ignitions) by wind-carried fire-brands, before survivors could put the flames out with sand-buckets or water. Modern cities don't contain large expanses of over-crowded, highly-inflammable wooden houses! Hill continues on page 11:

"It is important to point out that, if an enemy chooses to surface burst his weapons in order to cover large areas with high levels of fallout radiation, he cannot at the same time achieve the maximum area of primary ignition that would result from the same weapons, air burst, because part of the thermal energy is absorbed in the ground and debris from the crater which mixes with the fireball. Also the area of shadows cast by hills, buildings, etc., would be greater so that fewer potential sources of primary ignition would be exposed to direct thermal radiation."

Above: firestorms and other mass fires of incendiary and nuclear weapons, from T. E. Lommasson, Fire Casualty Study, Dirkwood Corp., DC-WP-1040-1, AD-827 029/0, 1964, as summarized on page 8 of A. J. Pryor and C. H. Yuill, Mass Fire Life Hazard, Southwest Research Institute, AD0642790, 1966, which points out on page 7 that 91,334 people were killed in the Tokyo/Yokahama fire of 1923, caused by an earthquake overturning charcoal braziers in wooden homes, as occurred in Hiroshima; this sets the data in this table in context of the far greater hazards due to natural events, than occur using the best incendiaries available in a war.

Table 18 of A. J. Pryor and C. H. Yuill, Mass Fire Life Hazard, Southwest Research Institute, AD0642790 compares in great detail the actual survival statistics from a wide range of individual shelters at known locations with the firestorm area of Hamburg, as reported by three different independent investigation teams who surveyed the damage (H. Bond's Fire and the Air War, U.S. National Fire Protection Association, 262 pages, 1946; 316 separate volumes of U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey reports dated 1946-7, both unclassified and secret volumes, including Fire Raids in German Cities, The Effects of Strategic Bombing on Health and Medical Care in Germany, A Detailed Study of the Effects of Area Bombing on Hamburg, Final Report - Civilian Defense Division, A Detailed Study of the Area Bombing of Darmstadt, Effects of Incendiary Bomb Attacks on Japan; and finally the December 1943 reports and report appendices by the Police President of Hamburg, Kehrl, Report by the Police President and Local Air Protection Leader of Hamburg on the Large Scale Raids on Hamburg in July and August 1943, Experiences in the Building of Air Raid Shelters).

Table 18 shows no deaths in private air-raid shelters, no deaths from heat or carbon monoxide fumes in any splinterproof and bombproof buildings and shelters (out of 14 of these shelters, deaths from falling concrete debris from high explosive bombs, not fire, only occurred in 6 of the 14 shelters: these six shelters had fatalities of 1/52, 12/150, 1/300, 3/3, 23/35, and 2/2, respectively), while only 3 out of 8 public air-raid shelters had any deaths from fumes and carbon monoxide poisoning (the dead being 15/65 dead, 67/97, and 23/53, respectively).
Note that as in Hiroshima, the peak intensity of the Hamburg firestorm occurred 2-3 hours after the attack, because wooden houses in normal humidity (water content) take a long time to really get burning (it's quicker in low humidity desert conditions, e.g. the Nevada desert nuclear tests). This delay time gives most people the opportunity to escape or to seek cover from the heat.

See also George R. Stanbury's paper Ignition and Fire Spread in Urban Areas Following a Nuclear Attack, Scientific Advisory Branch CD/SA/121, U.K. National Archives document HO 225/121, Tripartite Thermal Effects Symposium, October 1964. Stanbury found that the Hamburg firestorm started because the incendiary bombing initially ignited 2/3rds of houses in the firestorm area within 20 minutes, 2,500 fires per square mile. These initial fires then spread to include all buildings. No firestorms occurred in cities where 20% or fewer of the buildings were initially ignited. At least 50% of buildings need to be on fire to cause a devastating Hamburg-type firestorm. (Compare this figure to just 2% of buildings ignited at a peak overpressure of 2 psi in the 1979 Office of Technology Assessment report, The Effects of Nuclear War. Nuclear weapons which are surface burst for fallout in an urban area where the thermal flash is shadowed by most buildings, simply cannot set alight anywhere near enough buildings to cause a firestorm, even if the buildings were wooden with no fire sprinkler systems, like Hiroshima and the medieval portion of Hamburg.) WWII incendiary air raid analyst Stanbury - who also did the civil defence nuclear weapons effects research at Britain's first nuclear weapon test (Operation Hurricane, Monte Bello) also lambasted ignorant "academic" firestorm hype in his article "The Fire Hazard from Nuclear Weapons", published in Fission Fragments, No. 3, August 1962, pp. 22-6:

"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 ..."

Once a firestorm in an overcrowded wooden medieval city reaches its maximum intensity, 2-3 hours after starting, people can be killed in the streets by the radiant heat, but most people in the basements of burning wooden buildings get exposed to some carbon monoxide poisoning which saturates red blood cells by binding rigidly to haemoglobin. Those red blood cells are then useless for carrying oxygen until they are replaced naturally with fresh cells (red blood cells have an average life of 120 days, and are thus being continuously replaced). The problem in Hamburg is that people in the basements of wooden buildings (basically massive bonfires) gradually became poisoned by carbon monoxide and when the heat forced them to leave and try to run away from burning streets, the poor delivery of oxygen by the blood caused heart failure. The carbon monoxide wasn't at a poisonous level for resting personnel: they died from oxygen exhaustion when they came out and tried to run, because their red blood cells have been gradually rendered unable to deliver oxygen by becoming bound to carbon monoxide (which chemically "looks" like oxygen, but is poisonous). This is explained in more detail by Philip J. Dolan in Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, EM-1, chapter 9, Damage Criteria, Survival in Fire Areas, pages 9-28 to 9-31, linked here.

The actual heat problem of hot air is therefore grossly exaggerated in lying propaganda about Hamburg, as compared to well-known burns from hot steam where the latent heat of condensation of steam delivers 700 times more energy to skin than hot air does at the same temperature (which is why you can briefly put your hand into the hot air of an oven without a burn, but get quickly burned by steam):

"Air at 100 C will transport to the skin about 0.007 cal/cm2-sec, and steam at 100 C will transport about 5 cal/cm2-sec. This 700-fold increase ... is due to the latent heat [energy from] condensation of steam. This is why steam is an enormously greater hazard than hot air in the production of heat injury (F. C. Henriques, Jr., and A. R. Moritz, Studies of Thermal Injury, I. The conduction of heat to and through skin and the temperatures attained therein, in the American Journal of Pathology, v23, 1947, p18)."

- A. J. Pryor, and C. H. Yuill, Mass Fire Life Hazard, Southwest Research Institute, AD0642790, 1966, page 47.

This is vital for understanding that steam burns from steam at 100 C have nothing to do with the effects of hot air at 100 C; hot air is 700 times less of a threat than steam at similar temperature:

Above: hot air is 700 times less likely to cause a thermal burn than steam at the same temperature, so your experience of being burned by the latent heat of condensation of steam from a boiling kettle is irrelevant to the burns threat from hot air in the case of heat convection from clothing heated by the thermal flash, or hot air and dust from the thermal "pre-shock thermal layer" or blast "precursor".

Recovery from incendiary and nuclear firestorms

Russell R. Dynes summarizes the effects and rapid response and recovery of firestorm and nuclear weapon destruction in Hamburg (incendiary firestorm, 1943) and Hiroshima (nuclear weapon firestorm, 1945), prior to the arrival of any significant outside help, in his 2002 University of Delaware Disaster Research Center Preliminary Paper number 326, Finding Order in Disorder: Continuities in the 9/11 Response:

“The primary case study here is Hamburg, Germany in late July 1943. Hamburg, with perhaps 2,000,000 persons in the metropolitan area, was an industrial and port city and a prime bombing target. While it remained a target over the course of the war, in late July 1943 over two days and nights, over 2,300 heavy bombers, primarily RAF, dropped over 7,200 tons of explosive and incendiary bombs on the city. The bombing created a fire storm, killing from 30,000 to 45,000 residents, destroying over 56 percent of the housing and leaving over 900,000 homeless. The number of civilian causalities here were nearly as great as the number of British casualties from all of the German air raids of the war. Hamburg responded in the following way: “Hamburg basically saw itself through this immediate post raid period under its local leadership and using its local resources. Essential services were restored; water was the first priority. Vast tonnages of debris were cleared from the streets. The remaining fires were extinguished. Hundreds of unexploded bombs had to be located and defused.” (Source: Martin Middlebrook, The Battle of Hamburg, London: Allen Lane, 1980, p.355)

“In addition to fighting fires, members of the fire brigade rescued over 18,000 people, freeing over 6,000 trapped in air raid shelters and digging several hundred out of the rubble. The First Aid services attended to 1,772 people on the spot and took 6,700 to emergency centers where over 25,000 persons were treated. On the fourth day, telegraph services were restored; on the 8 th day, some mail was delivered; on the 12 th day, outgoing mail was restored; on the seventh day, the activities of the Central bank was re-established and on the 13 th day stock and commodity exchanges reopened. In the first week, wartime rationing of food was abolished but community kitchens were established which fed from 5 to 11 percent of the population. After the second night of the bombing, July 27 th, authorities ordered all non- essential workers to evacuate the city. Estimates of the number evacuated range from 4 900,000 to 1,200,000, most of who had had their houses destroyed. But recovery activities continued. “At the end of the two months, the bodies of 30,000 had been recovered, 170 miles of choked streets had been cleared, 4559 ruined house demolished and 3109 dangerous house facades leveled.” (Source: Hans Rumpf, The Bombing of Germany, New York: Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 1963, p.91)

“Writing some four months after the raid in a detailed report of the response activities, the Police President commented in the following way: “The conduct of the population, which at no time and nowhere showed panic or even signs of panic, as well as their work, was worthy of the magnitude of this disaster. It was in conformity with the Hanseatic spirit and character, that during the raids, friendly assistance and obligation found expression after the raids an irresistible will to rebuild.” (Source: Report by Police President and Local Air Protection Leader of Hamburg on the Large Scale Raids on Hamburg in July and August 1943,London, Home Office, Civil Defense Department, Intelligence Branch, January 1946, p.23). Middlebrook reports: “Life returned to Hamburg soon after the bombings when approximately half of the evacuees returned before winter. All available accommodations were packed and many people lived in the basement of ruined houses or in garden sheds on the city outskirts. Many would live this way until the end of the war. ... Factories reopened, commerce resumed and Hamburg became a living community in an extraordinary swift time.” (Source: Martin Middlebrook, The Battle of Hamburg, London: Allen Lane, 1980, p.359) By September 1 st, over half of the 9400 employed in the shipyards were back at work and in five months the city was back to 80 percent of industrial production. After the end of the war, by 1950, Hamburg has recovered its pre-war population. Was Hamburg a unique case? No.

“Two years later, Aug, 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, a city of 245,000 which left 75,000 dead and an equivalent number injured. The day after, the military planning board met to determine responsibility for restoration among the mayor, the governor of the prefecture and the 5 remaining military forces in the city. That day, power had been restored to some areas of the city. The Branch of the Bank of Japan began making payments. Trolley lines leading to the city had been cleared. The next day, several priority government telephone circuits were restored and the railroad tracks above and below the city were open to traffic. The sixth day, food rationing was re-established and on the 10th day, Mitsubishi Machine and Shipbuilding Company resumed operations with 70 percent of their employees reporting. The city was eventually rebuilt with a larger population, 380,000 in 1957, and with expanded industries and a new university. (Source: Charles Fritz, Individual and Group Reactions to Disaster, unpublished mss, Newark, DE: Disaster Research Center Library, 1960.) In each of these communities, while many people were engaged in what might be called survival and immediate relief activities: rescue, medical treatment, burial, emergency housing, many others were involved in the establishment of normal community facilities and functions. The actual experience in Hamburg and Hiroshima is in sharp contrast with the expectation of what the results should have been, for some: the disorganization of social life.”

Incendiary napalm firebombing in the Korean War, 1950-3

“In 1951 young Samuel Cohen, on a secret assignment for the US Defence Department, observed the battles for the second recapture of Seoul and thought there should be a way to destroy the enemy without destroying the city. He became the father of the neutron bomb.” [Cohen wanted the neutron bomb to deter and end aggression, and eliminate civilian collateral damage in warfare.]

- Bruce Cumings, “Why Did Truman Really Fire MacArthur? ... The Obscure History of Nuclear Weapons and the Korean War Provides the Answer”, Le Monde Diplomatique, December 2004

The incendiary bomb is more effective at starting fires than the brief thermal flash of a nuclear explosion, because it burns for longer (15 minutes) allowing the wood to heat up to ignition temperature (when the hot wood emits inflammable vapour that burns). A nuclear burst just ablates a fraction of a millimetre of the surface to create a smoke screen that protects the underlying wood from the rest of the thermal pulse exposure. If you increase the nuclear yield to make the thermal pulse last longer, this smokescreen still prevents ignition at the intense thermal exposures ideally required to overcome heat dissipation and reach ignition temperature. Civil defence was highly effective at negating the effects of incendiary bombing in World War II: civilian populations were instructed on how to extinguish incendiary bombs of different types - magnesium, thermite (iron oxide and aluminium powder), and phosphorus - before a serious fire occurred. The German Brandbombe B1 was a commonplace 1 kg incendiary bomblet manufactured in immense numbers for Hitler’s war stockpile in 1936 (three years before London was at war). Yet it was a military failure in the end, being fought by school kids and pensioners in London, because there were far too many of them dropped in Blitz air raids for the fire brigade to deal with (despite the idealism in the following 1940 pre-Blitz film):

Therefore, the enemy made efforts to drop various kinds of high explosive and fragmentation anti-personnel bombs as well during incendiary attacks, sometimes with delayed fuses, to interfere with fire-fighting, and allow time for fires to get started. Finally, a new sticky petroleum jelly incendiary agent was developed at the end of the war, napalm, which was an anti-personnel weapon in its own right. Napalm was designed to efficiently set wooden buildings alight, and was used for this purpose in the Korean and Vietnam wars, although collateral damage to civilians was serious when insurgents and combatants were located in civilian villages and cities. Cloud cover forced B-29 target bombing by radar, for example 500 tons of napalm were dropped by radar location on Hungnam on 31 July 1950, and 550 tons on Sinuiju on 8 November 1950. China entered the war on North Korea’s side, setting up a MIG-15 airbase in Manchuria which shot down three American B-29s on 23 October 1951. America lost 1,466 aircraft in the Korean War while dropping 635,000 tons of bombs, more than the 503,000 tons America dropped in the Pacific theatre of war during World War II (reference: Hugh Dean, The Korean War, China Books, 1999, p. 151).

“On 9 July 1950 - just two weeks into the war, it is worth remembering - MacArthur sent Ridgway a hot message that prompted the joint chiefs of staff (JCS) ‘to consider whether or not A-bombs should be made available to MacArthur.’ The chief of operations, General Charles Bolte, was asked to talk to MacArthur about using atomic bombs ‘in direct support [of] ground combat.’ Bolte thought 10-20 such bombs could be spared for Korea without unduly jeopardising US global war capabilities. ... At a famous news conference on 30 November President Harry Truman threatened use of the atomic bomb, saying the US might use any weapon in its arsenal. ... Washington was not worried that the Russians would respond with atomic weapons because the US possessed at least 450 bombs and the Soviets only 25. On 9 December MacArthur said that he wanted commander’s discretion to use atomic weapons in the Korean theatre. On 24 December he submitted ‘a list of retardation targets’ for which he required 26 atomic bombs. He also wanted four to drop on the ‘invasion forces’ and four more for ‘critical concentrations of enemy air power.’ ... Although Ridgway said nothing about a cobalt bomb, in May 1951, after replacing MacArthur as US commander in Korea, he renewed MacArthur’s request of 24 December, this time for 38 atomic bombs. ... The US came closest to using atomic weapons in April 1951, when Truman removed MacArthur. ... On 10 March 1951 MacArthur asked for a ‘D-Day atomic capability’ to retain air superiority in the Korean theatre, after the Chinese massed huge new forces near the Korean border and after the Russians put 200 bombers into airbases in Manchuria (from which they could strike not just Korea but also US bases in Japan). ... Robert Oppenheimer, former director of the Manhattan Project, was involved in Project Vista, designed to gauge the feasibility of the tactical use of atomic weapons.”

- Bruce Cumings, “Why Did Truman Really Fire MacArthur? ... The Obscure History of Nuclear Weapons and the Korean War Provides the Answer”, Le Monde Diplomatique, December 2004.

Dangerous delusions of nuclear weapons propaganda, the 1979 entirely false Office of Technology Assessment hogwash report, The Effects of Nuclear War:

U. S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment in 1979 issued a falsehood filled report, “The Effects of Nuclear War”:

Page 21: “Third-degree burns over 24 percent of the body, or second-degree burns over 30 percent of the body, will result in serious shock, and will probably prove fatal unless prompt, specialized medical care is available. The entire United States has facilities to treat 1,000 or 2,000 severe burn cases; a single nuclear weapon could produce more than 10,000.”

Table 5 states: “These calculations arbitrarily assume that exposure to more than 6.7 cal/cm2 produces eventual death and exposure to more than 3.4 cal/cm2 produces a significant injury, requiring specialized medical treatment.”


Page 33: “Burn victims will number in the tens of thousands; yet in 1977 there were only 85 specialized burn centers, with probably 1,000 to 2,000 beds, in the entire United States.”


Page 21:

“The best estimates are that at the 5-psi level about 10 percent of all buildings would sustain a serious fire, while at 2 psi about 2 percent would have serious fires, usually arising from secondary sources such as blast-damaged utilities rather than direct thermal radiation.”


Page 22:

“Some believe that firestorms in U.S. or Soviet cities are unlikely because the density of flammable materials (“fuel loading”) is too low–the ignition of a firestorm is thought to require a fuel loading of at least 8 lbs/ft2 (Hamburg had 32), compared to fuel loading of 2 lbs/ft2 in a typical U.S. suburb and 5 lbs/ft2 in a neighborhood of two story brick rowhouses.”


On page 30 the report shows a misleading photo of the 5 psi house from Apple 2 in 1955, from an angle which makes the building appear to have completely collapsed. But another photo of the same house in ENW 1957 shows that although the exterior walls were blown out (this is seen in the movie of the house exploding), it did not collapse completely and the staircase survived. At higher yields, gravity (downward weight) remains the same, as does the peak horizontal wind velocity for any given peak overpressure, but it lasts for a longer period of time, carrying debris like the roof downwind, instead of allowing all the debris to fall on the prone occupants. Therefore, the mass of debris landing per unit area is reduced.

In particular, tough concrete modern city buildings will generally be exposed to the higher overpressures near the ground zero, and the lighter construction buildings will be miles away in the suburbs, and therefore exposed to weakened blast waves which take a considerable period of time to arrive after the flash of the explosion has warned people outdoors or behind windows to get down to avoid the blast effects which are delayed after the flash.

Some vital Cold War research into firestorms has now been declassified and published on the internet. See J. A. Keller's A Study of World War II German Fire Fatalities, DC-TN-1050-3, 1966 (linked here), and also AD094651, PVTM-16, Fire Spread in Urban Areas, 1955, Confidential (linked here).

Review of Jack C. Rogers and T. Miller, Survey of the Thermal Threat of Nuclear Weapons, secret report prepare for the U.S. Office of Civil Defense by Stanford Research Institute, November 1963 extracted version (secret diagrams and text deleted), AD602947:

The version of the document reviewed here is the PDF file located here (note that the PDF page numbers do no match the printed report page numbers; we use the latter below).

Page 1:
"In Germany, fire caused approximately 80% of the total [WWII] structural damage to cities attacked by airborne weapons; the 54 principal cities had a median of 40% destruction, most of which was caused by fire. ... In Japan ... 67 Japanese cities experienced a median of 48% destruction."

Page 6:
"In the Hamburg firestorm ... not a single casualty was reported in 19% of the population that sought shelter in bunkers and splinterproof shelters (Earp, 1953)."

Page 19:
"When the moisture content of heavy wooden materials is greater than about 15 to 16 percent, these heavier members are difficult to ignite and incapable of propagating a vigorous fire."

Page B-75 (Table B-VII):

Comparison of the totally delusional and wrong thermal flash ignition data from Glasstone's June 1957 and April 1962 editions of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons with the humidity-corrected data from S. B. Martin, On Predicting the Ignition Susceptibility of Typical Kindling Fuels to Ignition by the Thermal Radiation from Nuclear Detonations, U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, USNRDL-TR-367 (AFSWP-1135), April 1959. This led Glasstone to issue a correction in the February 1964 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, but it was far too late to stop the thousands of false articles, books, congressional hearings, and general anti-civil defense public prejudices due to hyping of the incorrect data by anti-civil defense ranting fanatics.

Executive Office of the President, National Security Resources Board, NSRB Doc. 132, Fire Effects of Bombing Attacks, August 1951, pages 8 and 24: “The central portions of German cities had a building density (the ratio of roof area to ground area) of approximately 40% and made excellent targets for incendiary attack. ... The average German city contained at its core a medieval town which was closely built up with narrow and winding streets. ... in Hiroshima ... Black cotton [air raid] black out curtains were ignited by radiant heat within 3,200 feet ... A large proportion of over 1,000 persons questioned were in agreement that a great majority of the original fires were started by debris falling on kitchen charcoal fires, by industrial process fires, or by electrical short circuits [in the era before any modern efficient electrical circuit breakers, or fire sprinklers].”

Above: Hamburg's medieval wooden area burned out after the July 1943 incendiary bombing air-raid, like wooden areas of Hiroshima which were ignited by thousands of WWII charcoal braziers overturned by the blast winds in paper screen and bamboo furnishings-filled wooden houses. Long-burning incendiary bombs like kilo magnesium bombs, phosphorus bombs, and gasoline bombs are capable of igniting wood and starting a firestorm. The thermal flash from a nuclear weapon is not capable of igniting wood or starting a firestorm, even if today's modern cities were full of medieval, congested multistory wooden houses, which they simply are not. Even if they were, would need to have charcoal braziers in those wooden buildings to be overturned to start a fire after a nuclear explosion: the thermal flash doesn't ignite. Hamburg has no relevance to nuclear weapons for these reasons:

What about the thermal radiation over vast areas from a high-altitude burst?

At the 1959 U.S. Congressional Hearings of the Special Subcommittee on Radiation of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (then responsible for the U.S. nuclear weapons program), Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear War, it was falsely alleged that a high altitude nuclear explosion would burn people and start firestorms over large areas. This hype was reported in the newspapers. Problem: in 1958 America tested two standard 3.8 Mt warheads at altitudes of 43 km (test Orange) and 77 km (test Teak) over Johnston Island. No birds at ground zero were burned. Even rabbits facing the fireball only received tiny retinal burns (in reality, few people will be facing the fireball). The problem is that the fireball is a massive "pancake" of X-ray absorbing air covering a large area and volume at high altitude, so the energy density (Joules per cubic metre) is simply too small for it to become and stay hot enough to re-radiate a significant fraction of the X-ray energy as thermal radiation (this is the opposite to the situation of a tiny X-ray fireball with a high energy density, and this great temperature, for a low-altitude burst) But this data was secret.

It's now been declassified in W. L. Derksen, et al., Effects on Materials of Thermal radiation from Nuclear Detonations, U.S. Naval material Laboratory, AD342537, WT-1647, Operation Hardtack, Project 8.1, 1960. Page 5 shows that for 3.8 Mt Teak at 77 km burst altitude, the thermal exposure at ground zero was merely 1.3 cal/cm2; for 3.8 Mt Orange at 43 km burst altitude the thermal exposure at ground zero was just 1.08 cal/cm2.

In addition, the report discredits the claim in Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons that in low altitude bursts the Wilson condensation cloud (the large white cloud which develops in the underpressure blast region around the fireball after a couple of seconds, as the shock wave expands in humid air) has no effect on the thermal radiation. It does have an increasing effect, completely cutting off the thermal radiation for the Yellowwood and Walnut surface burst nuclear tests at a time of about 8 times the time of the final thermal pulse maximum intensity. Page 17 states that 330 kt Yellowwood was detonated in 63% humidity air. Page 20 states that 1.45 Mt Walnut was detonated in 84% humidity air. Pages 27-28 state for 330 kt Yellowwood:

"The irradiance from the fireball was effectively cut off ... by the formation of the [Wilson condensation] cloud. The evidence of obscuration furnished by the calorimeters was confirmed by the subsequent examination of the motion pictures taken of the Yellowwood fireball. A clear view was obtained of the fireball until approximately 7.5tmaximum, when the [Wilson] cloud, which started to form above the fireball at approximately 6.5 seconds, obscured the top of the radiating hemisphere. The cloud grew steadily until at approximately 10tmaximum the entire fireball was obscured."

For 1.45 Mt Walnut, page 29 states:

"Here, even more than in shot Yellowwood, the irradiance was cut off prematurely. The radiant exposure which would have been received if the fireball had not been obscured is 2.57/1.96 times 14.7, or 19.3 [cal/cm2]."

Figures 2.4 and 2.5 for 330 kt Yellowwood show that at 2tmaximum, the thermal pulse power (watts) was only 50% of its final peak, dropping to 12% at 4tmaximum, 5% at 6tmaximum, and just 2.5% at 8tmaximum.

Figures 2.6 and 2.7 for 1.45 Mt Walnut show that the thermal power fell to 50% at 2tmaximum, 20% at 3.2tmaximum, 15% at 4tmaximum, 5% at 6tmaximum, and 0% (nothing) at 7.8tmaximum.

There are similar results in the recently declassified report from Operation Redwing project 8.1a in 1956: W. B. Plum, et al., Basic Thermal Radiation Measurements from Ground Stations, U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, AD338041, WT-1338, where page 64 states:

"The simple formulas and reasoning that can be applied to small air bursts in the clear Nevada skies are not applicable to the surface bursts in the cloudy skies of the Pacific. Factors such as burst geometry and obscuration may be more significant in determining the thermal inputs that is the yield of the nuclear device itself."

The report shows on page 67 that the 40 kt Redwing-Lacrosse nuclear surface burst had a thermal yield estimated at only 9.4% and 15.1% for measurements on Yvonne (8,121 feet) and Wilma (14,392 ft) islands, while page 68 reports that the 3.8 Mt air burst Redwing-Cherokee had apparent thermal yields of 33.4% and 20.6% for two islands over 8 km from the detonation point. (Page 37 states that the Cherokee bomb was dropped 19,000 ft north east of its intended ground zero point, in visibility of over 10 miles, with 76% air humidity, 20% cloud cover by cumulus at 1,800-2,500 ft altitude, and 20% cloud cover by cirrus at 38,000 ft altitude.)

3.8 Mt Cherokee nuclear test thermal ignition effects data

Table 3 of H. D. Bruce and W. L. Fons, Effects of Moisture Content on the Critical Ignition Energies of Some Combustible Materials, AFSWP-794, AD153166, October 1957 (originally Secret - Restricted Data, only 180 copies printed) shows that blue cotton denim survived 8.8 and 12.1 cal/cm2 without damage in the 3.8 Mt Cherokee test in 1956 (the bomb was dropped 5.8 km off target by the B-52 bomber, when a lighted instrumentation island was mistaken for the aiming point). Two newspapers exposed to 8.8 cal/cm2 from 3.8 Mt Cherokee were only "slightly charred", contrary to the Effects of Nuclear Weapons data which predict ignition! Cardboard and pondersosa pine needles were undamaged and not charred by 8.8 cal/cal/cm2 from 3.8 Mt Cherokee, while two samples of fescue grass at 12.1 cal/cal/cm2 were only "slightly charred". Ignition risks were much greater for the very dry Nevada desert, where crumpled newspaper with only 3.5% moisture content was ignited by 4.0 cal/cm2 from Upshot-Knothole shot 4. However, few cities are built in dry waterless desert regions; most targets are near water and have much higher humidity levels. The problem is that Glasstone's 1957 Effects of Nuclear Weapons used Nevada desert data from the 1953 Upshot-Knothole tests (report WT-775), which was available before detailed data from the 1956 tests had been processed in the October 1957's AFSWP-794 and the 1959 weapon test report on Redwing, WT-1339. So misleading data became dogma.

The Cold War Nuclear War Exaggeration Problem Compared to the Terrorist Problem

“... before World War II, for example, many of the staffs engaged in estimating the effects of bombing overestimated by large amounts. This was one of the main reasons that at the Munich Conference, and earlier occasions, the British and the French chose appeasement to standing firm or fighting. ... It is hard to believe that just because you cannot strike the other person any more, that he will then behave very well. ... Many people object to air and civil defense, not because they underestimate the problem, but because they overestimate it. They think there is nothing significant that can be done to alleviate the consequences of a war.”

- Herman Kahn, testimony to the Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear War, Hearings before the Special Subcommittee on Radiation, Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, 86th Congress, 22-26 June 1959, Part 1, at pages 883, 904, and 943. (Very large 139 MB PDF file; too large to open directly in most browsers.)

It is worth summarizing again the June 1959 U.S. Congressional Hearings on the Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear War, linked above. This was the only ever full-depth published study of the effects of nuclear war during Cold War (the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment report twenty years later obfuscated and lied, and contained no direct source references for any of the claims made, just a general further reading section). Page 13 of the 1959 hearings lists the assumptions made: 1446 megatons in 263 weapons (5.5 megatons mean yield per bomb) dropped on 111 U.S. Air Force Installations, 71 Critical target areas, 21 Atomic Energy Commission sites, 12 U.S. Army installations, 5 U.S. Navy installations and 4 U.S. Marine Corps installations. Page 52 lists the effects: 11.8 million houses with severe damage, 8.1 million with moderate damage, 0.5 million with fallout greater than 3,000 R/hr extrapolated to 1 hour reference time after burst, 2.1 million with 1,000-3,000 R/hr for 1 hour, 10.4 million with 100-1,000 R/hr, and 11.7 million with less than 100 R/hr for 1 hour. However, casualties were exaggerated by using gross Hiroshima-Nagasaki unwarned casualty data, as stated on pages 857. Allowing for the fallout protective factors of houses, page 858 states that "the average dose for all survivors was 110 roentgens, while the average for non-injured survivors was 60 roentgens."

Dr Frank H. Shelton testified on page 41 that some windows are merely broken to 25 miles from a 1 Mt burst, yet the blast winds behind the shock front are only strong enough to accelerate the glass fragments into a serious hazard out to 7 miles: "Don't stand behind windows in an attack. First you will get burned, and then you will have fine glass splinters driven into you ...". On page 68, Dr Terry Triffet, fallout characterization (Project 2.63) project officer on Operation Redwing H-bomb tests in 1956, showed that strontium-90 and cesium-137 are important long lived fallout nuclides because they have a high abundance on the fission product distribution curve, although he also showed that they are not very abundant in close-in fallout because they are fractionated (remaining as gaseous krypton-90 and xenon-137 precursors while the larger, close-in fallout particles are spilling out of the hot fireball; the same applies to iodine-131). Triffet testified on page 75 that dangerous local fallout requiring people to take shelter (1,000 R/hr at 1 hour) is visible: "like being in a mild desert sandstorm. ... These large particles would not present a serious inhalation hazard, could be easily brushed off clothes and skin, and once on the ground would tend to resist movement by surface winds."

On page 110 Triffet testified that the complex "irregular" fallout pattern from Redwing-Tewa at Bikini Atoll in 1956 is not typical of the more steady prevailing winds further north, making fallout prediction much easier (even without modern satellites and computer weather and fallout models): "the winds over the Eniwetok Proving Grounds have a tendency to vary more than the winds over the United States - the high-level winds, that is. This means that it might be possible to get a less irregular pattern over the United States ...".

On pages 899-901, Herman Kahn deals with fallout contamination of food crops by root uptake of long-lived nuclides like strontium-90 (iodine-131 and fallout dust on the growing crops is easily washed off, or the outer leaves can be discarded to decontaminate them; cattle can be switched to winter fodder, or their milk can be frozen or dried while the iodine-131 decays rapidly). Kahn simply suggests a food rationing system according to easily-measured radioactivity content of the food: "C food" would have the most radioactivity in it, just under the amount needed to produce cancer in the radium-dial painters (10 microcuries of strontium-90 per kg of bone calcium, giving 20 R/year bone dose), "B food" would contain 10 times less contamination per kg, and "A food" would be still another 10 times cleaner: "The A food would be restricted to children and pregnant mothers ... B food ... would be a high-priced food ... C food ... would be a cheap food ...". You could feed animals with relatively short lives the most contaminated food, since the strontium ends up in the inedible bone. Also, some crops, like potatoes, take up very little strontium-90. Deep plowing or adding calcium carbonate to the soil, are other options. Bikini Atoll coconuts were rendered safe to eat after many multimegaton H-bomb tests by simply adding potassium chloride to the soil, since the potassium greatly dilutes the uptake of cesium-137 from soil (as discussed in previous posts). On page 901, Kahn states:

"It is important to realize that world agriculture would soon adjust to this problem. We would find the United States growing nonfood crops and meat and Argentina growing dairy products, and so on. ... the patterns of agriculture will adjust to the contamination, and while food may cost a little bit more, it will not be excessive in either price or contamination."

(Farm and food decontamination after fallout from a massive nuclear war is particularly important. In 1960-1, Kendal D. Moll of Stanford Research Institute showed in Post-Attack Farm Problems that while a 400 Mt Russian first-strike on American military bases would kill 2% of the population (assuming a fallout protection factor of 20), farm food output falls by 10%. For 19,000 Mt, he found that a population reduction by 12% occurs with a 65% fall in food output. Consequently, Norman Hanunian stated in his 1966 RAND Corporation report Dimensions of Survival, RAND memorandum RM-5140-TAB, p. 33: ‘the possible post-attack state of the farm sector ... constitutes the greatest threat to national viability.’)

On page 906, Kahn deals with economic recovery from blast and fallout in cities:

"We divide the country into two separate countries, an A country composed of, say, the largest 50 to 100 metropolitan areas. (A metropolitan area includes neighboring suburbs.) Then we say there is a B country, the rest of the country, the medium cities, small cities, towns, rural areas. ... the B country could probably not only survive that destruction but rebuild the A country in something like 10 years."

(For a more detailed analysis of the recovery times from nuclear war, see also Proceedings of the Symposium on Postattack Recovery from Nuclear War, Held at Fort Monroe, Virginia, November 6-9, 1967, AD0672770, Recovery from Nuclear Attack, ADA080907, and June H. Karlson and Ellen K. Langer, Postattack Research, AD0708570, 1969.)

On page 925 of the June 1959 Hearings, carbon-dating originator Dr Willard Libby (photo below from the Time magazine cover, 15 August 1955) stated:

"The first action for anyone who does not already possess the knowledge is to learn what these weapons effects are. No one can be expected to act properly or at all for that matter on any problem unless he understands what makes it. It is necessary for people to learn about fallout, about nuclear radiation, about the effects of nuclear radiation on people, animals, plants, food, water: the things that are immutably linked to life. In a larger sense, this is a matter of getting up to date which is essential to good citizenship in any curcumstance. ...

"Second, we must teach people what to do to keep from being killed or injured by these effects in time of war. Actually, this goes hand in hand with public education, so that a man learns of the hazard and countermeasure essentially at the same time."

On page 903, Dr Libby explained how to make an improvised fallout shelter by piling heavy material on a table in a basement or building area well away from the outer walls and from the roof. Cresson Kearny added a twist to this method in the 1980s, making a video showing how cardboard boxes lined with plastic bags can be placed on and around the table, then filled with water using a hose pipe, like a fire hose or garden hose, which avoids the difficulty in finding a large handy mass of materials, and backache in moving it:

Above: measured outdoor (unshielded) gamma radiation doses to 4 days after detonation of 1.65 kt terrorist-type Small Boy surface burst, Nevada, 1962. For other kiloton-range explosions, the doses are directly proportional to the fission yield of the explosion in the diffused fallout region downwind, while in the ground zero circular throw-out region the doses are constant but the distances from ground zero scale in proportion to the square root of the explosion yield. Although fallout arrives quickly (within minutes) after such a kiloton surface burst, the areas are small and people can see the heavy fallout and walk or run away from the contaminated area, before getting a very large dose. In the 1950s when it seemed that the weather was unpredictable, the advice was to take cover rather than evacuate while the fallout radiation decays. But it is obviously best to move in a cross-wind direction, not remain in the area, to get out of the heavy fallout radiation areas quickly, before decontaminating (to avoid beta radiation skin burns from dust contact). (Source: Edwin H. Bouton, et al. Radiological Surveys: Sunbeam Shots Little Feller I, II, Johnie Boy, and Small Boy, Operation Sunbeam Project 2.8, Report WT-2266, ADA995490, 1964, Fig. 3.60. For more information, DNA-EM-1 Chapter 5 gives the effective wind shear and wind speed data for this Small Boy test, because it was used to validate the calculations from DELFIC, a fallout prediction computer program.)

Note that the Small Boy fallout pattern was predicted prior to the explosion by the best computer program then in existence, the U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory Dynamic or "D-model", which is discussed in detail in weapon test report WT-2215. The 1951 Sugar 1.2 kt Nevada surface burst was detonated in sandy soil with a large particle size distribution, so that the crater and stem throw-out radiation was very high (7,500 R/hr at 1 hour at the crater lip), but the actual cloud dust fallout downwind was relatively trivial (a maximum of only 540 R/hr at 1 hour, which occurred at a distance of 900 feet downwind). By contrast, the 1962 Small Boy test was detonated on very fine silt (Frenchman Flat, a dried lake bed) with no large particles at all, which caused more of the radioactivity to be carried to large distances downwind. WT-2215 states on page 24:

"It was recognised that the predictions ... were based on particle size-activity distributions associated with Jangle S [the 1951 Sugar test]-like soils. In contrast, however, the Frenchman Flat ground zero soil [for the 1962 Small Boy test], to a depth of at least 30 feet in the vicinity of zero, contained virtually no particles >150 microns [bigger than 0.15 mm] in diameter ... Since the molten volume must be small compared to the total crater volume, it appeared that a sizable fraction of the total activity would condense on the large available surface presented by the physically unaltered fine particles. In this event, the fallout would extend many miles downwind in larger amounts than estimated, and the close-in fallout would be correspondingly depleted [the amount of fission product radioactivity produced by a nuclear explosion is not altered by either the wind or soil particle size distribution, so if the total downwind distance of fallout is increased by either factor, the amount of fallout arriving elsewhere is reduced]."

A proper understanding of this effect explains the wide areas of low radioactivity in air bursts where the fireball just avoids touching the ground. It was noticed in the surface bursts that the fireball takes a long "hover time" (several seconds) before it becomes bouyant and even starts to rise. The mechanism for buoyancy is that the fireball is a low density bubble, being pushed up by the fact it has a higher air pressure acting on its lower surface than on its upper surface (air pressure decreases with increasing altitude). So, while a fireball remains in contact with the ground, no buoyant rise mechanism is possible, because the ground shields the fireball base from ambient air pressure until the afterwinds have returned the air pressure towards normal at ground zero. In a low air burst, the ground has the opposite effect and kick-starts the fireball rise and toroidal circulation, since in a low air burst the shock wave hits the ground, reflects, and bounces back up to the fireball base, giving it an upward push. The fireball has been filmed to be actually flattened from a sphere to a hemisphere by this returning shock wave, with important consequences for thermal and initial nuclear radiation emissions, which are much reduced by this effect.

The afterwinds in an air burst then suck up a stem from the ground "dust pedestal" of popcorned sand and dust remaining after the blast precursor phenomenon, as described in J. W. Kirsch et al., Near-Surface Dust Cloud Phenomenology, Systems, Science and Software, DNA-3962F, 1976 (the Dog nuclear air burst produced a dust pedestal 50 ft high and 2,600 ft in radius, while the higher-yield Priscilla test produced one 85 ft high and 3,400 ft in radius). The maximum size of the dust pedestal in a Yucca Flat air burst is about 1,000Wkt1/3 ft and the maximum height is about 30Wkt1/3 ft. The "popcorning" of sand is due to water molecules of hydration inside the crystals of sand oscillating and causing the sand crystals to explode when heated (an analogy is the cracking of glass milk bottles by expanding milk in freezing temperatures), so the size distribution is a very fine powder, not the size of the original sand grains. If this dust arrives in the fireball after the fireball has cooled below the 1,400 C melting point of sand and has turned into a toroidal shape, the dust will not be melted and contaminated internally by fission products, so trivial fallout results unless a thunderstorm flushes the fission products down the storm drains with rainfall. The higher the burst height, the longer it takes for dust to be sucked up into the fireball because it must be carried up to a greater altitude just to reach the fireball, which has more time to cool before the dust arrives.


‘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.

Above: high technology decontamination of a fallout-contaminated soldier by a highly trained health physicist, using an extremely expensive, delicate, and rare piece of sophisticated equipment, after a nuclear weapon test explosion at the Nevada Test Site. Cresson Kearny's factual advice that you can survive a nuclear blast with simple items like putting a shovel and broom in your car's trunk, driving out of a city and placing the car over a trench, was in 1982 "ridiculed" in the ironic book, With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War. (Photo source: B. R. Buddemeier and M. B. Dillon, Key Response Planning Factors for the Aftermath of Nuclear Terrorism, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, report LLNL-TR-410067, August 2009, page iii.)

Unless the bomb detonates in or on the ocean and therefore causes sticky fallout particles composed of salt slurry, the fallout particles are dry, non-sticky, and easy to remove with existing inventions of a simple nature, called "vacuum cleaners", "hose-pipes", "mops", "brooms", and so on. These devices typically are quite immune from the effects of nuclear weapons. The efficiency of using them was first extensively demonstrated at the 1951 Nevada desert nuclear weapon tests of Operation Jangle, where it was found that essentially all of the fallout remains on horizontal surfaces (not vertical walls, or sloping roofs unless they have a very rough surface which enables them to retain fallout dust). Dry fallout on paved areas 0.6-1.6 km from nuclear tests Sugar and Uncle in 1951 was successfully removed:

"High-pressure water hosing was found to be the most rapid and effective ... None of the tested procedures [including dry sweeping and vacuum cleaning] resulted in significant contamination of the operator’s protective clothing."

– J. C. Maloney, Decontamination of Paved Areas (U.S. test report WT-400, June 1952, 229 pages, Chapter 5).

The contamination per unit area of vertical walls was only 0.3-10% of that on horizontal ground and roofs (reference: Jangle Project 6.2, WT-400, 1952).

Also in 1951, the decontamination of clothing was investigated at the Eniwetok Atoll nuclear tests of Operation Greenhouse: F. M. Steadman et al., Protective clothing and clothing and personnel decontamination, Office of the Quartermaster General, Operation Greenhouse, project 6.9, Scientific Director's Report, Annex 6.9, weapon test report WT-12 (1951), ADA995218. Soldiers were sent into areas contaminated by the Greenhouse-Dog and Easy nuclear tests at Eniwetok Atoll, and their clothes and over-shoes were laundered to check the efficiency of removing fallout contamination. Laundry staff received up to 1.955 R gamma radiation. The contamination was easily removed.

Washing skin removes 97.5% of fallout with a diameter of 0.02 mm, and removes 100% of fallout of 0.1-mm diameter or more. For clothes, 90% of the fallout on denim overalls is removed in 5 minutes by a washing machine (100 revolutions per minute, 1% detergent), for particle diameters over 0.01 mm. (Reference: E. Neale and E.H. Letts, Radiological Decontamination: Removal of Dry Fallout from Skin and Clothing, U.K. Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment, report PTP-R-16, 1958.)

Many further studies were done, including extensive decontamination of ships simply by turning on the ordinary ship deck fire sprinkler systems while sticky fallout was landing from surface bursts during Operations Castle (WT-927, also WT-928, and WT-934), Redwing (see particularly F. S. Vine and W. L. Owen, Standard Recovery Procedure for Tactical Decontamination of Ships, AD0357962, WT-1323, 1959, and WT-1324), and Hardtack (WT-1619 and WT-1621).

Some good research reports detailing the effect of dust loading and effort of decontamination on the efficiency of removing fallout and flushing it safely into below-ground drains (where the radiation is well shielded from people) were produced in the 1960s, particularly W. L. Owen, et al., Performance Characteristics of Wet Decontamination Procedures, Operation Stoneman II, volume 2, U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, USNRDL-TR-335, July 1960. (See also Owen's 163 pages long report, Radiological protective Construction: Principles for the Protection of Facilities and their Inhabitants Against Fallout, USBRDL, AD0275990, 1962.) For example, Owen shows that in an area hit by 300 R/hr of fallout at 1 hour after burst (10 grams per square foot of fallout particles), a firehosing effort of 15 minutes per man per 10,000 square feet of either asphalt or concrete, with 2,000 square feet being decontaminated per firehose nozzle per minute, the water consumption is just 0.05 gallons per square foot, but 94% of the fallout is flushed down the drains, leaving just 6% of the radiation level prior to decontamination. This is equivalent to boosting your fallout protection factor by 1/0.06 = 17 times. 300 R/hr is reduced to just 18 R/hr.

So there is a very good benefit from washing the fallout away with firehosing. Obviously, putting in more effort improves the decontamination effectiveness, but this must be offset against the need to decontaminate as widespread area as possible very quickly in a city, to cut down exposure to the inhabitants without excessive exposure to decontamination personnel. Roadsweeping will in any case be needed to sweep up fine glass fragments from blast-broken windows broken on the sides of buildings facing ground zero, to make areas completely safe prior to full recovery (this fact applies even for an air burst where no local fallout is deposited).

Fully remote-controlled decontamination vehicles are an obvious idea to improve this process and reduce radiation risks, in modern warfare. For example, Owen shows that the motorized flushing of pavements with standard street-sweeper trucks (used normally to keep city pavements and roads clean) is a very efficient way to remove radioactive fallout. Again for 300 R/hr at 1 hour (10 grams dry fallout deposit per square foot of pavement), a single person operating a street washing truck can decontaminate 10,000 square feet per minute at a forward speed of 15 miles per hour, using just 0.045 gallons per square foot of surface, and leaving just 5% of the original radiation level on concrete or 6% on asphalt (which is slightly rougher than concrete and slightly harder to decontaminate because some particles sift down into surface irregularities).

Owen also shows in AD0275990 that without any use of water whatsoever, you can still decontaminate quite effectively using an "Air Broom" brand road sweeper truck, which vacuums up the fallout dust before discharging it down drains, although it takes a longer period of time than using water. For 300 R/hr and 10 grams/sq ft of fallout, "Air Broom" vacuuming requires 16 minutes per 10,000 sq. ft., but leaves only 3% of the original fallout radiation. If such trucks were fitted out with radio control and video cameras, they could be controlled remotely from a safe location. On unpaved, rural areas out of cities, in the vicinity of houses you can simply use a tractor to deep-plough (plow for Americans) the fallout to a foot under the surface, where the overlying earth will shield most of the radiation.

An excellent summary report by Hong Lee, W. Leigh Owen, and Carl F. Miller, General Analysis of Radiological Recovery Capabilities Stanford Research Institute, AD684934, 1968, contains a brilliant data analysis of all the decontamination data in Appendix A, "Decontamination Performance Tables." For example, Table A-5 on page 129 shows that plowing to 10 inches depth takes only 0.083 hour per 1,000 square feet and a single pass reduces the gamma radiation level above the ground by a factor of 20, a very useful degree of fallout protection. Another example table:

Britain planned decontamination by fire-hosing residential areas where the 1-hour reference gamma dose rate was 500-3,000 R/hr (reference: Home Office Scientific report SA/PR-97, The value of area decontamination in reducing casualties from radioactive fallout, 1965, originally secret). At lower levels, there are few casualties indoors anyway (200 R producing a casualty), while higher levels expose decontamination crews to excessive doses even 5 days after detonation, so evacuation is then a better option. Human-crewed decontamination work becomes feasible at 1-5 days after detonation, when the 1-hour outdoor dose rate of 500-3,000 R/hr has decayed to 10 R/hr. Decontamination crews restricted to areas below 10 R/hr cannot get more than 10 x 8 = 80 R in an 8 hour shift.

The three key stages during radiological recovery after first aid, rescue and fire spread prevention: (1) evacuation of people with inadequate shielding from heavy fallout areas; (2) sheltering for 1-5 days in the part of the house furthest from the roof and outside walls, with as much mass around the ‘inner refuge’ as possible, and staying indoors as much as possible for a month, and (3) outdoor decontamination.


What they always do is try to conflate two different situations, by invoking the decontamination problems with ships at the underwater Crossroads-Baker nuclear test of 25 July 1946. In any sea water nuclear explosion in humid conditions, the fallout consists of salt-slurry droplets with highly soluble radioactivity, which dried into the rusted steel and the weathered wooden decking on the obsolete ships exposed near the Baker test. (This scandal was started by Health Physicist Dr David Bradley, who wrote a best-seller in 1948 about the Crossroads-Baker contamination, depressingly entitled No Place to Hide. The scandal intensified after beta burns to unclothed, unwarned, outdoor Marshallese on Rongelap Atoll and Japanese fishermen north of Naen Island, Rongelap, 100 miles directly downwind of the 14.8 megaton Bravo test in 1954. These people played in the "snow", unaware of danger of fallout. The media deliberately persists in missing the whole point that modern MIRV warheads have smaller yields and taking cover or brushing the fallout dust off would have prevented beta skin burns, and evacuation or cover in buildings reduces the gamma dose.) The soluble ions of radioactive fission products became chemically attached (ion transfer) to the contaminated surface when it dried out, so decontamination was ineffective:

"If the radioactive elements are inside fused glass particles, as they are for most of the larger fallout particles from near-surface detonations collected at the Nevada Test Site, they cannot react directly with a surface. Only the particles themselves interact with surfaces, and a decontamination method that removes the particles also removes the radioactivity.

"If the fallout from a detonation on or in deep water arrives at a surface in a liquid (rain), or as wet crystalline agglomerates in which many of the radioactive elements are present in the ionic form, the various radioactive elements can directly react with a surface material."

- Dr Carl F. Miller, Fallout and Radiological Countermeasures, volume 2, Stanford Reseatch Institute, AD-410521 (1963), page 378.

Notice that this dependence on the ionic fraction of the fission products is time-dependent, because the solubility and decontamination effectiveness of sea water fallout is a function of time after explosion. Dr Miller shows how the distribution of radioactivity contributions from ionic and non-ionic elements in the fission prodicts and induced activities like neptunium-239 varies with time, affecting the apparent efficiency of decontamination and water solubility of salt water burst fallout. In Tables 8.16 and 8.17 of AD-410521, Miller shows that at 6.7 days after a 1 megaton sea water detonation, water washing of smooth horizontal surfaces after the fallout has dried in, removes only about 50% of the radioactivity. Sand blasting or acid etching treatment is needed for greater decontamination. This is why an underwater burst in sea water near a city can cause a bigger decontamination problem than a land surface burst in the city itself. You either have to wash sea water off surfaces while it lands (before it has a chance to "dry in" and become chemically attached to the surface) using a continuous water spray (the U.S. Navy "washdown" method using fire sprinkler systems during fallout), or else you have to wait for the radioactivity to decay naturally.
There is plenty of data on the contamination problem from such a terrorist nuclear attack on a port or harbour area, owing to the fact that the very first British nuclear weapon trial, Operation Hurricane, was specifically designed to give this data:

Above: 25 kt terrorist-type British nuclear test Hurricane fallout pattern. The bomb was detonated 2.7 metres below the water line inside a ship in shallow (12 m depth) water, Monte Bello islands, 3 October 1952, to deliberately simulate a subversive attack using a bomb in a cargo freighter on the Port of Liverpool or London. It was detonated when the winds were blowing across a range of islands, allowing a good land-survey of the contamination to be made (which was not the case for Baker in 1946, where only ships were exposed and some rainout drained straight off the deck). Fallout collected from Bluebell Island was fully analyzed. Note that an underwater detonation severely reduces the thermal and blast effects. The thermal flash yield of Hurricane was measured to be just 2%, due to the loss of heat to the ship and the water spray which cooled the fireball quickly (sources: ES 1/134, DEFE 16/937, ES 5/31, and ES 5/381.)

Above: the island areas covered by 10,000 R/hr gamma radiation fallout hotspots at 1 hour after Operation Hurricane in 1952 are still at slightly elevated background radiation, safe for fishing, scuba diving and nuclear tourism today, but unsuitable for a longer camping stay. However, the shaded radiation area at the far north of Trimouille Island was not contaminated by Operation Hurricane, but instead by the fallout from the G1 nuclear test on the island (16 May 1956), during Operation Mosaic. The "Anderson" type World War II civil defence shelters which survived the blast intact (albeit for some sandbags blown off) at just 400 yards from Operation Hurricane remain on Trimouille Island.

Britain's concern with underwater terrorist nuclear explosions (bombs set off inside the cargo holds of innocent-looking freighters in the harbor) began when British nuclear weapons effects expert Lord Penney who worked at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project attended the American 1946 Operation Crossroads-Baker test and later focussed many of the papers of the secret 1949 London Symposium on the Physical Effects of Atomic Bombs on the radioactive base-surge contamination problem in underwater detonations. This symposium was finally declassified and released to the National Archives in 2008, a mere 59 years after being held:

Symposium on the Physical Effects of Atomic Bombs (at Royal Institution of Great Britain, London, 27-28 September 1949) DEFE 15/2620

Paper 1, blast and model studies of the mechanical effects of explosives (A H Davis) DEFE 15/2621

Paper 2, blast from an air-burst bomb (H M M Pike) DEFE 15/2622

Paper 3, kinematic effect of blast on a man in the open (R H A Liston) DEFE 15/1038

Paper 4, the blast power of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombs (W G Penney) DEFE 15/2623

Paper 5, Civil Defence Studies (E Leader-Williams) DEFE 15/2624

Paper 6, the general features of underwater explosions (J B B Owen) DEFE 15/2625

Paper 7, a summary of ship damage including studies with models (D E J Offord) DEFE 15/2626

Paper 8, photographic studies of small scale shallow underwater explosions with particular reference to the atomic bomb (J J McEnhill) DEFE 15/2627

Paper 9, the hard radiation, the neutrons and the fission products (W G Marley) DEFE 15/2628

Paper 10, observations of the delayed gamma radiation as a function of time in Tests ABLE and BAKER at BIKINI (J L Tuck) DEFE 15/2629

Paper 11, visible radiation from an atomic explosion (J Corner) DEFE 15/2630

Paper 12, the medical aspects of atomic weapons (E E Pochin) DEFE 15/2631

Paper 13, a review of investigations on the phenomenon of the base surge (J C Martin) DEFE 15/2632

Paper 14, the base surge - the mechanism of fall-out (E P Hicks and W G Penney) DEFE 15/2633

Paper 15, preliminary experiments in connection with removal of radioactive contamination from ships and dockyard installations (E W Jackson) DEFE 15/2634

Exaggerations of weapons effects are a source of misery

World War I cost millions of lives because offensive weapons effects had been exaggerated by the Kaiser’s Chiefs of Staff, and nobody opposed the exaggerations. Exaggerations of shelling, high explosive bombardment, and machine guns were clearly exposed by the efficiency of simple trench countermeasures against blast, flying debris, bullets, etc. Trenches prolonged a planned short knock-out blow war into a long war of attrition which the Axis powers were in a relatively poor position to sustain. Likewise, poison gas failed to achieve the intended knock-out blow due to weather dependence and negation by simple countermeasures like gas masks. Submarines failed to deliver the knockout blow to allied shipping due to the development of the convoy system, protected by ships equipped with hydrophones to detect submarines, and with nets and magnetic depth charges with which to disable them. If the effects of weapons had been properly predicted and publically debated, properly taking account of countermeasure responses, the German Chiefs of Staff may have been unable to escalate the Baltic crisis into World War I, and Britain’s Foreign Secretary Edward Grey would have been less intimidated by Germany. He procrastinated the decision to tell Germany in unequivocal terms that an invasion of Belgium would definitely precipitate a British declaration of war against Germany. By the time he finally made this clear, Germany had mobilized its population for war using a very complex and lengthy railroad troop logistics (described in A. J. P. Taylor’s War by Timetable), and the Kaiser was easily convinced that it was too late to back down. If Grey had been less intimidated, he would have deterred the invasion of Belgium by Germany in August 1914. (British military technology historians only in the 1980s began to point out that World War I was a result of European military ignorance of the trench countermeasure lesson of the American Civil War. This critical point went unnoticed, both by the media and by war historians in general.)

World War II again cost millions of lives because offensive weapons effects had been exaggerated, this time by the media, the pacifists, politicians in all parties and all nations, and various military authorities in popular books. In Britain, weapons effects were exaggerated and effective simple countermeasures were “ridiculed” and “laughed at” in fashionable groupthink until war was unavoidable. We have been through this in many previous posts on this blog. But the new point is this: nobody is going to change the deep-rooted popular and fashionable public prejudice with nuclear facts alone. You need to point out that lying for apparently laudable objectives caused terrible problems in the past. Democracy doesn't work if the media and government are in collusion to lie to the public by distorting and withholding data which may be vital not only in an actual act of nuclear terrorism, but also preparations via public education needed in advance, and in the coercion that can be gained by fanatics like Hitler who exploit popular pacifist exaggerations of weapons effects to "call the bluff" of others.


Above: 43 kt Simon detonated atop a 300 ft tower on 25 April 1953, causing severe EMP electric shocks for both field telephone operators holding receivers at each end of a telephone line between trenches 1,830 metres from ground zero, who was holding the handset and was electrocuted by a powerful EMP picked up by coupling or "crosstalk" (mutual inductance between nearby cables) from the telephone and other wires running to ground zero. With the spread of modern electronic technology, it is probable that EMP will be the major, widespread source of injury, communications damage and recovery problems during and after a nuclear attack. Glasstone and Dolan ignore the fact that cables in a city can pipe-out the EMP energy at light speed from the intense fields near ground zero to power distribution systems across a city, far away from ground zero, before the blast and cratering destroys the cables. B. J. Stralser's 30 April 1961 E. G. & G. summary report of Nevada EMP damage at the control point 30 miles from ground zero remains classified, Electromagnetic effects from nuclear tests. This report is summarized in a British declassified civil defense report written by Dr Purnell, then chief scientific adviser for civil defense at the Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch. Thousands of amps were picked up in cables near the bomb in Nevada tests, and conducted in the cables back to the control point, which had to run on diesel generators or batteries whenever a nuclear bomb was set off. When atmospheric nuclear testing resumed after Stralser's report had presented EGG's EMP problems to the military, an entire nuclear test, 1.65 kt surface burst Small Boy was held in 1962 just to document the EMP: “The response of a typical field army electrical power system to the electromagnetic pulse was measured at sufficient distance from ground zero to prevent damage from blast and thermal effects. ... the electrical power system was shut down by a combination of effects such as prompt radiation and effects of the electromagnetic pulse. ... If induced currents in the distribution cable were the only cause of power system shutdown, a current pulse of approximately 3570 amps maximum would be required.” - D. B. Dinger and R. J. Bostak, Response of Electrical Power Systems to Electromagnetic Effects of Nuclear Detonations, Operation Dominic II, Project 7.5, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Laboratories, weapon test report WT-2241, AD0338967, June 1963.) No non-EMP injuries were reported in the trenchs, just EMP-caused electric shocks:

“Seven Army officers and one Navy officer, all knowledgeable in the effects of nuclear weapons, calculated a safe distance from which to view Simon, based on its predicted yield. The volunteers chose to occupy two trenches 1,830 meters from ground zero. Both trenches were 1.8 meters (six feet) deep and about one meter (three feet) wide. One trench was revetted with timber, the other was unrevetted, and both had a sandbag parapet [Camp Desert Rock, Exercise Desert Rock V, Final Report. Volume I: Operations, Camp Desert Rock, 24 June 1953, 198 Pages, AD/A078 559]. ... There was a direct telephone line between the volunteer trenches and the control trench in the main trench area, and the Exercise Director’s staff remained in constant contact with the volunteers before, during, and after the blast. ... One observer who was holding a telephone received an electric shock that caused a tingling sensation around his neck. The operator holding the telephone in the control trench reported receiving a ‘shock equivalent to that received when holding a bare 110 volt electric wire’.”

- Jeannie Massie, Carl Maag, Stephen Rohrer, and Robert Shepanek, Shot Simon, A Test of the Upshot-Knothole Series, 25 April 1953, DNA 6016F, 1982, pp. 21-22.

“Twelve officers had volunteered to occupy a trench forward of the main trench area at Shot Badger. Each participant calculated the minimum distance from ground zero at which he would receive no more than 5 roentgens of prompt whole-body radiation exposure, 8 psi maximum overpressure, and 1 cal/cm2 of thermal radiation. To assist in their calculations, they used data from TM 23-200, Capabilities of Atomic Weapons, published in October 1952. ... The trench, which was six feet deep and nearly four feet wide, was dug in soil consisting of rocks and fine silt.”

- Jeannie Massie, Carl Maag, Stephen Rohrer, Robert Shepanek, Shot Badger: A Test of the Upshot-Knothole Series, 18 April 1953, JRB Associates, DNA 6015F, 1982, page 20.

“During the Korean War, the Army conducted studies on the capabilities of atomic weapons in a tactical role. Colonel G. C. Reinhardt and Lieutenant Colonel W. R. Kintner wrote a book entitled Atomic Weapons in Land Combat. The authors stated that “atomic weapons, tactically employed, should be incorporated into our first line of defense against any creeping aggression.” General Maxwell D. Taylor and Lieutenant General Bruce C. Clarke completed studies in 1954 that looked at changing the divisional force structure. ... This new Army division needed more dispersion to prevent atomic weapons from totally destroying the unit during combat or preparation for hostilities. ... Peace operations are nothing more than another method the United States uses to obtain its strategic objectives. ... Since 1988, peace operations have almost doubled in frequency and have grown in complexity.”

- Major Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., The Divisional Headquarters: Can We Do It All?, School of Advanced Military Studies, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, report ADA309932, 1995, pages 6 and 23-24.

ATOMIC WEAPONS IN LAND COMBAT by Col. G. C. Reinhardt and Lt. Col. W. R. Kintner, Military Publishing Co., Harrisburg, Pa. $3.95
Reviewed by George K. Tanham, Assistant Professor of History, Engineering and Science, volume 17, 1953, issue 3, p. 48:

Atomic Weapons in Land Combat, the first book to appear on tactics for ground forces armed with atomic weapons, is full of new tactics for the land forces. The authors feel that atomic weapons, while extremely powerful, and thus part of the natural technological development from the simple rifle, are in no sense absolute weapons. ... For use on the offense, they feel it is best to hit the enemy at his strongest point because of the great destructive power of atomic weapons, and then at once rush exploiting troops through the breach. ... The need for better trained troops who have had intensive instruction on the effects of atomic explosions and careful psychological preparation is rightly stressed.”

How U.S. Army Nevada “Desert Rock” nuclear bomb tests reduced irrational panic and fear, disproving the "No Place to Hide" propaganda (started by David Bradley's 1948 book on the underwater 1946 Crossroads-Baker nuclear test base surge contamination) notion of harmful radioactivity, which simply doesn't exist after a non-contaminating air burst which actually maximises the destructive ranges of blast and prompt radiations in wartime:

“I’m Not Afraid of the A-Bomb”
By Captain Richard P. Taffe
Published in Collier’s magazine, 26 January 1952, page 14:

“I walked through an atom-bombed area. I didn’t get burned, I didn’t become radioactive, and I didn’t become sterile. And neither did the 5,000 guys with me. ... Why face away from the blast? Because we might get hurt? Because we might suffer permanent eye damage? No! ... it would have blinded us long enough to cause us to miss the rest of the amazing show. ... it was as though someone had opened the door of a blast furnace as the terrific heat reached us. ... Up to this point we had seen, but we had not heard and we had not felt, the explosion. But then came the shock wave. The ground beneath us started to heave and sway. ... Within minutes, the top was at 30,000 feet and then the huge cloud broke loose from the stem and drifted in the wind toward Las Vegas. ... Despite the devastation, there was no doubt that a successful attack could have been made by friendly troops directly through the blasted area—immediately after the explosion. ... The sheep [in simple, open, uncovered “foxhole” type army trenches near ground zero] were scared, and burned in spots where they were exposed, but they were living. I heard many soldiers express pleasure at the protection offered by a simple foxhole—and the absolute safety afforded by concrete or heavily reveted emplacements. ... the Geiger counter clicked madly ... It will also click madly when placed near the luminous dial of my watch. ... Observers drew several conclusions at Desert Rock.

“First, factual and simple orientation can eliminate most of the fear and apprehension concerned with atomic weapons. Secondly, properly covered, a soldier need have no fear of the effects of an atomic bomb air burst, from either blast, fire or radiation. Thirdly, properly warned and protected, troops could attack through an area ravaged by the weapon immediately after the blast.”

“Week’s Mail: Lingering Radiation?,” Collier’s magazine, 15 March 1952, page 6:

H. M. MARLOWE, JR., Baxter, Tenn.: “EDITOR: ... I’m Not Afraid of the A-Bomb should end long-fostered fears about the A-bomb that could prove disastrous to civil defense and the war effort should an enemy attack on the United States become imminent.”

CPL. HARRISON N. MATTI, Fort Eustis, Va.: “EDITOR: ... I too was privileged to witness the test Captain Taffe described. However, I fail to recall either the terrific heat, as if from a blast furnace, or the earthquakelike shock that followed the blast. I am wondering if the captain was with the rest of the observers or much closer to ground zero than the rest of us.”

Atmospheric nuclear testing at the Nevada test site or Bikini Atoll is unlikely to be resumed just to rehearse and help prepare for nuclear terrorism, but we can still gleam a great deal of data from recently declassified reports on the 1950s tests. People need to be made widely aware of the major lies, cover-ups, and propaganda hype on the effects of nuclear weapons. They need to be aware that the hurricane strength winds of a blast wave cause far less damage than a hurricane, because they last only a few seconds or less, whereas a hurricane's winds last hours so numerical comparisons of windspeed have no meaning. They need to be aware that the blast is not instantaneous with the light flash, despite the falsified films where the soundtrack was deliberately superimposed on the flash.

The painfully-bright flash brighter than the sun serves as a duck-and-cover warning, ahead of the arrival of the blast wave. Even if you have no time to get down, the blast wave accelerates the feet of a standing person faster than the head, creating aerodynamic lift, which gives standing people who are blasted enough time to protect their heads with their arms and hunch up to reduce the possibility of impact injury while they are being blown along.

“Dummy experiments (3) were performed on Priscilla (37 kt) and Smoky (44 kt) shots. The one for Priscilla Shot was located 5320 ft from ground zero where the maximum overpressure was estimated to be 5.5 psi and the duration of the positive overpressure, 0.964 sec. For Smoky, the dummy experiment was located at 3,406 ft range, and the measured peak overpressure and duration were about 6.6 psi and 0.868 sec, respectively. Because of precursor effects, the winds associated with the blast wave were much greater than those accompanying a classical wave with 6.6 psi maximum overpressure.”

- I. G. Bowen, D. R. Richmond and C. S. White, Translational Effects of Blast Waves, “Minutes of the Tripartite Technical Cooperation Program, Panel N-1, Sub-group N, 14-16 March 1963”, Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 March 1963, page 29.

A person lying flat to maximise surface friction and minimise the area exposed to the blast winds can avoid most of this effect, unlike the 1979 OTA computer models which ignored surface friction and assumed people would be blown straight out of windows in tall buildings by even the smallest blast winds. Note that nuclear tests (44 kt Smoky and 37 kt Priscilla, 1957) have actually been done to verify that lying down provides protection, even in the worst case scenario of a precursor blast wave. See WT-1469 for the raw data and DASA-1777 page 33 for identification of the two Operation Plumbbob nuclear test yields (and thus the test names) involved, and the distances from ground zero in each test. Glasstone and Dolan, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 1977, chapter 12 "Biological Effects", also gives a vaguer discussion of some of these results, plus some comments in paragraph 12.45 on page 554 about the ability of blasted-people to avoid injury by pulling in their limbs to adopt a ball-like shape. This reduced injuries and fractures in animal tests (illustration below).

People need to be aware that the Twin Towers collapsed because the steel frames were weakened by many tons of burning aviation fuel from the aircraft, and that flash ignitions near windows facing a nuclear fireball can be extinguished by fire sprinkler systems, which did not exist in any building in either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Above: unvaporized steel remains of the 500-ft high, 29 kt yield Teapot-Apple-2 nuclear test tower at ground zero, Nevada Test Site, 5 May 1955 (Source: As proved in a previous post, the fireball heat can never last long enough even at ground zero to vaporize the exposed steel, debunking all the myths about things being "vaporized" by nuclear weapons.

“No structural damage was observed which was attributable to thermal radiation. Steel was observed for exposures up to 1,400 cal/cm2 ; concrete surfaces showed minor spalling at 650 cal/cm2. ... Heavily reinforced-concrete, earth-mounded structures (walls and roofs 5 to 6 feet thick with spans up to 5 feet) survived air overpressures up to 1,000 psi.”

– W. J. Flathau and R. A. Cameron, Damage to Existing Eniwetok Proving ground Structures, Operation Hardtack, Project 3.7, weapon test report WT-1631, AD355505 (declassified from Secret – Formerly Restricted Data on 27 August 1998), page 5.

People need to be aware of the hard-proved fact that the thermal radiation from a nuclear explosion doesn't last as long as the burning incendiary bombs of WWII, so it cannot set wood on fire, only thin, fine kindling like dry leaves and dry newspaper. You cannot generate a firestorm without magnesium, phosphorus, or petroleum incendiary bombs which burn long enough to set something on fire.

The high intensities of thermal radiation near ground zero failed to even vaporize the bomb towers in many cases, and steel balls exposed within the fireball region suffered only trivial surface ablation. The fireball is ionized air so it is highly opaque (not transparent) to thermal radiation, so you get conductive heating within the fireball not long-ranged thermal radiation exposure. The heat simply doesn't last long enough to penetrate far into solid matter.
Blast effects and nuclear radiation are more important, but are still highly attenuated by modern buildings.

The wide areas of burned out buildings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki consisted of wooden buildings mainly set alight 2-3 hours later when the firestorm peaked, after most survivors had evacuated. Most casualties were caused by flash burns, initial nuclear radiation, and blast debris like flying glass. All of these effects were greatly diminished in the few modern concrete city buildings in the cities, which remained standing amid the burned out cinders of the wooden dwellings.

The deep message is that by UNDERSTANDING the facts, the wide-area collateral damage hazards are much reduced. At the same time, our weapons remain an excellent military deterrent because the ability to crater an enemy bunker or silo out of the ground, or shake it to pieces by ground shock waves, has no easy countermeasure.

Fanatics need to be debunked. The main uses of nuclear weapons are military deterrence against hardened targets, not collateral damage against civilians, despite the hype campaign from propaganda and deception.

No matter what anybody does to oppose CND anti-civil defense fanatics, they will never accept any facts that disprove their deluded propaganda. It is vital to discredit their lies, so that in the event of a disaster, people will have some chance of understanding the facts and doing what is necessary to minimise injury and help others to minimise injury.

“If individuals feel they can do little about possible dangers, they have to flee from such threats by the use of denial. ... such individuals are not prepared to deal with the danger situation when it appears. ... In the early days of training for nuclear disaster, we stressed the number of casualties that even a nominal bomb could produce. Our listeners were alarmed, thinking, ‘How could we care for a thousand burn cases when only four or five such cases demoralize our hospital?’ The result of this approach was to lose our audiences.”

– Albert J. Glass, MD, “Mass Psychology: the Determinants of Behavior under Emergency Conditions,” Mass Burns: Proceedings of a Workshop, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. (linked here), pp. 11-20 (quotations from pages 13-14).

(Glass did extensive research in the psychology of general and nuclear warfare: see his papers "Combat exhaustion", U.S. Armed Forces Medical Journal, v. 2, 1951, pp. 1471-1478, and "Psychological considerations in atomic warfare", U.S. Armed Forces Medical Journal, v. 7, 1956, pp. 625-639.)

Exposed burned skin evaporates water at the rate of 10 litres/m2/day, which dries out and cools the body temperature, and this water evaporation rate is the actual physical mechanism behind the well-known dehydration, hypothermia, and shock in serious burns victims. The exposed burned skin also offers direct entry to the body tissues for bacterial infections (sepsis) which overwhelm the immune system and in combination with lowered temperature due to evaporation, escalate to pulmonary complications, and also allow direct contamination with radioactive fallout particles after a nuclear attack. Because severely burned victims reject food, they soon lose the energy needed to recover due to the cooling from water evaporation from the burned areas. At Hiroshima nothing was done to address the causal mechanism for burns mortality, instead efforts were made to treat dehydration by providing more fluids and antibiotics for infection. Reversing this whole approach, in order to actually prevent the underlying causes of these secondary effects in an emergency situation (nuclear attack), it has been found that simply covering exposed severe burns wounds with plastic film has been proved to avoid or reduce the immense evaporation of water which actually causes all of these immediate dehydration, shock, and hypothermia effects, and also much of the infection and contamination danger in the first place.

See Carl Jelenko, III, MD, “The Burn Surface as a Parasite: Water Loss, Caloric Demands, and Therapeutic Implications” and E. J. L. Lowbury, “The Prevention of Sepsis in Burns” (which shows in table 2 that 70% mortality from infected burns is reduced to 5% mortality if the burns are not infected) in Mass Burns: Proceedings of a Workshop, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. (linked here).

Think Plastic Wrap as Wound Dressing for Thermal Burns


August 2008

By Patrice Wendling

Elsevier Global Medical News

CHICAGO - Ordinary household plastic wrap makes an excellent, biologically safe wound dressing for patients with thermal burns en route to the emergency department or burn unit. The Burn Treatment Center at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, has advocated prehospital and first-aid use of ordinary plastic wrap or cling film on burn wounds for almost two decades with very positive results, Edwin Clopton, a paramedic and ED technician, explained during a poster session at the annual meeting of the American Burn Association. “Virtually every ambulance in Iowa has a roll of plastic wrap in the back,” Mr. Clopton said in an interview. “We just wanted to get the word out about the success we've had using plastic wrap for burn wounds,” he said. Dr. G. Patrick Kealey, newly appointed ABA president and director of emergency general surgery at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, said in an interview that plastic wrap reduces pain, wound contamination, and fluid losses. Furthermore, it’s inexpensive, widely available, nontoxic, and transparent, which allows for wound monitoring without dressing removal. “I can't recall a single incident of its causing trouble for the patients,” Dr. Kealey said.

Three specific and recent examples of delusional "groupthink" dogmas in medicine and the incredible dangers of it to the lives of millions of innocent people follow.

(1) Malignant tumour treatment by avoiding all forms of sugar will reduce insulin production in the body, and insulin encourages all forms of cancer growth. If sugar intake is avoided, insulin levels will be minimal, which can in some cases immobilize the cancer long enough for the body's natural defenses to take care of it, because cancer cells have a relatively high metabolism, spending a larger proportion of their life cycle dividing than other cells. Research by P. J. Goodwin, et al., J. Clin. Oncol., v. 20, 2002, issue 1, pp. 42-51, showed that even in the early stages of solid cancers, insulin levels are strongly correlated with cancer outcome. Most rapidly-proliferating cancer cells are simply unable to reduce their metabolic rate in times of sugar shortage, which means that they are simply starved (and killed off) faster than the slower-dividing non-cancer cells, which may be better able to reduce their metabolism and survive. Note that this is research within a group of cancer patients, and therefore doesn't include the effect of insulin levels on the risk of a malignant cancer developing in the first place. Nor does it specifically test the effect of insulin levels on cancer proliferation at a late stage. Eating sugars provides insulin and abundant blood sugar (easily metabolized energy for rapidly-dividing cancer cells to proliferate faster than they can be identified and isolated by natural defense mechanisms). This is not a "quack alternative" to all cancer treatments, but regardless of what other treatments are also in use, it will always at least definitely help to minimize the speed of spreading of rapidly-dividing (proliferating) cancer cells relative to slower-proliferating non-cancer cells, thereby giving other treatments more time to be effective. Therefore, people need to be better informed about simple survival techniques, not just the money-spinning "big science" medical drugs industry which has a groupthink-type vested interest in denying the possibility of a simple, cheap solution, and instead hyping only very expensive biochemical research.

(2) Aspirin for stroke effects mitigation: it is better to advise people of stroke symptoms for self-diagnosis and self-treatment by aspirin, particularly people with high blood pressure, than to advise them to waste time calling an ambulance and then spending years trying to compensate for brain damage from a blood clot in the brain.

(3) the dogmatic "professional" money funding-obsessed censorship for the defense of misinformed factually incorrect status quo"groupthink-orthodoxy in the "no-go theorem" claim (based on a misleading test by an "acknowledged expert", with all contrary evidence simply censored out of the journals by Dr Goebbels' Gestapo-type undemocratic, pseudoscientific "scientific methology" tactics) that stomach ulcers were not due to bacteria, contrary to factual evidence, where a lone doctor proving correct and successful treatments was simply censored out then actually fined by status quo (accepting this discovery back in the 1950s could have cost the careers of top "experts", a bigger "tragedy" for the "status" of "big science orthodoxy" than the mere needless suffering for millions of patients, who were given poor or inconclusive mainstream treatments):

“In 2005, Robin Warren and Barry Marshall received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery that peptic ulcer disease was primarily caused by a bacteria, Helicobacter pylori. ... The bacterial hypothesis first appeared in 1875. Two bacteriologists, Bottcher and Letulle, argued that peptic ulcers were caused by an unobserved bacteria. Their claim was supported by observations of bacteria-like organisms in glands in the stomach by another German pathologist. ...

“In 1954, a prominent gastroenterologist, Palmer, published a study that appeared to demonstrate that no bacteria is capable of colonizing the human stomach. Palmer looked at biopsies from over 1,000 patients and observed no colonizing bacteria. As a result, he concluded that all previous observations of bacteria were a result of contamination. The result of this study was the widespread abandonment of the bacterial hypothesis, poetically described by Fukuda, et al.: ‘[Palmer’s] words ensured that the development of bacteriology in gastroenterology would be closed to the world as if frozen in ice. ... [He] established the dogma that bacteria could not live in the human stomach ...’

“John Lykoudis, a Greek doctor, began treating patients with antibiotics in 1958. By all reports he was very successful. Despite this, he was unable to either publish his results or convince the Greek authorities to accept his treatment. Undeterred, he continued using antibiotics, an action for which he was eventually fined. [In 1979] Robin Warren first observed Helicobacters in a human stomach, although reports of this result would not appear in print until 1984. Initial reactions to Warren and Marshall’s discovery were negative, primarily because of the widespread acceptance of Palmer’s conclusions. Marshall became so frustrated ... he drank a solution containing Helicobacter pylori. Immediately after, he became ill and was able to cure himself with antibiotics. ... Palmer failed to use a silver stain when investigating his biopsies, instead relying on a Gram stain. ... Warren did use the silver stain ... less comprehensive reports ... like those of Lykoudis ... contradicted what seemed to be much stronger evidence to the contrary ... Had the acid theory turned out to be true, the behavior of each individual scientist would have been laudable. Despite the fact that everything was ‘done by the book,’ so to speak, one cannot resist the urge to think that perhaps things could have been done differently. In hindsight, Palmer’s study was too influential.”

- Kevin J. S. Zollman, The Epistemic Benefit of Transient Diversity, Carnegie Mellon University, September 29, 2009.

Irving L. Janis, Victims of Groupthink, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1972

Janis, civil defense research psychologist and author of Psychological Stress (Wiley, N.Y., 1958), Stress and Frustration (Harcourt Brace, N.Y., 1971), and Air War and Emotional Stress (RAND Corporation/McGraw-Hill, N.Y., 1951), begins Victims of Groupthink with a study of classic errors by “groupthink” advisers to four American presidents (page iv):

“Franklin D. Roosevelt (failure to be prepared for the attack on Pearl Harbor), Harry S. Truman (the invasion of North Korea), John F. Kennedy (the Bay of Pigs invasion), and Lyndon B. Johnson (escalation of the Vietnam War) ... in each instance, the members of the policy-making group made incredibly gross miscalculations about both the practical and moral consequences of their decisions.”

Joseph de Rivera's The Psychological Dimension of Foreign Policy showed how a critic of Korean War tactics was excluded from the advisory group, to maintain a complete consensus for President Truman. Schlesinger's A Thousand Days shows how President Kennedy was misled by a group of advisers on the decision to land 1,400 Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs to try to overthrow Castro's 200,000 troops, a 1:143 ratio. Janis writes in Victims of Groupthink:

“I use the term “groupthink” ... when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action.”(p. 9)

“... the group's discussions are limited ... without a survey of the full range of alternatives.”(p. 10)

“The objective assessment of relevant information and the rethinking necessary for developing more differentiated concepts can emerge only out of the crucible of heated debate [to overcome inert prejudice/status quo], which is anathema to the members of a concurrence-seeking group.”(p.61)

“One rationalization, accepted by the Navy right up to December 7 [1941], was that the Japanese would never dare attempt a full-scale assault against Hawaii because they would realize that it would precipitate an all-out war, which the United States would surely win. It was utterly inconceivable ... But ... the United States had imposed a strangling blockade ... Japan was getting ready to take some drastic military counteraction to nullify the blockade.”(p.87)

“... in 1914 the French military high command ignored repeated warnings that Germany had adopted the Schlieffen Plan, which called for a rapid assault through Belgium ... their illusions were shattered when the Germans broke through France's weakly fortified Belgian frontier in the first few weeks of the war and approached the gates of Paris. ... the origins of World War II ... Neville Chamberlain's ... inner circle of close associates ... urged him to give in to Hitler's demands ... in exchange for nothing more than promises that he would make no further demands”(pp.185-6)

“Eight main symptoms run through the case studies of historic fiascoes ... an illusion of invulnerability ... collective efforts to ... discount warnings ... an unquestioned belief in the group's inherent morality ... stereotyped views of enemy leaders ... dissent is contrary to what is expected of all loyal members ... self-censorship of ... doubts and counterarguments ... a shared illusion of unanimity ... (partly resulting from self-censorship of deviations, augmented by the false assumption that silence means consent)... the emergence of ... members who protect the group from adverse information that might shatter their shared complacency about the effectiveness and morality of their decisions.”(pp.197-8)

“... other members are not exposed to information that might challenge their self-confidence.”(p.206)

“If those Hiroshima children had been sitting under their desks when the bomb exploded, they would probably not have been burned.”

- Professor Freeman Dyson, Weapons and Hope, Harper and Row, N.Y., 1984, p. 26.

“In those few areas in the US where conditions might support a firestorm, safe shelters could be constructed based on lessons learned from the Hamburg firestorm of 1943 in which 85% of the 280,000 people within the firestorm survived. If the people of Hiroshima had been in simple buried-pole shelters, not one person need have perished from weapon effects even at ground zero ...”

- Dr C. M. Haaland, Should We Protect Ourselves from Nuclear Weapon Effects?, paper presented at the 1984 Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society, Detroit, MI, March 27, 1984, Oak Ridge National Lab. paper CONF-840315-1, 1984, NTIS document DE84008520, abstract.


Daily Mail, London, 24 January 2012
This is no time for sabre-rattling. War with Iran could tip us into the bloodiest conflict since 1945
By John R Bradley

The dark prospect of war now looms in the Middle East, as the West’s confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme inches towards the point of no return.

Voicing fears that the hardline Tehran regime may secretly be developing atomic weapons, the EU yesterday decided to implement a range of economic sanctions against Iran.

These include an immediate embargo on new contracts for crude oil and petroleum products and a freeze on the assets of Iran’s central bank in the EU.

Foreign Secretary William Hague claimed these measures are aimed at ‘bringing Iran to her senses’, and follow the imposition of other tough sanctions by the U.S. last month, including a blanket prohibition on any American company dealing with the Iranian Central Bank.


This aggressive stance by the U.S., Britain, France and Germany — which, in fact, amounts to nothing less than economic warfare — has been accompanied by a huge show of military force in the region.

Last week, six ships, led by a mighty 100,000-ton U.S. aircraft carrier [USS Abraham Lincoln], were sent to the strategic Strait of Hormuz, which runs along Iran’s southern coast and is one of the world’s busiest routes for oil supplies.

In response to all this activity, Iran has been equally hostile.

Yesterday, Mohammad Kossari, the Iranian deputy head of foreign affairs, warned that ‘if any disruption happens regarding the sale of Iranian oil, then the Strait of Hormuz will definitely be closed’.

Despite such a threat, the West — especially the U.S. — cannot now easily pull back from this process of brinkmanship. Serious concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme have been growing for months, ever since it became clear that it has started a uranium enrichment programme.

Equally worrying is the fact that it is a nation led by an unstable, fanatical Islamist cabal that has pledged to destroy its Middle Eastern neighbour, Israel.

Although the country’s rulers have repeatedly insisted that they want nuclear technology only for peaceful purposes, the idea of its erratic leader President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad possessing weapons of mass destruction is truly frightening.

His foreign critics understandably ask, if Tehran really has no plans for such weaponry, why is it not willing to talk openly about its nuclear programme? ...

In Britain during World War II, the defiance of the people was strengthened rather than weakened by the Luftwaffe’s murderous bombing campaign.

Iranians would be similarly emboldened by any conflict between Iran and the West.

Those who think Iran will be a pushover are therefore deluding themselves.

The nation has a powerful, well-trained, well-equipped military. Western naval vessels in the region, for instance, could soon find themselves vulnerable to Iran’s deadly anti-shipping missiles.

In addition, it is unlikely that one-off strikes against nuclear plants would halt their nuclear programmes, since much of the infrastructure is either hidden or deep underground.

But the West would have played its trump card, so the stakes could hardly be higher.

Open conflict would be a disaster, possibly plunging the world into lethal warfare on a scale not seen since 1945.

Given that, noisy sabre-rattling is no substitute for cool judgment and exhaustive diplomatic efforts for a resolution to this crisis.

John R. Bradley is the author of After The Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked The Middle East Revolts (Palgrave Macmillan).

Unfortunately, "exhaustive diplomatic efforts for a resolution" were tried by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on Hitler, all the while the threat was increasing. "Peaceful" trade embargoes are not an alternative to war, either. On 24 January 2012, the British national debt exceeded £1 trillion for the first time ever, and we're already cutting down on military expenditure (no aircraft carriers) to try to control the problem. The idea of diplomacy enforced with "non-military" measures like a trade embargo is today economic warfare in itself. It is sensible to remember that the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor which turned the European war into WWII, was triggered in part by the atmosphere created by President Roosevelt's moral yet wholly inadequate policy to "quarantine of the aggressors" by stopping Japan getting military supplies for its war on China. The only way to be sure that you don't increase the risk of war is to appease the aggressor, as Chamberlain did in the 30s, which itself just encourages more and more aggression by thugs until you find yourself backed against a wall or a cliff edge, and forced into a war in precisely the way the other side wants it, not on your own terms. The enemy sees appeasement simply as weakness and folly, not morality. There is also an "escalation" problem of the WWI kind, where lots of surrounding nations have alliances with one side or the other, and end up being sucked into the war to help out an ally. For example, Germany in 1914 had been waiting for two years for a suitable excuse for a war with France, and the assassination of Archiduke Ferdinand was just what they needed. British Foreign Minister Edward Grey befuddled his message to Germany and only told them in clear terms that Britain would go war with Germany if it invaded Belgium, after Germany had mobilized (A. J. P. Taylor's War by timetable). Below: 'A Chain of Friendship' - appeared in the American newspaper the Brooklyn Eagle in July 1914. The caption read: “If Austria attacks Serbia, Russia will fall upon Austria, Germany upon Russia, and France and England upon Germany.”

On Wednesday 25 January 2012 the London Daily Express published A military strike against Iran would be a catastrophe by Middle East expert Kevin Toolis:

"... on Monday [23 January 2012] in a surprising show of diplomatic unity the European Union imposed a blanket ban on Iran’s oil exports. It is a potentially fatal blow to Iran’s oil-reliant economy. HMS Argyll has been dispatched to patrol the crucial Strait of Hormuz which borders Iran and through which 35 per cent of the world’s oil exports flows. ... The once faint drums of war heralding a potential military strike against Iran just got a lot louder.

"Iran’s brutal regime has much to answer for. Last November the Iranian authorities deliberately allowed a mob of so-called “protesters” to ransack and burn our Tehran embassy. The UK, dubbed “the old fox of colonialism,” is a hate figure in the tightly controlled Iranian media along with “the Great Satan”, the US.

"Iran is a savage, unpredictable dictatorship whose real victims are the Iranian people. The weirdly creepy, anorak-wearing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rules with an iron fist. His regime supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza and he himself has talked of “wiping Israel off the map”. ...

"In public the Iranians always claim they are only developing a peaceful nuclear programme. But with the fourth largest oil reserves in the world and a history of support for other terror regimes such as Syria, few right-minded people believe them. In reality Iran has probably spent billions developing the capability to create the enriched fuel for several nuclear bombs in deep underground secret laboratories in remote sites in the Iranian desert such as Nantanz. ...

"Wary of just such a potential air strike by either Israel or the United States the Iranians have spent the past decade dispersing their nuclear installations and burying them deep within mountains. Even the combined might of the United States air force and the Israeli air force could not fully destroy Iran’s nuclear programme in one preemptive strike. What would happen instead – regardless of the power of the initial aerial bombardment – is that the price of oil would shoot up to $200 a barrel.

"Oil traders, speculators, the greedy and the fearful, would rightly believe that the Iranians would strike back by shelling oil tankers on their way through the narrow Strait of Hormuz from the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to Western refineries. Or even launch an attack on neighbouring Saudi Arabia. The mere possibility would create a huge surge in speculation of the price of a barrel of oil. And the only way is up.

"Such a huge rise in oil – the basic life-blood of capitalism – would kill the frail global economic recovery stone dead. Across the world we would be talking about millions becoming unemployed as the world economy went into gridlock.

"Worst of all we would not necessarily have killed off the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb. All it would take would be one missed target and the Iranians might still have the capability, and a real motivation, to plan an overseas nuclear attack. ... Iran is an economic mess. The fanatics in charge have run the economy into the ground as Iran’s growing isolation has deprived the country of vital foreign investment.

"Rightly we should not give in or capitulate to such despots as Ahmadinejad but patiently stand our ground and seek to weaken their resolve by sanctions and negotiation. But neither do you tame a tiger by thrusting a burning torch down its throat."

The fact is, any economic pressure by the EU on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be counterproductive in two different ways. First, we need Iranian oil to stop prices going through the roof, just as we need trade with China despite its human rights record and its relatively immense nuclear missiles stockpile. Second, a trade embargo as a means to coerce a fanatical state into the path of peaceful diplomacy is something that has never worked. It failed with Japan leading to WWII, it failed with Iraq leading to the Gulf War, because it just adds to the paranoia and with skillful internal propaganda is always turned into an argument to strengthen internal support for the regime in defiance of the pressure. Reagan's arms race escalation in the 1980s only worked with USSR premier Gorbachev because he was a rational moderate, not a fanatical, ideological hard-liner, and the West could afford the arms race. Today the problems are religious zealots and we have too much debt to be able to afford another non-nuclear war.

At some stage politicians need to recognise that instead of relying on secrecy and diplomatic propaganda, the public needs to be issued with updated nuclear weapons effects information and civil defense justifications. The Cold War manual needs to be updated and published openly, to reduce the coercion and the actual nuclear threat that Iran and North Korea can pose with their nuclear missiles. Being prepared for war is the best way to avert it, reducing the risk of war. Diplomatic sanctions increases the risk of war by placing pressure on the fanatical regime and giving them a propaganda tool to claim they are being unjustly victimized. Conventional war against a fanatical regime armed with nuclear missiles is likely to be very destructive, but the main problem is that Russia and China oppose an attack on Iran. You can't successfully target and destroy conventional warhead cruise missiles against hardened underground nuclear facilities that you have no data on, and while nuclear warheads would work, the political fallout would deter politicians from even considering this option. The last time an Arab nuclear weapons proliferation facility was destroyed by a military strike was Israel's 7 June 1981 attack on Iraq's 70 MW nuclear reactor at Osirak, which Iraq denied was part of a nuclear bomb project. But Iran has protected and dispersed its facilities so Israel cannot easily do the same thing now. Iran received 5.545 kg of 93% U-235 enriched uranium for a in September 1967, 5.165 kg of U-235 (before the 1979 Iranian Revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran). The Hiroshima gun-assembly nuclear weapon contained 64 kg of this, but the amount Iran still has in storage is sufficient for an implosion type nuclear weapon, and it is enriching still more all the time, along with a growing missile delivery system capability:

As of October 2010, Iran had fed 34,737kg of UF6 into its cascades and produced a total of 3,606kg of LEU, with an average enrichment level of 3.37% U-235, at the Fuel Enrichment Plant. [6] In February 2010, Iran also began feeding UF6 into cascades at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant for the enrichment of UF6 to up to 20% U-235. As of September 2010, Iran had fed 487.2kg of LEU into the cascades and produced 43.6kg of UF6 with an average enrichment level of 19.7% U-235 ("Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran," The International Atomic Energy Agency, 25 February 2011). ... Iran committed itself to the development of one of the most sophisticated ballistic missile programs in the Middle East. Iran has pursued a dual track strategy, developing both liquid and solid-fueled systems. As a first step, Tehran acquired Scud-B and Scud-C missiles and production lines from North Korea (renamed Shahab-1 and Shahab-2). Tehran commenced producing considerable quantities of the missiles shortly thereafter. On 22 July 1998, Iran tested a single-stage liquid-fueled Shahab-3 with a range of 1,300km. Tehran began serial producing the Shahab-3 in early 2001, based upon the model used during the second Shahab-3 test in 2000. The Shahab-3, including its guidance system and engine design, is a derivative of North Korea's Nodong medium-range ballistic missile. On 2 February 2009, Iran launched the small cube-shaped satellite "Omid" into orbit using a modified Shahab-3. Some analysts fear that Iran's space launch vehicle, Safir, has established the technical basis for Tehran to develop long-range ballistic missiles. In 2009, Iran tested a two stage solid propellant missile with a range comparable to the Shahab-3. The development of multi-staged missiles is considered to be critical for the potential development of longer range ballistic missiles.

Before Israel's June 1981 strike on Iraq nuclear facilities, arguments arose over whether it is sensible to make either a conventional or nuclear attack on a nuclear proliferation installation, for fear of releasing additional long-lived radioactivity from a nuclear reactor or radioactive waste storage pool. Steven A. Fetter and Kosta Tsipis wrote a scare-mongering, countermeasure ignoring article called "Catastrophic Releases of Radioactivity" (Scientific American, Vol. 244, No. 4, April 1981, pp.33-39) and Bennett Ramberg's book, Destruction of nuclear energy facilities in war: The problem and the implications, Lexington Books, 1980, exaggerated the dangers and claimed an attack would be more likely to disperse radioactivity and cause a danger, than to remove the danger. His anti-nuclear power prejudice is clear from his 1984 follow-up book, Nuclear Power Plants as Weapons for the Enemy, suggesting incorrectly that EMP and blast could damage nuclear reactor safety.

But the thick steel pressure vessel of a nuclear reactor is effectively stronger than a nuclear missile silo because it's not destroyed by being shaken by ground shock, so it is very hard for the blast wave of a nuclear explosion to destroy and the fireball heat lasts too short a time to destroy it, even at very close proximity (see our earlier post analyzing effects on Fukushima). While nuclear waste from storage ponds emits a hazardous level of radioactivity when concentrated, the dose rate is reduced when dispersed and is trivial compared to the early fallout dose rates downwind from a nuclear surface burst. The lower dose rate from reactor fission products when dispersed gives time to decontaminate then without getting a high dose in the process (the cobalt-60 bomb scare hyperbole in Dr Strangelove is the same in this respect). Propaganda ignores the difference in initial dose rates, and just compares the theoretical total doses over a long period of time, or the theoretical dose rates at a long time, which ignores decontamination, fractionation (the fraction of the fission product debris which is actually dispersed, since only about 1% of the crater volume in a nuclear explosion ends up as fallout in any event, etc.). Ramberg's scare-mongering "data" table on the danger completely ignores decontamination, fractionation, etc:

Above: decontamination is ignored, fractionation (the fact the fireball heat only volatizes nuclides with low boiling points for more than a few seconds) is ignored, and the fact that an earth-penetrator of 1 kt (not 1 Mt) yield is ignored. A 1 kt earth penetrator is a low-yield shallow underground burst on a hardened target which cannot spread significant amounts of debris very far, because the cloud only rises to a small fraction of the cloud height in a 1 Mt burst, and the fireball heat is dissipated quickly by cooling due to the subsurface detonation earth medium. The anger over this propaganda is that only about 1% of the crater mass ends up as small particles of fallout, while 99% remains in the crater or the nearby lip as crater ejecta. Computer simulations confirm that even if a nuclear explosion fireball engulfs a nuclear waste dump, it is treated at best as ordinary crater material so only about 1% of the waste ends up as fallout downwind. The other 99% is simply buried in the crater. In fact, because nuclear waste is better protected than ordinary soil, the fallout creation mixing is prejudiced against incorporating the material protected by tough steel capsules. The nuclear waste dump is not inside the exploding nuclear weapon, and therefore in most cases it does not gain the heating and energy needed to mix efficiently and quickly with small particles to create fallout before the fireball cools.

To emphasise: a 1 kt nuclear surface burst that craters say 20,000 tons of soil only produces 200 tons of lofted fallout, established from the specific activity of fallout from nuclear tests which show that only ~1% of the crater mass is dust lofted to become fallout. Thus, fallout is only 1% of the crater mass: the other 99% is the fallback in the crater and on the crater lip right beside ground zero. Hence, if you crater a nuclear reactor or waste dump, you do not get 100% of the material in the crater volume becoming widely dispersed fallout, but only 1 %, assuming it is in the form of fine particles like the soil. If it is protected by any kind of metal capsule, it is less likely to become fallout than particles of earth and dust in the natural soil within the crater region. So most of the nuclear waste is entombed in the nuclear explosion crater, rather than becoming tiny particles of wind blown dust in the base surge or fallout cloud. The popular propaganda which exaggerates this by a factor of 100 claims falsely that 100% of the crater mass becomes fallout. This is false!

This propaganda issue of military strikes spreading rather than preventing toxic fallout earlier arose with Iraq's alleged chemical and biological weapon threat, see Robert W. Nelson, "Nuclear "Bunker Busters" Would More Likely Disperse Than Destroy Buried Stockpiles of Biological and Chemical Agents," Science & Global Security 12, no. 1-2, 2004, which includes some cratering data from Northrop's EM-1 handbook. Earlier, in 1993 Ed Mendelsohn’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory report, Dependence of Nuclear Interceptor Effectiveness on Hydrogen Content of Chemical Warhead Agent, UCRL-ID-115728, calculated the lethality of nuclear weapons against attacking warheads containing a toxic chemical agent (sarin), which Nelson ignores. See also Michael J. Morgan's ever tactful paper, The Bunker-Busting Nuke: Essential Capability or Destabilizing Weapon?, ADA441722: "As that famous German war theorist Carl von Clausewitz suggested, the worst condition a belligerent can find himself is “utterly defenseless.” The bunker-busting nuke helps achieve that condition, and America may soon face a belligerent who needs to perceive that his every capability is held at risk."

By Alexei Anishchuk

MOSCOW, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Russia warned on Wednesday that an attack on Iran would cause a catastrophe and said U.S. and European Union sanctions against Tehran were aimed at triggering popular discontent by "strangling" the economy. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Western sanctions against Iran and talk of a potential attack undermine efforts to revive negotiations aimed at ensuring it does not develop nuclear weapons. Speaking at his annual news conference, Lavrov said Western nations must focus on efforts to revive long-dormant talks between global powers and Tehran "and not on sanctions, let alone threats to use force".

"I have no doubt that it would pour fuel on a fire which is already smouldering, the hidden smouldering fire of Sunni-Shi'ite confrontation, and beyond that (cause) a chain reaction - I don't know where it would stop," he said of an attack. ...

Israel has often said it could strike Iran to stop it developing nuclear weapons, and tension has increased following a Iranian threat to block the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial oil shipping lane, if sanctions prevent it exporting oil.

Lavrov emphasised Russia's opposition to further U.N. Security Council or Western sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, which the United States and its European allies fear is aimed at producing weapons.

"All imaginable sanctions that could influence Iran's conduct in the nuclear sphere ... have been exhausted," Lavrov said.

Additional sanctions "are aimed at causing a strangling effect on the Iranian economy and the situation of the Iranian people, probably in the hope of provoking discontent," he said. (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk, Writing by Thomas Grove and Steve Gutterman)

Above: Nine survivors of Hiroshima who travelled to Nagasaki avoided blasted glass and flying debris at the second nuclear explosion because they knew that the blast effect (breaking windows and blasting glass fragments and other debris horizontally) was delayed after the flash (like thunder after lightning), so they had time to literally duck and cover. Robert Trumbull - the New York Times Pacific and Asia war correspondent, 1941-79 - documented the facts about double survivors after an 11 October 1955 New York Times article - “Eleven Survived Two Atom Bombs” - reported the names of the survivors who had been found to have survived both nuclear explosions. Trumbull’s 1957 book Nine Who Survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Personal Experiences of Nine Men who Lived Through Both Atomic Bombings was stimulated by the Director of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission medical investigation, who identified 18 double-survivors of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. All survived Hiroshima and then took trains to Nagasaki, arriving in Nagasaki either early or late on the morning of 9 August 1945, just before the bomb dropped on that city. A census was held in 1950, and the information from other colleagues was used to check the accuracy of the survivor records. Trumbull with the help of the Japanese translator for the New York Times then tracked eleven down, of whom 9 agreed to give interviews. The 1957 jacket of Nine Who Survived emphasizes the value of this survival knowledge:

“The Japanese who survived the atomic bombings of both Nagasaki and Hiroshima are some of the most valuable people in the world. Now for the first time these men share the knowledge they gained then at such terrible cost – a knowledge which is vital for all humanity. ... Eight of the nine accidentally or deliberately took cover in the few seconds which elapsed between the unearthly flash of light and the blast ... To know what these men endured, and how they survived is supremely important for us all.”

Trumbull reported by radio from Iwo Jima while under Japanese mortar fire, and accompanied the first Marines to enter Japan after their surrender. Unlike the subjective emotional sensationalism and air burst fallout deceptions of dangerous populist books on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (it is a hard fact that the popular media only want to publish emotional anti-civil defense propaganda and exaggerations on this subject, not a balanced or objective assessment), Trumbull’s book is objective and honest, focussing interviews on establishing useful civil defense facts about how the thermal flash and blasted window glass fragments were dodged or stopped by quick action with futons. Trumbull points out (page 16) that Hiroshima’s 300 year old medieval castle “had been made an Army divisional headquarters, the heart of the command responsible for southern Japanese defenses. Besides shipyards and important war industries, the city contained at least 35 major military installations.” On page 86 he states Nagasaki was bombed because there was cloud cover over Kokura, the steel manufacturing center at the northern end of Kyushu island, but Nagasaki contained the Mitsubishi shipbuilding yards that made the biggest battleship of WWII, the 73,000 ton Musashi armed with 19 inch guns. Trumbull died aged 80 in 1992.

The experiences of double-nuclear bomb survivors Trumbull interviewed (with their ages on 9 August 1945):

Kenshi Hirata (26, accountant at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company, Hiroshima). Hirata explained how he ducked to avoid blasted glass and debris on seeing the nuclear flash in Hiroshima (Trumbull p25): “‘through an open window what looked like a golden lightning flash ... had blown up out of the earth. The weird light was everywhere. I immediately thought of an air-raid, and hurled myself prostrate in the passage.’ Hirata’s quick action probably saved him serious injury, if not his life.” The worst skin burns and glass fragment injuries occurred on bare skin (Trumbull p61): “Because it was the middle of summer, which is exceptionally hot in southern Japan, most of the people of Hiroshima were very thinly clad that morning, so they had less than ordinary protection against burns, Hirata observed.” After returning to his family in Nagasaki, he used his experience to prevent injury during second nuclear detonation (Trumbull p119):

“‘I shouted to my aged father ... ‘Lie face downward!’ In the immediate moment I was expecting that terrific explosion blast and roar.’ ... Kenshi and his father were unharmed. ‘But in two or three minutes ... I saw people running out of their houses, holding their hands over injuries on their heads, faces, and bodies. Most of these were wounds caused by flying pieces of glass.”

Tsutomu Yamaguchi (29, Mitsubishi ship designer, who insisted on having both Hiroshima and Nagasaki shown on his Japanese nuclear survivor medical records in 2009, and died in 2010 aged 93, soon after being visited by Titanic film director James Cameron). Yamaguchi explains how he survived in Hiroshima outdoors (Trumbull p28):

“‘Suddenly there was a flash like the lighting of a huge magnesium flare,’ Yamaguchi recalls. The young ship designer was so well drilled in air-raid precaution techniques that he reacted automatically. He flung his hands to his head, covering his eyes with his fingers and stopping his ears with his two thumbs. Simultaneously he dropped to the ground, face down. ... ‘As I prostrated myself, there came a terrific explosion’.” His left arm and the left part of his face were facing the fireball and were flash-burned. Then, after returning to Nagasaki by train early on 9 August, he was on the sixth-floor of the headquarters office of the great Mitsubishi industrial complex explaining the effects in Hiroshima to colleagues and his superior, when the Nagasaki nuclear flash occurred (Trumbull p109):

“Spelling out the danger of flying glass, he urged them to keep windows open during an air-raid alert, and at the instant of the flash to seize at once upon any shelter available ... the second A-bomb confirmed young Yamaguchi’s words, exploding in a huge ball of fire about a mile away. Yamaguchi’s lecture ... was not lost upon his colleagues. With the young designer’s words still fresh in their minds, they leaped for the cover of desks and tables. ‘As a result,’ said Yamaguchi, ‘my section staff suffered the least in that building. In other sections there was a heavy toll of serious injuries from flying glass’.”

But the BBC omitted ALL useful survival facts by pretending Trumbull’s book did not exist, and stupidly and offensively labelling Yamaguchi the “Unluckiest Man in the World” after his death aged 93 in 2010, during a Stephen Fry hosted programme - QI, series 8, episode 13, 17 December 2010 - leading to Yamaguchi’s daughter, Toshiko, stating on NHK TV Japan that Stephen Fry’s “joke” insulted her: “I cannot forgive the atomic bomb experience being laughed at in Britain.” London’s Japanese Embassy officially complained to the BBC, and producer Piers Fletcher missed the point about the facts being wrong, by stating: “I underestimated the potential sensitivity of this issue to Japanese viewers.” Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC, wrote an “apology” to the Japanese Embassy. The BBC even tried to pass off the error by claiming that part of the “joke” was a praise of the efficiency of Japanese trains in resuming service rapidly after the Hiroshima nuclear explosion. Hilary Whiteman of CNN reported on 4 February 2011 that Stephen Fry cancelled a trip to Japan to film Planet Word as a result of upset he had caused in Japan.

Shigeyoshi Morimoto (46, maker of kites for air defense of Japanese ships). Morimoto used his Hiroshima experience to take cover in Nagasaki after seeing the flash, before the windows were blasted in.

Tsuitaro Doi (47, assistant kite maker to Morimoto). Doi was on his Hiroshima hotel bed, a thin floor mattress called a “futon”, on 6 August, and when he saw the explosion flash he used the futon to protect himself against blasted window glass (Trumbull p42): “I quickly rolled over and covered my head with the futon ... The floor of the room and my futon were covered with tiny bits of shattered glass. I noticed that I had a slight cut on one arm, and another on the leg, where I wasn’t covered. ... There were a lot of school girls in the crowd of wounded ... they said they were students who had been mobilized by the Army to pull down houses so as to prevent the spread of fire ... One girl said that all those who had been on the roofs, tearing off tiles, had been blown to the ground by the blast and had got terrible burns.” He was at home, 1.5 miles from ground zero in Nagasaki, when the second flash occurred (Trumbull pp106-7):

“Doi was telling his wife in detail about the bomb. ‘If you ever see that flash,’ he said, ‘immediately prostrate yourself on the floor, or the ground if you are outside. ...’ As he was saying these words, the windows lighted as if giant searchlights had been turned directly into the house. ‘There, you see it? That’s what I mean!’ Doi cried ... Mrs Doi startled, jumped to her feet impulsively and turned to run out of the house. Doi grabbed her and pulled her and the baby down as the blast wave shattered all the glass in the little cottage and ripped off the wood and paper sliding doors. As the flimsy house steadied Doi opened his eyes, and saw that the interior of the room was a wreck. But neither he nor his wife nor the baby was hurt.”

Shinji Kinoshita (50, assistant kite maker to Morimoto). Kinoshita was hit by falling roof slabs in Hiroshima warehouse but survived with his colleague Komatsu. Kinoshita was just outside the door of his family home when the Nagasaki nuclear explosion occurred (Trumbull p105): “he was momentarily blinded by a flash that seemed to cover the sky. Like the other survivors of the Hiroshima attack, Kinoshita realized at once what the strange, blinding light meant, and reacted without a second’s hesitation. He threw himself face first on the ground, at the same time shouting into the house, ‘Cover yourself with futons!’”

Masao Komatsu (40, assistant kite maker to Morimoto). Komatsu was hit by falling beam in Hiroshima warehouse but survived along with his colleague Kinoshita. The nuclear explosion flash in Nagasaki occurred as Komatsu’s train was arriving (Trumbull, p101): “the interior of the coach was bathed in a stark, white light. Komatsu immediately dived for the floor. ‘Get down!’ he screamed at the other passengers. Some recovered sufficiently from the daze of the blinding light to react promptly to his warning. Seconds later came the deafening crack of the blast, and a shock wave that splintered all the windows on both sides of the train. The passengers who had not dived under the seats were slashed mercilessly from waist to head by glass flying at bullet speed.”

Takejiro Nishioka (55, publisher of Nagasaki’s leading newspaper in 1945). He became Governor of the Nagasaki Prefecture in 1957. In Hiroshima on business on 6 August 1945, he survived the first nuclear explosion and noted the delay of the blast wave after the visible flash. When he returned to Nagasaki he was not allowed to publish the facts, and only survived by diving into an air raid shelter when he saw the flash after a single B-29 appeared over the city. He explained (Trumbull, p92):

“I had observed in Hiroshima that when the flash came, there would be a few seconds before it was followed by the blast wave ... I have often bitterly regretted the law that gagged me as a newspaperman, and forced me to confine my communications to the governor’s ear alone.”

Japan only permitted civil defense advice against nuclear attack to be published after the second nuclear attack on Nagasaki, which was too late. Even at ground zero, the blast wave was delayed after the first flash because of the height of burst, so quick reactions could limit exposure to flying glass. Proof of the efficiency of duck and cover advice against the blast wind and flying debris was given to Nishioka by Nagasaki’s police chief Mizuguchi, who had been told Nishioka’s advice by the Nagasaki governor and had passed it to his first-grade middle school student son, who was with three friends in Daikoku-Machi street, Nagasaki, when the flash occurred (Trumbull pp. 114-5):

“The police chief’s son remembered his father’s warning at once. Hauling his friend with him by the hand, he dashed for a shelter on the pavement ... The two boys in the shelter were saved; the other two, who stayed on the street, seemed to vanish ... Mizuguchi’s wife, at the same moment, happened to be standing just outside their house, under the eves, with a baby in her arms. The instant she saw the flash, she recalled her husband’s words of the night before and rushed back into the house. She opened a closet and, with the baby still in her arms, crowded inside and pulled shut the sliding door. ... The room, and the area outside the house, was covered with innumerable sharp, pointed slivers of shattered glass. Clearly, she had escaped serious injury by shutting herself in the closet. ... Nishioka was bitterly upbraided by Hiromasa Nakamura, chief of the foreign affairs sections of the Nagasaki Prefectural Office, for not briefing other government officials on the happenings at Hiroshima and the efficacy of bomb shelters. ... ‘I could only tell him that I was indeed anxious to tell everyone in Nagasaki what I had learned, but that if I had done so, I would have been liable for violation of the law against spreading ‘wild rumors’, and could have been arrested and convicted.”

Akira Iwanaga (25, engineer at Mitsubishi ship yard, a friend and colleague of Yamaguchi). After surviving at Hiroshima, he arrived in Nagasaki just as the bomb exploded, aboard the same train as another double-survivor, Masao Komatsu (Trumbull p101). Sakajiro Mishima (36, dockside worker at Mitsubishi ship yard) also survived both nuclear explosions.

Nuclear survivors in 1957 were subject to the same media radiation scare-mongering as today, and some shunned publicity. Yamaguchi’s friend Kuniyoshi Sato, along with Masako Suga and her baby boy and Hiroshi Shibuta were all also double-survivors of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but in 1957 they all declined publicity. Another double-survivor aged is Mrs Kazuko Sadamaru (aged 20 in 1945), first interviewed in The Observer (London, Sunday 24 July 2005) in 2005, aged 80. She was a nurse in a Nagasaki’s Ohmura Naval Hospital, but on 5 August 1945 had to accompany a soldier to Hiroshima by train. The Hiroshima explosion occurred just as the train arrived at 8:15am, and she returned to Nagasaki by train, surviving a second nuclear explosion:

‘“I never wanted to speak out about my experience. I haven’t published anything or talked to anyone because I didn’t want anyone to know. I only became a nurse because I wanted to devote myself to patients and the country. I never dreamt Japan would lose the war. I worked and worked believing Japan would win. I cannot forget the events on 6 and 9 August 1945. I saw the flashes and the mushroom clouds of both A-bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So many were exposed to the A-bomb but I am one of the few people who have experienced the two bombs, and still I am in good health. It was fate that I was there, but I had good luck in that I survived both bombs.” Despite being close to both bombs, she suffered only a temporary abnormal white blood cell count and loss of hair.”’

Above: overcrowded wood frame housing containing charcoal braziers on the edge of the damaged area in Hiroshima (U.S. National Archives photo). How many cities in the world which contain this type of overcrowded wooden housing with charcoal braziers are targets for nuclear terrorism today? U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, never-published full May 1947 report 92 on Hiroshima, volume 2, typeset edition pages 126-8 (quoted on pages 176 and 98 of Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945):

“Structural damage by blast to multistory, steel- and reinforced concrete-frame structures did not extend beyond 2,000 feet from GZ. The buildings within this radius sustained an average of 12 percent structural damage. The average for all the buildings of this type in Hiroshima was 8 percent.”

These are modern city buildings. The burned out areas in old photos are congested (a roof to ground area averaging 42% in firestorm areas) wood frame houses. On page 98, they quote the secret 1947 USSBS Hiroshima report, vol 1, pp 13-14 (typeset edition, not the typed manuscript in the UK National Archives at Kew):

“... six persons who had been in reinforced-concrete buildings within 3,200 feet of air zero stated that black cotton blackout curtains were ignited by radiant heat ... but a large proportion of over 1,000 persons questioned was in agreement that a great majority of the original fires was started by debris falling on kitchen charcoal fires, by industrial process fires, or by electric short circuits.”

The electric power was rapidly cut off by the overload, so sustained heat came from charcoal fires in Hiroshima's houses (due to breakfast, i.e. 8:15 local time).

Above the U.S. Department of Defense's 1973 DCPA Attack Environment Manual, chapter 3, panel 26 used the examples of successful amateur fire-fighting modern Western-type city buildings in Hiroshima as proof that people can survive in modern city buildings exposed near ground zero within the firestorm of a nuclear explosion (due to overcrowded wooden housing areas). The manuals data came from reports which remained limited or secret in distribution, however. Panel 27 in chapter 3 of the 1973 DCPA Attack Environment Manual states: "The evidence from Hiroshima indicates that blast survivors, both injured and uninjured, in buildings later comsumed by fire 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 within the first half hour. The remainder were consumed by fire spread, some as late as 15 hours after the blast." Panel 3 also points out that the predictions of thermal burns in The Effects of Nuclear Weapons omit protection due to shadows by tall buildings in modern cities, and duck and cover evasive action: "Persons caught in the open or near windows can also take advantage of the relative slow pace of the thermal pulse from large-yield weapons. ... Further out, even more time would be available. In the light damage area (1 to 2 psi), evasive action within the first four seconds would avoid significant burn injury."

Above: tall buildings protect against thermal burns by the shadowing effect, whereas the people in Hiroshima in many documented survivor accounts of serious burn and flying glass injuries had moved into a position (behind windows or outdoors) with a direct radial line to the fireball, to watch the B-29 bomb carrying aircraft.

Proof-tests of a heat-reflecting plastic against thermal radiation (suitable for fire-proof protective clothing and other materials to resist heat flash and fire)

Rose George, “Starlite, nuclear blast-defying plastic that could change the world: Two decades ago amateur scientist Maurice Ward invented a material that could resist the force of 75 Hiroshimas. So why haven’t we all heard about it?”, The Telegraph, London, 15 Apr 2009:

“Fire-resistant uniforms; better fire doors; safer furniture. Laser-resistant tanks and weaponry; more efficient missile nose cones. It could coat launch sites for vertical take-off aircraft and spacecraft. ... In early 1990, presenter Peter McCann introduced viewers to Starlite by means of an egg. Ward shows me the first videoed test of the oxyacetylene torch meeting a Starlite-coated hen's egg. Not only did a Starlite coating prevent the egg from combusting, it was also an astonishingly efficient insulator, as McCann demonstrated by cracking the egg, after five minutes of it being torched, to reveal a completely raw yolk. There are other thermal barriers, the presenter said, but none that resist heat and yet give off no toxic fumes, and can be easily moulded. ... In July that year, Ward was invited to the British Atomic Weapons Establishment at Foulness, and the egg went nuclear. ‘They’d been trying to get something to withstand a nuclear flash for 45 years, and we did it in five minutes.’ Ward was reluctant to take part at first. ‘I was happy with my egg. It was just a challenge and I didn’t want to lose.’ This was a different league. Starlite-coated eggs were subjected to light-energy sources that simulated a nuclear flash, equivalent to a temperature of 10,000 C. 'They did it twice and it was still there. Charred, but intact.’

“The Foulness equipment couldn’t keep up. ‘I said to one scientist, “Are we doing all right?”, and he burst out laughing. He said, “Normally, we do a test every couple of hours because we have to wait for it to cool down. We’re doing it every 10 minutes, and it's sat there laughing at us.”’ Most materials vaporise beyond 2,000 C. Pure carbon, which has the highest melting point of all elements, melts at 3,500 C. ... In tests at the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment in Malvern, Starlite was pulsed with lasers that would normally have burned through polymer. Instead, as Pohling-Brown reported in a widely-read article in International Defence Review in 1993, ‘Starlite showed little damage to the surface, merely small pits with the approximate diameter of the beam and with little evidence of melting.’ Pohling-Brown reported that it included ‘... polymers and copolymers, and small quantities of ceramics’. ... [on 21] June 1991, a sample was sent to White Sands atomic weapons testing site in New Mexico, in the care of the SAS, and subjected to a simulated nuclear onslaught. ‘It was classed as the biggest bang in town. I’ve seen a video [on which] it shredded forest to sawdust, rolled some tanks around, stripped an aircraft into pieces.’ But Starlite survived. ... Ward certainly believes in his product, claiming publicly that it could have prevented the space shuttle disasters. ‘Starlite has a Q-value [an energy absorption rating] of 2,470. The space shuttle tiles have a Q-value of 1.’ Not only that, but because Starlite is so lightweight – 1mm thick, compared to 75mm for the space tiles – it’s actually ... better’.”

Slaked lime painted on wood has been used as a flame-proofing since medieval times, and was used in WWII to reduce the fire risks from incendiary bombs, along with flame-resistant fight-fighting clothing made by soaking clothes in a solution containing borax and boric acid. Plastic “smart” materials, like starlite, are compounds containing clay and polymer plastic, whose infrared radiation reflection albedo increases with temperature as the clay is fired into ceramic, resisting a nuclear heat flash, which ends before the slower-moving blast wave arrives. Inventor Maurice Ward was motivated to investigate the applications of this heat proof plastic for safety when on 22 August 1985 fire spread rapidly through the flammable plastics in a British Airtours plane at Manchester Airport, killing 55 in 40 seconds. Propagandarists who oppose all civil defence against terrorism ignore the fact that these same safety measures are also effective against peacetime fires, and natural disasters or accidents.

Fire proof plastics have peacetime utility as well as wartime utility. The anti-civil defence claim (seatbelts encourage accidents and anything which could save lives in a nuclear war is immoral), is disproved by the facts of anti-civil defence appeasement causing war in the 1930s. In his pre-war book The Peril from the Air and articles, Sir Malcolm Campbell argued for underground concrete car parks in London to both ease street congestion in peacetime and pay for themselves with parking revenue, yet afford effective life-saving shelter for civil defence during bombing. Such ideas were deplored by the miserable and militant so-called idealist-pacifist of the popular media until subdued by the 1938 Munich crisis. They were out to attack anybody realistically making the world safer by discouraging aggressors through reducing vulnerability to attack. For the mean peace-at-any-price fanatics, anything that could reduce terrorism is a deflection from utopian dreams of world disarmament. Some continue to refuse to acknowledge that there are, always have been, and always will be, thuggist idealistic fanatics in the world who are a danger and who try to intimidate by exploiting vulnerability, possibly some are idealistic fanatics themselves. If you discuss the facts with hard-line anti-civil defense CND supporters, the more delusions you demolish with hard fact, the less interested they become. If someone's religious dogma is called disarmament for utopia, and they find attacking civil defense a useful means to divert attention to their aim of vilifying effective military technology, they any facts which disprove their assertions will not make an impact. If they are not rational or interested in reason to begin with, they cannot be defeated with reasoned argument.

This is a key point that civil defense must confront. To be taken seriously, you must not only give people the full facts on civil defense, but you must also give the whole truth on the delusions of the "alternatives" to civil defense and their ineffectiveness in history, so that the public is aware of the historical experiences of trying to avoid war with dictators using diplomacy or peaceful blockades. Only full disclosure of the facts leads to an informed democratic public debate. Civil defense will not be taken seriously, regardless of the scientific data declassification proving its effectiveness, until and unless the whole spectrum of exaggerations and prejudices on no-longer secret weapons is debunked by the historical example of the 1930s. Brett Holman is writing a book which hopefully will do this. One delusion is that a world police can prevent war: the problem here is that in democracy the police usually work on "innocent until proved guilty", rather than locking people up on mere suspicion in order to prevent crime. If you scale this idea up to a world police force, you have to be aware that the police is not 100% effective in preventing crime, nor even in bringing criminals to justice. So you no longer have a utopian foolproof plan, and then you are into difficult quantitative questions like, "will this idea actually end up setting off more conflicts and wars than it prevents?" This kind of fruitless polemical "debate" (with no real facts under discussion, just emotional ranting) has always had enormous political and ethical support from people like Stalin, Hitler, and and others, since it detracts public attention in democratic countries from more realistic countermeasures to disasters, e.g. civil defense. Technical data: here, here, and here.

Above: people survived all of the nuclear explosion effects within the Hiroshima firestorm in the Bank of Japan and Geibi Bank Company, and extinguished fires 2-3 hours after the nuclear explosion when firebrands (burning cinders) were blown through broken windows from the wooden areas firestorm surrounding these modern concrete city buildings. The photos above are from the U.S. Department of Defense DCPA Attack Environment Manual 1973, chapters 3 and 8. The illustraion on the right shows radiation protection factors from fallout.

Above: the overcrowding of wood-frame buildings in 1945 Hiroshima was such that 42 percent of the ground areas in the main firestorm areas was covered with wooden buildings containing charcoal braziers, paper screens, and bamboo furnishings. This compared to 45 percent ground coverage by buildings in the central wooden medieval part of Hamburg which suffered a firestorm in July 1943.

Above: conventional warfare dropped 240 kilotons of bombs on Germany in the month of March 1945 alone, equivalent to 15 times the 16 kt Hiroshima bomb, i.e., one Hiroshima every 2 days during March 1945. Distributing the same energy over many small bombs (rather than a single large bomb) is actually more damaging, since the overpressure-damaged area from a bomb scales only as the two-thirds power of the explosive energy, and is equivalent to megatons of nuclear weapons per month. Manhattan Project in 1945 at best could produce only two bombs per month. There is a tendency among many politicians, historians, disarmers, and others to down-play conventional warfare and to exaggerate the effects of nuclear weapons, by misleadingly selective use of statistics.

Updates (3 March 2012)

Whole World on Fire—And All Wet. Walmer (Jerry) Strope

I have just finished reading a strange book, Whole World on Fire, by Lynn Eden, published by Cornell University Press a month ago. Ms. Eden is an historian at Stanford University. Her thesis is that Air Force targeteers perversely continued to use blast damage as the basis for targeting even though fire damage "would extend two to five times farther than blast damage" because of institutional biases stemming from the emphasis on precision bombing in World War II. That is, "organizations draw on past practices and ideas even as they innovate to solve new problems."

To Ms. Eden, the question of prioritizing nuclear weapon effects is just a convenient example of this institutional characteristic. She does not purport herself to be an expert on the physics of mass fires. ...

In Chapter 1, Ms. Eden introduces her readers to the problem by postulating the detonation of a 300-kt bomb 1,500 feet above the Pentagon. It is here that I encounter more of the strangeness. ... close in, we are told "the fireball would melt asphalt in the streets." But when the description gets to the Capitol building some three miles away, there is no comparable sentence. The previous image is permitted to carry over. ... we are told, "Even though the Capitol is well constructed to resist fire, and stands in an open space at a distance from other buildings, light from the fireball shining through the building’s windows would ignite papers, curtains, light fabrics, and some furniture coverings. Large sections of the building would probably suffer heavy fire damage. The House and Senate office buildings would suffer even greater damage. The interiors of these buildings would probably burn."

Hold on! Wait a minute! The Capitol building is completely protected by sprinklers. So are the House and Senate office buildings, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court building, and the massive buildings lining the Mall and in the Federal Triangle. These buildings may become sopping wet but they probably will not burn. The monuments also will not burn.

Why don’t mass fire calculators take sprinkler systems, venetian and vertical blinds, and other fire protection measures into account? Is the situation in the Nation’s Capital unusual? Not anymore. For decades, the lowly fire protection engineer and his employer, the fire insurance industry, have been gnawing away at the fire problem. According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 1977 and 2002 the annual number of building fires in the United States declined by 50%, from 3.2 million a year to 1.6 million a year. Fires in hotels and motels, which killed over 100 people a year as recently as the late 1960s, have become so rare that the U.S. Fire Administration no longer keeps statistics on them. If it were not for a sizable increase in wildfire damage—resulting from timber management practices—the statistics would look even better ... lots of people survived in the fire areas at Hamburg and Hiroshima. The late Dr. Carl F. Miller (after whom the California chapter of ASDA is named) did the definitive analysis of the records of the Hamburg Fire Department. About 20 percent of the people in the fire area were in underground bunkers. Eighty percent were in shelters in building basements. Survival in bunkers was 100%; in basements, it was 80%.

Walmer E. ("Jerry") Strope (April 9, 1918 - August 15, 2010) worked on fallout at the U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory in California and on nuclear tests starting with the underwater Baker shot on 25 July 1946 at Bikini Atoll, where he did the definitive analysis of dose rate and film badge radiation dose data from the target ships, establishing the partition between fallout deposit doses and transit base surge radiation doses.

In 1961 President John F. Kennedy transferred responsibility for civil defense to the Department of Defense, and Strope was made Director of Research under the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civil Defense. He also sat with Dr Carl Miller and others in the USNRDL earth covered fallout shelter just a mile away from 17 kt shot Diablo of Operation Plumbbob, Nevada, 1957. In the 1960s and early 1970s (before FEMA), he was head of civil defense research for the Office of Civil Defense (at the Department of Defense) which was later renamed DCPA (Defense Civil Preparedness Agency) in the Pentagon, where he commissioned much of the Dirkwood Corporation and Stanford Research Institute research we're reviewing in this blog. So why didn't he assemble and publish all the facts? Well, Strope states on his March 1977 Resume that he was the author of the renowned 1973 DCPA Attack Environment Manual: "Author of DCPA Attack Environment Manual and numerous classified and unclassified federal in-house research reports." That manual is the only fact-based summary of the facts, but it relies on secret and limited distribution references which were not available to back it up, and so it could not demolish Postol and others. The anti-civil defense and nuclear firestorm delusions rely on official secrecy to stop the full facts coming out. Delusions breed in an information vacuum. Secrecy continues today with EM-1, and with the volumes of DASA-1251 dealing with the specific activity (visibility) of fallout deposits at nuclear tests, their gamma ray spectra measurements, and other vital basic civil defense data on fires, damage to structures near nuclear tests. The 1953 Annie and 1955 Apple-2 "open shots" which produced the propaganda of filmed wooden and brick fascade cinder-block houses exploding outwards with plenty of dust in the negative pressure phase, hardly much of a problem for people inside who have ducked under strong tables on seeing the flash.

"My first NRDL report was AD-77, “A Review of the Radioactive Waste Disposal Problem from the Military Viewpoint.” ...

I had never heard of Samuel Glasstone myself but his name struck a chord in many of the nerds at NRDL. It seemed he had written an important textbook in physical chemistry that had been used in their studies. Accordingly, his name was uttered with the same sort of awe that Webster’s is used in connection with a dictionary. I concluded that Glasstone had been brought into the picture to lend a little cachet to the Handbook in the eyes of the scientific community. In one of his letters written after the announcement of the Russian bomb test, Glasstone mentioned that “the Congressional Committee for Atomic Energy is breathing down our necks, and we are anxious to complete the HANDBOOK as soon as possible.” Things did drag on though and it was not until the following spring that I received a paper-bound copy of The Effects of Atomic Weapons together with a letter from Carroll L. Wilson, the general manager of the AEC, thanking me for my contributions and announcing that the book was scheduled for publication on August 12, 1950. It was a form letter no doubt received by every one of the contributors listed in the Foreword to the book. Hirschfelder was listed too but Glasstone was singled out as the editor.

Glasstoned Again

In the summer of 1950, as the Marines were desperately trying to halt the North’s invasion of South Korea, we received word from AFSWP that Samuel Glasstone would be arriving to accomplish the final editing of RD2. I was aghast. We had the damn thing about done and besides, I had looked over The Effects book and did not think it that great an editing job. What had been done was to divide every chapter into two parts; the first written for the lay person and conveying general results while the technically literate reader was referred to the second part that contained details. I had no way of knowing whether that arrangement was Glasstone’s contribution, of course, but none of the draft material had been organized that way. I hoped that approach would not be foisted onto RD2 but I feared the worst. ...

It was an insult to send Sam Glasstone to NRDL but I could do nothing about it. The nerds thought I was lucky to be able to sit at the feet of their hero. Shortly, Glasstone arrived but not by himself. He had his wife with him. She, it turned out, did not come to keep house for Sam. She was his helpmeet at work; not a secretary, mind you, but a full-fledged partner. Fortunately, the office I had reserved for Glasstone was large enough for the Glasstones. They sat across from each other at a library table and passed our drafts back and forth. Maybe she edited his stuff.

I do not have any picture in my mind these days of how the Glasstones looked. All I remember is that they were old. They were old like my father. (He was in his mid-50s then.) The net effect of Glasstone and Glasstone was to delay the publication of Radiological Defense, Volume II by about six months. (It was eventually published in mid-1951.) Every chapter got the same treatment: no content changes but numerous changes in organization and presentation. I fumed but told my team to accomplish the changes. Only occasionally would I object to Sam that a proposed change would make the meaning inaccurate or misleading. My objections were always accommodated. ...

Radiological Defense, Volume II, was published in mid-1951 in beautifully bound navy-blue imitation leather with gold lettering. It got wide distribution in the services and outside. The copy I now have has been declassified and was in the library of the Federal Civil Defense Administration until I liberated it. Inside is a foreword by Brigadier General Herbert Loper, chief of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, in which he acknowledges that most of the material was prepared by NRDL with too many contributors to be named individually but that the book was edited by Samuel Glasstone. Glasstoned again!" - Walmer E. Strope, autobiography, ch 9, p112 and 115-116.

Above: Walmer Strope's photo on an Operation Hardtack (1958 nuclear tests) badge, marked "Top Secret: Sigma 4". This American "Sigma" system continues today: Sigma 1 is thermonuclear weapon design, 2 is fission and boosted fission design, 3 is general nuclear weapons data, 4 is nuclear test data, and 5 is stockpile data. In America, the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 controlled security, while in Britain the Official Secrets Act was used. The problem is that key basic nuclear weapons effects data of essential value to civil defense credibility was kept under lock and key and outside public discussion. This also affects its discussion by cleared personnel, because it constrains discussions to secure office conferences with work time limits, even for the handful of people with data access.

Virtually all this research ended with FEMA, which wasn't based in the Pentagon, and was disconnected from EM-1, relying on the deliberately vague and increasingly relying instead on the completely misleading Hiroshima firestorm analysis in the Glasstone Effects of Nuclear Weapons book instead. Why didn't anybody point out to Glasstone the errors of omission in his Hiroshima firestorm description in The Effects of Nuclear Weapons? Probably vested interests. The few people who were aware of the exaggerations were precisely those who were relying on those exaggerations for research grants, and thus didn't feel a particular urge to cut off their own lifelines by debunking the exaggerations. Despite this, the review of Eden's book is milk-and-water because he makes no mention of the firestorm cause in Hiroshima as established in USSBS 92 v2.

Chapter 18, "Fire in WWII" of Brode's interesting book The Cold War: Who Won? (57 pages, numbered on the from 67-123, including 5 pages of references) is available on Scribd, and it seems to throw some light on Brode's thinking about firestorms during his association with Lynn Eden (author of Cornell's 2004 Whole World on Fire, demolished in review here by Walmer Strope - head of DCPA civil defence nuclear war research at the Pentagon in 1960s and early 1970s, before FEMA existed). Brode (editor of the 1992 edition of EM-1) manages to survey a wide range of WWII firestorm data and reports, even including some by the excellent George Stanbury who assessed the British fire raids on Germany, while missing the whole point that nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki failed to burn anything in the mechanism claimed in nuclear winter propaganda and firestorm propaganda. The whole problem is that the secret USSBS report 92 volume 2 on the Hiroshima firestorm found it was due to the blast wave overturning charcoal breakfast stoves in paper screen and bamboo furnishings filled overcrowded wooden houses. Therefore, it is incorrect to take a blast effect radius and interpret it as a thermal flash ignition radius as Theodore Postol does, and Brode should have set Lynn Eden straight. However, from Brode's writings, you can see several good reasons why he didn't. Brode wasn't thinking in this way because USSBS 92 v2 wasn't widely available due to its secret classification and was never reprinted. He doesn't cite it or quote it.

So there is no evidence that he was aware of the key facts in USSBS 92 v2 at all. It is a similar story to the continued "secret-restricted data" classification of neutron induced activities and gamma spectra of fallout in the May 1972 Secret-Restricted Data basic fallout data compilation,


which is a 562 pages long declassified report in which only 53 pages remain in the declassified version (those remaining pages are the preliminary and end pages, omitting all the vital data inbetween). This goes so way to explaining hysteria about fallout today, why most people still today don't know the difference between an invisible "particle" emitted by fallout, and the visible deposit of particles that establishes an acute danger. While the video at the top of this blog explains that the blast and thermal ablation create blast, but this dust will not "confuse" anyone about fallout which has been contaminated in the fireball. If people are unsure about the origin of dust after a nuclear attack, they can simply err on the side of caution and treat it as nuclear fallout (until measurements show otherwise, Kearny fallout meters are easy to make, and the fallout direction is determined by the wind structure, which is not completely unpredictable today). The low specific activity of fallout in a surface burst (or the raindrop carriers in an air burst with rainout) provide visible warning of of a hazard that demands taking cover or evacuating the area promptly. Fallout gamma ray spectra nuclear test data secrecy won't help people to protect themselves from fallout in the event of a terrorist nuclear attack. The absence of data will be filled by 1.25 MeV cobalt 60 gamma ray data from the cold war, which exaggerates the real penetrating power of the radiation from fractionated fallout. The NRDL submitted a paper including photos of fallout to the May 1957 congressional hearings on The Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man but, although the title is listed in the NRDL reports section, the report was missed out from being printed. Glasstone and Dolan finally included a few microscope photos of individual fallout particles for the first time in the 1977 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, but didn't give photos of the actual visible deposits of fallout corresponding to different radiation hazards as obtained from NRDL incremental fallout collectors at nuclear tests.

Lynn Eden's Whole World on Fire

On page 290, Eden refers to Jerry Strope's unpublished "Autobiography of a Nerd", which in chapter 19, pages 219-220 explains the problems with the Postol-type approach to firestorm predictions, missing the USSBS 92 v2 data on the Hiroshima firestorm: "The brilliant flash resulting from a nuclear explosion, called the “thermal pulse,” was believed to be the principal cause of the fires that raged at Hiroshima. Of course, Japanese houses were made of paper and Hiroshima was not much like modern American cities but the potential fire threat was uncertain. The Effects of Nuclear Weapons had a table of materials that could be ignited by the thermal pulse. The most ignitable was old, crumpled newspaper such as you may have seen caught up in a chain-link fence. It would flame up at a thermal pulse intensity of about 5 calories per square centimeter. Anti-CD activists seized upon this datum, which could extend beyond blast damage on a clear day, drew a circle around a hypothetical explosion point, and declared all within the circle lost in the resulting mass fire.

"In retrospect, our breakthrough in this area took place in the course of one of our earliest contracts. Stan Martin pointed out in his proposal that ignitions were not the same as sustained fires. Ignitables 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. Martin proposed to survey a suitable sample of American cities to determine the likelihood of sustained fires resulting from exterior ignitables. These detailed surveys of urban areas were carried out and found that the number of exterior ignitables that could result in sustained fires was negligible! Essentially all fuel arrays that could produce a sustained fire are in rooms within buildings.

"The ignitables of interest, then, were light cotton curtains, heavy drapes, paper cartons, typing paper, upholstered furniture and beds. These have critical ignition energies of 20 to 25 calories per square centimeter, quite a bit different from the crumpled newsprint favored by the anti-CD activist. Moreover, they are in the environment of dirty windows, screens, window blinds and sprinkler systems."

The problem here is that getting 20 to 25 calories per square centimeter on to a non-fire resistant dark cotton bed cover is not as easy as it sounds. The object must have a direct view of the fireball from a window with a clear radial line to the fireball, with no other building in the way, no tree in the way. Even then, how likely is the thermal radiation to strike inflammable dark coloured non-fire resistant bed or other materials, even if it shines into a room without being obscured by buildings, trees, or the clouds of dust and steam ablated from objects or the ground nearer the fireball, near the path the thermal radiation is travelling along? If the burst is at low altitude, skyline shadowing is a major barrier to the thermal radiation. If the burst is at a high altitude, the thermal radiation will not shine far into a room and probably won't reach most beds unless they are close to the window (like sunlight exposure when the sun is high in the sky).

Eden's conclusion chapter, "Routine surprises", tries to blame organizational bureaucracy for ignoring the fire hazard. However, the facts are the exact opposite! Organizational bureaucracy actually covered up the reason why the fire hazard did not exist in modern Western cities: namely the secret U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey report 92 volume 2 on the Hiroshima firestorm. I got a hint of the problem when I emailed Harold Brode myself about the blast wave attenuation by buildings which Dr (Lord) William Penney established in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from precision measurements of the bending of metal beams, the volume reduction in crushed petrol cans and blueprint containers, and the overturning of memorial stones. Penney arrived in the nuclear bombed cities before the main USSBS team and shipped all the reliable blast pressure indicators back to England, so the USSBS was deprived of that data on how the blast pressure decreased due to the work done in causing destruction.

My question to Brode: why isn't this fact (which gets more important for higher yield weapons because it is cumulative and gets bigger for greater distances in a city, thereby cancelling out the effect of the increased blast wave duration) included in any of the collateral damage predictions for nuclear war? He did not have a convincing answer to Penney's data, and pointed out that non-radial energy flows might occur and that part of the blast energy is transformed into the kinetic energy of flying debris (part of it is also used to mechanically break and heat materials). However, in the Mach region the major energy flow in the blast wave near the surface is horizontal and radial, and the flying debris moves more slowly than the shock front, and is therefore soon left behind the blast wave, where it falls to the ground and decelerates by air drag, by tumbling, or (as seen in many films of blast on houses) reverses its direction as the negative phase of the blast wave sets in (which blows towards ground zero, but at a slower speed than the shock front). Therefore, the conversion of blast energy into the kinetic energy of debris does not compensate the blast wave. It is an irreversible loss of energy from the shock front, which does not occur in unobstructed desert and ocean nuclear tests.

It puzzles me why Lynn Eden didn't ask Brode similar questions, and really uncover the facts. There is of course some groupthink error in the secret world of EM-1. It's just not the error which Eden thinks is the case. There are only so many times that you can repeat an "error" about the Hiroshima firestorm and conflate nuclear fire esperience with the incendiary action at Hamburg, before it begins to sound like a deliberate disinformation or propaganda campaign. If somebody claims 1 + 1 = 10 once, perhaps it was a mistake, or perhaps there were counting using base 2 and didn't say so by accident. But if people persistently promote an error without retracting or correcting what they said, it looks increasingly like propaganda.

"The arguments that weather and climate variabilities make fire prediction highly uncertain are specious. Fire spread is the major factor, and that can be reliably predicted. ... even with the most extremes of weather, target susceptibility and operational circumstances, fire damage is not appreciably less predictable than that due to blast."

- Harold Brode, letter to Lynn Eden, 7 Dec 1995, quoted on page 15 of Whole World on Fire.

This is a brilliant example of being at sixes and sevens. Brode is right that fire is predictable and not less predictable than blast. However, his blast wave predictions are an exaggeration for high yields on cities, because he ignores the energy loss due to the cumulatve damage done to the buildings, which is a factor that doesn't apply to the 1953 Annie Nevada test or the 1955 Apple 2 nuclear test, when a few buildings stood with an empty desert between them and the nuclear explosion. If you have 100 intervening buildings and each absorbs just 1% of the blast energy, the blast has only 0.99100 36.6% of its energy when it reaches you. This effect was brilliantly documented by Penney at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in his massive 1970 analysis of the damage in both nuclear bombed cities.

The thermal radiation error goes back to the effect of atmospheric transmissivity on fires. Most cities are beside rivers, lakes or the ocean. The water can produce fog or even just humid air at times which greatly absorbs the fire-starting infrared component of the thermal radiation from a nuclear explosion. The 1950 edition of The Effects of Atomic Weapons contained curves for all atmospheric visibility conditions, but this was cut back in the later 1957, 1962/4 and 1977 editions. The 1962/4 editions only included curves for 10 miles and 50 miles visibility, corresponding to the average visibility at Bikini Atoll and the Nevada test site. The 1977 edition only includes data for 16 miles visibility, thus giving many people the misleading impression that a single curve is representative.

There is also the delusion regarding the ignition of thick wood or bed mattresses by thermal flash ignited newspapers or dark cotton covers in houses or outside. As documented earlier in this post, ignition of newspaper and houses was far easier in the dry Nevada desert nuclear tests than in the humid Pacific tests (Bikini and Eniwetok). Brode's statement seems to be based on the effects of humidity on think fuels like newspapers, where humidity variations only vary ignition energy by a relatively small factor, because the thermal pulse can dry out a thin piece of newspaper and them ignite it at high thermal exposures. But this newspaper ignition mechanism and humidity effect conclusion cannot be carried over to thicker fuels.

If you try to ignite damp logs with matches, you will find it practically impossible, because the matches cannot dry out the thickness of the logs quickly enough for them to ignite. The thermal flash is similar surface heating effect. So in realistic city conditions, newspapers and maybe even some dark coloured curtains that have a view of the fireball will ignite, but they won't cause the rapid room flashover of the inflammables-filled room in the 1953 Encore Nevada desert nuclear test, because thicker wood takes time to ignite at normal city humidity (in buildings people are exhaling humid air continually). So the Encore house is misleading for civil defense firefighting. A small increase in air humidity has little effect on the ignition of newspapers, but disproportionately larger effect on the time taken for thicker fuels like wood to ignite. The experience of Hiroshima is more important than the Nevada Encore test, because it is more realistic.

Understanding the censoring of the facts: what is truth?

“A book that challenges theocracy is blasphemous by definition. Not just because it questions the divine provenance of a sacred text ... but because it criticises the bigotries the sacred text instructs the faithful to hold. ... Rules for Censors:

(1) Demand a Respect You Don’t Deserve [simply ignore all criticisms which don’t begin by humbly licking the boots of the lying groupthink liars who caused WWII by outright lying to the public to get attention for their evil, deluded utopian dreams];

(2) A Little Fear Goes a Long, Long Way [spurious fear mongering lies behind evil ideologies, from witchcraft to ecofascism];

(3) Go Postal! [ensuring that lies are not exposed to the public];

(4) Say that it is Bigoted to Oppose Bigotry [the propaganda technique of deliberately “shutting down” discussions after stating your lying arguments, thereby banning corrections or opposition; the old ideologue’s first dictatorial trick when stating a lie];

(5) People Don’t Want to Know [ideologues rely on the fact that people don’t want to check up on the details of gory claims]

(6) Money Makes you a member of a master race [money hires lawyers or simply bribes the media thugs to persecute critics];

(7) Look to the past/think of the future [to circumvent any revolution in the freedom of information from the internet].”

- Nick Cohen, You Can’t Read this Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom, Fourth Estate, London, 2012, p. 3 and chapter section titles (rules for censors).

Brian Martin (Professor of social sciences at the University of Wollongong), “When you’re criticised”, Journal of Scholarly Publishing, vol. 43, no. 2, January 2012, pp. 230-237:

“What should you do when you or your organisation are subject to lengthy, published criticism, in a way that you think is seriously distorted and misleading? The three main options are to ignore the criticisms, to counter-attack and to respond with information and arguments. To make a choice, it is important to assess the way audiences are likely to perceive things. ...

“In informational cascades, people believe something because others do. In conformity cascades, people censor themselves when they see others taking a position contrary to their own perceptions. Finally, members of like-minded groups are likely to have more extreme views after discussing them. The communication capacities of the Internet can facilitate each of these processes, leading to substantial groups of people believing falsehoods and being resistant to correction. ...

“The easiest option is not to reply. This is usually best when the critics have little credibility or visibility compared to the person being attacked. Think of a high-profile person, like Nelson Mandela, who is subject to political criticism. If the critics are obscure and publish in little-read magazines, then Mandela would be better off ignoring them. In fact, to reply would give these critics much greater visibility and credibility - it would be seen as taking them seriously.

“However, if the critics are high-profile and their criticisms are reported in widely read outlets, then it is more risky to not respond. Suppose Mandela is criticised by other African leaders and the criticisms are reported in leading newspapers. Then not responding might be interpreted as accepting the criticisms, under the assumption that ‘silence implies consent.’

“Another problem with not responding is that it can be seen as arrogant - as refusing to engage in debate. If a controversial issue is being debated - say abortion or vaccination - and a radio station invites proponents from each side to participate in a discussion. If you say ‘I won't speak if Jamie Zust is on the same programme,’ this might look bad. ...

“There is another consideration. Perhaps you are a dissident or a member of a marginal group and have had the experience that your criticisms of dominant ideas or powerful organisations are perpetually ignored. What you would like most of all is a sensible reply and, more generally, to be part of a conversation, but those with more power and connections refuse to engage with you. ... You can call them liars and expose their unsavoury motives, vested interests and unholy agendas. ... Counter-attacking can be emotionally satisfying, but is it a good idea? The disadvantage is that many observers will think less of you.

“Some of those reading or observing the exchange won't know the details of the claims and counter-claims. All they have to go on is the style of the engagement. When you counter-attack, what they see is two sides behaving in a similar way: being personal and derogatory. It doesn’t matter that what you say is correct and what the critics say is false and unfair. You are judged by your style: when your style is nasty and abusive, observers may assume that you yourself are nasty and abusive. ...

“It’s like two people having a conversation. If both are shouting and swearing, observers won’t have much to distinguish between the two: the shouting and swearing overshadow what's actually being said. The style becomes the message. ... Some observers will always be on the side of the critics and some always on your side. But many of those who are less committed or less informed will be swayed by appearances. It’s hard to win them over using counter-attack. Because counter-attacking can be counter-productive, beware of being goaded into making abusive comments. They may be used against you. ...

“There is another whole dimension to counter-attack: you can go beyond words and exercise power, for example by suing for defamation or using influence to subject your critics with reprisals such as getting them fired. This opens a whole new set of questions, but the same principles apply. If you are seen to be the attacker, and your methods are seen to be excessive or unfair, then your actions may backfire: you may lose credibility. ...

“A third option is to respond without counter-attacking. But how exactly? In many cases, the most effective response is one that seems sensible, rational and polite. The idea is to behave the way you would prefer your critics to behave.

“If you do this, observers see one side - your critics - behaving aggressively or even rudely while you respond without getting ruffled, just presenting information and reasoned argument. Neutral observers will be more likely to see your critics as bullies and you as a strong, confident target who does not give in and who is not easily provoked.

“Let’s look more closely at the features of a response. Suppose you write something that is highly technical (for the audience) or very complicated or just plain obscure. ... You are being precise, but the message may be lost in the detail.

“Some readers will take what you say on trust but others will not be impressed: they might think you are being superior or trying to hide something. So, in general, assuming you having nothing to hide, it's better to be as clear as possible.

“Sometimes you need to go into technical detail, for example concerning scientific claims about climate change. But you can still communicate to non-specialists by providing, as well, a lay interpretation and take-away message. In other words, you offer technical details for specialists and a translation for non-specialists. ...

“When you respond to an attack, it's very tempting to immediately address every one of your critic's claims - after all, you don't want to let any of the points go unanswered. But before going down this path, think of others reading the exchange. Are they going to follow all the details? Usually, only a very few will be so familiar with the details that they can remember all the points covered. Therefore, often it’s worth including a summary of the key issues. ... Often they want to know what the dispute is all about, especially if the long critique raises a lot of different points or is complicated. You can oblige by providing a summary of the key points, highlighting your critic’s assumptions and explaining the driving forces behind the dispute. So, strangely enough, by explaining what is happening - rather than immediately attempting to rebut the critic’s claims - you open lines of communication and gain credibility. Furthermore, you get to frame the issue in a favourable way. ...

“Before responding to criticism, it is worthwhile asking a basic question: are the critics right or wrong? In principle, there are three possibilities: the critics could be 100% right, 100% wrong or somewhere in between. If the critics are completely right, you can make a gracious acknowledgement - but hardly ever are the critics entirely correct. If the critics are completely wrong, then you can challenge everything they say. However, critics are hardly ever entirely wrong on every point, though many responses give this impression. ...

“When you admit - occasionally and appropriately - that you're wrong, you can actually gain credibility. When witnesses in court make admissions against their own interest, judges and juries may think these witnesses are more honest - why else would someone make such an admission? That means the witnesses’ other statements are treated as more credible than they would have been otherwise. No one gets everything right. So when know-it-alls refuse to admit a single mistake, they lose credibility. ... Your best prospects are to make your response appeal to them. … It is extremely valuable to obtain comments from people who don’t know anything about the issue: their queries can prompt you to better explain your position to wider audiences. ...

“In summary, the keys to an effective response aimed at a non-committed audience are clarity, simplicity, honesty and insight. If your critic is long-winded, your pithy reply will be more appealing. If your critic is convoluted, your clear explanations are more likely to be accepted. If your critic never admits a weakness, your honesty about both your weaknesses and strengths will be more credible. ... Sometimes it's better not to respond, especially if your position is publicly available and the weaknesses or absurdities of the critic's claims are obvious. But if uncommitted readers might be swayed by an unanswered attack, then consider your opportunities for reply and prepare your response in a way that effectively communicates, in content and style, to the audience. Most people are too busy or not interested enough to read through long, complex arguments. They will appreciate a brief, informative treatment of the key issues. If you write clearly and fairly enough, your reply might become their preferred entry point into the dispute.”

This article seems to be written from a Machiavellian rather than an ethical standpoint; “what is the best way to overcome bigotry” rather than “just tell the facts and assume your critics will listen even though they are all a bunch of emotional, counter-factual, self-deluded, groupthink-obsessed, mad, dead cockroaches”. It provides a useful set of rules for a war in which the primary aim is to fight in order for the opportunity to force others to negotiate in a reasoned way rather than just try to exterminate everyone whose facts get in their way. Yet it doesn’t address the key problem of hubris, where high and mighty people don’t allow any response or discussion at all, by only publishing lies in books or newspapers/magazines/TV where an army of Brezhnev-era orthodoxy enforcing censors deliberately delete or suppress any response whatsoever. How can you respond if response is banned? Moreover, response is actually more likely to be banned if someone famous deliberately publishes lies.

All propagandarist liars will deliberately impose their dogma using a one-way, one-to-many medium, specifically to prevent criticisms, because they are not completely stupid or completely deluded by their own lies, so they know that their lies can be shot to pieces if democratic debate is permitted. It’s also an error to make short, concise, decisive comments to try to debunk an entrenched dogmatic orthodoxy on subjects like nuclear weapons and civil defense, because most people will automatically dismiss them as insubstantial sound-bite propaganda. You may need a large thesis to present a full response to a complex argument in a convincing manner. There are no short-cuts, although obviously editing is needed to ensure clarity, regardless of the length of the thesis. Brian Martin is nevertheless just about the most rational authority on the censorship problem (he’s a former physicist and has written about the nuclear golem), which is as deep and primeval as traditions and taboos in human culture. We all rely on and need censorship to keep the noise level down. The Nazis and USSR permitted people to say what they wanted when alone in sound-proof rooms, and so does Western democracy today. The problem is distinguishing facts from pseudoscience:

“If a man reads or hears a criticism of anything in which he has an interest, watch whether his first question is as to its fairness and truth. If he reacts to any such criticism with strong emotion; if he bases his complaint on the ground that is not “in good taste” or that it will have a bad effect—in short, if he shows concern with any question except “Is it true?” he thereby reveals that his own attitude is unscientific.

“Likewise if in his turn he judges an idea not on its merits but with reference to the author of it; if he criticizes it as “heresy”; if he argues that authority must be right because it is authority; if he takes a particular criticism as a general depreciation; if he confuses opinion with facts; if he claims that any expression of opinion is “unquestionable”; if he declares that something will “never” come about or is “certain” that any view is right. The path of truth is paved with critical doubt and lighted by the spirit of objective inquiry. To view any question subjectively is self-blinding.”

- B. H. Liddell Hart (1895-1970), “Why don't we learn from history?”, 1944, pp. 15-16 of PDF version (linked here).

The last word on this blog post goes to one of the greatest human beings in human history, Herman Kahn, the founder of ethical rationality, banned by the publisher of the so-called Scientific American from responding to deluded pseudo-mathematician and grandiose sewer lawyer James Newman’s inaccurate book review of Kahn’s On Thermonuclear War, which didn’t advocate preventative war, but sought to strengthen freedom with credible civil defense, in order actually to prevent a war by making deterrence credible in the eyes of the monsters, and to minimise damage and casualties if the Soviet ideologues went more mad than usual and launched an attack (like another nation in Dec 1941). Kahn:

“Seventy-five years ago white slavery was rampant in England. Each year thousands of young girls were forced into brothels and kept there against their will. ... One reason why this lasted as long as it did was that it could not be talked about openly in Victorian England; moral standards as subjects of discussion made it difficult to arouse the community to necessary action. ... Social inhibitions which reinforce natural tendencies to avoid thinking about unpleasant subjects are hardly uncommon. The psychological factors involved in ostrich-like behavior have parallels in communities and nations. ... Despite the progress in removing barriers in the way of discussing diseases formerly considered shameful, there are doubtless thousands going without vital medical treatment today because of their inhibitions against learning, thinking, or talking about certain diseases. Some will not get treatment because they do not know enough to recognize the symptoms, some because they are consciously ashamed to reveal illness, and some because they refuse to think about their condition—it seems too horrible to think about. ... Perhaps some evils can be avoided or reduced if people do not think or talk about them. But when our reluctance to consider danger brings danger nearer, repression has gone too far.

“In 1960 I published a book that attempted to direct attention to the possibility of a thermonuclear war, to ways of reducing the likelihood of such a war, and to methods for coping with the consequences should war occur despite our efforts to avoid it. The book was greeted by a large range of responses—some of them sharply critical. Some of this criticism was substantive, touching on greater or smaller questions of strategy, policy, or research techniques. But much of the criticism was not concerned with the correctness or incorrectness of the views I expressed. It was concerned with whether any book should have been written on this subject at all. It is characteristic of our times that many intelligent and sincere people are willing to argue that it is immoral to think and even more immoral to write in detail about having to fight a thermonuclear war. ... In a sense we are acting like those ancient kings who punished messengers who brought them bad news. This did not change the news; it simply slowed up its delivery. On occasion it meant that the kings were ill informed and, lacking truth, made serious errors in judgment and strategy. ...

“Clemenceau once said, “War is too important to be left to the generals.” A colleague of mine, Albert Wohlstetter, has paraphrased the remark to the even more appropriate, “Peace is too important to be left to the generals.” If we treat all questions of the deterrence and fighting of war as a subject to be entrusted solely to those in uniform we should not be surprised if we get narrow policies. The deterring or fighting of a thermonuclear war certainly needs specialists in and out of uniform; but it involves all of us and every aspect of our society. … Critics frequently refer to the icy rationality of the Hudson Institute, the RAND Corporation, and other such organizations. I’m always tempted to ask in reply, “Would you prefer a warm, human error? Do you feel better with a nice emotional mistake?”

- Herman Kahn, Thinking about the Unthinkable (New York: Horizon Press, 1962), reprinted in “The Essential Herman Kahn: in defense of thinking” pp. 9-10, 20, and 22.

Update (13 May 2012): Nobody "vaporized" in Hiroshima or Nagasaki

"Finally, we wanted to know how we could protect against these burns. ... I didn't care what happened to the fabrics; I wanted to know what happened to the man under the fabric. So we conceived this idea, that the important factor in studying clothing was what happened under the clothing; how it shielded the animal with cloth of different composition, weight, texture, weave, and color. We have made a great many studies in the laboratory and in the field on this problem of the protective effect of clothing. ... If you have 2 layers, an undershirt and a shirt, you will get much less protection than if you have 4 layers; and if you get up to 6 layers, you have such great protection from thermal effects that you will be killed by some other thing. Under 6 layers we got about 50 percent first degree burns at 107 calories/cm2."

- Dr Herman Elwyn Pearse, Professor of Surgery at the University of Rochester, "Biomedical Effects of Thermal Radiation", page 143 (published in the U.S. Federal Civil Defense Administration's book, "Cue for Survival, A.E.C. Nevada Test Site, May 3, 1955", pages 140-144). (Emphasis added in bold.)

This is for yields similar to Hiroshima (for modern larger nuclear weapons, even more heat is needed for a burn, because it is spread out longer in time and more heat is lost by diffusion, and of course people have longer to take evasive "duck and cover" countermeasures to get into a shadow). Therefore, if the bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima in cold weather, even at ground zero the skin under clothing would not be burned worse than 1st degree burns, mere sunburn. The outer clothing if dark in colour would be smoked to ignition on surfaces directly facing the fireball, but ignited clothing was easily rolled out or beaten out in Hiroshima. It is NOT the same as peacetime clothing burn accidents where people get their clothes soaked in gasoline before ignition!

This is interesting, since ground zero in Hiroshima (600 metres from detonation) received approximately this much thermal radiation (~120 calories/cm2). Dr Herman Pearse (Professor of Surgery, Rochester University) and colleagues wrote the original panic-mongering thermal burns disaster papers on Hiroshima in places the "New England Journal of Medicine", claiming that the effects for people outdoors in the surprise of the first nuclear attack in history somehow are generally valid; but he began to grasp that this was survivable when he went to Eniwetok Atoll in 1951 to expose animals to the 47 kt boosted Easy test and the 225 kt thermonuclear George test. The medical journals never published the facts on how clothing reduces burns.

Sure, if you ground burst a nuclear bomb on a packed beach where people are not wearing clothes, those near the middle of the crater area of the bomb will be quickly vaporized and pulverized by the great heat of the radiating shock wave near ground zero (a blast effect, not a thermal radiation effec), just as they would be in a conventional explosion. What many people (deliberately) forget here is that in WWII conventional bombs of up to 10 tons were dropped, and the cube-root blast scaling law applies to this hot blast wave. Hence 10 kilotons blast yield in a Hiroshima or Nagasaki burst has just 10 times the radius of destruction from the WWII conventional bomb: (10,000/10)1/3 = 10. Big deal! All war is destructive, and nuclear bombs are a disproportionately expensive way of achieving results which could be had more cheaply from conventional weapons; which explains the deception since Hiroshima in order to use nuclear weapons to deter WWIII instead of conscripting a massive army. On balance, the risk of WWIII is bigger with the massive arms and armies of conventional warfare, than nuclear weapons. This worked well in the Cold War for the West, but exaggerations are dangerous in encouraging terrorists and in making civil defence appear hopeless, when it is not hopeless unless you're near the crater.

Democracy requires facts, not widespread delusion. The moment we give up searching for facts and surrender to fashionable delusion, we will be like Russia 1917, Germany 1933, or Japan 1941. If a terrorist state or group does make an attack, and people are unprepared due to widespread delusions, what happens then? Answer: the usual. The blast/radiation/thermal effects are maximized as at Hiroshima, because nobody ducks and covers before the blast arrives, or takes radiation shielding. Then we spend billions on military operations to neutralize the thugs, who are well hidden and have a Vietcong mentality. While military operations against thugs are needed, it's obviously a good thing to mitigate the effects on people as far as possible in the first place.

We need to permit critical scientific appraisal of facts, instead of suppressing them. People need to know what they the effects of nuclear weapons really are, not lies for political "solutions" which so far have never prevented wars from occurring, and have often encouraged aggression by leading to appeasement through helpless vulnerability to terrorism and coercion. The "nonsense" comes from the liars who sell lies to the public to make them give up on civil defence so they can concentrate solely on provable failures like lying for disarmament and claiming this will solve human problems; despite the fact that it actually encouraged thugs to exploit the lies in the 1930s. Really, the liars who suppress the facts are using the "Reichstag Fire" scare-mongering in order not to increase democratic freedom, but to close down rational debate in favor of their fascist-like ideologies. Some of this comes from the kind of "science" which consists of treating the consensus of ignorant big shots (whose minds are "protected" from reality by underlings called peer reviewers) as religious dogma.

The only reason that the top 0.1 mm of roof tile surfaces bubbled at ground zero in Hiroshima was the failure of the ~120 cal/cm2 to penetrate more deeply than 0.1 mm. The tiny depth of the surface which absorbed the energy ensured that the temperature rise was massive, over 2000 C in that tiny 0.1 mm tile surface.

People in the open at ground zero received surface burns on the side facing ground zero: the thermal exposure at ground zero (600 metres height of burst) from a 16 kt Hiroshima air burst detonation with 1/3rd thermal radiation yield (ignoring atmospheric attenuation) by the inverse square law is equal to {16 (1/3) * 1012 calories}/(4*Pi*6002) = 1.28 x 106 calories/m2 or 118 cal/cm2. Here 1 cal is the temperature needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram (1 cm3) of water (humans are 70% water) by 1 degree centigrade or 1 K, from 15 to 16 C. For humans, to reach vaporization you need to go from 37 to 100 C. If 118 cal/cm2 is distributed in the top 1 cm thickness of flesh (with no loss due to heat reflection, ablation of the top 1 mm layer, and other damage-limiting processes) then that top 1 cm layer could potentially gain about 118 C in temperature, reaching 155 C (37 C body temperature + 118 C = 115 C), IGNORING the change of state from water to steam when 100 C is passed. However, you need a massive amount of energy (enthalpy of vaporization) to drive water from 99 C to 101 C, because water molecules have strong bonds between them which need to be broken when water turns to steam.

"... the molecules in liquid water are held together by relatively strong hydrogen bonds, and its enthalpy of vaporization, 40.65 kJ/mol [note that 1 cal = 4.186 J, while 1 mole consists of 6.022 x 1023 molecules of water per 18 grams of water], is more than five times the energy required to heat the same quantity of water from 0 °C to 100 °C."


So the Hiroshima bomb did not deliver enough heat flash energy at ground zero to even vaporize a layer of water 1 cm thick. (If you surface burst the bomb, or decrease the height of burst, the shadows from buildings provide even more thermal radiation shielding than in the case of an air burst.) If you look at the data on the scorching depths of wood by the thermal flash at the 1955 Operation Teapot tests (Kyle P. Laughlin, Thermal Ignition and Response of Materials, Report to the Test Director, Operation TEAPOT, Nevada Test Site, February-May 1955, Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, weapon test report WT-1198, December 1957, AD0611227), less than 1 mm of the surface of the wood was removed even by in excess of 50 cal/cm2. Additional energy did not increase the depth of charring (the extra energy just went into ablating the top 1 mm more forcefully into a smoke cloud, which then absorbed the remainder of the heat flash and kept the heat absorbed well away from the underlying wood). The same applies at Hiroshima, where the moisture content of skin was 70% (much higher than wood, which was easier to heat, due to less water content; water has the highest specific heat capacity of any common material on this planet).

Will this dispose of the "everyone was vaporized in Hiroshima" myth? No, because the nuclear myth has a large number of layers, like an onion. Peel off one layer of delusion, and you find many further layers below. By the time you have gone through all of them, the audience is asleep or has forgotten the technical reasons why the first delusion was wrong, so you get into a cycle of repeating yourself. Bottom line: if people want to believe something in a dogmatic moralistic way, you can't use objective science because they are believing the delusions for a non-scientific (say political disarmament) reason, not just because they are unaware of the penetrating power of a given form of radiation or some other technical point! The deluded will remain deluded because they can see than any particular disproof of hysterical anti-nuclear lying is just one specific example, and they have a large number of inter-related delusions. They can always bring up the other myths, changing the goalposts of the discussion, until time for the discussion runs out, or - more likely - they will return to the first again. We get the subjective switch between holistic and reductionist philosophies: if you try to reduce the sum of their delusions to a specific yield, height of burst, etc., they will simply change the goalposts and claim that in the "bigger picture" a terrorist could "simply" drop thousands of megatons on everyone. The self-serving argument that "the public doesn't believe in civil defense so it is hopeless" goes like this:

"OK, even if the Hiroshima firestorm and nuclear winter soot clouds and nitrogen oxides (which turn to harmless nitric acid in moist fireballs, just as in lightning storms) and cobalt fallout and radiation-resistant cockroach plagues and cancer + genetic effects (ignoring DNA repair and dose rate effects in mammals), and blast (attenuated by buildings in a radial line from ground zero, due to the work energy used up in pushing walls, energy = force * distance), and nuclear/thermal radiation shadowing by the skyline of tall buildings in a modern city, is correct, civil defense is still useless because nobody will believe it. You can't overturn entrenched dogma. The media won't publish facts, only lies.

"The only lobby groups are all biased in the same direction, so no hope from any of them. There is no mechanism by which people can be persuaded to take civil defense seriously. People have been brainwashed into believing that (1) the thermal flash energy is received instantly because it goes at light speed, and (2) the blast arrives instantly because the films of nuclear explosions are all faked to superimpose the blast sound on the flash of the explosion. It is no good arguing against that kind of dogma. It's like Aristarchus in 250 BC when he argued that the sun doesn't orbit the earth daily. It contradicted what everybody thought they could see with their eyes every sunrise and sunset. Trying to explain the facts against widespread apathy is like Aristarchus trying to explain that the earth rotates daily. Most people will therefore never understand the facts, will go on believing the lies from the moralistic, ethical, saviours of universal nuclear disarmament, and will panic in an attack. Therefore, civil defense is hopeless."

I remember a "discussion" in which genetic lies were debunked. DNA repair mechanisms were proved by the eight million mice exposed to different radiation dose rates by the Russells at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which showed a strong dose rate dependence on mutation rate which debunked the claims of Dr Herman "fruitfly" Muller and friends at the 1957 U.S. Government Congressional Hearings, "The Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man". The anti-nuclear fanatics ignored everything with an air of bored impatience and then declared that even if DNA repair enzymes do repair radiation damage if the dose rate is below 0.5 R/hour, the public "has got the message" that all radiation is harmful regardless of dose rate!

These people are pseudoscientists; their version of "science" is political correctness. They see "science" as an old boys club, where you subscribe to mainstream orthodoxy as the price of membership, and where ignoring facts which disprove the dogma is a sign of strength and savy, not weakness and ignorance. This is the real crime of the Marxist socialism belief system of much of today's physics "academic intelligensia"; the plain lie that by "cooperating" and not arguing too much, we are doing good (in particular the lie that any "controversy" permissible in the journals must come from big personalities with reputations already established in the relevant field, not the little boy who spots a problem with the emperor's new clothes). Science since the time of Marx has gradually taken the mantra of Marxist groupthink, becoming organized into a strict rules-based Islamic style religion, complete with sacred texts, dogmas, priesthoods, with its vital heresy-shooting (messenger-shooting) activities. This imposes limitations to scientific progress where radical innovations in thinking are demanded by the facts.

Update (9 August 2012): declassified, out of copyright formerly Top Secret British nuclear weapons civil defence reports (including the typeset Top Secret Operation Hurricane civil defence effects data report which Prime Minister Thatcher refused to release in 1983 when requested in the House of Commons) from U.K. National Archives photocopies online as PDF documents are linked here (together with other relevant civil defence reports from WWII and the Cold War).

At page 87 is an extract from U.K. National Archives document HO 225/12 (Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch): "A Comparison between the number of people killed per tonne of bombs during World War I and World War II". This notes that WWI bombs dropped on Britain (by airships and Gotha bombers) by Germany were mainly 12-50 kg, while WWII bombs dropped on Britain were mainly 150-200 kg (mean 175 kg).

It records that during the 13 June 1916 air raid on London, 69.5% of people were outdoors and were therefore highly vulnerable to the blast of the bombs. During WWII, only 5% of people in Britain were in the open during air raids (e.g. fire observers, firemen, police, etc.), 60% were under cover such as under tables in houses, and 35% were in shelters. Being in a house was 3.5 times safer than being in the open; being in a shelter was twice as safe as being in a house or 7 times as safe as being in the open.

The point is, WWII civil defence precautions stood up very well to nuclear weapons effects, both in Hiroshima/Nagasaki (where nobody was actually in the shelters) and in Australian trials. This fact continues to be ignored on both sides of the civil defence debate, largely because of disarmament bias, but also because the full facts are essentially still unpublicised. This is an exact duplication of the situation in the 1920s and 1930s, where gas warfare civil defence effectiveness data was kept secret, and the public was issued with easily ridiculed advice:

“The Cambridge Scientists’ Anti-War Group” (led by an editorial committee of 11 scientists, headed by J. D. Bernal), “The Protection of the Public from Aerial Attack, Being a Critical Examination of the Recommendations Put Forward by the Air Raid Precautions Department of the Home Office”, first published by Victor Gollancz Ltd, London, on 12 February 1937, reprinted the same day. They report on page 21: “the time taken for the gas to leak out to half its original value was measured in four rooms – the basement of a shop, the dining room of a semi-detached house, the sitting room of a Council house and the bathroom of a modern villa. ... the leakage half-times of these rooms were 2.5, 2.5, 3.5 and 9.25 hours respectively.” Rooms with closed steel frames (or double glazed) windows gave the best protection.

On page 41, the Cambridge Scientists admit that since the gas is wind carried: “the gas will not remain for long periods in any one place except on still days [when it won’t be blown over large areas].” For example, a massive gas cloud 1 mile in diameter blown by a typical 10 miles per hour breeze will only spend 1/10 or 0.1 hour over any given location. This means that the half-penetration times of carbon dioxide gas (a small molecule, with a faster speed and penetration rate than the larger, slower molecules or Nazi tabun nerve gas or mustard gas) of 2.5-9.25 hours in British houses are much larger than the 0.1 hour time taken for the gas cloud to pass by. Consequently, very little gas can penetrate into a British house in this time. However, the Cambridge Scientists fail to point this fact out. They are politically biased and this is proved by their deliberately obfuscating account of the phosgene gas disaster in Hamburg on pages 41 and 109.

On page 42 they suddenly switch from discussing gas bombing to assuming that gas is released slowly (50% every 10 minutes) from gas cylinders as in the first use of chlorine in World War I battlefields. This spurious change of goalposts from bombs to cylinders is completely deluded because any cylinders of gas dropped from aircraft would explode on impact, like bombs. The slow release of gas from cylinders gives more time for people to take precautions, such as taping up cracks in window frames in a house. On page 58, the Cambridge Scientists then resort to more fantasy, by assuming that incendiary bombing will set everybody’s house on fire in an air raid, forcing people outdoors, when they will be gassed by gas bombs. This is “backed up” by mere unproved and false assertions such as (on page 59) the statement: “whoever deals with them [incendiary bombs] will require, almost certainly, simultaneous protection against gas.” There is no scientific evidence given for this assertion that it is “almost certain” that gas bombs will be used in conjunction with incendiaries. It is merely guesswork, disproved in WWII.

Page 68 cites anti-civil defence propagandarist Philip Noel-Baker as claiming that 9 aircraft could cause 1,800 fires which would spread like the San Francisco (1906) or Tokyo (1933) earthquake-caused great fires, leading to “the probable amalgamation of separate outbreaks into a vast conflagration.” This is not “scientific evidence” and has no model or detailed evidence for modern Western (non-wood frame) cities, but mere “authority”-style assertion, and was proved false in WWII.

Page 70 summarizes the sophistry so far: “… it would be possible on the average to remain alive for about three hours in the ‘gas proof’ room; in other words the ‘gas proof’ room is not gas-tight.” No mention that even a massive 1 mile wide gas cloud only takes 0.1 hour (6 minutes) to leave the vicinity of your house in a typical 10 miles per hour breeze! Page 71 again offers similarly spurious fear-mongering: “... it is pointed out that gas-masks only protect the face and lungs ... mustard gas ... attacks the whole surface of the body.” This “argument” against gas masks ignores the gas proof room!

Page 109 in the Cambridge Scientists’ book gives a completely misleading treatment of the Hamburg phosgene accident of 1928, when 11 tons of phosgene was released into a populated area by accident and without warning in summertime (when windows were open), killing just 11 people! The Cambridge Scientists omit to give the percentages of people killed, and point out the maximum lethal distance was 2 kilometres, with injury up to 2.7 kilometres downwind. They then try to obfuscate the facts by assuming that gas is released from cylinders, not bombs, to exaggerate the hazard indoors.

On page 56 of this PDF, there is another publication by the same Cambridge Scientist’s Anti War Group, issue 13 of “Fact” magazine, April 1938, “Air Raid Precautions: The Facts”. This makes their prejudice clear on page 17 of “Fact” (page 59 in the PDF document): “There is no necessity for any such measures, if the Government adheres to a proper foreign policy.” In other words, disarm to prevent war with the Nazis, then you can be proud of being anti war and forcing peaceful coexistence.

Page 71 of our PDF gives J. B. S. Haldane’s September 1938 book “ARP”. Haldane with his father invented the first war gas mask in 1915 after Germany used chlorine gas. On page 18 (page 83 of the PDF document) Haldane states: “These gases can penetrate into houses, but very slowly. So even in a badly-constructed house one is enormously safer than in the open air.” On page 21, he points out that liquids (mustard agent or nerve agent spray droplets) sprayed from high altitudes are liable to evaporate and be blown away and diluted harmlessly before ever reaching the earth’s surface. On page 22 he discusses the Hamburg phosgene accident objectively. On Sunday 20 May 1928, 11 tons of phosgene was released from a burst container in the Hamburg docks and was blown over the suburb of Nieder-Georgswerder: “Most of the victims were out-of-doors, playing football, rowing, or even going to vote in an election. The windows were open, so a few people were killed indoors ... There would probably have been nil [casualties] had the people received ten minutes’ warning, so that they could have got into houses and shut the windows. No doubt enemy aeroplanes could have dropped the gas in a more thickly populated area. But they would not have taken people by surprise ... Eleven tons of gas could be carried in about fifteen tons of bombs [and more casualties could be caused by fifteen tons of high explosive bombs than the 11 killed by the Hamburg phosgene gas disaster].”

On pages 94-5 (pages 101-102 of this PDF), Haldane summarises the Home Office White Paper Circular of 31 December 1937, “Experiments in Anti-Gas Protection of Houses” which gives the experimental tests of the anti-gas advice using mustard gas liquid in trays around a house: “Animals outside were badly affected. Of those in an unprotected room none were seriously harmed. Those in a ‘gas proofed’ room remained normal, and the amount of mustard gas in it was measured by chemical methods. It was found to be so small that a man could have remained in it for 20 hours without harm, even if unprotected by a respirator.”

On page 248 (page 106 of the PDF), Haldane states: “Certain pacifist writers are severely to blame for our present terror of air raids. They have given quite exaggerated accounts of what is likely to happen.”

This PDF compiles extracts from Cold War declassified nuclear weapons employment manuals, showing how collateral damage and fallout is controlled by the yield and height of burst.

Update: The June 2012 issue of DTRIAC’s (Defense Threat Reduction Information Analysis Centre’s) “The Dispatch” (Vol 2, issue 2) contains an obituary of Dr. John Allen Northrop, Deputy Director of Science and Technology of DASA, editor of the 1996 Handbook of Nuclear Weapons Effects which is an unclassified published book compiling key declassified parts of Dr Harold Brode's 22 volume multi-thousand page Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons from 1992. Although it is declassified, it remains limited in distribution to U.S. Defense Contractors only (although it is clear that the Russians have access to it, see this report which compared it to Russian nuclear test data). We have discussed some of the unlimited public distribution information it contains, such as some of the source reports it uses to characterize the initial nuclear radiation from 13 different kinds of nuclear weapons, the revised thermal radiation output data for surface bursts and transmission data, prompt gamma output from different weapons for producing EMP damage to electronics, etc. here and here. For example, it gives detailed data on how the soil cratered into the fireball of a 1 kt nuclear surface burst cools the fireball, reducing the peak Planck distribution radiating temperature from 5000 K (0.4 micron wavelength light) in an air burst to just 2000 K (1.1 micron wavelength infrared radiation). In other words, in 1 kt air burst the fireball is hotter than a surface burst, because there is no cratering of dirt into the fireball, which has a cooling effect. The longer wavelength infrared radiation that characterizes the 1 kt surface burst is more easily attenuated by water vapour and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than visible light.

The June 2012 issue of DTRIAC’s (Defense Threat Reduction Information Analysis Centre’s) “The Dispatch” (Vol 2, issue 2) states:

“DTRA has lost a pioneer; Dr. John Allen Northrop, Deputy Director of Science and Technology of DASA, died 15 April 2012 at the age of 85.

“Dr. Northrop was born 5 June 1926 in Poughkeepsie, New York. He joined the US Navy, honorably serving in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. He received an American Theatre and Victory Medal. Dr. Northrop graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and earned his doctorate in Nuclear Physics from Yale University.

“Dr. Northrop came to DASA from Los Alamos National Laboratory where he was a deputy for testing. He was confirmed the acting Deputy Director, Scientific, on 8 June 1969, succeeding Dr. Nils Wikner. The office was re-designated Deputy Director, Science and Technology.

“As the Deputy Director, Dr. Northrop supervised the formulation and execution of the Nuclear Weapons Effects Research and the Nuclear Weapons Effects Test programs. ...

“Dr. Northrop left DNA in 1972 and worked as the Chief Scientific Adviser for General Alexander Haig at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers of Europe (SHAPE). Five years later, he joined Systems, Science, and Software as Vice President. The company changed its name to S Cubed Corporation and was acquired by Maxwell Laboratories (now Maxwell Technologies, Inc.). ...

“Notably, Dr. Northrop was the editor of the Handbook of Nuclear Weapon Effects while at Maxwell Technologies. The handbook was written to address the length and classification limitations of the eighth edition of DSWA’s Effects Manual One. “Dr. John Northrop was responsible for many publications, but the preparation of a detailed technical nuclear weapons summary called the Handbook of Nuclear Weapons Effects was a classic example of his attention to detail,” Dr. Don Linger stated.

“The inclusion of many characteristics and details not found in any similar publication is a tribute to the insight and the technological excellence which Dr. Northrop brought to all of his endeavors, “ Dr. Linger continued, “His ... understanding of important complex scientific issues was classic.”

How to end war

A world where every state was a democracy [Immanuel Kant wrote in 1785] would be a world of perpetual peace. Free peoples, Kant explained, are inherently peaceful; they will make war only when driven to it by tyrants. ... The United States ... never has fought a democratic government basically like its own. ... The governments of Serbia and Croatia in 1991, although elected, were hardly democratic ... during the past century there have been no wars between well-established democracies. ... R. J. Rummel ... was joined by Bruce Russett and others ... What was the probability, they asked, that the absence of wars between well-established democracies is a mere accident? The answer: less than one chance in a thousand. ... They showed convincingly that the lack of wars between democracies is not an artifact caused by the limited number of such regimes – there have been more than enough to provide robust statistics (even if the democratic alliances of the Cold War are left out).

- Dr Spencer R. Weart’s book, Never at war: why democracies will not fight one another, Yale University Press, 1998, pp. 2-5.

Dr Spencer R. Weart’s book, “Never at war: why democracies will not fight one another” (Yale University Press, 1998), examines the evidence that stable democracies do not fight stable democracies. Once every nation in the world is an economically stable democracy (not a fascist dictatorship or a communist banana republic), therefore, war will end. Wars were not ended, but caused, by efforts of dictators and ideologues like communists, fascists, and appeasers to disarm peace loving democracies and to create a impossible-to-agree Tower of Babel “world government” in the style of the “League of Nations” or “United Nations” in the name of peace or other ideals. What goes wrong is that, instead of giving everyone in the world the right of democracy and freedom, democracies try to live with dictatorships, pretending that the people in those regimes support them, and then disarm to invite potential aggressors to coerce or attack them. This is precisely what caused the appeasement which gave Hitler time to start WWII.

If you realistically want peace, you have to want a world which is democratic and prosperous for everybody, and in which the people and economy are resistant to attack or coercive terrorism. Doing away with weapons and exaggerating weapons effects to try to concentrate attention on peace through vulnerability is crass. Wars start with general discontent in failed, corrupt democracies, which are converted into dictatorships by extremists who win the vote (being the most decisive alternative to the corrupt, incompetent, status quo party which caused the economic disaster), by promising what they can't deliver, or simply by a military coup d'etat. The dictators then find that they can't make the economy pick up without free capitalist enterprise, so they try to detract attention from internal problems by invading their neighbours. Alternatively, ideological or religious extremists like the communists or Al Queda, respectively, try to win an ideological battle against freedom and democracy by the use of coercion and terrorism. What is needed is economic stability, which means tighter control of speculative investments, and more defense of freedom.

There are too many nutty media pundits who are ideologically Marxist and believe in trying to use state socialism as a kind of sneaky back door communism to equalize wealth through taxation, while at the same time believing that disarmament of democracies is a guarantee of - or first step towards - peace and stability. All they do is to foul up the gearbox of capitalism and free enterprise, while making democracies vulnerable to coercive threats and attacks. If they were genuinely interested in peace, they would see the distinction between freedom and dictatorship and promote democracy instead of defending dictators and seeking to making democracies vulnerable to them through disarmament leadership. These people don't genuinely want peace. What they want is back door socialist Marxism, even though its failure in the USSR is plain. Marxism is their religion. They think it is scientific, moral, ethical, etc. This blinds them to its failure.

The best example is Professor Cyril Joad's August 1939 Why War? British best-seller. Joad had led the infamous 1933 Oxford Union argument for the motion "This country will not fight for King and Country", which sent dictators everywhere the message that Britain was turning pacifist and weak. On page 71, Joad uses sophistry to defame Winston Churchill's demand to stop the Nazis, by writing about an undergraduate meeting at Oxford before World War I, when Cabinet Minister Winston Churchill said: "There is just one way in which you can make your country secure and have peace, and that is to be so much stronger than any prospective enemy that he dare not attack you, and this is, I submit to you, gentlemen, a self-evident proposition." Joad comments: "A small man [Sir Normal Angell] got up at the back of the hall and asked him whether the advice he had just given was the advice he would give to Germany. A faint titter ran through the meeting ..."

This "ridicule" of Winston Churchill in Joad's 1939 book was based on the assumption that Germany and Britain were both seeking "security and peace", when in fact Germany (since the Schlieffen plan of 1912) had been looking for any excuse to start a war. Joad's pacifist delusion of moral "relativist" - i.e. of assuming both sides to be always equally at fault - was blown away by President Ronald Reagan in his 8 March 1983 speech: "... I urge you to beware the temptation of pride, the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong ..."

This is still contrary to the moral "relativism" of the Marxists and fascists. They can't learn the lessons of weapons effects exaggerations as the cause of WWI, WWII, or the Cold War. They don't want to learn those lessons, which would upset their most fundamental and basic dogmas: (1) to end war simply get rid of military technology in democracies, (2) to justify disarmament, exaggerate the collateral damage from weapons effects using the data from surprise attacks in which people took no evasive action, and (3) pretend that there are no cheap, easy proved countermeasures against them, making use of the official policy which is to keep most of the data secret or in limited reports. The only way civil defense will be taken seriously and peace ensured is by opposing this false dogma.

25 September 2012 update

Above: Daily Express 25 Sept 2012 page 26, tongue-in-cheek report on AD611316, U.S. nuclear weapons test report WT-1213, "Operation Teapot, Project 32.2a, The effect of nuclear explosions on commercially packaged beverages" by E. Rolland McConnell, George O. Sampson, and John M. Sharf, 24 January 1957. Beer cans survived with seals intact and no significant induced radioactivity at 1,270 feet from ground zero of civil defense exercise Operation Cue (a 29 kt tower detonation held during the nuclear test Apple 2, of Nevada nuclear test series Operation Teapot on 5 May 1955). There was a slight amount of induced activity in the glass bottles themselves, which decayed with a 15 hours half life (hence showing that a small amount of the sodium-23 in the glass had captured neutrons to become radioactive sodium-24). The amount of radioactivity induced in the beer was proportional to its normal sodium content.

The summary on page 18 states: “In summarization, it was found that conmmercially packaged beer and soft drinks in cans or bottles will survive the effects of the blast overpressures such as found at 1,270 ft from GZ on shot II [Apple 2 of Operation Teapot]. ... Shipping cartons and cases offered definite protection from blast. Induced radioactivity, at the forward test locations of 1,270 ft from GZ during shot II, was not great in either beer or soft drinks and would allow the use of these beverages as potable water sources for immediate emergency purposes as soon as the storage area is safe to enter after a nuclear explosion. Although the containers, whether of metal or glass, showed some induced radioactivity, none of this activity was transferred to the contents. The beverages themselves exhibited only mild induced activity, well within permissible limits for emergency use. Some flavor change was found in the beverages, more in beer than soft drinks. However, the alterations may well be considered as equivalent in most respects to ‘ageing’ and were not found to detract from the potential usage of these beverages for emergency supplies of potable water.”

Update (8 October 2012): there are numerous minor typing errors in the post above, including words missed out or transposed (hopefully I will have time to go through it and correct the text soon), but it makes the main points. I have uploaded to Internet Archive the U.K. Home Office "Experiments in Anti-Gas Protection of Houses" and related reports:

Experiments in Anti-Gas Protection of Houses

Experiments in Anti-Gas Protection of Houses, U.K. Home Office experiments publications for civil defence against chemical warfare, with related extracts of reports on experiments and warfare experiences with nerve gas and radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons, incendiary weapons, and conventional explosive bombs.

Additional information:

8 November 2012 update: The deficit bomb from Gordon Brown; 20,000 British soldiers sacked in budget cuts, what about security against Iranian nuclear missile terrorism?
British Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond MP, with whom I discussed nuclear weapons when he turned up on my doorstep looking for a vote in North West Surrey during his first election campaign in 1997, today announced that the British Army is to be cut by 20,000 regular troops to 82,000 by 2018 as a (Gordon Brown) deficit reduction measure, with a doubling of the territorial army from 15,000 to 30,000. This news comes a day after the European Union's auditors refused to sign off its accounts for the 18th year in a row: the European Union managed to spend £89 billion in 2011 while the debt crisis in Greece, Spain, France and Britain got worse (all British "debt reduction" measures so far are merely reducing the rate of increase of the national deficit, not actually reducing the debt because the tax shortfall forces the Government to continue to borrow more money). Philip Hammond has personally explained Gordon Brown's error of selling Britain's gold at the lowest possible price in the video linked here. This decision was hidden in secrecy at the time (see link here). See also the Telegraph article here, and the discussion linked here arguing Brown deliberately announced the sale in advance - breaking protocol - to bail out a large bank; there is also a video of Gordon Brown squirming and obfuscating deceitfully to cover up his error linked here, and in the commons deceitfully claiming that the Euro has risen in value like gold linked here.

The BBC's Robert Peston tried to excuse Brown by saying that others made similar - but much smaller gambles in other countries - but at least he points out that allowing for the moderate rise in Euroes compared to the massive rise in gold prices "the effective net loss on Gordon Brown’s great gold sale would be a bit less than $9bn – but it would still be a very significant loss ... They ... hoped and believed that rampant global inflation was a thing of the past, and that the days of gold’s soaraway success would never recur. ... Gordon Brown’s error was probably to place too low a premium on gold’s bothersome habit of retaining its intrinsic value over the very long term." Brown simply gambled with our money on the basis of his own hopes and beliefs, not facts (getting the result wrong, not right, as he continues to claim) on gold back in 2002, and more importantly he failed to honestly admit it, thus staying as chancellor and making even bigger blunders than the gold sale, in allowing banking deregulation to cause the UK Northern Rock and other banks/building societies mortgage debt bubble to grow out of control, while simultaneously increasing the national debt by increasing the Labour Party's trade union rampant state sector at taypayer's national debt expense to support his comrades who want cushy state sector jobs, rather than free market wealth generating private sector jobs where unions have less power to control wage rises, as explained to Gordon Brown's face in the video linked here. It was only on 31 December 2006 that Britain finally finished repaying America for its WWII loans, just before the banking mortage bubble burst.

The Army must recognise that its defense budget, its size, and its health and survival depend not merely on fighting fanatical enemies abroad successfully, but also upon those at home who squander money running up a crippling national debt. The Wall Street crash of 1929 contributed to 1930s British and French disarmament which allowed despots in several countries (Germany, Italy, Japan) to start WWII (not to mention the civil war started by General Franco in Spain in the 1930s): there is a proven linkage between the power of despots, the popularity of vulnerability and paper peace agreements (disarmament as security), and financial bubble bursts. This is not party politics anymore. Any objective criticism of a politician is conveniently ignored as if it is just a political bias one way or another. This problem is rampant in the science of nuclear weapons effects and civil defense. Prime Minister Tony Blair's exaggeration of weapons of mass destruction with his Government report, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction which simply omits any mention of British civil defense countermeasures or their cost in money and lives risked, relative to the costs of military intervention. The British press ignored this at the time. At the time of my doorstep chat on nuclear weapons effects with Philip Hammond, I had just had the experience of having the nuclear effects debate closed in my face by the editor of a national newspaper. This was when the nuclear threat from Iraq was being reported widely; newspapers were censoring out any publication of the efficiency of countermeasures at Hiroshima and nuclear weapons tests. Bill Massey, a reporter on a Sunday tabloid, wrote up a piece using declassified documents but his editor simply spiked it.

The "error" in Tony Blair's report was not whether Saddam had weapons of "mass destruction" or missiles that could be launched on 45 minutes notice, it was whether Britain had any wooden cities crammed with charcoal braziers which could burn like Hiroshima, or whether the city centre modern buildings are concrete which survived in Hiroshima with a 50% survival rate at just 0.12 mile from ground zero (see diagram above). This is the problem. What Tony Blair did was basically a repeat of Churchill's mistake of exaggerating incendiary bombs as "the most dangerous form of attack" in November 1934. (Source: Carlo D'Este, Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874-1945, page 313.) Liberal Party leader Sir Herbert Samuel dismissed Churchill's warning as "blind and needless panic", as indeed it was. (Everyone was taught to put out incendiary bombs in WWII, and staying indoors under a table during bombing allowed the fast detection and extinguishing of fires, unlike the silly situation when people went to communal shelters down the road while easy-to-extinguish fires spread through their homes, needlessly. This was Anderson's shelter folly.)

Above, some recently declassified and recently de-limited documents concerning the nuclear deterrent were discussed, particularly nuclear flash burns, blast and fallout exaggerations and lies by those who ignorantly think that conventional warfare was less destructive than nuclear weapons in WWI and WWII:

(1) The 2/3-power of yield area and casualty rate "equivalent megatonnage" scaling law proves that a million individual, separate TNT bombs devastate 1,000,000/(1,000,000)2/3 = 100 times the area and cause 100 times the casualties of a single 1 megaton (million tons of TNT) bomb. Therefore, the 1.3 megatons of TNT dropped on Germany in individual bombs during WWII would be equivalant to over 100 nuclear weapons of 1 megaton blast yield each, assuming the WWII conventional bombs had a mean yield of 1 ton of TNT.

(2) However, the blast arrival time at any given peak overpressure increases in proportion to the 1/3-power of bomb yield: 1 psi peak overpressure arrives at a time of 0.4 second after a 1 ton of TNT explosion (about 500 feet radius), giving little time for evasive action on seeing the explosion. But for a nuclear 1 kt bomb, 1 psi peak overpressure (shattering windows) arrives 4 seconds after the explosion (about 1 mile radius), and for 1 megaton it arrives at 40 seconds (10 miles). So for most of the area of devastation in a nuclear explosion, people have enough time to duck and escape the flying glass fragments which are blown in a radial line from shattered windows, by the blast winds. This was not the case with WWI V2 missiles, where people behind windows didn't have time to duck and cover.

The same points about having time to take cheap and easy protection if knowledgable on seeing the painfully bright flash of nuclear explosions alsoiesapply to the other effects like the increasing thermal radiation pulse duration from larger weapons, and the lethal fallout over larger areas from high-yield weapons (there is a relatively long arrival time in which to take emergency countermeasures against fallout radiation over most of the massive area, e.g. 4-6 hours for the Marshallese 110 miles downwind from the 15 megaton test in 1954).

Above: dirt-cheap soil covered WWII Anderson shelter after a direct hit, London 1940. It was designed originally for indoor use against house collapse in 1939 but political propaganda about the incendiary fire risk (disproved in the Blitz on homes, which were much less likely to burn than publishers book filled warehouses and fuel depots in London docks; people could extinguish fires easily before they took hold) forced them to be located outdoors. The shelter was practically blown to pieces, losing its earth cover in absorbing the energy of the blast and shrapnel of the explosion. All the people inside it survived, remaining well and happy without psychological trauma. They were happy to survive a direct hitand "did not envy the dead" (Khrushchev propaganda). When biased anti-civil defense people look at these photos they frequently claim: "the shelter was no good because it absorbed blast energy and was destroyed". Of course the shelter was destroyed. The important thing is that it was destroyed, not the people inside it! More important, cheap indoor table "Morrison" shelters were designed by Baker and Leader-Williams of the UK Home Office to deliberately crumple like car bumpers or "impact zones", absorbing energy and saving lives without bankrupting the country or removing resources from the war effort:

The indoor table shelter (Morrison shelter) is designed deliberately to dent a safe amount in order to absorb the kinetic energy of the weight of the collapsing house, a strange fact that even Winston Churchill simply could not grasp at first:

"A ... 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 [500,000 shelters Morrison had been distributed by November 1941 and proved vital against the V1 subsonic cruise missiles - which were relatively slow compared to the supersonic V2 rockets, allowing people enough time to dive under them when the throbbing pulse engine cut out]. 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 Winston Churchill] before the latter was convinced about this ...”

- George R. Stanbury, "Scientist in Civil Defence: Part 1", British Home Office's Scientific Advisory Branch journal "Fission Fragments" (issue 17, June 1971, editor P. R. Bentley).

The point is, your house is only going to collapse once, so the steel table (Morrison shelter) only needs to resist the kinetic energy of the falling debris of your house once, unlike public air raid shelters. Therefore, the brains of the table shelter is that you can allow a certain amount of denting to take place, and this allows the table to absorb the energy of the falling house without breaking the table. The same idea exists in car bumpers and "crumple zones" which absorb impact energy! This is deliberately ignored by anti-civil defense propagandarists who point to pictures of blown up cheap Anderson or Morrison shelters and manage to somehow pass off the deception that the damage to them proves them to be useless or at least of "doubtful" validity! This is standard political bigotry and smear tactics, not science.

The success of cheap WWII British shelters was reported at the time in newspapers and civil defence handbooks, but historians and even historians of science with PhD's in research manage to brainwash themselves into ignoring this factual evidence in preference to their "gut instinct" or "intuition" (pure guessword) which tells them that - contrary to all the evidence reported of survival in completely flattened houses under tables - nobody can survive in house blown up by a bomb! The secrecy laws are part of the cause. For instance, in 1945, the unclassified prewar British ARP Handbook on bomb shelters, Structural Defence was rewritten by the structural engineer Dr (later professor) D. G. Christopherson, including a summary of all actual WWII bombing experience, under the new title Structural Defence, 1945 and was published in 1946 under the secrecy classification "Confidential" by the Research and Experimental Department of the Ministry of Home Security.

So the evidence was now covered by the Official Secrets Act, explaining why cheap and simple duck and cover civil defense is not taken seriously. Nobody could scientifically defend civil defence in public for fear of being imprisoned for giving national secrets to the Russians. Precisely the same civil defence data cover-up occurred with the Secret-classified 1946 British report, The Effects of The Atomic Bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima on Reinforced Concrete Structures by P. A. Badland of the Chief Scientific Adviser's Division of the Ministry of Works (and other secret reports of the British Mission to Japan on shelter effectiveness in Hiroshima and Nagasaki), the secret full three volume USSBS report on the cause of the non-thermal radiation blast-on-charcoal-stoves cause of the firestorm in Hiroshima (the Japanese were officially banned from taking photos or publishing on the subject during the US occupation of Japan after the war, while the city was being rebuilt), and the successful testing of fifteen WWII Anderson shelters at Britain's first nuclear weapon test in 1952: nobody could hand out that data without going to prison for giving civil defence data to the Russians.

The “Shelter at Home” (1941) Morrison table shelter handbook (which mentions that most people who sheltered under the stairs or a strong table survived safely when their houses were otherwise flattened; note that the thin 3 mm mild steel plate top of the Morrison table shelter is not magically strong and a normal decent wooden table is so much thicker than 3 mm of steel that the wood can be as strong or even stronger than the thin steel, provided that the table legs are "trestled" together to prevent them from easily buckling outward under an impulsive force loading due to house collapse) is based on National Archives reference HO 197/24, Morrison shelters in recent air raids:

“A report of Ministry of Home Security experts on 39 cases of bombing incidents in different parts of Britain covering all those for which full particulars are available in which Morrison shelters were involved shows how well they have stood up to severe tests of heavy bombing.

“All the incidents were serious. Many of the incidents involved direct hits on the houses concerned, a risk against which it was never claimed these shelters would afford protection. In all of them the houses in which shelters were placed were within the radius of damage by bombs; in 24 there was complete demolition of the house on the shelter.

“A hundred and nineteen people were sheltering in these Morrisons and only four were killed. So that 115 out of 119 people were saved. Of these only 7 were seriously injured and 14 slightly injured while 94 escaped uninjured. The majority were able to leave their shelters unaided.” (See also A. R. Astbury, History of the Research and Experiments Department Ministry of Home Security, Division of the Chief Scientific Advisor, Ministry of Works.)

Herbert Morrison, An Autobiography (1960):

“The outdoor Anderson shelter ... was liable to flood during the winter months. The wide desire for an indoor shelter which provided some degree of comfort and also assisted people to get a night’s rest in warmth and dryness did not take into account the fact that there was some fire risk involved. I decided that the risk was worth taking. Experience proved me justified.”

Norman Longmate, How we Lived Then - A history of everyday life during the Second World War (1971):

“At first nearly everyone sought shelter after dark, but by early November [1940] an official census showed that only 40 per cent of the population slept in a shelter, 9 per cent using a public shelter, 4 per cent the tubes, and 27 per cent a domestic shelter. The public outcry about conditions in the largest public shelters, often without sanitation or even lighting, and the appalling inadequacy of the over-loaded and ill-equipped rest centres for the bombed-out led to immediate improvements, but cost Sir John Anderson his job. ... His successor as Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, the son of a Lambeth policeman, was a far more accomplished Parliamentarian than Anderson and far better able to understand what life under bombing really meant to the poor. ... The growing reluctance of many people to go out of doors led the new Home Secretary to look again at the need for an indoor shelter ... The first were delivered in March 1941 and by the end of the war about 1,100,000 were in use, including a few two-tier models for larger families. Morrisons were supplied free to people earning up to £350 a year and were on sale at about £7 to people earning more.”

Above: the expensive shelter delusion was debunked in WWII where the November 1940 shelter census showed that most people were simply going under the kitchen table indoors during air raids rather than using cold, damp outdoor shelters, yet left-wing Marxist propaganda continued to tell lies and demand a Maginot Line of expensive and useless shelters (this shelter propaganda article is from the Daily Worker of 17 September 1940; this "deep shelter" propaganda delusion originated with speculations made by the Cambridge Scientist's Anti-War group report of 1937 - which gives an experiment in an appendix showing how an incendiary bomb failed to ignite "effectively" a piece of wood but obfuscated this result and simply claimed without experimental proof in the text that incendiary bombs would cause mass fires - and J. B. S. Haldane's 1938 ARP Maginot Line book, both linked here). The fact is, outdoor shelters survived but were useless in Hiroshima, because almost nobody was inside them (photos below). No enemy is likely to choose to use nuclear weapons when people are in shelters; if shelters exist a surprise attack is more likely. So improvised, cheap duck and cover protection is required, and expensive shelter programmes are proved by Hiroshima to be money wasting delusion:

Above: a U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey photo of a useless bomb shelter which survived Hiroshima's firestorm intact. Nobody was inside it, so it saved nobody. What is fascinating is that such photos are often used to "defend" expensive civil defense programmes. There is no warning to get into shelter if a terrorist launches a surprise attack by detonating a nuclear bomb offshore. They are of some use against fallout if people can get to them having survived the initial effects (blast, thermal flash, initial radiation), if the roads are not blocked by debris. But in that case why not simply move upwind, decontaminate and wait for the fallout to decay while staying in the upwind area, since fallout is easy to predict (contrary to propaganda dating back to a 1954 test!).

The [cheap indoor improvised countermeasure] fallout radiation advice in Protect and Survive was based on 1960s fallout shelter experiments[2] summarized by Daniel T. Jones of the Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch[3] in his report, The Protection Against Fallout Radiation Afforded by Core Shelters in a Typical British House which was published in Protective Structures for Civilian Populations, Proceedings of the Symposium held at Washington, D.C., April 19–23, 1965, by the Subcommittee on Protective Structures, Advisory Committee on Civil Defense, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council.[4][5] The fallout radiation was represented by measurements of the penetration of cobalt-60 gamma radiation, which has a high mean energy of 1.25 MeV (two gamma rays, 1.17 and 1.33 MeV). This is considerably more penetrating than the mean 0.7 MeV of fallout gamma rays.[6] Therefore, the actual protection given against real nuclear weapon fallout would be far greater than that afforded in the peacetime cobalt-60 shielding measurements.

Above: 14 Nov 2012. Finally, some good news: Israel is now justly eliminating murderers (Hamas terrorist leaders) in retaliation for the murder of Israeli civilians, without hitting any kids in collateral damage. Additionally, it is issuing posters like this, which make the reasons for its actions crystal clear for everybody to understand without any confusion. This will make it very hard for Hamas murderers to make effective propaganda out of the justifiable strike. (It is vital to eliminate terrorist leaders, and spare innocent kids.) The next step after the terrorist leaders have been eliminated is for Israel to negotiate from a position of moral and military strength. Good civil defense is also important to reduce casualties from Palestinian rocket attacks. Israel remains in the middle of a largely hostile Moslem area and so must issue good rocket attack warning detection systems and Morrison-type table shelters where needed (proved in Britain in WWII), with duck and cover advice to minimize casualties and mitigate the human effects of enemy attacks. The best possible civil defense knowledge is vital to reduce innocent human casualties in war.

Update (14 Nov 2012): More civil defense data from WWII British and Japanese conventional and nuclear bombing experience (including photos of survival in Anderson and Morrison table shelters, their blueprints, nuclear tests on civil defense improvised countermeasures, etc.) is linked in my compendium "Civil Defense Evidence", on the internet archive: