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Nuclear explosion: what happens & how nuclear explosion affects people’s health

The topic “nuclear attack” has worried many people in recent weeks. The war in Ukraine makes people realize that such attacks can be a realistic threat. After explaining what to do in such a case, today we would also like to explain what actually happens when a nuclear bomb explodes. What are the effects of a nuclear explosion on the human body and the environment? Namely, to what extent it affects health depends on various factors.

What is a nuclear explosion?

Nuclear explosion - What happens in the process and effects.

Nuclear explosion is sometimes called nuclear explosion and occurs when a nuclear bomb explodes. In this process, atoms combine (nuclear fusion) or split (nuclear fission), causing an intense pulse. This impulse is usually characterized by a wave of heat, light, air pressure, and radiation.

What happens when a nuclear bomb explodes.

Radioactive areas are no longer uninhabitable and are evacuated

The heat generated, which also heats the surrounding air, causing a fireball up to 2 kilometers, vaporizes everything on the ground – be it rock, water or other materials. Everyone knows the typical mushroom cloud that is created. It is this cloud that contains all the vaporized materials, and this is where the real danger comes from: When they cool down, they condense and turn into dust and other particles that are so fine that they can be spread further over numerous kilometers by wind currents. This so-called fallout is radioactive and contaminates everything it comes into contact with when it settles like precipitation – plants as well as animals, people, water and food supplies.

Effects of a nuclear explosion on the individual.

The atomic cloud contains radioactive particles

Several factors affect the severity and consequences of a nuclear explosion: first, the size of the bomb matters, and second, the distance. Thus, someone who is in close proximity will be more severely affected than someone who is many miles away. Either way, however, a nuclear explosion would cause severe destruction, death, and injury. The consequences of exposure depend, among other things, on whether those affected were exposed to radioactivity “externally” and “internally.”

How the nuclear explosion affects – External Exposure

Nuclear explosion - What happens during a nuclear attack.


External exposure is when the blast itself or the radiation it emits causes injury or illness. It therefore originates externally and immediately damages DNA and tissue. In extreme cases, high levels of radiation can lead to death after only a few days or months. The following cases are referred to as external exposure:

Injuries from debris and burns.

Nuclear explosions destroy buildings for miles around

The nuclear blast itself initially kills and injures from the heat and debris thrown by the wave. The blast wave is so powerful that it destroys entire houses and shatters windows even at a distance of 20 kilometers. As a result, moderate to severe burns occur – something that explosions of any kind have in common.

Nuclear explosion and eyes

Protect eyes during nuclear explosion


A common consequence of a nearby nuclear explosion is eye damage. This occurs if you are looking directly into the light at the time of the explosion. Eyes that have seen a nuclear explosion can suffer temporary blindness or severe retinal burns. This is why it is so important to turn away and cover your eyes during a nuclear attack to prevent seeing the nuclear blast.

The so-called radiation sickness

The nuclear explosion can cause severe burns

This serious illness occurs when the affected person has been exposed to high levels of radiation. In addition to possible burns within minutes, other symptoms may develop over the next few days and weeks, depending on how much radiation the body absorbed. The type of radiation, route of exposure, and duration of exposure also affect the effects on the body. Mild skin redness to cancer and even death are possible, health consequences of radiation sickness.

Nuclear explosion with subsequent internal exposure

What is a nuclear explosion

Internal exposure is when radioactive food is consumed or contaminated air is inhaled. This occurs as a result of the fallout mentioned above, which, as you already know, can occur many miles away from the actual explosion. This type of exposure makes you sick more slowly – it can lead to cancer formation and other serious diseases.

Long-term, global effects

In an internal exposure, you eat or breathe contaminated material

Although there have been numerous nuclear tests, it is not entirely clear what the consequences would be in global terms. What is certain is that the radiating isotope strontium-90 is deposited on bones and teeth. People with cancer who lived during periods of above-ground testing showed high levels of this isotope in their baby teeth. Those who even grew up near the test regions showed a particularly high mortality rate. According to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the number of people who have died as a result of above-ground U.S. weapons testing is as high as 2.4 million. There are also areas that are completely uninhabitable.

What is nuclear winter?

Nuclear winter would be a result of many atomic bombs

Nuclear winter is something that would occur if 100 nuclear weapons were used. Dust, soot and wildfires would cause the earth’s atmosphere to darken as well as cool as a result of such a nuclear disaster. Devastating effects would be crop failures, which would sooner or later lead to famine. The ozone layer would also be depleted, which in turn would increase the levels of UV radiation.

Fallout contaminates surfaces hundreds of miles away