[ RadSafe ] "Countdown to Zero" disarmament movie
Brennan, Mike (DOH)
Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Tue Aug 10 17:24:37 CDT 2010
Indeed, fires after a disaster can kill large numbers of people. However, if a person is mobile immediately after the event, their chances of escaping the fire are much better. In an earthquake it can be as little a difference as getting under a desk or away from windows that makes the difference between someone who can help in the aftermath and someone who needs help.
I expect that at some time, some where, a nuclear weapon will be detonated, and things will be very bad for a large but limited area. I no longer believe the arsenal-emptying exchange between superpowers is a likely scenario. If I am correct, modest preparations could be useful (especially if generalized to be applicable in a variety of emergencies), and the "The survivors will envy the dead." sentiment will find few adherents.
I've been thinking about "the unthinkable" all of my adult life. It has lost some of its edge.
From: Franz Schönhofer [mailto:franz.schoenhofer at chello.at]
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 12:14 PM
To: Brennan, Mike (DOH); radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: AW: [ RadSafe ] "Countdown to Zero" disarmament movie
Hi, Mike and others who disagreed to my opinion,
You are very welcome to disagree with me - if it is in your and recently
several others way to put forward arguments. I do not like those who simply
declare that I am "anti-American" or claim that I "never made any reasonable
contribution to RADSAFE", using whatever great, but not understandable
abbreviations of their many degrees or titles.
O.k., let's diagree! From my sources and my visits I draw the conclusion
that the direct effect of the explosions was extremely devastating, killed
probably tens of thousands of people more or less at once or within very
short time, but that the worst effect in killing people were the fires
caused by the explosions. This is absolutely congruent with the history of
the effect of the big earthquake in San Francisco about 100 years ago - the
high death toll was not so much due to the earthquake, but rather the fires
that broke out as a consequence.
Therefore mere calculations of the effects of explosion are extremely
misleading. Maybe a small number of lives might be saved immediately after
the explosion by the "duck and cover" strategy which we saw on US propaganda
films and laughed about - but for how long? What about further shockwaves,
contamination, lack of any infrastructure in a completely devastated
environment? These scenarios have been discussed extensively, some movies
have been made, the US-ones I know are real rubbish, but at least one from
Great Britain rather realistic as far as I can judge it.
A good question is still, whether it is desirable to live in a world, which
has been destroyed by nuclear bombs. You know the sentence: "The survivors
will envy the dead."
Anything which is done to reduce the probability of a nuclear war should
therefore be supported. "Duck and cover" is in my opinion not the right
Franz Schoenhofer, PhD
Von: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] Im Auftrag von Brennan, Mike
Gesendet: Dienstag, 10. August 2010 19:48
An: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Betreff: Re: [ RadSafe ] "Countdown to Zero" disarmament movie
I am afraid I have to disagree with you about, "How many lives would have
been saved in Hiroshima or Nagasaki by this strategy? - not a single one."
In any event such as an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, or nuclear
detonation, there is a core area with great energy and tremendous
destruction, and a wider band around it with progressively less energy and
progressively less destruction. Precautions that will not help you at
ground zero may well save your life only a little ways away. In point of
fact, at Nagasaki there were a number of American POWs being used as slave
labor in a facility (I think a shipyard, but I don't have the reference
handy). When the air raid alarm sounded they all went off to the slit
trenches dug as shelters. Many of the Japanese workers didn't bother. Most
of the Japanese workers were killed, few of the POWs were injured (and most
of those that were had their heads out of the trench, looking around.)
Actions appropriate for sheltering from nuclear attack can be generalized
for use in a variety of situations, such as earthquake, massive chemical
leaks, big explosions, and others.
The political agendas behind supporting or suppressing civil defense and
emergency preparedness are more complex than I care to get into, unless
there is an evening to deal with it and beer involved.
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Franz Schönhofer
Sent: Sunday, August 08, 2010 2:12 PM
To: 'Shane Connor'; radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] "Countdown to Zero" disarmament movie
Thank you for your reply - it indicates that you are seriously considering
the topic and it is worth to discuss it with you.
I think I introduced myself as somebody who has been involved heavily in
emergency planning in Austria, who has been actually more than heavily been
involved in the aftermath of the Cherenobyl accident in Austria and written
the official report. Of course I had contact to all European and partially
I have been the head of the terrestrial working group on the French Mururoa
More information about the RadSafe