How far away do you have to be to be safe from a nuclear bomb?

Minor first-degree burns can occur up to 11 km (6.8 miles) away, and third-degree burns, which destroy and blister skin tissue, can affect anyone up to 8 km (5 miles) away. Third-degree burns that cover more than 24 percent of the body would likely be fatal if people don't get immediate medical attention. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends staying home for at least 24 hours in the event of a nuclear explosion.

After 48 hours, the exposure rate to a 10-kiloton explosion (the kind that could damage but not destroy a city) drops to just 1%. The effects of a nuclear explosion on a person will depend on the size of the bomb and how far away the person from the explosion is. However, a nuclear explosion would likely cause great destruction, death and injury, and would have a wide area of impact. Nuclear explosions produce a powerful phenomenon called a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (PEM), an invisible burst of energy that can cut off power lines, telephone and Internet.

This marked the beginning of a frightening new era known as the Atomic Age, and the threat of nuclear weapons never disappeared. Essentially, I would like to avoid countries with access to nuclear weapons and those involved in nuclear agreements. With the recent threats of terrorism, many people have expressed concern about the likelihood and effects of a nuclear explosion. The 1963 Limited Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty ended atmospheric testing for the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, but two major non-signatories, France and China, continued nuclear testing at a rate of approximately 5 megatons per year.

A bomb case would produce a very destructive nuclear explosion, but not as large as that of a nuclear weapon developed for strategic military purposes. For survivors of nuclear war, this persistent radiation hazard could pose a serious threat for up to 1 to 5 years after the attack. Nuclear explosions can produce clouds of dust and radioactive sand-like particles that disperse into the atmosphere, known as nuclear fallout.

Bradford Tutwiler
Bradford Tutwiler

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