How can you survive a nuclear bomb?

nuclear explosion

A study examined whether and how to best survive an atomic bomb blast with a 750-kiloton warhead. It is a nuclear bomb typically used in ICBMs.


Nicosia (Cyprus). In recent months, many people have become significantly more concerned about an atomic bomb as a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Physicists from the University of Nicosia have now published a study in the journal Physics of Fluids that examined whether and how one can survive a nuclear explosion. The study is based on a nuclear bomb with a 750-kiloton warhead typically used in ICBMs.

“This scenario represents a catastrophic scenario due to the existence of such a warhead and increasing geopolitical tensions.”

The two atomic bombs dropped by the US on Japan during World War II were significantly smaller, with warheads of 16 and 24 kilotons. The largest atomic bomb ever tested had a yield of 50,000 kilotons. It was detonated by the Soviet Union in 1961.


Hardly safe places in case of atomic bomb explosion

According to the study, there is almost no good place where you are safe from an atomic bomb blast. Within a radius of several kilometers from the nuclear explosion, everything immediately vaporizes. The radiation released in the process can still lead to death at significantly greater distances. In addition, radioactive fallout would occur in large areas in the years following the explosion.

Nuclear explosion blast wave

Another danger is the pressure wave created by the nuclear explosion, which creates high flight speeds. Depending on the explosive power of the bomb, the blast can throw people several kilometers away. But how safe would people be indoors from the blast of an atomic bomb blast?


The physicists’ simulation shows that even stable buildings do not adequately protect against the blast wave. In tight spaces, the pressure wave can even increase because the walls bounce the air and bend around corners. As a result, a force can act on the human body that corresponds to 18 times its weight.

“Our study shows that high flight speeds still pose a significant hazard and can still result in serious injury or even death.”

Avoid windows, doors and corridors

According to the study, the danger is greatest indoors near windows, corridors and doors. However, according to Ioannis Kokkinakis, you can protect yourself from the blast with the right behavior.

“People should stay away from these places and seek shelter immediately. Even in a room facing the blast, one can protect against the high flight speeds. By positioning yourself in the corners of the wall facing the blast.”

Physics of Fluids, doi: 10.1063/5.0132565

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