How can a bunker protect from a nuclear catastrophe?


How can a bunker protect from a nuclear catastrophe?

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Unless the missile launched is designed to go deep into the ground and *then* explode, much of the blast from the explosion actually goes *outward* and *upward*. So being in a bunker underground means avoiding a lot of the explosive force of the initial blast. From there the biggest concern becomes radioactivity, but radioactivity has to come from somewhere, and that “somewhere” is usually on the backs of larger particles that can usually be filtered out of the air. Of course if that gets into your water supply you’re hosed.

Dirt is real sturdy.

Dirt is heavy and doesn’t compress well. Under that is stone that is even more heavy and durable. Even intense heat and force on the surface of the ground is unlikely to penetrate more than a few feet down, and a bunker will be buried pretty deep.

That said, bunkers aren’t really expected to survive direct hits from nuclear weapons. Penetrating delivery devices can be made to dig in before detonation so that even if your bunker is built deep into a mountain then multiple direct hits could destroy it.

But if you are just relatively nearby the explosion then the bulk of the force will be moving horizontally on the surface. This is where bunkers would really shine, protecting you from the blast and ensuing devastation.

Inside the bunker should be generous stores of food and water along with other basic survival necessities. Those inside will want to stay there for a while as things cool down outside, quite literally as there will be large fires immediately following the blast. One of the biggest concerns is a supply of fresh air which can be pulled in and filtered before entering the bunker. Armored intakes are part of the design.

Ultimately nukes just produce intense heat, pressure, and light as their damaging effects. They aren’t magic, 8 feet of dirt is sufficient armor in most cases.

A well-built underground bunker largely isolates you from the blast wave of a nuclear explosion (unless the weapon is designed to penetrate the ground, in which case the seismic waves could destroy it), and all the dirt and concrete block the prompt radiation from the blast. The same dirt and concrete also, assuming you have a good air and water filtration system, block radioactive fallout until it’s decayed to safe enough levels for you to go outside again.

For a full disclaimer: ***Anything between you and the radiation fallout is better than nothing.*** If you cannot get to a proper bunker or concrete basement within 10-15 minutes of a nuclear event, remain in a location as inside as you can, with as many walls between yourself and the outside.

Bunkers have usually two main materials: One is a dense metal (usually steel or lead), to reinforce concrete.

Those materials have the ability to absorb and trap radiation better than most other common materials by being so dense that radioactive particles will bounce around and away instead of penetrating deeper into it. Wood, in comparison, is a lot less dense, and will let more radiation through.

Strong enough radiation can still push through those materials, however, and the only way to enhance them would be to use denser materials (which are often rarer) or thicker walls (usually what we choose to use).

That being said, it’s basically that for the most part: Dense materials basically preventing radiation from moving through it easily, “trapping” it in.