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Grim Blueprints
Snapshots from the U.S. Playbook for Nuclear Attack

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Map of fallout patterns from a major counterforce attack across the whole of the Russian land mass.

The key to survival in the first two days after the attack would be staying indoors, preferably in the upper stories of high-rise apartment buildings or in basements. Within hours after the attack, radioactive fallout would descend and accumulate, creating lethal conditions over an area exceeding 300,000 square miles -- larger in size than France and the United Kingdom combined. This map shows how fallout from a "precision" attack on nuclear forces would spread across the Russian landmass.

Some war planners claim that attacking Russia's nuclear forces is the best option because it does not target civilians. In fact, NRDC's nuclear war simulation demonstrates that between 8 and 12 million people would die in an attack on nuclear forces.

Rems* and Mortality
100-200 rems: Severe radiation sickness for 1 percent, some death
200 rems: Severe radiation sickness for 50 percent, about 2 percent die
300 rems: Severe radiation sickness for 100 percent, about 10 percent die
450 rems: Severe radiation sickness for 100 percent, about 50 percent die
650+ rems: 100 percent mortality

* The unit of measurement in the graphic above, the rem (roentgen equivalent man), measures the amount of damage to human tissue from a dose of radiation.

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