How far away would you need to be to survive a nuclear blast?
You'd want to be wearing white.
Nearly 80 years ago, in August 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 210,000 people including children, women, and men. This marked the beginning of a terrifying new era known as the Atomic Age, and the threat of nuclear weapons never went away. But Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has made it visible once more, and his order to deploy Russia's nuclear forces on high alert on Sunday has made it much more so.
If you didn't know, nuclear explosions are among the most powerful and catastrophic events that our species has ever witnessed. Aside from natural disasters such as asteroid strikes, volcanic explosions, earthquakes, and tsunamis, there are few things that come close to the destructive potential of a nuclear explosion. A nuclear explosion's consequences can devastate broad areas around the point of detonation and far beyond.
In this video from the YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE breaks into the science of nuclear bombs to forecast chances of survival regarding proximity to the blast. This is not meant to worry you but to model out hypothetical situations, and the video explains that, in general, there are some predictable stages of a nuclear weapon blast, which can tell a lot about the chances of survival. The video explores a 1 megaton explosion, which is 80 times greater than the Hiroshima bomb, but far smaller than existing nuclear weapons that are in the arsenal of many countries. Thankfully, international treaties exist to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons, which hopefully means we'll never need to apply any of this information to real life. If you want to learn more and see how far you would need to be to survive a nuclear blast, make sure you watch the video embedded above.
Image source: "Ivy Mike" atmospheric nuclear test/Wikimedia