How Buildings Provide Shielding
from a Nuclear Explosion
Print this page


How buildings provide shielding from a nuclear explosion
Example protection factors (PFs) for a wide variety of building types and locations.
  • Numbers represent a "dose reduction factor".
  • A dose reduction factor of 200 indicates that a person in that area would receive 1/200th of the dose of a person out in the open.
Source: Key Response Planning Factors for the Aftermath of Nuclear Terrorism (PDF - 4.52 MB) (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, August 2009, Page 12, Figure 9)

Buildings provide considerable protection from fallout

  • A brick building provides better protection from radiation than does a brick veneer building, which is better than that of a frame building.
  • Less radiation exposure (increasing the Protection Factor) is seen at interior locations and below ground.
  • Moving to a higher floor in the building increases the distance from the ground source but increases exposure from radiation on the rooftop.

Reference: Sheltering in Place During a Radiation Emergency (HHS/CDC, May 2006)