HomeIdeaNuclear radiation, how to protect yourself. The Great Cold

Nuclear radiation, how to protect yourself. The Great Cold

In the case of nuclear radiation, it is essential to know how to reduce exposure to its harmful effects and protect yourself, as far as possible.

In the hope that reason and dialogue will prevail over conflicts and the use of weapons, a brief review of recommendations and shielding materials.

There are also those who are preparing and investing in bunker, while studying the prospects for survival e food security in a catastrophic scenario. The Great Cold.

1) Protect yourself from radiation, the ABC

The exposure radiation is common throughout life, due to naturally occurring minerals as well as radiological diagnostic tests (x-ray, CT). Under high exposure conditions, such as in the case of nuclear explosions, EPA (Environment Protection Agency, USA) recommends protecting yourself from radiation following the principle of 'time, distance and shielding":

- time. Minimizing the exposure time is important, also considering the contribution due to natural radiation,

- distance. Increasing the distance from the radiation source allows you to reduce the dose,

- shielding. Introducing barriers (e.g. concrete, lead, water) between the individual and the radiation is useful to protect him from gamma rays and X-rays. (1)

The intake of iodine, as seen, is also important.

Fig. 1 - 'Time, Distance and Shielding'. The ABCs of EPA for reducing radiation exposure

2) Shielding

2.1) Conventional materials

The concrete is the most common shielding material for Gamma ray protection, alone or added with heavy metals to increase density and protective efficacy against radiation. Lead - although effective and ductile - requires caution as it is toxic. Bismuth is a better alternative, non-toxic and equally effective.

Boron - among the materials capable of preventing the release of secondary Gamma rays, as well as absorbing radiation - it is much cheaper than other 'neutron moderators' (eg cadmium, lithium). In its carbide form it has been shown to absorb radiation without forming radioactive isotopes, with a yield of up to 96%.

Other materials potentially useful are epoxy resins, paraffin wax and various polymers, plastic and not (eg polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polycarbonate). (2)

2.2) Alternative and sustainable materials

Several natural rocks - olivine basalt, compact basalt, jet black granite, pink granite, limestone, sandstone and diabase - were found to be better than concrete in protecting against Gamma rays and the like, proving very promising also as they are economical and sustainable. (3)

The Fukushima Experience (2011) made it possible to experiment with the use of materials often present in the home to protect citizens from residual radiation. Paper (compact sheets, newspapers, magazines) and wood (planks, planks) at a compact minimum thickness of 20 mm have proven to be effective in containing radiation. Up to 90% in the case of 50 mm thickness. (4)

3) Personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) have been developed for radiology and nuclear plant operators. Leaded glasses and aprons (better full body, rather than frontal only), protective dressing gowns and 'rolling shieldPortable, if used correctly, can theoretically contain radiation exposure up to 90%.

The dosimeters allow to calculate the cumulative level of radiation. They are worn on the outside and inside of the protective clothing, to calculate by difference the level of radiation to which the operators have been exposed. (5) Clothes (with two or more layers) are not suitable for containing radiation, although useful in reducing exposure to radioactive dust from fallout nuclear. (4)

4) Prepping

Il prepping it is the predisposition of the conditions of adaptation to catastrophic environmental situations (eg epidemics, nuclear accidents). Bunker where to survive for more or less long periods, isolated from the outside world. Up to the extreme of Survival condo, an ex-missile silo adapted to bunker on 15 floors, in the USA, able to supply air, light and energy - as well as water and food - for 5 years to 75 people. Even cinema, theater, bar, swimming pool, with a US $ 20 million investment in an elite dystopian perspective.

Sad curiositybusiness of prepping it is growing (US $ 500 million in turnover in the USA alone) and is also developing in countries far from the United States of America where it was born. The perception of a permanent crisis is increasing more and more the number of preppers. As well as the sales of survival food, another market on which various large operators in the USA are focusing, also in the distribution sector. (6)

5) The Great Cold

The Great Cold is the prospect of the coming winters without natural gas or fossil fuels from Russia. (7) Methane from Algeria will not be able to meet Italian needs before 2024 and unsustainable liquefied shale gas it will be insufficient to feed Europe, as well as about 50% more expensive. The production costs of agricultural raw materials will continue to increase, in line with those of energy e commodities 

The apocalyptic scenario, in the event of an extended nuclear conflict, is a global solar catastrophe with devastating effects on world agricultural systems for over 15 years. The most recent study on the subject (Winstead et al., 2022) indicates edible wild plants (Wild Edible Plants) as 'tampons' of food security as tolerant to shade, cold and post-disaster drought. 'We also propose policy initiatives for habitat protection, educational programs and general preparedness'say the researchers. (10)

#NoWar, #StopWar, #NonInNostroNostro

Dario Dongo and Andrea Adelmo Della Penna


(1) EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency). Protecting Yourself from Radiation. Last update on 21.05.2021, https://www.epa.gov/radiation/protecting-yourself-radiation (accessed on 18.4.22)

(2) Miamiao et al. (2021). Research and application of nuclear radiation protection materials. IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 859: 012093, https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/859/1/012093

(3) Sultan Al-Buriahi et al. (2021). Nuclear Radiation Shielding Characteristics of Some Natural Rocks by Using EPICS 2017 Library. Materials 14: 4669, https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164669

(4) Daisuke Kobayashi et al. (2013). Reducing radiation exposure using a commonly available objects. Environ. Health Prev. Med. 18: 261-266, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12199-012-0314-6

(5) Frane & Bitterman. Radiation Safety and Protection. NCBI Bookshelf. Last updated on 29.5.21, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557499/

(6) Bradley Garrett (2021). Doomsday preppers and the architecture of dread. Geoforum 127: 401-411, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.03.014

(7) Dario Dongo. Gas and electricity, an announced crisis. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 20.3.22, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/gas-ed-energia-elettrica-una-crisi-annunciata

(8) Dario Dongo. Food security, thesis and antithesis of the European Parliament. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 27.3.22, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/food-security-tesi-e-antitesi-del-parlamento-europeo

(9) Dario Dongo and Maria Rosaria Raspanti. War economy. State aid in the agri-food sector, European fisheries fund, record of food prices. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 8.4.22, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/war-economy-aiuti-di-stato-nel-settore-agroalimentare-fondo-europeo-per-la-pesca-record-dei-prezzi-alimentari

(10) Winstead, DJ, Jacobson, MG (2022). Food resilience in a dark catastrophe: A new way of looking at tropical wild edible plants. Amble. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-022-01715-1

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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Graduated in Food Technologies and Biotechnologies, qualified food technologist, he follows the research and development area. With particular regard to European research projects (in Horizon 2020, PRIMA) where the FARE division of WIISE Srl, a benefit company, participates.

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