If people in Los Angeles a mile or more from ground zero of an attack took no shelter there would be 285,000 casualties from fallout in that region.
Taking shelter in a place with minimal protection, like a car, would cut that figure to 125,000 deaths or injuries, he said. A shallow basement would further reduce it to 45,000 casualties. And the core of a big office building or an underground garage would provide the best shelter of all.
“We’d have no significant exposures,” Mr. Buddemeier told the conference, and thus virtually no casualties from fallout.
Nextbigfuture has previously written about re-inventing civil defense by focusing on reinforcing existing buildings with simple things like Hurriquake nails. Keeping buildings standing against the overpressure and reducing fires will save many lives.
Beyond the closest blast radius a nuclear bombs effects become like a hurricane or strong wind combined with some fire and heat problems.
Do not let the mystique of nuclear bombs confuse you –
Overpressure = strong wind
Fire = Fire
Heat = Heat
The same construction improvements that are used against a hurricane (post-Katrina in Louisiana) or ordinary fire would apply to greatly reducing bomb damage. The difference is like construction in Haiti versus construction in Japan versus an earthquake.
A blast-wave overpressure of 5 pounds per square inch, which is associated with winds around 150 miles per hour, is enough to destroy wood-frame buildings and
cause severe damage to brick apartment buildings. However, with simple and cheap construction improvements and retrofits it is possible to enable all wood-frame buildings to survive 5 PSI. Further construction improvements can increase the survivability of buildings and the people inside them.
Hurriquake nails add $15 to the price of a home and make a house 50% more resistant to a hurricane or strong winds (or over pressures from a nuke).
There are four main features to the hurriquake nail: the head, the shear shank, the body, and the deep ring anchors. The head is 25% larger than conventional nails and is marked for easy code inspection. The shear shank has great sheer strength at a major stress point. The body is made of “improved plastic collation” that allows for easier driving. And the deep ring anchors have tremendous holding power. The net result is a 2x resistance to high winds. It is rated up to 170 mph winds. But this is the hurriquake nail. It is also built to withstand earthquakes too.
In fact, the nail can decrease structural failure in earthquakes by up to 50%. This is where the shear shank does a good job. The perpendicular forces of an earthquake acting on the nail usually break it. The hurriquake nail does a better job in that area. This is a smart project because it basically covers the entire US in terms of practicality. You will probably be dealing with high winds or earthquakes. Maybe not all the time, but the cost is pretty minimal for better protection.
As the technology becomes available and affordable continue to increase higher levels of robustness.
Level 1: Hurriquake nails and other cheap adjustments that are widely available now and in use for some new construction. Expect to get to 2-5 PSI and up to 10-15 resistant houses. Also need treatments for improved fire resistance. 50-70% casualty reduction.
Level 2: Use cellustic fiber that is almost up to the strength of steel (nanopaper made from wood), more steel framed construction, better concrete or carbon fiber, or graphene reinforcement. Stronger windows, doors OR monolithic domes for some new construction. Resistant PSI 10-25+. 60-85% casualty reduction. Add anti-radiation damage drugs (see the bottom of this article on new carbon nanotube based drugs that are 5000 times more effective.) Total 85-92% casualty reduction.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.