Ground Zero Quezon City: Will you survive a nuke blast?

By | 12:04 AM Leave a Comment

What if North Korea attacks the Philippines and a nuclear missile detonates over Quezon City?

An artist's sketch of Araneta Coliseum during a "nuclear blast"
An artist's sketch of Araneta Coliseum during a "nuclear blast"
The scenario remains theoretical despite heightened tension between North Korea and allies South Korea and the United States.

However, one may wonder and dread of the results of a nuclear strike in a populated Philippine city.

Data and visualization were made through 2 websites, wouldisurviveanuke.com and nuclearsecrecy.com.

The websites let users simulate explosions of real-world nuclear devices in their ground zero of choice to see if they will be vaporized within the blast zone.

The American Institute of Physics' Alex Wellerstein, who created the nuclearsecrecy.com map, has data and calculations on atomic weapons of various nations, including North Korea.

The site's calculations are based on Carey Sublette's Nuclear Weapons FAQ and assume optimum burst height.

Pyongyang has since upped the ante.

In February this year, North Korea tested a bigger nuclear device estimated to have a yield of 10 kilotons, according to Western scientists.

Amid North Korea's war footing, here's what happens if that 10-kiloton nuke exploded over Araneta Center in Cubao.

A large fireball will instantly vaporize Araneta Coliseum on ground zero. The size of the nuclear fireball will depend on the height of the detonation.

People in Farmers Plaza, nearby bus terminals, and establishments within 600 meters will be blown away by a resulting air blast.

Concrete buildings will be flattened, with fatalities approaching 100%.

GROUND ZERO CUBAO. A simulation of a North Korean nuclear strike in the Philippines, with Cubao in Quezon City as ground zero.
GROUND ZERO CUBAO. A simulation of a North Korean nuclear strike in the Philippines, with Cubao in Quezon City as ground zero. Click here for larger, more detailed map

The green area in the map indicates a 1.3 km radius area that gets fried by nuclear radiation, which will roast people on Aurora Boulevard, New York Avenue, and EDSA.

People in the area will get an immediate 500 rem radiation dose and between 50% and 90% of them will die from acute effects alone. Their deaths will take between several hours and several weeks.

People outside the immediate radiation zone are still not safe because the air blast earlier produced by the explosion will also reach them, with less intensity than near ground zero but still deadly. Most buildings will collapse while injuries and deaths will be widespread.

There's also the heat produced by the explosion.

The thermal radiation from the 10-kiloton blast will fry residential areas, commercial blocks, and landmarks like Camp Aguinaldo, Anonas, Kamuning, and Kamias.

People in those areas will get third-degree burns. The heat also will set houses and buildings on fire.

"A convenient rule of thumb for estimating the short-term fatalities from all causes due to a nuclear attack is to count everyone inside the 5 psi blast overpressure contour around the hypocenter as a fatality. In reality, substantial numbers of people inside the contour will survive and substantial numbers outside the contour will die, but the assumption is that these two groups will be roughly equal in size and balance out. This completely ignores any possible fallout effects," said Sublette, as quoted by nuclearsecrecy.com.

You'll have a good chance of surviving if you're just outside the thermal radiation radius of around 1.77 km from ground zero.

However, then comes nuclear fallout and exposure to residual radioactive material dropping from the sky.--By Jojo Malig, ABS-CBN News




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