Subscribe To the GunsAmerica Digest and News This Week

Prepping 101: Winter is Coming! – Nuclear War Survival Skills & Tools

Send to Kindle

Generally the CDV-715 meters on Ebay are in good working condition, and are within a reasonable tolerance on calibration.

Today I decided that right now is a good time to return to the subject of radiation, and how you really can adequately prepare for it. I personally don’t believe that all of this nonsense with North Korea is going to result in nuclear war, but we are so close to the precipice that anything is now possible. And as I have explained on several occasions, with all of the nuclear power plants worldwide, there is very little chance that any collapse scenario will be free of radiation events. And since President Clinton defunded the Civil Defense Program in the 90s, America is the only 1st world country with an almost 100% ignorant and unprepared populace. China, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, and many of the former Eastern Block countries have fallout shelters for nearly everyone. We have fallout bunkers for the rich and famous. The rest of us are on our own.

Most prepping material is woefully wrong when it comes to detecting high level radiation, which I’ll explain, but the worst approach is to not prepare at all. Nuclear war is survivable, if you know what to do, and you know what causes most deaths.

Article continues below…

This video specifically talks about high level radiation meters that are affordable and that will save your life in a survival situation.


The initial blast of a ground burst nuke covers about a circle under 2 miles in diameter. Nothing will survive within that circle above ground, and the chances of survival increase as you move out. There were underground shelters in Nagasaki in which people survived. Ground bursts are not considered the most probable, because usually nukes are made to burst in the atmosphere, generally less than a mile up. There is no crater with an air burst nuke, and primarily what kills people are the blast wave and debris. This can effect up to 10 miles out with a small nuke the size of Hiroshima, and most likely less with something that could be put together by a terrorist or rogue state like North Korea. Even a 1 Megaton Russian nuke will most likely not effect an area outside of 15 miles from ground zero.

To survive the initial blast, the best thing to do is duck and cover. Stories from Hiroshima and Nagasaki show that nearly everyone who was not in the direct blast and who sought cover when they saw the initial flash, survived. As Shane Connor explains in his now famous “The Good News About Nuclear Destruction,” it just so happened that the police officers in Nagasaki had recently completed a “duck and cover” training course, and none of the policemen died in the blast.

Don’t fall into the “I don’t want to survive in a world like that” trap. Whether you survive the initial blasts or not will not be in your control, other than whether or not you duck and cover. And if you do survive, you will not want to die of subsequent radiation, for lack of being able to tell if it is there. Most of what you have “learned” from the media about nuclear war is propaganda, including “nuclear winter,” and nearly all of the fear porn science has been discredited. The 1987 book, Nuclear War Survival Skills is available in a free PDF, and it will explains the myths and facts.

The most important thing you can get is Potassium Iodide. It is under $10 on Amazon, and it will protect you from Iodine 131, which is ejected from all nuclear events at the outset. Iodine-131 is particularly dangerous because your body stores iodine in one place, the thyroid gland. If you have a normal level of iodine in your body and you inhale io-131, it will concentrate in the thyroid, and this leads to thyroid disease and often cancer. Most of the fatalities and long term health effects from both Chernobyl and Fukushima involve some kind of thyroid disease. Potassium Iodide, also known as KI, saturates your thyroid for two weeks, which is well past the 8 day half life of io-131. By the time your two week supply is over, all of the io-131 from the blast will have moved on to become another isotope, one that your body will absorb and eject at a more distributed level. The body is amazingly resilient with radiation exposure, but it can’t handle the concentration of active io-131 in the thyroid.

Initial radiation from a nuclear weapon can be as high as 1,000 Roentgens per hour. But this does not last long, because most radionuclides, like io-131 have a very short half life, some decaying only after minutes to hours. Then begins the fallout period, where there will be periods of heavy radiation as the particulate settles, most likely with traveling rain storms. Then there is a rule, called the 7-10 rule. This says that at any given time since the blast, 7 times as long will result in 10 times less radiation. So if you experience fallout 2 hours after the blast, and it lasts for an hour, if you take a measurement at 3 hours, 7x as long, so at 21 hours, there will be 10x less radiation.

According to the 1983 FEMA publication called “Radiation Safety In Shelters” (linked in the text), the human body can handle 50-200 Rads of radiation without permanent damage. Measuring radiation at that level can’t be done with a Geiger tube radiation meter like the ones we have covered earlier in this series.

Multiple blasts, multiple fallout clouds, etc., make this a far less than exact science, but the main thing is that you are able to measure the radiation, and protect against it as best you can.

The human body can withstand up to 200 Roentgens without serious long term consequences in an otherwise strong and healthy person. Under 50 is considered not harmful at all.

The trick is in the measuring. If you look around for a “Geiger Counter,” there is very little chance that what you find will work in a true high radiation event. I have covered several of these types of devices, which used both Geiger-Mueller Tubes and PIN diodes, but the problem is always the same. Over about 1 millirad of radiation, the device saturates, and that is the end of that. After a nuclear bomb, or even in the event of a serious meltdown at a nuke plant, the electronics will go dead, and you’ll have no idea how much radiation you are standing in.

In the video I show you the best options for a radiation meter. There are only a few that I would recommend if you are on a budget. The Civil Defense Model 715 is the most common. I have linked above to that, and the CDV-717 in Ebay. Right now with the North Korea crisis they won’t be bottom dollar, but they will still be well under $100. I just popped a 717 in brand new unopened condition for $50 shipped the other day. I have sent dozens of machines to Shane Connor over the years and only the CDV-720 has failed.

I also linked out to Shane’s calibration service. They are a little behind right now, but if you ship it directly there from an Ebay purchase, you’ll only pay the calibration fee and return shipping. It works out great.

And if you have the budget, there is the NukAlert products from the video. The keychain is $150, and the ER model is $750. Both are well worth it.

If you follow the links to the informational links above, you’ll find a lot of good resources on makeshift fallout shelters. To stop high level radiation you need about 10″ of concrete, or 2 feet of soil. Other materials, be it wood, water, paper, cotton candy, whatever, is directly proportional in weight. It will take an equivalent weight of cotton candy to protect against the same level of radiation as cement. Anything less dense than cement will be thicker. Anything more dense than cement will be thinner, like lead. There is one specific material, called Barium sulfate, or barite, that is heavier than cement and that has shown specifically to stop radiation from cesium-137. It can be found at your local drilling company. They call it BAR. I have yet to find a good source in South Florida, but you may have more luck in your area.

Measuring radiation, knowing when you have to get out of there, and knowing the basics of how to build a fallout shelter are every bit as important as “duck and cover” with the blast. We are facing a world where radiation events are going to happen. Shane tells me that it is useless trying to get you all to go buy a meter and get it calibrated, but I am going to hold out the hope that more of you will. One day late and all of this stuff turns into no-obtainium. In the last big threat Shane had cars a mile down the road lined up at his place, and he does not have a retail store. When the big one pops, don’t even bother, but duck and cover at least ok.

Radiation Meters:
NukAlert Radiation Detectors
CDV-715 on Ebay
CDV-717 on Ebay
Potassium Iodide on Amazon
Calibration Service for Civil Defense Meters

The Good News About Nuclear Destructions
What to do if a Nuclear Disaster is Imminent
FEMA Radiation Safety in Shelters

Comments on this entry are closed.

Send this to a friend