Cymdeithas Hanes Resolfen History Society

A web log for the Resolven History Society which publishes articles and stories related to Resolven and the immediate surroundings.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A reminder from History

A Nuclear Explosion - and After

In these days of impending ENVIRONMENTAL doom it is interesting to read this anonymous article during the cold war which appeared in The Kent Dragon in March 1959. It appears that there are no new scares only new subjects and the article does read like a government leaflet . These facts so recognisable to anyone over forty would be largely unknown to younger readers though they still send a chill down the spine.

What is it?

A nuclear bomb is a device whose explosion results from the sudden release of the vast amount of energy locked up in the nucleus of the atom. When the explosion takes place, its contents are transformed into a white hot, radio active fireball. If the burst is on or near the ground, the heat and blast effects are less than they would be if the burst were in the air , but the danger from radio-active fall-out is much greater.

What does it do?

The force of the explosion at ground level may result in a crater about a mile across and up to 200 feet deep, from which vast quantities of earth, stones and other surface matter are ejected. All the matter in contact with the fireball becomes radio-active. The fireball rapidly grows to full size, and being much lighter than air it soars upward at high speed. In a few minutes it has reached its full height and turned into the familiar mushroom-shaped cloud.

When the fireball rises the suction is sufficient to induce the matter released from the crater to follow in its wake. Some of the heavier particles spill out around the point of the explosion, but the rest of the radio-active material sucked up with the mushroom is carried away by the winds of the upper air. If it is still dangerously radio-active when it drifts back to earth, and the severity of this hazard depends on the amount of fall-out deposited in a given area.

The Main Dangers

The main hazards resulting from a nuclear explosion are heat, blast and radio-activity. Fire and blast would completely devastate everything up three and a half miles from the point of burst. Destruction and damage would then diminish on a gradual scale up to a 25 mile range. Fall-out could spread over an area of twenty miles to a thousand miles from the point of burst. Since radio-active fall-out is almost invisible, contaminated areas would be detected by the use of special instruments. In some instances, it would be essential for those “living” until the radio-activity has subsided. Terrible as these effects are, everyone should know what these weapons could do.

What Can YOU Do?

Although war is improbable, it is certain that if a nuclear attack were to come, the aid of every man and woman would be needed. Everyone would have to help himself and his neighbour as far as he could. Survival would depend on plans made beforehand: adequate help could come only from people trained and organised in advance. Several firms in South Wales are already prepared to have teams in training. We too are making preparations and will shortly have our own organization at Resolven.

Does anyone know what became of this? Let us know.


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