Letter: Neutron Shielding for Fallout Shelters

Hugh and Jim,
I was recently reading a book on nuclear reactors. I learned that iron can be used in concrete to provide neutron shielding. The iron slows the fast neutrons down to thermal levels that can be easily absorbed in the concrete. I also mine my own gold. As a byproduct of my mining, I have buckets of magnetite and hematite iron ore sand. The magnetite ore I sell to a local blacksmith for making steel. The hematite I’ve found no use for until now. I can use this black sand in place of silica sand in the concrete to provide neutron shielding for the temporary bomb shelter I’m building at my primary residence. Magnetite is Fe3O4 and is magnetic, and hematite is Fe2O3 and non-magnetic. Both comprise the black sand in the gold pan. So talk to your local gold miners about obtaining their black sands. – … Continue reading

Preparing for Infectious Diseases, by Maple

While there are many good articles out there on preparing for pandemics, there is little information that really breaks down infectious diseases and how to alter your actions depending on the disease. There are also conflicting reports on exactly what actions to take and if/when to take antibiotics and in what dosages. I hope this article will provide you with the tools you will need to decide what actions to take. This article will cover some basic infectious disease terms and patterns and then two resources you can use to decide what actions to take and when.

Infectious Diseases

When talking pandemics, you’re really talking about the spread of infectious diseases, as opposed to the other types of diseases, such as deficiency, genetic, and physiological. Infectious diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. While many of these organisms live in and on our bodies at all times, rarely … Continue reading

Letter Re: EMP Computer Question


What laptop would you recommend for storing in an EMP proof environment, to be used after an event to retrieve electronic files such as Survivalblog/Mother Earth News archives? There are so many options, and choosing the wrong one could be frustrating to say the least. I have hard copies of some essential books, but there are just too many helpful things in electronic format to ignore if it would be possible to retrieve. Thanks for all you do! – P.H.

HJL Replies:

If the device is to be stored in an EMP resistant container, there are no special considerations that must be give for EMP itself. Rather, the considerations should be towards long-term reliability, since a replacement may be hard to come by after such an event. There are many options that are possible from rugged laptops or smaller rugged tablets. My preference leans towards devices … Continue reading

Letter: EMP Proofing a 1988 F250 Diesel


In the book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” a device for $20 is mentioned. Where can I get it? – H.P.

JWR’s Comment:

Go to your local Ford dealership’s parts department. Ask them for a spare “glow plug controller” for your truck (model and year.). If they have one on hand, ask them to see it. If they ask an exorbitant price, then look for the same part at you local car and truck wrecking yard.

Top Six Common Questions Concerning An EMP, by Old Bobbert

EMP blast

Maybe you, like many, have questions about an EMP. As a friendly, and hopefully a pleasing feature, this article is being edited as it is being typed so as to be read as though it were a friendly two-person, social conversation.

The Sit-Rep Situation That Initiated Research

The sit-rep situation would necessarily be two good friends talking about a recent article concerned about a potential EMP situation caused by a strong ego-driven leader of a small Asian nation with an attitude and an ego to match. We will call our two friends Bob and Ray. Actually Bob (Old Bobbert ), that’s me, did call his friend Ray about the Texas flooding disaster. Ray lives in Texas about seventy-five miles from Houston, and they are safely outside the coastal flood area. We did talk about the possibility of a sneak EMP attack for about forty-five exciting minutes. We have similar backgrounds … Continue reading

Radiation Issues In Nuclear Blasts- Part 2, by Dr. Bones of doomandbloom.net

World War III

This is the second part of this article on radiation issues in nuclear blasts. We’ve defined radiation and various types of bombs as well as radiation’s effects on living things. Today, we’ll look at what we can do to prepare for radiation exposure, treat its effects, and more.

Radiation Sickness

The medical effects of exposure are collectively known as “radiation sickness” or “Acute Radiation Syndrome”. A certain amount of radiation exposure is tolerable over time, but your goal should be to shelter your group as much as possible.

Terms For Measuring Quantities of Radiation

To accomplish this goal, we should first clarify what the different terms for measuring the quantities of radiation mean. Scientists use terms such as RADS, REMS, SIEVERTS, GRAYS, BECQUERELS, or CURIES to describe radiation amounts. Different terms are used when describing the amount of radiation being given off by a source, the … Continue reading

Radiation Issues In Nuclear Blasts- Part 1, by Dr. Bones of doomandbloom.net

World War III

Although many don’t view a nuclear event as a likely disaster scenario, it’s important to learn about all the possible issues that may impact your family in uncertain times. Given the instability in the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere, the issue of nuclear blasts and the radiation they emit is a timely subject.

Understanding the Definition of Radiation

The quick definition of radiation is energy given off by unstable matter in the form of rays or high-speed particles. The following is some basic chemistry paraphrased from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC): All matter, including you, is composed of atoms. Atoms are made up of various parts; the central nucleus contains minute particles called protons and neutrons, and the atom’s outer shell contains other particles called electrons. The nucleus has a positive electrical charge, while the electrons have a negative electrical charge. Neutrons are, well, neutral. These entities work within … Continue reading

Letter Re: Metal Building as a Faraday Cage

Metal Building as a Faraday Cage


I will be building a small building to house electronic equipment (batteries for off-grid) and want to protect it from any EMP type of conditions. If we use metal roofing and clad the outside in corrugated metal would that be satisfactory protection? There will have to be ventilation for it too. The equipment will have to be well grounded.

HJL’s Comment:

If the panels are bonded together well (meaning more than just the 1 screw every 4 feet) and you have some form of conductive flooring also bonded to the building, then yes, it would work. Most metal building will not work well because of those two deficiencies.

Letter: EMP Foil Wrap

EMP Foil Wrap

Good morning, Hugh and James,

I’ve posed questions before RE: EMP protection, and now I have one or two more.

Survival blog had a recent series of posts about how to EMP-proof steel ammo cans; I found them enlightening. but they sparked some questions.

A Faraday Cage

The purpose of a Faraday cage is to completely enclose the item one wishes to protect with a conductive material. This will not permit passage of electromagnetic energy of certain wavelengths. The usual approach to Faraday cages is to exclude all wavelengths of electromagnetic energy. Different electronic components may also be susceptible to energy of different wavelengths. An EMP event may include myriad wavelengths of electromagnetic energy. This creates the preference for solid material, rather than mesh, EMP protection.

Protecting Electronics in Metal Military Surplus Ammunition Cans- Part 3, by J.T.

Faraday cage gasket

I am sharing a better solution for protecting sensitive electronics stored in metal military surplus ammunition cans made into a Faraday cage. In the Part 1, I talked about the ammunition cans that can be used and began the instructions for building ammunition can gaskets by listing the materials and tools required. Part 2 of this series consisted of the bulk of the instructions of how to make and assemble the RF and EMP shielding gasket, and we are continuing with these today, in Part 3. The following instructions are for a 20mm M548 ammunition can.

16. If you want to “belt-n-suspender” the conductivity between the sheet metal gasket and the lid, then remove some of the paint to reveal bare metal so that you have a good bare metal contact between the sheet metal gasket and the lid.

The sheet metal gasket with the copper mesh tape will be … Continue reading

Protecting Electronics in Metal Military Surplus Ammunition Cans- Part 2, by J.T.

Lid Gasket

I am sharing a better solution for protecting sensitive electronics stored in metal military surplus ammunition cans made into a Faraday cage. In the Part 1, I talked about the ammunition cans that can be used. We then began the instructions for building ammunition can gaskets by listing the materials and tools required. Now, let’s move on.

Making and Assembling the RF and EMP Shielding Gasket

The following instructions are for a 20mm M548 ammunition can, which is my preferred can size. If using another ammunition can, you will need to make adjustments in measurements within these directions to adjust for your ammo can’s size. I’ll give some guidance along the way for doing so.

1. Cut the sheet metal into a 7” by 16¾” rectangle, for the 20mm can.

But always start out by taking a good measurement. You know the old saying of “measure twice, cut once” still … Continue reading

Protecting Electronics in Metal Military Surplus Ammunition Cans- Part 1, by J.T.


In this multi-part article, I am sharing a better solution for protecting sensitive electronics stored in metal military surplus ammunition cans. There are many references for making a Faraday Cage on SurvivalBlog. Some references go back as far as 2005. One solution was proposed in 2006 that required the removal of the rubber gasket on ammo cans and replacing the seals with a conductive material (stainless steel or steel wool). Other articles suggested the use of a galvanized garbage can that is sealed up with conductive metallic tape, or an open head steel drum, or using an old microwave oven and a metal cabinet. I have read and researched many great comments and feedback on the effectiveness of these EMP protection measures.

Previous Proposals

All of the proposed solutions are more or less effective. … Continue reading

Letter Re: Does EMP Affect Solar Panel Systems?

EMP Solar panel

EMP Solar Panel

Good day sir. The talk of EMP has greatly increased recently for many reasons you are well aware of. What would happen to either grid tied or non grid tied solar systems in this instance? What would happen to generators as well? – R.C.

HJL’s Comment:

Two of our Writing Contest sponsors, Portable Solar LLC and Quantum Harvest, LLC, both specialize in EMP hardened systems. You should check their sites out and also the videos that they have on YouTube. We have several other advertisers that sell Solar equipment and it would be worth your time to check with them as well, though they don’t specifically advertise EMP hardened systems. Generators are more robust (except perhaps for the modern inverter units), but if they are grid tied they are … Continue reading

Letter Re: EMP Protection Measures

Steel drums

Hugh and James:

I’m missing something regarding EMP protection measures, and I could use some help.

I have researched EMP, how it’s created, and the common frequencies of EMP. I’ve looked into its relative intensity based on creation mode, altitude (in the case of nuclear devices), and the extended effects attributed to conductive networks. I understand what a Faraday cage is and how it works. And I’ve read numerous articles, lots of forum comments, endless opinions, a quantity of engineering documents, and several much learned evaluations on protecting against EMP.

The Problem

So here’s where I keep running aground: Protecting from EMP is, at its base, a simple affair. You provide a conductive shell around what one wishes to protect. Grounding that shell, or not grounding, is a subject of debate. However, my experience with electronics indicates that if the shell is doing its job, grounding it is not a … Continue reading

Letter: Faraday Cage Question

Faraday Cage

Good afternoon!

I have a question on adapting a homemade Faraday cage. I am getting a little paranoid about these two North Korean satellites in orbit over our country.

Would a metal mailbox, such as can find at the local hardware store, be acceptable protection? I am trying to put together something simple for really, really cheap! It has a larger size and is easier to obtain. It is also cheaper than some of the other options I have been reading about on constructing a Faraday cage.  T.B.

HJL’s Comment:

Most any metal container will work as a Faraday cage with a few simple preparations. The metal needs to have a good electrical connection between the various parts. If you are using painted metal, you will have to remove the paint where the electrical connection needs to exist. Galvanized metal works really well. If a metal mail box is not large enough, you can consider a 30 gal trash can with a metal lid…. Continue reading