Bruce Beach Nuclear Survival Resources & Ark II Fallout Shelter Site
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Civil Defense Rad Meter FAQ

Updated May 1st, 2001
UPDATE to Target Information !!!
By Bruce Beach - Radiological Scientific Officer

The FEMA Maps

Target selection continuously changes, for a variety of reasons, most of which are either political or technological. The FEMA target maps are the only official ones that we have and some persons have criticized them because they feel that they are quite old and do not reflect recent military base closings, new facilities and so forth.

Even at their best - the FEMA maps only painted a conceptual picture of a perceived threat. No one could say, then or now, for sure what criteria foreign military target planners would use to select targets, how many missiles they'd commit, how powerful they'd be, how many would actually get through or how accurate they'd be.

One could be CERTAIN, both then and now, that nowhere near the number of targets shown on the maps would actually be struck. Many years ago there was a movie called - "On the Beach", which envisioned total annihilation of human life upon the earth. Nuclear scientists took up the term to measure the strength of the world's nuclear arsenals and concluded that there exists somewhere between 4 and 5 Beaches. That is to say - enough nuclear armaments to eliminate from fallout all human life on earth (four or five times over) if they were all exploded.

Anyone who simply looks at a FEMA map and says - "Ahhh - all those little yellow spots, that is where the bombs are going to fall," or "Ahhh - that yellow spot was a military base near me which no longer exists - so now I am safe", simply does not understand the problem. To begin with, as I explain in my booklet YOU Will Survive Doomsday a very small percentage of the population will have a bomb fall on them. It is other causes, resulting from the bombing, that will actually kill them. For one thing - fallout can go anywhere and it can be very deadly. As I repeatedly point out - death from fallout radiation is not a pleasant way to go, but death from that cause is avoidable.

The yellow dots on the FEMA maps were 'potential' targets. The criteria in originally selecting them included not only military sites, (which may or may not still exist) but also industrial, transportation, energy producing, and population centers which may have subsequently radically changed. Generally, for the latter, there are simply more.

You should use the FEMA maps only as a general guide to the targeting criteria foreign military planners would likely use in selecting their targets. A few things have changed dramatically since the maps were drawn. For one thing, the Titan Missile Wings (sites) in western Missouri and eastern Kansas have been deactivated.


The REAL question then - in evaluating the nuclear threat - is to determine FOR YOURSELF how many nuclear weapons YOU think will be used. The information that I am presenting here, is to help you in making that decision.

Here are some possible conclusions:

If one thinks that ALL the nuclear weapons will be used - then it is goodbye world. I will accept this as a distinct possibility, or at least the possibility that such a number will be used so as to have the same effect. If you believe definitively that is what will occur - then very simply you won't (and don't) have to worry about it. However, I believe (and it is only my personal belief) that because of Divine Intervention, through what will appear to be natural causes, that the event will be extensive - but limited.

On the other hand - there are those who think that because of man's rationality, or God's kindness, that none will be used and we don't have to worry about it. Many of these people feel that I am insane for my concerns. I can only say that I hope they are right.

It is only the third case that I present here. I feel that nuclear WWIII is inevitable. Others may feel that it is only probable - or somewhat probable or possible. The degree of your concern will determine the value that you will put on the information that I am about to present, and the action that you will take based upon it.

First - my own conclusions. I feel that a sufficient number of weapons will strike North America to destroy 80% of its population. What that number of weapons will be is what I am trying to estimate. The information presented here is what I base my estimates on.

Presently, in the world, there may be fifty-thousand (50,000) nuclear warheads. Many of these are tactical (for use by field artillery) rather than strategic (for use on ICBMs - Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles). The US has mostly recalled its tactical weapons from the field, and they are no longer under the control of field commanders. Of the strategic nuclear warheads, many (most) are now obsolete. They certainly are not mounted on warheads and ready for launch. It is really only the latter than we need to concern ourselves about, and if we wish to take a narrow view of self interest, it is only the potential enemy's that we need to concern ourselves about.

The US owns by far the largest current tested arsenal of nuclear weapons. Russia the second largest, and France may still have the third largest. Israel is rumored to have about 200 and while it has not been officially acknowledged, China may have well surpassed that number. There are over 20 other countries in the world who are thought to have perhaps joined the nuclear club - but not all, like India and Pakistan, have tested their weapons.

Weapons alone are not enough. One must also have delivery systems. While there is talk of suitcase weapons for terrorist purposes, the delivery system of choice is ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile). Complete delivery capability has been defined as the TRIAD. Land, Air and Sea. Of late, one leg of the TRIAD has fallen into disfavor. Russia still has Bisons, and the US both B-52s and B2s, but they are beginning to be recognized as a technology that is becoming rapidly obsolete. Improved radar, satellite detection systems, and the much improved accuracy of interception missiles has much decreased their usefulness. They have also become relatively less cost effective. Consequently the US under the Bush administration has announced that bombers - even the B2 - will no longer be nuclear armed. In the future this will mean that their bases, and bases that would have been used for refueling will no longer have as much priority as a target. This US policy and strategic change is just taking place and will require some months to be reflected in the thinking of Soviet target planners.

Theatre nuclear weapons still include aircraft and ship mounted nuclear weapons such as the Cruise Missile, but our major concern here is the ICBM and the SLBM (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile). So, we are not aware of, nor are there supposed to be, any space launched ballistic missiles. In fact, there are only three countries known to have operational SLBMs. The US, Russia, and Israel. Under normal circumstances it is possible to have only about one third of one's fleet on station at a time. For the US and Russia this means a half dozen each, and for Israel one because the latter has a total of three subs. If this gives you any particularly comfort it should be pointed out that each of the subs (particularly the US and Russian) carries more destructive power than was used by ALL the world's armies in the Second World War.

There has been extensive discussion over the last decades about reducing the world's nuclear armaments. In actuality they have become much more dispersed, efficient, reliable, and capable of being delivered with much greater accuracy. A reduction in their total number is not reflected in a reduction of their destructiveness or effectiveness. Actually, quite the opposite - more destructive power is being developed and deployed in manners that are more efficient. This is true, not only of the US, but also of a number of other countries. Pakistan, India, North Korea, and many others now have capabilities that would have made THEM the world power - a half century ago.

The United States currently has 7,295 deployed warheads compared to Russia's 6,094, and while the Bush administration is discussing making cuts down to 1,500 nuclear warheads in the US arsenal, these cuts have not yet taken place. And in any case, as I have stated earlier, the ones that we need to be concerned about in making North American target estimates, is the ones held by the potential enemies.

China is thought to have fewer than 300 nuclear warheads capable of reaching the US. Some estimates put the number at even one-tenth of that. Whatever the present number, it is certain that they are in an all out effort to increase the number of their DF-31 and DF-41 rockets that will have that capability. Likewise, Russia, for the last three or four years, has been on a crash program to field as many of their Topol-M, quite arguably the most advanced ICBM in the world. The US may go on about other countries being backward and stealing their technology but they should remember that the Russians put the first satellite, man and space station into space. Likewise the Chinese deployed a satellite and tested a nuclear weapon - decades ago.

But, let us only concern ourselves with what exists at the moment. Conservatively let us say that Russia and China combined currently have 7,500 nuclear warheads supposedly capable of reaching the US. So that we do not just scare ourselves to death, let us suppose that with their deteriorating economies that the maintenance on these have made about half of them operational. Let us say 4,000. And let us say that only half of these would be aimed at North America, the rest being aimed at Europe and other places in the world. This means that only 2,000 would be aimed at North America and let us further assume that US defenses are such that we will stop half of them (although I am not certain how one currently stops an ICBM or particularly a SLBM). But anyway, that leaves us with 1,000 nuclear weapons exploding over North America.

Now, please forgive me, but since I live in Canada, I am going to look at what share we might expect to fall where I live. Canada has ten percent the population that does the US, so I am going to say that Canada is going to get 10 percent of the North American warheads - or one hundred. In Canada we have a rule of thumb that the province in which I live has about 50% of the Canadian population, GNP, industry, and so forth, so I am going to say that we can expect about 50 nuclear weapons in Ontario.

What I am suggesting is that you make the same sort of extrapolation for your state, but I can tell you that when I start adding up the targets around Ontario, I find it hard to find a place to put 50 weapons. But here is an attempt.

AND I feel that is really stretching it, but I wouldn't really know where to put anymore, without say bombing out some beaver dams or attacking my bus shelter. :) But, anyway, I expect the number is ridiculous, and I really wonder if the province could survive at all if 10% of the 50 weapons - that would be its North American share were used. That would be 5 nuclear weapons, each one more than a hundred times the size of the weapon used on Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Think about it. It is called the unthinkable for a reason. Now, do a similar extrapolation for your state.

On the same ratio of 10% of available weapons, as calculated above, and the 1% or 2% of total weapons existing world wide we would be talking about 100 weapons in North America and 200 world-wide. This would be like the energy release of two thousand SIMULTANEOUS Hiroshimas, along with the accompanying fallout. Lord, (I am not being facetious in addressing the Almighty) how could we possibly survive it? I can only pray that You have a plan.

So, when you look at all those yellow dots on the FEMA map - I think that you can forget that, and start trying to figure it out another way. Here is where I would put something less than 100 weapons in North America, and Lord, I hope it is a LOT less.


Targets are selected on a:

basis. That is to say - those which have first, second and third priority.

Primary Targets

Secondary Targets

By this point there would have been used one or two dozen weapons against American Forces.

Tertiary Targets

Tertiary targets no longer have the prominence they once had in target planning, such as they did at the end of WWII when the bomber reigned. Then a bomber, assigned to a primary target, might carry multiple weapons and if it or a companion plane destroyed the primary target then it needed to go on to a secondary target so as not to waste the weapon in re-bombing the same target. This is particularly true of nuclear weapons - where one is sufficient.

A plane would then carry a priority list of additional targets within its range or return path, so that it could dispose of its weapons. With the little likelihood of getting a second chance, it is a matter of use them or lose them.

Between the Primary target sites and the Secondary target sites we have possibly used 50 weapons in North America. So what is left over? The question is - how completely do you want to devastate the land? There has already been enough damage done that the political and social organization has been destroyed. In North America aid flows in to limited disasters, a fire, tornado, earthquake. But now, everywhere would be in disaster. No electrical power, communication, or help available - from anywhere. The following map shows some principle North-South corridors, because I feel that the country would be severed East-West because of river crossings.

North South Corridors

It is questionable that society could be restored but just to assure that the devastation is complete and that the country is severed a target planner might select as tertiary targets to destroy the bridges over the Mississippi and Missouri and the key railway passes through the mountains. Key nodes on the electrical, communications, and pipeline grids - and so forth. The following map is comprised of railway and highway nodes linking through Kansas City. You can do the same thing for any other major city.

High Priority Nodes

You can take all those maps - and seek to designate targets. I have done it and I can tell you it is hard to find places to put another fifty bombs.

There are many academic studies that have been made on this subject, by VERY knowledgeable and capable people. If you wish to really study into it more then here is a link that has been highly recommended by both The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and the Encyclopedia Britannica, both of which are very worthy sources:

I have said 100 weapons to devastate America. The nuclear subs alone carry hundreds between them. Launch and move on and wait. That would be the strategy. From satellite and other reports you would eventually be assigned another Tertiary target that hasn't been struck. The process could go on for months with nuclear powered subs. However, I hope that it won't last a week - before we find a way to end it.

How Likely Are the Weapons To Be Used?

By what insanity could mankind possibly pull down upon itself the destruction that I have described above and in YOU Will Survive Doomsday? My answer is by the same insanity that permits him to build such Abominations of Desolation in the first place. By the same insanity that expresses his selfishness and anger throughout the world almost daily in the killing of what amounts to at least tens of thousands of human beings annually. Men who are intellectual giants and spiritual midgets. Men who have turned from the will of God who loves all His creatures and wants them to all love one another.

One may say, "Yes, but we have gotten this far without using them - so why would it ever change?" But, the change is in the wind. The US says that it is abandoning the policy of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction). In the past this was the rationale for not having an effective Civil Defense Program and a national civilian shelter program. It was thought that everyone on both sides would be destroyed anyway, and to implement a shelter program would mean that one did not really believe in MAD - and therefore their shelter preparations would be seen as threatening by the enemy. So, one just wanted to be sure that they had total SECOND STRIKE CAPABILITY accompanied with ASSURED ANNIHILATION of the enemy and no enemy would ever attack them. Thus - the US under the Clinton and previous administrations maintained a "No first strike policy". The Russian's under their previous administrations did likewise, but just recently the Russians have said that they have changed their policy - in favor of first use.

Russia, China and some other countries never agreed that a nuclear war was not survivable and they continuously developed shelter programs. Under the US Reagan Administration it was felt that a defense - popularly called Star Wars - could be built against nuclear weapons. Most thinkers agree that it is an impossible idea, but the very attempt to try it was outlawed under the ABM (Anti Ballistic Missile) treaty. The reason the Russians (who were permitted under the treaty to maintain a few ABMs around Moscow - but which the US felt would be ineffectual) wanted such a treaty, was that they felt the very attempt to develop ABMs would create an arms race they couldn't afford. If any one nation DID come up with a defense - then other nations could be forced to surrender under nuclear blackmail. The US under Bush has just announced that it is canceling the treaty and going ahead with ABM development. Continuously, we now hear of some general in Russia or China who says they think that nuclear war is now inevitable.

And then there are all the Third World Countries with their axes to grind. Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Libya, and others. Yes, their conflicts can bring in the major players. Just the US preoccupation anywhere else can be incentive to China to solve its Taiwan problem. For some countries, such as Israel, nuclear may come to be seen as the only solution. Israel, greatly outnumbered, more than a hundred to one, could easily feel forced to nuke the capitals of its attacking enemies.

No matter how irrational my analysis may seem to many - one fact remains. There are nuclear weapons in the world. Plenty of them.

Bruce Beach Nuclear Survival Resources & Ark II Fallout Shelter Site
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Civil Defense Rad Meter FAQ