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

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Map of radioactive fallout patterns resulting from a major "counterforce" attack on Russia.

This map shows the radioactive fallout patterns that would result from the current war plan's scenario for a major "counterforce" attack against a portion of Russia's nuclear forces. This profile of the aftermath of an attack is for the month of June, and assumes that 50 percent of the explosive yield is from nuclear fission. (The greater the "fission fraction" of a bomb, the "dirtier" or more radioactive is its fallout. In this case, 50 percent of the explosive power comes from nuclear fission, while 50 percent comes from nuclear fusion.) The radiation dose was calculated for unsheltered persons.

The results: More than 60,000 square miles would be so contaminated by fallout that half the unsheltered population would die of radiation sickness. Fatalities from the attack would total 16 million.

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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