Recently North Korea and Iran have both made overtures about dismantling their nuclear programs. Frankly, I’m dubious. The following may be evidence of the”free floating anxiety” that I was accused of having by one of my televised debate adversaries, but I feel convicted to mention it. I believe that the risk of a nuke going off in CONUS is now greater in the post-Soviet era than it was back during the height of the Cold War. There are at least a dozen “backpack” nukes from the former Soviet Union that are still not accounted for. And of course there are several international terrorist groups that would love to get their hands on a nuke and touch it off in downtown New York City. Whether they buy one on the black market or they build one of their own, I am convinced that the odds are 60%+ that a nuke–or at least a sub-critical dirty bomb–will go “bang” somewhere in CONUS within the next 10 years.
Assuming that the foregoing is a reasonable possibility, you should protect yourself. Unless you live in a major metropolitan city and have very bad luck, the odds of being in the blast/flash/thermal effects radius of a terrorist nuke are very small. There are greater odds of being down wind of fallout. But there is an event higher likelihood that you could end up in an EMP “footprint.” If the terrorists are really clever, the most effective way that they could use a nuke would be to detonate it at high altitude (either suspended from a balloon or in a jet aircraft flown to its absolute ceiling–something over 35,000 feet.). They could do this over New York or Los Angeles. Here are the physics in a nutshell: The higher the altitude means the broader the line of sight (LOS), and hence the larger the EMP footprint. An nuclear air burst creates an EMP surge that will couple with all metallic objects that are within LOS (phone lines, power lines, railroad tracks, and so forth) and instantly fry any unprotected computer chips–billions of chips, all at once. The economic effects would be devastating. The corresponding societal impact is almost too much to imagine. (For one man’s view of the latter, see the web novel “Lights Out“, available for free download at the Frugal Squirrel’s web page–just scroll down to bottom of the main page. BTW, there are several other pieces of survival fiction there as well. They aren’t all epic fiction, but they are thought provoking)
Specific Nuclear Threat Countermeasures Recommendations:
First, study up on fallout protection. If you don’t already have a copy, get a copy of Nuclear War Survival Skills–available for free download from the folks at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. If you might be downwind, build yourself a fallout shelter. Buy yourself a radiation dosimeter, rate meter, and charger.
Second, unless you have vehicles that are pre-electronic (see my previous posts on this subject for details), buy one or two spare set of ignition and fuel injection electronic components for each vehicle. Keep those stored in Faraday Cage enclosures such as milsurp ammo cans.
Third, put any radios, computers, night vision equipment or other electronics that you don’t use regularly in similar Faraday protected storage.
Fourth, buy at least one older fully “EMP Proof” radio that uses all vacuum tubes. (No, chips, transistors, or even SCRs.) That will be your designated radio to leave out for everyday use during times of international tensions. OBTW, I currently have an auction on eBay running for one of my spare radios. It is a Hallicrafters 38C (an AM/HF receiver) that was built in the early 1950s. It has all vacuum tube circuitry, so it is virtually invulnerable to EMP. Similar radios often come up for sale on eBay, or can be found at garage sales if you look around. Garage sales in predominantly retirement communities are best for that. (Old people = old radios.)
Fifth, stock up on Potassium Iodate (KI) to protect against thyroid damage in the event of a nuclear incident. Do a search through my archives for details. KI tablets are sold by Ready Made Resources (RMR) and several other vendors. Tangentially, I heard today that RMR just got in a fresh supply of Polar Pure (iodine crystal) water purifying bottles. With another hurricane currently plowing toward the Gulf Coast, I don’t think that they will keep those in stock very long.
Sixth, pray. I’m serious: Get right with God, and pray for His guidance, providence, and protection.