Prepping and Nuclear Proliferation

At the recent Nuclear Security Summit, world leaders gathered to discuss “one of the greatest threats to global security — terrorists getting their hands on a weapon of mass destruction.” [VOA News]

The use of a nuclear bomb or dirty bomb on U.S. soil is one of those “rare but possible” disaster scenarios. Nuclear proliferation continues to be a problem. The number of nations with nuclear weapons increases; it doesn’t decrease. Pakistan and India now have nuclear weapons. So does North Korea. Iran has spent several decades and billions of dollars trying to make nuclear bombs and nuclear missiles; they are close. And terrorists have been trying to obtain nuclear weapons for some time now.

At the Summit, President Obama spoke about nuclear proliferation: “We know that al Qaeda has tried. ISIL has already used chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq. And, if they ever got hold of a nuclear weapon or nuclear material, we have no doubt they’d use it.” [Source]

How do you prep for such an horrific though unlikely disaster?

General Preps

Many of our usual preparations apply to almost any disaster: food and other supplies will always be useful. And if a nuclear bomb or dirty bomb attack occurs, people everywhere will rush to the stores and stock up on … well, everything. Food will be the first item to sell out. Grocery store shelves will be stripped bare in a matter of hours. But I imagine people will also buy batteries, tools, plywood, and all kinds of other goods — whatever they can get their hands on, even if they have no real need for it. This is called panic buying.

Weapons and ammunition will also sell out quickly. We could see a breakdown of law and order, after the attack. People will be very afraid, and may act with desperation. Home defense will become an important consideration for everyone.

A nuclear attack will certainly disrupt the economy, and so store shelves will likely remain bare for many weeks. Whenever any goods become newly available, they will sell out promptly. Bribery and favoritism and theft will divert many of the goods that could be used to restock store shelves. Chaos will triumph over capitalism; fear over law and order.

People who are able will flee from the area near the attack. I don’t know how wide an area will need to be evacuated. But people who are just outside of the area that authorities say needs to be evacuated will probably flee anyway, out of an abundance of caution and also lots of fear. Fleeing masses of people will need food and shelter. Government will not be able to supply that need promptly. Imagine a disaster many times worse than Hurricane Katrina. Help from FEMA and various government agencies will be slow, unreliable, intermittent, or non-existent.

Desperate fleeing people will likely turn to crime to survive, increasing the need for security for homes, businesses, and the transportation of goods.

Disaster Specific Preps

Many preppers store potassium iodide or potassium iodate for protection from the uptake of radioactive iodine into the thyroid gland. This protection is most useful for children and young adults; the thyroid gland of adults over 40 is much less active. The pills flood the body with non-radioactive iodine, lessening the chance that radioactive iodine will be taken up and stored by the thyroid. Here’s a CDC page on Potassium Iodide (KI) and its use.

See these Previous Posts:

* Yes, KI Tablets Really Work
* Inexpensive Radiation Detection: RADTriage Card
* Radiation Detectors: Gamma Scout Review
* Antacids as a Treatment for Exposure to Nuclear Fallout

The last post listed above covers different antacids that can be used to treat exposure to radioactive elements from a dirty bomb or nuclear fallout. Iodine is not the only radioactive element that is produced by nuclear weapons.


No federal, state, or local government agency is prepared to deal with the aftermath of a nuclear bomb or dirty bomb attack on U.S. soil. We are on our own to prepare, as best we can.

– Thoreau

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