Prepping For A Nuke


Recently, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Paul Roberts, said “War with Russia will be nuclear.” and he has indicated repeatedly that the current policies and mishandling of world events are surely leading us closer to that time.

While nuclear war is unthinkable for most people (suffering from normalcy bias), in reality, the fact is that unless you are actually at ground zero or within a several mile radius of the nuclear blast zone, there is a good probability you’ll survive – as long as you limit your exposure to radiation, take shelter with proper shielding, and wait for the most dangerous radioactive materials to decay.

While surviving the aftermath of a nuclear wasted world is entirely another SHTF matter, consider the following information regarding your initial survival:

The initial nuclear radiation and the radioactive fallout are extremely dangerous. But as the materials decay and spread out, radiation levels will drop.



Alpha radiation are tiny particles. They will settle on everything (the ground, your garden plants, water, etc.) and ‘contaminate’ and attach themselves to other things including airborne dust. These particles can be shielded and stopped by a sheet of paper or by human skin (visualize dust). However if alpha particles are inhaled, ingested, or enter the body through a cut, they can cause damage to tissues and cells.

Beta radiation will easily go through paper and even thin aluminum, but can be stopped by a thicker shield (like wood and other thicker-denser materials). Beta radiation will do less harm to a cell than Alpha radiation as it passes through, however it can reach more cells that it can harm because Beta particles travel quicker-further than Alpha. It can cause serious damage to internal organs if ingested or inhaled, and could cause eye damage or possible skin burns.

Gamma radiation is a type of invisible, very high energy light. It’s the same type of stuff as light, infrared, radiowaves and X-rays. Gamma radiation tends to pass through your body, and although it won’t interfere with all the molecules that make up your cells – it can penetrate the entire body and cause cell damage throughout your organs, blood and bones. You need about 4 inches of lead to stop most gamma rays completely.



Distance – the more distance between you and fallout particles, the better. Radiation will generally spread out by the inverse-square-law, which basically means that if your are twice the distance from the radiation point source – you will receive a quarter of the dosage, etc.

Shielding – heavy, dense materials (like thick walls, earth, concrete, bricks, water and books) between you and fallout is best. Stay indoors or below ground. Taking shelter in a basement or a facility below ground may reduce exposure by 90%. Just 4 inches of soil or earth can reduce the penetration of dangerous gamma rays by half.

Time – most fallout loses its strength quickly. The more time that passes after the attack, the lower the danger.



For every sevenfold increase in time after the initial nuclear blast, there is a tenfold decrease in the radiation rate.

For example, a 500 rad level can drop to 50 rad in 7 hours, and down to 5 rad after 2 days (49 hours).

In other words, if you have shelter with good shielding and stay put for just 7 hours – you’ve substantially increased your chances of survival. Even much more after just a few days.



If you don’t have a nuclear fallout shelter,

Basement – find the corner that is most below ground level (the further underground the better)

1-story home / Condo / Apartment – if no underground basement, find a place in the center of the home away from windows

Multi-story building or high-rise – go to center of the middle section of building (above 9th floor if possible). Note: if rooftop of a building next to you is on that same floor, move one floor up or down since radioactive fallout will accumulate on rooftops. Avoid first floor (if possible) since fallout will pile up on ground outside.



For radiation shielding, it’s a matter of putting raw mass of material between you and the radiation source. The more shielding, the better.

The heavier and denser the material, the better. Be creative if you have to. Use anything available and create a sort of cave within the structure you’re in.

Think ‘heavy’. Appliances, tables, a workbench, books, file cabinets, furniture, water, blocks, boxes of food, pillowcases filled with dirt or sand, etc.

Remove a door or two from their hinges and use as a roof, and stack more ‘stuff’ on top (and around).

The more supplies that you have in the house, the longer you will be able to shelter in place. Water is the most crucial, followed by food and sanitation supplies.


  1. Ken, thanks for another great article. For more details, what resource books do you recommend, in addition to Kearny’s “Nuclear War Survival Guide”?

    Also, I’d be interested in an article on preps specifically for nuclear contamination. I found the MSB articles on earthen filters and eating cabbage, and discussions of potassium iodide tablets. How about personal radiation detectors? What else?

  2. I was also wondering about the expiration dates on the potassium iodide tablets. A few years ago I found that our tablets had expired 10 years before. So I promptly replaced them. However the latest ones are getting close to expiration. We regularly eat food well beyond the “Best by Date” or “Expiration Date” and even some OTC drugs, but I am unsure about the potassium iodide. Any idea if they are still safe or even effective?

  3. Of course a nuclear war – even just one bomb would be the trigger for financial meltdown and worldwide economic chaos.

    As soon as possible rapid deployment to your prepped bolt hole will be required.

  4. A nuclear event is indeed survivable providing you aren’t at or near ground zero and you can quickly get into shelter and stay there for a few weeks. The problem is that no enemy nuclear power (that would be Russia and China) will attack us with “a” nuclear weapon. They will attack with 2000-4000 nuclear weapons all at once and then after determining what has survived they will nuke what is left. It cannot be done any other way. You cannot attack the largest nuclear power on earth unless you intend to totally annihilate them. THAT is going to create a living hell for 90% (perhaps 100%) of the North American continent. There won’t be any safe place to live if you survive the attack. Most people will either die from starvation, disease or radiation poisoning. Everything you eat and drink will be radioactive to some extent. So if it is nuclear war the proper procedure is to put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye. If it is nuclear terrorism the correct procedure is to by luck or wisdom not be anywhere near ground zero.

  5. Ken and all,
    I just had this thought, and I was wondering your opinion. I am a huge gardener and love growing as much as I can. Would it be wise to have a few pots, bags of potting soil and seeds deep in a shelter, so at least there would be something to eat in the following years that was not from the contaminated soil? The effort might be in vain, but I was just wondering, even if you tried growing veggies next to south-facing windows in the months after a nuclear event.

    1. I believe that (depending on your proximity to ‘fallout’) if you scrape off the top few inches of soil and carefully dispose of it (move it to another location while wearing a mask or respirator), you will effectively remove the alpha particles that will have settled there. This may enable you to grow a garden with a better chance of safety. I’m not an expert in this area (I just self-educate online), however maybe others will offer their opinion about gardening after a nuclear event…

  6. Sadly unless you´re one of the lucky ones, you have very little posibility of surviving an all-out nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere. ¨The Chosen¨ with access to one of the government´s huge shelters and the wealthy who have purchased space at one of the commercial shelters (such as VIVOS) and can make it there before lockdown have the best possibility. Others with very well equiped bunkers (far from major metropolitan areas) who can shelter-in-place for a very long time may also be able to pull through. Almost everyone else would perish, due to the fact that air and ocean currents remain almost exclusively within each of the two hemispheres, that´s why survival south of the Equator is significantly more likely. Personally, I´m not sure I´d even want to survive and live in a post nuclear war world, but while moving my family to South America was more in response to concerns of a coming economic colapse (and the resulting violence), lately things are looking pretty scary in this area too. I believe if the nuclear doomsday scenario occured my family and I would be in much better shape than the ones we´ve left behind in the ¨Land of the Free¨ (which I suspect that like Russia would be Ground Zero). Hopefully the ¨Mad Men¨ that control our world will think things through a bit and alter the suicide course on which they´re leading mankind.

    1. I’m glad that you said, “Hopefully the ¨Mad Men¨ that control our world will think things through a bit”, because it points out one of the things that people assume (that our ‘world leaders’ are sane, rational, smart people). Many people today wouldn’t even recognize a sociopath or psychopath unless it’s up close and personal… Who’s to say how many of our ‘leaders’ are not in one of those categories?

  7. Too bad the US did away with the Civil Defense program years ago…

    As a “Duck and Cover” trained kid, I still have some of the original cold war era CD books….. They teach one how to build a bomb shelter in ones house/basemement….

    One can put a board against a basement window and put 2′ dirt on the outside to prevent the radiation from entering….

  8. So, I am hearing this… 1. Don’t live near a large city. 2. Be able to hunker down for 1-3 months. 3. Have enough preps and ability to make it to southern hemisphere in case of all out war.

    I am thinking a decent stash of goods, silver and gold would help smooth the way past our southern boarders and beyond. Of course, one would need Enough fuel to make it that far. This gives less credence to the whole “you can’t eat gold” crowd.

  9. 4 inches of dirt isn’t enough, it takes more like 1 1/2 feet to reduce by half

    1. Your right Christine 4 in. of dirt is not enough. you need at least 4 feet of dirt between you and the radiation.
      To be more exact and assure if you build a shelter of 4 inches thick with lead then use concrete blocks having it underground with at least 4 feet dirt on top. Your chances of survival is assured. but it has to be big enough to hold at least enough food and water to support your family’s needs for a year and half. This is how long it will take for the radiation to half itself off the soil. It actually takes a long time for the settled radiation to rid itself for life to rebound itself.
      getting properly prepared takes 1. money 2. food 3. criticism from family and friends and neighbors 4. determination and last but most importantly land to put it on. Good luck.

  10. I live with my family in Kentucky. It’s not the best spot to survive an all-out nuke attack but we all lives in normalcy with an ear to the ground such as this discussion. By the way if full of good intelligence from what I’m reading.

    Our plan is to use multiple escape, dig in, or temporary relocation. All depends on the event. This discussion is on nuclear attack but I will also add other disasters that have us scrabbling in the same direction. I am from Florida and use to hurricane prepping. The disorder of logistics of food and supplies cause some people to adapt a mob mentality. People can kill you before you get out of town to take what you have. You should see them fight for plywood at Home Depot.

    The best advice I’ve read is to get south of the equator. The best chance of doing this is to be the 1st to react and make the travel. From West Palm Beach I can make the Bahamas in less than 2 hours with a fast boat. The Caribbean is a good source of food, people supplies and trade winds. Besides not a bad place to hold up during a conflict. So we practice it on vacations. Kill two birds with one stone. Of course getting south is the challenge. I hope we are given the insight when it’s needed.

    Distance is just as good if you can get to it. But 3-feet of concrete and hundreds of feet of dirt work too. We also have a very large underground cavern here in Kentucky so that is also a plan if needed. We are survivalist and if possible, we will. But now with Thump in office, I am waiting for the shoe to drop somewhere out there in this nuclear game we play with China, Russia and North Korea. I’m not sure Trump knows how it played or the consequences for misunderstandings. My gut tells me Kim Young Un is dying to light one off.

Comments are closed.