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Nuclear Damage 

It is important to point out that nuclear bombs can be set to explode either in the air or on the ground. 
Each type of explosion has different characteristics, which are explained below.

Air Burst 

If a nuclear device is primed for "Air Burst" it will detonate whilst still falling towards the ground. The effect of this will be a more widespread EMP, but less radioactive fall out, as little dust or debris is sucked into the void left by the mushroom cloud. An airburst causes a wider area to be destroyed by the initial blast and shock-wave.

This table shows the damage caused by the air burst of a 1 mega-ton thermonuclear device.

Distance from ground zero Effects on population Effects on structures Wind speed
2 miles All killed All buildings destroyed 470 mph
3 miles Most dying from burns All houses destroyed 290 mph
4 miles Many dying from radiation Most buildings damaged 160 mph
5 miles Severe burns & blinding Trees blown down 95 mph
8 miles Many burns victims Light damage 35mph
 

Ground Burst 

If a nuclear device is primed for "Ground Burst" it will detonate when it hits, or is very close to the ground. The effect of this will be a smaller EMP, but more radioactive fall out, as much dust and debris is sucked into the void left by the mushroom cloud. A ground burst explosion causes a less widespread damage. 

This table shows the effects of a 1 Megaton ground blast.

Distance from ground zero Effects on population Effects on structures Wind speed
1 - 1.5 miles All killed All buildings destroyed 400 mph
2 - 3 miles Most dying from flying debris All houses destroyed 250 mph
4 miles Many dying from burns Many buildings damaged 140 mph
5 miles Severe burns & blinding Trees blown down 75 mph
8 miles Many radiation victims Light damage 25mph

1 kiloton thermonuclear device Air Burst Ground Burst
Approximate number of deaths 95,000 44,000
Area of near total destruction 22.72 miles 10.52 miles

 

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