How To Survive A Nuclear Attack, According To Chinese State Media

The Castle Bravo test on March 1, 1954. United States Department of Energy/Public Domain.

Back in the the 20th century, governments would take to television or radio to tell the public how to deal with a nuclear bomb blast, often with the optimistic advice of "duck and cover". Well, it looks like those happy days are back.

A Chinese state-run newspaper in Jilin, a Chinese province bordering North Korea, has published a full-page article on tips for surviving a nuclear war, along with some colorful cartoons, Reuters reports. Unless you’ve been living under a Twitter-proof rock for the past few years, you’ll know this is in response to North Korea's advancing nuclear program and the headaches it's causing for South Korea, China, Japan, and the US.

The Jilin Daily article, titled “Knowledge About Nuclear Weapons and Protection", explains the numerous ways in which a nuclear blast could kill you: thermal radiation, blast waves, early-stage nuclear radiation, nuclear electromagnetic pulses, and radioactive pollution.

Presuming it’s a conventional nuke detonated on land, just under 50 percent of the warhead's energy will go towards creating a deadly fireball and blast waves. A similar amount of energy will then contribute towards intense thermal radiation. Together, this will create temperatures of 83.3 million degrees Celsius (150 million degrees Fahrenheit).

As IFLScience previously explained in our guide of “How To Survive A Nuclear Attack”, your chances of surviving the brunt of this is, obviously, zero. However, if you are far away from the blast, there’s a chance you’ll only have to deal with the pulse of ionizing radiation and residual radioactive pollution.


In this instance, the newspaper argues for hiding in a ditch or river. If that’s not feasible, they say you should cover as much of your face as possible. They also advise you remove any clothing you can, give your shoes a thorough scrub, have a deep shower, and clean your ears and nose out. It’s previously been shown that taking off your outer layers of clothing can remove up to 90 percent of the radioactive material on you. Despite what you might have heard, you also cannot hide in a car.

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