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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This could probably go equally under 'Politics', but seemed more appropriate here. With all the lovely Russia/Ukraine stuff going on, Russia specifically focusing on Ukrainian nuke plants, Putin openly talking about their having nuclear weapons, and their "atomic cannons" (that I had never even heard of before), some radiation-based concerns could be worth thinking through and even preparing for.

Fwiw, these are the people I used for re-calibrating our survey meters a few years ago - www.ki4u.com

They also have some fairly good, although sometimes dated, information and articles on their site. Radiation is one of those topics like gun control or abortion - it's hard to have a conversation about it, or even think about it, without emotions coming out; so it's extra important to be intentionally calm & objective on the subject.

Just wanted to put the topic out there for discussion. Not everyone is an over-the-hill, long term prepper nutjob, and this is likely an unfamiliar and uncomfortable topic for a lot of people - especially people under 40 whose only context is movies and network commentators, both of which tend to be irrational and overly dramatic.

So to get the ball rolling, a couple articles from their site.

I like this one as an ice-breaker, actually titled "the good news about nuclear destruction', meaning that the 'good news' is how simple it is to hugely improve your chances: The Good News About Nuclear Destruction!

This second one is substantially longer & somewhat more dramatic/sensationalist (lots of exclamation points), but still worth reading imo. 'What to do if a Nuclear Disaster is Imminent': WHAT TO DO IF A NUCLEAR DISASTER IS IMMINENT!

An uncomfortable topic to be sure, but as Solomon said, "A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." And I accepted long ago that he was smarter than I am, meaning that I really should consider his warnings carefully.
 

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2 weeks ago we revisited September 1939, different face, same objective, 2 weeks from now we could be visiting 29 August 1949 when the soviets detonated its first bomb, kind of like "show and tell" day. Whatever happens in the near future, the wall is going back up!
 

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Yeah, it ain't looking good.
My fault or not I'm way behind the curve on being fully prepared to do a long haul A Bomb bunker.
I could get fresh iodate tablets so I'll have a healthy thyroid gland while the rest of me rots away.
Not arguing just being realistic.
If we don't get a secondary target nuke here just for Fayetteville being "The First Home" of two "co-presidents" I don't even want to mention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Protection from fallout can be much simpler than most people realize. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or complicated, or even expensive. IIRC (and I should re-look this stuff up), something like 90% of radiation dissipates within 8 hours; I don't remember if that's from the time it falls back to the ground or from the time it becomes irradiated in the blast. And is 99% gone after only something like two days; again, iirc. So long-term bunkering shouldn't be a real need for the vast majority of people. If I was downwind of a military base or some real tasty target, I'd want more than we need where we are now. We do have Nuclear One in Russellville which is largely upwind of us, but it's probably not the highest-priority target (although it could be the source of a leak, whether sabotage or accident), and with the distance we should get several hours' warning of a leak there before anything airborne would reach us. In your area, targets in Tulsa or Oklahoma City maybe? Honestly don't know.

So with 'hunkering in place' probably only being needed for 2-3 days, a shelter wouldn't need to be particularly elaborate. And shielding can be all kinds of things, from the obvious ones like concrete & such, to mundane things like books, piled dirt, barrels of water (which should be , all kinds of things. I remember seeing pics in old books showing examples of sticking a large, stout table in a basement and using available mass (lumber, books, bricks, water containers, etc, as shielding mass. I need to re-read some things to get 'up' on this stuff; it's been a long time ago that I used to really try to stay conversant on it and doing these things from memory is obviously not a great idea.

One book that's very dated but has a lot of info is Nuclear War Survival Skills (I think Cresson Kearney wrote it, but not sure). It can be downloaded free in PDF form from numerous places on the web. I downloaded & printed it out years ago, but confess I haven't looked at it in probably a decade probably. The stuff there was very DIY oriented and low-tech for the most part. It's old, but it has a lot of information & can be had free. I recently dug mine out & plan to start looking over it some to get those particular brain cells reactivated.

There was also a spreadsheet that you may still be able to find online, that was for calculating how long a person should bunker, based on one or two radiation readings for it to use as a starting calculation point. It was put together by a guy who called himself Tired Old Man, and used to be commonly encountered on prepping websites. It does require those 2-3 or whatever number of readings to do its calculations, but if you don't have a meter, there might be someone reachable by radio who does..? Just shooting off the cuff here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Searched and found a site I haven't looked at in the last 10 years probably; back when it was brand new iirc. It lets you pick a detonation location and bomb size in kilotons, and shows a projected blast radius. If you turn on the "radioactive fallout" option, it also shows an estimated direction, pattern,and distance of fallout at different levels. It's obviously not going to be exact since wind speed and direction vary from day to day, but worth taking a look at imo. NUKEMAP by Alex Wellerstein
 

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Actually I've read about a steel tank, or other, like a decently sealed concrete tornado shelter with an "L" entranceway will work with 10 feet of dirt over and around the structure.
Probably overkill.. maybe.

Somewhere in my stacks of books I've information on various shelter construction.
I'm thinking I'd have to do something above ground.
I've got enough lumber and if I use the old oak timbers I salvaged it'd probably hold up better than pine.

I got enough sheets of plywood around here to do like an A-frame and then cover over with sand, sandstone and dirt.
 

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I'm hoping that when all those missile silos in Montana were decommissioned they changed the co-ordinates on the missiles in Russia to somewhere else.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm still surprised I'd never heard of the 'Atomic Cannon' before. Turns out we had them as well, only decommissioned in the 60's.

Ours fired a 280mm (11-inch) shell with a 15kt nuclear bomb, up to 6 1/2 miles. IIRC, 15kt is the same size as either Hiroshima or Nagasaki (I think Hiroshima). And it was fired from what amounts to a huge self-propelled artillery piece. Forty-foot barrel, and 800-lb projectile. I'd never heard of it. Looks like there was only one actual full-nuke-charge firing of one of them, at Aberdeen in the mid-50's.


Found a little two-minute video of that 'launch', and a lot of the footage we used to see in movies apparently came from the multiple movie cameras rolling when they fired it:
 

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I had a boss about 16-18 years ago that when he was in the Canadian Artillery stationed in Germany during the 1960's, he worked on in an "Honest John" Battery. He had great stories, back in the day Germany must have been a great posting for a young soldier.


Honest John Rocket - YouTube
 

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Pretty much, if you aren't incinerated, or lit up by the Gamma burst, you can survive. It's mostly about keeping clean and keeping stuff out of your lungs. Even without iodine pills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Pretty much, if you aren't incinerated, or lit up by the Gamma burst, you can survive. It's mostly about keeping clean and keeping stuff out of your lungs. Even without iodine pills.
No doubt. It’s stunning and sad to see how absolutely wrongly people have been ‘taught’ about nuclear weapons. Our employees were talking about Russia, Ukraine, nukes, etc, earlier this week and our newest guy – probably 23-25 yrs old – made the comment, “If someone pops a nuke somewhere, just take your lawnchair up to the roof and wait to die”. And he was completely serious, thinking that any nuclear weapon going off would be lights-out for civilization in total. After hearing him say that I went to the KI4U website and printed out that “Good News” article for each of them; and that’s what sparked me starting this thread. I knew most people had very unrealistic ideas about “nuclear annihilation”, but he really believed that if one was detonated, it was over for all of us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Fwiw, if anyone has one of the old civil defense survey meters, here are links to manuals for the most common ones that I'm aware of.

The CD-V715 is the most common one afaik: http://www.mcmlv.org/Archive/Radiology/VictoreenCDV715.pdf
Camera Font Clock Circle Cameras & optics


The CD-V717 is less common; the only difference that I'm aware of being that its sensing chamber is removable and can be placed remotely from the main meter body. Idea being that if you have a path to run the wire between them, you can have the meter display in your shelter with you, and the sensing chamber giving you readings of what's actually outside. It can also be used the same as the -715 above,, leaving the sensing chamber attached to the display portion of the unit. So it's definitely the more versatile of the two, but a little bulkier: http://www.minionreport.net/radmanuals_files/CDV-717 Victoreen model 1 survey meter manual.pdf

Ideal setup imo would be both; one to tell you what the levels are outside and one to let you know how much of it is actually getting into where you are. It's impressive to me that even with the old carbon-zinc batteries available back in the 60's when these were made, they supposedly had a battery life of more than 150+ hours of continuous use. With our better alkaline batteries it should be at least double that. (In looking for Lithium D-cell batteries, all the ones I've found have been 3.6 volts, more than double the 1.5 volts of normal D-cells; so never tried any.)
 

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No doubt. It’s stunning and sad to see how absolutely wrongly people have been ‘taught’ about nuclear weapons. Our employees were talking about Russia, Ukraine, nukes, etc, earlier this week and our newest guy – probably 23-25 yrs old – made the comment, “If someone pops a nuke somewhere, just take your lawnchair up to the roof and wait to die”. And he was completely serious, thinking that any nuclear weapon going off would be lights-out for civilization in total. After hearing him say that I went to the KI4U website and printed out that “Good News” article for each of them; and that’s what sparked me starting this thread. I knew most people had very unrealistic ideas about “nuclear annihilation”, but he really believed that if one was detonated, it was over for all of us.
I find it amazing these days, when I talk to twenty-somethings, how little they know of the world they live in and the history of the world during the past 200 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
True. Several years ago I was buying some action-movie DVD at walmart and when the checker scanned it, the machine popped up a warning that the buyer must be 18 to purchase. The checker grinned & said, "You're 18, right?", to which I replied, "Yes; back when Jimmy Carter was President."

She said, "Was he before Clinton?"

Truly sad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I thought I'd mentioned the water tank, but apparently not. Last weekend I flushed out the inline water tank at our house. It's just a ~120 gallon tank plumbed inline (in the storm cellar) much like a water heater would be, but plumbed so that it can be isolated from the system to keep that 120 gallons always fresh and safe in case service is interrupted or contaminated. I flush it once a year or so and then re-isolate it, and did so last weekend.

Also checked status on the few LED lanterns we have just as a backup-backup in case everything else were to fail, confirmed that the main first aid kit was up to snuff and hadn't been pilfered without replenishment, and since we don't have any reasonably fresh KI potassium iodate went ahead and ordered a cheap $7 hundred-pack of iodine pads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Got the battery backup power for the storm cellar finished and tested over the long weekend. Wiring was the biggest physical chore; the smallest wire used being 10-gauge for the 240-volt input, and the biggest wire being 2-gauge for the battery series cabling (running up to a sustained 6000 watts over 12-volt batteries wired in series takes big cable). Fortunately had all the wiring on hand, left over from other house projects; don't want to be buying cable at today's prices. Got the cabling finished Friday night but left it powered down until I had a chance to work on it again Sunday afternoon.

Got to it again yesterday afternoon & finally got it up & going. Programming the storage inverters was easier than anticipated thanks to watching multiple instructional videos on it beforehand. Only thing that needs fixing is a new 240/30 breaker that feeds the inverters from the main breaker panel. The only one I had on hand is a GFCI style and it trips when switching between main and backup power. Not totally unexpected, as GFCI's will often trip with sudden or surge loads, but it was the only one I had on hand so I took a gamble. I'll have to replace it, but the system is still usable as-is. Just need the new breaker to avoid having to reset it when switching back & forth.

Tested it some last night, running the storm cellar off battery power for just three hours or so. The only concession I took to the un-tested system was turning off the breakers for the mini-split AC unit before swapping to battery power; not so much to reduce battery drain as to protect it in case I'd wired something up wrong. But no problems at all, everything fine except for resetting the gfci breaker. Running the same three light fixtures as we usually have on in there plus a fourth one at the inverter location, the projector and blu-ray player running non-stop, plus the chest freezer & mini-fridge plugged in & running intermittently, and the batteries hardly acknowledged the drain at all. A nominal 48-volt system, the batteries are actually around 54 volts when fully charged, and they were still at 52 volts when I switched back to mains power after three hours before going to bed. I checked on the system occasionally while running off of it, feeling for warm spots in the battery cabling and batteries themselves, but nothing at all that was even a little warm.

There's always more to do - am planning to put a permanent generator-inlet box outside the storm cellar to get off the semi-permanently installed 240/30 extension cord, but that's not really a "have to" thing at all, just an upgrade.

Fwiw, biggest lithium batteries I've ever bought, and second-biggest batteries I've bought of any kind. Over 20 inches long and ~10 inches wide; the four of them in the bed of my truck:
Truck Hood Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive tire


{edited to add battery pic)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Went ahead yesterday and got CO detectors for the storm cellar. We never bothered with CO detection since we’re all electric, with no use of natural gas or any kind of indoor combustion at all. But with the (hopefully very remote) possibility of using the storm cellar on a multi-day basis if the world continues to get crazier, I wanted to have CO detection in the storm cellar as a ‘just in case’ thing. Just a thought and something I wanted to pass on for others to think about – it would be an ironic shame to survive a wildfire, radiation, whatever, in your protective shelter just to die in your sleep due to the lack of a $20 carbon monoxide detector.

On CO detectors in general, they have a limited useable life, even if they never have been activated or gone into alarm. They use a deteriorating isotope much like the less-expensive ionization smoke detectors do, and after a given time frame – usually 5 to 7 years – they’re non-functional. Even if you’ve never opened the package, they’re dead and can’t be revived. So even if you have CO detectors in your home, if they’re more than a few years old, they may as well not be there. Most of them have end-of-life warning beepers to alert you, but I don’t know if they all do, so if you have any more than 3-4 years old, I’d check them; they typically have an end-of-life date sticker on their mounting base.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
When doing minor housekeeping chores relating to the storm cellar, generator, etc, I started wondering about the size of the battery bank; and after some calculations and a couple emails with the vendor of the storage inverter/chargers (not the battery vendor), I decided to add another identical string of batteries to the system. My original sizing of the bank came from a note in the inverters' manual listing the "recommended battery capacity" of 200ah. Per the inverter supplier, that's really the recommended minimum bank capacity, and since the batteries were coming from a different source, I don't see any reason he'd lie to me about it. So ordered another four of the same batteries, which will give a total battery bank capacity of 400ah at 48VDC, or 19,200 watt-hours of backup power between recharging. Ideally shouldn't pull LiFeP04 batteries down past 20% depth of charge, so really more like 15,000 watt-hours usable between charges. If not running the hvac, that works out to a day & a half of use, and if not running the projector & blu-ray player means a solid two days. (I had no idea when shopping around and furnishing the room that a projector pulls so much more power than a regular TV, but it's about 50% more or so.)

Those run-time calculations are based on conditions pretty close to normal life; not what would be typical "shelter" conditions. Plenty of lighting (four 34-watt LED light fixtures running 16 hours per day and one of them running the other 8 hours), leaving the mini-fridge and chest freezer running nonstop, allowances for intermittent use of the microwave, coffeepot, USB-recharged devices, and even running the projector & blu-ray player 12 hours out of 24. It's undeniably a fair degree of overkill as far as comforts go, but my wife is hit abnormally hard by pretty much any kind of discomfort nowadays and the goal is to keep it as close to 'normal life' as possible, largely for her comfort and convenience. Could always do things to stretch the battery run-time even longer if in a real pinch - things like simply turn off the TV or even just unplug the freezer except when recharging via generator. The inverters together don't pull enough to max out the generator, so during generator runs would be a decent time to use 'extra' power for things like that. A great addition would obviously be solar charging input, but probably not any time soon; we've spent more on this already than we'd planned to and thrashed the budget more than we maybe should have.
 
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