From the Story
“Young ‘un, I’d like you to tell me about the War and the Zone. I know we don’t talk about such things, but I’ve heard so many whispers, and I want to hear the truth, not folk’s thoughts.”
“And no one needs to know I asked.”
“I am sworn to privacy, sir,” he said, thinking back to his graduation oath in Fakenham market, which now seemed long ago and far away. He readied himself. “<What we call the War was a short episode in a much longer conflict between the Persian Empire and neighbouring states. In mid-21st Century the Empire was threatening Israel in the west, India in the east, Russia in the north and Arabia in the south. It is not clear who resorted to the use of nuclear weapons first, but the exchange was limited and tactical, and fighting continued. However, the Empire was now critically weakened and surrounded by united enemies. Sensing defeat abroad and revolt at home, the leadership apparently decided to strike out while they still could and try to unite their citizenry behind a Holy War. They used their few strategic weapons to hit capital cities in Western Europe, Israel and India, but the target they hit farthest away was London>.”
The Gaffer spat over the side of the boat at the forbidden name. “Go on, son.”
“<The warhead struck Brixton in inner London and is estimated to have killed approximately 100,000 people immediately through heat and blast. However, it is estimated that almost double that number subsequently died from their injuries or were simply never recovered from the burning rubble. China moved to protect her remaining European assets, and the United Nations’ forces retaliated, levelling every major city in the New Persian Empire; casualties were estimated to be between one and two hundred million. The Persian weapon that hit London was a relatively crude atomic device that exploded on impact with the ground. This resulted in a great deal of localised radioactive fallout, on a strangely windless day, and the probable deaths of another million people over the next thirty years due to related illnesses.> <Download from the Stone>
Modelling is from the ‘Nukemap’ page of NuclearSecrecy.com (link at bottom of this page).
- Estimated fatalities: 116,320
- Estimated injuries: 282,370
- In any given 24-hour period, there are approximately 912,652 people in the 1 psi range of the detonation.
Modelling casualties from a nuclear attack is difficult. These numbers should be seen as evocative, not definitive. Fallout effects are ignored.
Effects radii for 100 kiloton surface burst (smallest to largest):
- Fireball radius: 500 m (0.79 km²) [yellow circle]. The maximum size of the nuclear fireball; if it touches the ground, the amount of radioactive fallout significantly increases.
- Air blast radius (20 pounds per square inch (psi)): 1.01 km (3.21 km²) [inner blue circle]. A 20 psi overpressure severely damages or demolishes even heavily built concrete buildings; fatalities approach 100%.
- Radiation radius (500 rem): 1.82 km (10.5 km²) [green circle]. A 500-rem radiation dose, without medical treatment, will cause between 50% and 90% mortality from acute effects alone.
- Air blast radius (5 psi): 2.12 km (14.2 km²) [purple circle]. At 5 psi overpressure, most residential buildings collapse, injuries are universal and fatalities are widespread.
- Thermal radiation radius (3rd degree burns): 3.9 km (47.9 km²) [orange circle]. Third-degree burns extend throughout the layers of skin and are often painless because they destroy the pain nerves.
- Air blast radius (1 psi): 5.46 km (93.7 km²) [outer blue circle]. At around 1 psi overpressure, glass windows can be expected to break. This can cause many injuries in a surrounding population who comes to a window after seeing the flash of a nuclear explosion (which travels faster than the pressure wave).