Estimated Fallout Pattern from Nuclear Air Burst
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Estimated fallout pattern from nuclear air burst
Source: Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute's Medical Effects of Ionizing Radiation Course on CD-ROM (1999)

Delayed ionizing radiation dose (fallout)
  • Produced by fission products and neutron-induced radionuclides in the area around the explosion, especially downwind
  • Dispersed downwind with the fireball/debris cloud.
  • As the cloud travels downwind, the cooling and falling radioactive material settles on the ground creating a large swath of deposited material (fallout).
  • Fallout creates large areas of contamination and the ionizing radiation coming off the fallout which can damage tissues and penetrate through thin walls and glass.
  • Fallout can also contaminate the soil, food and water supply
    • Prohibitions against eating food and drinking water from affected areas will be issued