When Radiation Arrives, What Do You Do? Part I I
By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost and The Crux Event
One of the major problems with a contaminated northern hemisphere is the fact that a large portion of our food supply could be destroyed. This will necessitate you having the means to produce food to feed your family. If you are a refugee in a government shelter you will be one of many that must be fed from a limited supply of food. As things stand now, I don’t see how this type of situation could be anything less than a massive depopulation event. The idea of refugees fighting over dwindling food and water supplies is the main reason you should develop a plan to stay far away from large populations and provide for your own needs. There are two issues you need to keep in mind if evacuation of the northern hemisphere is necessary.
If most of the people move south, assuming it is safe down there, will there be enough housing, food production and natural resources to sustain the population of the whole planet?
There are 104 nuclear reactors in the U.S. that house over 70,000 tons of spent fuel rods. If the U.S. were evacuated, who would remain to maintain coolant in the reactors and spent fuel ponds?
There are many ways to grow food in small areas. If you are confined to an underground shelter the obstacles are huge but not impossible to overcome. The three things you need to grow food indoors is good soil, good water and a supply of energy to provide the necessary light. With a few small animals, such as chickens, to provide some manure and some seeds to plant green manure crops such as clover, it would be possible to keep your soil well fertilized. Having bags of fertilizer to make up the difference would also be very helpful. The production of energy to provide light would be difficult under these circumstances. The availability of LED grow lights would be necessary under these conditions. They produce the red and blue light frequencies that plants need at minimum energy usage. Regular grow lights can be used but will require much more power making your sustainability more difficult.
The following is a list of basic foods you can store that will provide about 2600 calories per day and is nutritionally balanced.
Whole-kernel hard wheat 16 oz per day
Beans 5 oz per day
Non-fat milk powder 2 oz per day
Vegetable oil 1 oz per day
Sugar 2 oz per day
Salt (iodized) 1/3 oz per day
Multi-vitamin pills 1 per day
A daily emergency ration for babies can consist of the following mixed with 4 cups of safe water.
Instant non-fat milk 2.25 oz 1 cup + 2 tablespoons
Vegetable cooking oil 1 oz 3 tablespoons
Sugar .7 oz 2 tablespoons
Standard daily multi-vitamin pill 1/3 pill
More food storage above and beyond these amounts to incorporate a variety of foods would be beneficial for prolonged periods of time but these amounts will provide you with the means to get by and stay healthy.
Nothing will live without water so a secure clean water supply is a primary concern. The best supply would be an artesian well with a hand pump that is located inside your underground shelter. Even with this you may want to have a filtering system to purify the water should it become contaminated. Katadyn water filters can filter up to 13,000 gallons but would require many extra filters if you had to filter water for crops as well as human consumption over an extended period of time.
With enough energy you can do just about anything. With a large power supply an impossible task becomes very easy. Providing energy in a radiological environment can be problematic but is nothing that cannot be overcome. The best forms of energy would be solar and wind. These systems can provide reliable power for many years with little or no maintenance. The one caveat is that high levels of gamma radiation can damage these systems over time so the radiation levels will determine how long these systems will work reliably. If the levels are so high that they affect your energy systems short term then your long term sustainability will also be in question.
The next best power source would be a generator that runs on renewable energy such as ethanol or a wood gassifier. It may not be possible to eat grain that has been grown in the contaminated soil but you may be able to produce fuel with it to power your shelter. This would depend on the amount of radiation you have in your area. A generating system that produces exhaust gasses would be best located in a separate shelter near the surface that allows for the proper ventilation but provides enough protection to maintain the equipment without exposing yourself to high levels of radiation. With LED lighting you may be able to provide most of your power with a human powered generator connected to a bicycle or something similar.
Fallout from across the Pacific might require you to shelter in a secure location until the radiation levels drop to negligible levels. An underground shelter with 3 feet of soil for shielding can protect you from 99.9% of gamma radiation hazards derived from nuclear explosions in the Pacific region. Twenty inches of dirt can provide a protection factor of around 200. Six inches of concrete covered with 30 inches of dirt will provide a protection factor of about 1000. This means you will receive about 1/1000 as much radiation inside as you will outside. The problem with a nuclear plant scenario is that if it is not encased in concrete or some other shielding material it will release radiation on a continuous basis for many years. This can make a return to the surface very difficult and at some point will create a permanent dead zone that would have to be abandoned for all practical purposes. If the cooling ponds at Fukushima suffer more damage exposing the rods, a radioactive fire could result that could spew radiation for up to a century. The plant at Chernobyl was encased in concrete to prevent this type of scenario. If a radioactive fire of this nature were to result it would be questionable if any place on Earth would be safe. Low levels of radiation may be survivable for middle age people for many years and only shorten their lives by a decade or so but the real problem lies with the children. Young and unborn children are more susceptible to radiation that can damage DNA, cause serious deformities and end their lives much too soon. The issue of sheltering is more for the protection of children and the continuance of our species than anything else so that should be the driving force behind the plans we make. More than likely the Fukushima radiation will continue in low doses for many years and cause an increase in cancer rates around the world but we can not rule out an escalation from this danger at some point in the future.
The following doses will be listed as R for roentgen.
Few receiving doses of 100 R or less would become sick. All of those exposed to doses of 100R to 200R should recover from radiation effects but some could die if infection or disease reduces their resistance. Total doses of this size or even larger received over a period of a few months in small doses of around 6R per day should result in no incapacitating symptoms. The human body can repair most radiation damage if the daily doses are not too large. The majority of those with doses less than 350R should recover without medical treatment. Almost all of those receiving a dose of 600R would die within a few weeks. Symptoms of radiation sickness are nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness and a general feeling of illness. These symptoms can begin several hours after receiving a dose of 100R to 200R and within 30 minutes or less after receiving a fatal dose. In doses of 1000R to 5000R death will result in 2 to 14 days. A dose of 5000R results in death within 48 hours. Persons dieing from radiation sickness are not sources of dangerous radiation and radiation sickness is not contagious. Some people may exhibit symptoms in a shelter following an event but these could be nothing more than stress related symptoms so some common sense needs to be applied in diagnosis.
Is it realistic to plan for long term underground sheltering? Maybe not for most people but given a worst case scenario what are the options? Good information on radiation, homemade ventilation, radiation meters and other shelter equipment can be found in the book Nuclear War Survival Skills which can be downloaded for free on the internet.
We have the knowledge to build safe nuclear plants and to store and dispose of radioactive materials in a responsible manner. Why don’t we? The sad truth is, we don’t because there is no money in it. It is much more profitable to look the other way and do the wrong thing. In the end, the profit motives of big corporations may very well end life as we know it on this planet.