We have all seen horror movies and heard stories about how powerful and destructive nuclear weapons can be. What are the facts? Can they really melt our faces off? According to Weapons of Mass Destruction Awareness, these are the real facts about nuclear weapons and their effects. Before we visit these facts, let us review what happens during a nuclear explosion.
A nuclear explosion is the most powerful force yet created by the agency of man. As with most explosive devices, the initial destructive force is caused by the rapid release of heat. Conventional explosives, such as dynamite and TNT, create temperatures at detonation in the thousands of degrees range. With nuclear weapons, temperatures exceeding 20 million degrees have been recorded. The firestorm resulting from a nuclear blast can destroy an area many miles across, and the shock waves can cause death and destruction beyond the limits of the firestorm.
In addition to heat, other forms of radiation are also released, many of which can injure or kill humans.
- People directly in the blast of the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II were instantly killed by the intense heat and the massive force of the explosion.
- Some who were outside the primary blast radius were killed, injured or scarred by the flash of hard radiation from the explosion. Others were killed or injured by the collapse of buildings caused by the resulting shock waves.
- Other injuries included damage to the hearing from the sound of the explosion or loss of sight from looking at the brilliant flash created by the device. Some people who could have survived the attack died because most of the medical facilities and supplies were destroyed.
- Even those who were not affected directly by the explosions suffered ill effects. The bombs used in the attack on Japan were known for creating a condition known as radioactive fallout. This occurs when soil, ash and other debris is mixed with the radioactive elements from the bomb and thrown high into the atmosphere, where it can be carried great distances by the wind. Wherever this debris ‘falls’, it can contaminate the soil, water, and air, and will cause radiation sickness to any in the affected area. Symptoms include hair loss, bleeding, sores, vomiting and the condition is often fatal.
- Birth defects, spontaneous abortions, and cancers, including leukemia, are other long term affects of exposure to areas contaminated by fall out.
- Nuclear fallout can also cause the destruction of nerve cells, small blood vessels, and seizures.
- Sometimes, the symptoms of radiation poisoning can go on for years without notice. Early symptoms of exposure can mimic the flu and may continue to go under the radar until a blood count is done. Other symptoms include bleeding and shedding of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
- This can also cause mutations in DNA, resulting in a multitude of health problems and diseases that are irreversible.
A good question to ask next is: how do I protect myself from radiation in the event that a nuclear blast would explode near me (very improbable):
- Limit your exposure time
- Distance yourself from the source
- Shield yourself using lead, concrete, or water
- Contain the radioactive material