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[Ben]:The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagisaki Discuss This [0 comments so far] View Comments
I recently started reading a book by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Manhattan District entitled The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagisaki. This book was compiled by three specialist teams immediately following the surrender of The Empire of Nippon.

From it I have learned some very interesting things regarding the nature of atomic explosions, the causes of the double flash associated with such events, the damage and wounding mechanisms displayed during the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagisaki, and so forth. It has given me a much better understanding of some of the practical aspects of nuclear detonations. As terrible as nuclear weapons are, and as much as I believe this text has understated the long term dangers of radiation, it brought the effects down to a level I can understand. I find myself far less concerned with the dangers of being within even five or ten miles of such an explosion. Not that I think it is likely, nor would I want to get that close, but I feel the understanding is a good thing.

One thing I'm starting to understand is the much lampooned "Duck and Cover" routine that schoolchildren were taught in the 1950s. Of course, we all laugh at the idea that hiding under your desk at school would prevent injury in case of an atomic bomb, and of course if you are near ground zero, that is true. However, if you have sufficient early warning to know that an atomic explosion is imminent, ducking under a desk at school could protect you from two of the primary casualty inducing factors present at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The first effect that ducking under a solid desk would help prevent flash burns and blindness caused by the UV pulse which accompanies the visible flash of the detonation. A second major wounding factor was mechanical injury caused by the overpressure wave breaking glass, throwing around objects and collapsing structures. A desk might well protect people on the edges of the explosive effects from these sorts of injuries.

I guess the lesson here is that if you have warning of an impending nuclear attack, it doesn't hurt to head wherever you'd go if there were a serious storm.
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