The devastating effects of a nuclear bomb are horrifying. The impact is vicious, buildings crumble, combustible materials ignite, and scores of people die. Many people die instantly, while others die from radiation ailments.
However, not everything is ruined. It turns out that survivors of nuclear war could dig through the post-apocalyptic rubble, grab a beer or soda, and quench their thirst without major concern.
Back in 1945 through the late 1960s, the US government conducted several above-ground nuclear bomb tests in the Nevada desert. One of the Operation dubbed Teapot was conducted in 1955, where 14 nuclear bombs were detonated to test the new nuclear weapon designs and effects.
The researchers set out a bunch of cans and bottles of sodas and beers to see how they would react to the incident. The experiment led to a 1957 study called the effect of nuclear explosions on commercially packaged beverages.
Krulwich explained in his blog post that back in 1956, the Atomic Energy Commission exploded two bombs. One had an energy release equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT and the other had 30 kilotons. The test was conducted in Nevada. Bottles and cans were carefully placed various distances from ground zero.
Alex Wellerstein who is a science historian indicated that the closest containers were placed 1,056 feet or 322 meters away. The researchers buried some beers while others were left in batches and others were placed side by side.
Even though beers that were closest to the blasts were slightly radioactive, the researchers found out that they were still drinkable. Especially during an emergency. Drinks located further away were less irradiated.
The scientists went ahead and taste-tested the beverages, most of which they deemed good apart from the one closest to the blast.
Looking for a refreshing beer should not be your priority if an atomic bomb goes off in your city. The nuclear blast generates loads of radioactive ash and dust that is called fallout.The fallout was part of what researchers wanted to study.
Studies from FEMA indicate that nuclear blasts of various sizes generate different amounts of fallout. Some emerge from the bomb material itself. However, the soil, sand, rocks, wood and other debris that get sucked into an explosion also get incinerated and irradiated into fallout. The material is then carried away by being sprinkled over a large area.
Therefore, for one to survive a nuclear blast, it's important to find a thick, sturdy shelter and quickly avoid the immediate dangers of radioactive fallout. This can be achieved by surrounding oneself with a material such as ash or dust.