Zones of Damage after Nuclear Explosion: Generalized
Print this page

                        Zones of damage after nuclear explosion: Generalized
Source: The National Academies and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Representation of the general patterns of damage from a 10-Kt nuclear explosion on the ground.

  1. The destruction from the initial effects—shockwaves, thermal (heat) energy, and initial radiation—expands in a circular pattern.

    • Severe shockwave damage could extend to about a half mile.
    • Severe thermal damage would extend out about a mile.
    • Flying debris could extend up to a few miles.
    • Initial (prompt) nuclear radiation for a 10-Kt blast could expose unprotected people within about 3/4 mile of the explosion site to lethal radiation dose.

  2. Radioactive fallout occurs in an irregular elliptical pattern in the direction the wind blows; lethal radiation could extend up to 6 miles.