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The Effects of an Nuclear Bomb on the City of Brampton

Cold War

Dave Wingate

on 7 December 2015

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Transcript of The Effects of an Nuclear Bomb on the City of Brampton

The Effects of a Nuclear Bomb on the City of Brampton
The end of World War two left the world with two super powers; the United States and the Soviet Union
Both had very different political and economic philosophies that developed into a Cold War where each pitted their allies against the other nation rather than having outright war.
Both nations had developed the capacity for nuclear weapons and so the world feared the specter of ...
Obviously Brampton would not be high on any target list but we will use it for our purposes
What you need to do:
Take a piece of tape or post-it note and write your name on it
Place it on a push pin
Put the push pin on the map of Brampton to indicate where you live
It is a truly difficult task to fathom the magnitude of the disastrous effects that a single nuclear bomb or “warhead” would have on an area.
To a small degree, the fear of such a disaster is still a possibility today as these weapons of mass destruction still exist and could be called upon by many countries throughout the world.
However, as we examine this information, make note of the fact that these effects are only for one small bomb and it should not be confused with a nuclear war in which many nuclear bombs would be exploded which could cause the end of civilization in the countries involved or possibly across the entire globe.

The effect of a single bomb would depend on various factors including
its power (measured in kilotons and megatons),
where it was detonated (either air or surface)
environmental factors such as the weather, wind direction and velocity and even the time of day.

Energy from a nuclear explosion is released in a number of different ways including an explosive blast, direct nuclear and thermal radiation and an electromagnetic pulse as well as many indirect ways including fires, radioactive particles and other particles thrown by the blast.
One Megaton Bomb
We will attempt to explain the effects of a one-megaton bomb detonated at an altitude of 2500 metres above the city (for maximum blast effects) and we will assume clear, calm weather conditions for our experiment.
We will drop this nuclear device over Four Corners (the intersection of Main and Queen) in downtown Brampton.
One Megaton Bomb
To examine the immediate effects, we will look at the effects as divided from the point of detonation (usually referred to as “ground zero”) by it distance in a radius around ground zero.
Immediate Effects of the Blast
A blast of up to 15 PSI will destroy even reinforced concrete buildings leaving few structures standing.
Wind Force. The powerful blast of the bomb will force the air from the surrounding area at a rate of close to 500kph (and up to 600kph). The same rush of air will be felt again immediately after as the air rushes back in to the area to fill the void left from the blast. At this radius the tornado force winds are enough to drive straws through utility poles and throw objects into people (such as glass and wood) and throw people around into much larger objects.
0 to 3km
Thermal and nuclear radiation will burn or melt anything exposed to it within this radius. Most people in this area will be killed instantly in many cases destroying the body entirely.
0 to 3km
Thermal and nuclear radiation will burn or melt anything exposed to it within this radius. Most people in this area will be killed instantly in many cases destroying the body entirely.
0 to 3km
It is estimated that close to 98% of the people in this area will be killed by the blast and by falling masonry.
An X-ray pulse from the blast will prove lethal to any living thing exposed to it. In some cases this radiation will leave a shadow, imprinted like a photograph, on the ground or on walls. However, it is likely that the person will be dead before this radiation can affect them.
Table - Blast Effects of a 1-Mt Explosion Above the Earth's Surface
A blast between 5 to 10 PSI will destroy brick and timber houses leaving concrete buildings and some that are reinforced. In some cases it will only leave the skeletons of buildings.
Wind forces will rip small trees from their foundations and shatter windows. People in the open could be killed from the wind as well as by the possibility of flying debris.
3 to 7km
Thermal radiation will ignite any exposed wood and paint (and any other combustible materials such as paper, leaves, fabric – in some cases melting clothing to bodies).
Exposed skin (and in some cases even covered skin) will receive third degree burns as the skin and muscle tissue is literally melted from the body. Third degree burns over 24% of the body will result in serious shock, which will prove fatal if not promptly treated.
3 to 7km
Those who are facing the explosion (who do not die from the blast) will also be blinded from the flash (it is believed this is even true for those with their eyes closed). In most cases this will be temporary, but for some it will be permanent. The flash will be visible (and therefore may cause this blindness) for up to 21km on a clear day and up to 85km on a clear night.
It is estimated that 50 – 70% of the people in this area would die from the immediate effects of the blast.
3 to 7km
A blast between 2 to 5 PSI will damage most buildings. Knocking down walls of large buildings and severely damaging houses.
Wind forces are enough to shatter windows and injure people with flying debris. In office buildings the force will cause any loose objects (such as people) to be thrown from the building to the street below.
Exposed skin will receive second-degree burns as the skin blisters (leaving scars) that will become infected if not promptly treated.
Thermal radiation will ignite any light combustible material out to a radius of 14km.
It is estimated that only about 10% of the population will die from the immediate effects of the bomb but nearly 50% of the people will suffer from injuries.
7 to 10km
A blast of 1PSI will damage some structures, shatter windows and injure people with flying debris.
Exposed skin will have first-degree burns, which is the equivalent of a bad sunburn.
Some fires will result from light combustible materials.
Few will die immediately at this distance but approximately 25% of the population will be injured.
10 to 15km

Though the blast itself will not immediately kill everyone in a city, there are many complications that would lead to a much higher mortality rate in the event of a blast.

Long Term Effects of the Blast
Many fires would result from the blast including those started from exploding gas lines and fuel tanks.
Collapsed buildings would provide fuel for the fires, which would allow them to spread.
This would allow for the possibility of a firestorm, which occurs when the fires own updrafts form their own wind, blowing inward from all sides and increase the intensity of the fire.
The intensity of the fire would eat up all available oxygen and heat the surrounding area (including basements and bomb shelters) to lethal levels.
Fires and Firestorms
A nuclear explosion leaves everything in the area radioactive.
In an airburst the radioactive particles would become gaseous and airborne and would come down over a large area, sometimes in the form of rain (as was the case in Hiroshima).
Exposure to the radiation within 40 km of the blast can prove fatal in a few hours if not treated and the area will be considered unsafe for habitation for an estimated 10 years.
At greater distances the effects of the radiation can still affect the population, causing illness and potentially death if not properly treated.
Some affected persons will develop cancers and immunity disorders as their white blood cells decrease. It is also speculated that some of these effects could be passed down genetically to children.
Delayed Radiation (“Fallout”)

Radiation ‘fallout’ and debris will affect the drinking water and crops of an area making the soil unusable and causing a shortage of food and water for the injured and ill as well as for the healthy survivors.
Water and Food Contamination
An EMP is a wave similar to radio waves that result when the nuclear gamma rays are absorbed into the ground or air.
However it creates a much higher field strength than radio waves and it is a single pulse of energy that disappears in a fraction of a second (similar to lightning).
But it differs from lightning in that the rise in voltage is 100 times faster. Therefore, this will destroy communications and electrical power systems throughout the area.
Electromagnetic Pulse

Doctors, nurses and those involved with rescue efforts would be killed in a blast just as anyone else in the city.
Fear and sorrow from the loss of loved ones would also affect these people.
Hospitals, police and fire stations would also be destroyed in the blast radius and would only add to the injured rather than being able to assist those who need help.
Also electricity, water and telephone communication would be inaccessible leaving the area in desperate need and unable to contact the outside.
Rescue efforts from outside the city would be hampered in numerous ways.
relief efforts would likely be slowed, as radiation experts would need to survey the area for safety and radiation levels.
Once rescue services from outside were able to enter they would be hampered by impassable roads and the damage done to the central area would be completely inaccessible.
Rescue Efforts and Medical Problems
The number of injured would also overload the medical facilities that exist. The emergency services need would be far greater than any of the surrounding cities could handle.
In a large metropolitan city, the number of injured could potentially fill one third of the hospital bed in North America; and of course no hospital could deal with such an influx of emergency patients in such a short amount of time. There would likely be more burn cases than there would be available burn units in all of North America and a whole years blood supply would be needed immediately to treat the injured. Most injured people would either die while waiting for a backlog of treatment as hospitals would be overloaded and while they checked for safety before treatment or they would die from their wounds without and food and water while waiting for their rescue.
Rescue Efforts and Medical Problems
So, how did they deal with this?
There were many times during the Cold War where it looked as if things would heat up and a nuclear war would spark, ending civilization across the globe.
But it seems that nuclear war was an effective deterrent during this time.
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