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How long do you think it would take to relative normalcy? ("Normalcy" as defined in the post)

  1. 1 - 2 weeks

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  2. 2 - 3 weeks

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  3. 1 month

    2 vote(s)
    12.5%
  4. 1 - 2 months

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  5. 2 - 3 months

    1 vote(s)
    6.3%
  6. 3 - 6 months

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  7. 6 - 9 months

    1 vote(s)
    6.3%
  8. 9 - 12 months

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. A year or more

    12 vote(s)
    75.0%
  1. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    How long might it take for recovery to begin after this attack?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by JadeX, Jun 20, 2016.

    Somewhere between 2018 and 2022 (haven't nailed down a year yet, but near-future) a limited nuclear exchange occurs between the United States and Russia.

    This "limited" exchange consists of 122 attacks on targets across the United States and its territories, which I've marked in the map below:

    [​IMG]
    (direct link to full image: http://i.imgur.com/gtcErkD.jpg)

    For the most part, it appears state capitals were avoided, which is fortunate in that local/state governments have mostly survived and still have some capacity to keep order and organize recovery efforts. States/territories which have lost their capitals are:
    - Colorado
    - Georgia
    - Minnesota
    - Nebraska
    - Nevada
    - Oklahoma
    - Oregon
    - Pennsylvania
    - Puerto Rico
    - Virginia
    - Wyoming

    What I want to know is, in a best-case scenario, how long might it take to return to a state of relative "normalcy" after this? My definition of "normalcy" would include:
    - Martial Law or State of Emergency, if applicable, lifted
    - Restoring electricity in areas where it has been lost
    - Travel restrictions lifted or eased considerably
    - Telephone service restored, both cell and landline
    - Control of telephone, television, and radio handed back to civilians
    - Regular radio and cable TV stations returning to air
    - Internet restored, social media accessible

    Again, I'm looking for a best-case scenario, as I assume it would likely be the government's priority (or at least among the top 3) to get lines of communication restored for people to get information and to restore amenities such as television and internet to boost morale and encourage resilience.

    Just by looking at the map, sure, that looks like a lot of damage - and it is - but nonetheless, most of the country survived and so did almost all of its infrastructure. The highways and interstates are fine, they're still driveable. Most airports in the country are still operational. Ports are still open. Cell towers are still standing. Internet service centers, for the most part, are still there. Power stations, for the most part, are still in service (the most far-reaching effect by my estimate would probably be regional electricity rationing until more power stations can be built, to avoid straining the power grid in the meantime).

    Overall, outside of the areas outright destroyed, things honestly don't look that bleak. So, when can we get stuff back up and running? A few weeks? A month? 2-3 months? 6 months? A year?
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  2. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    First, you need to specify what you mean by a "limited" nuclear exchange. Even a small nuclear weapon has the capability of destroying an entire city. Not only that but the radiation from it would spread via wind and rain and infect others. Having 122 bombing sites would be devastating. I see no way you could turn to normalcy within a year.
     
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  3. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    The initial fallout would only last for the first day or two. After that it rapidly decays to non-lethal levels. After the first few days, it would be safe to go outside and start decontaminating the areas where the fallout fell. Here is a fallout map:
    [​IMG]
    http://i.imgur.com/efucAOX.png

    And here, you can zoom in on each site and take a look at how much damage there is:
    http://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/?t=3e877122ea598d672bebf5128f8bc52f
     
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  4. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    DC Navy Yard is about 2-3 miles from the capital. They will get more than fallout. Study up on the effects of nuclear weapons available from UNCLAS sources: radius of blast, thermal, prompt and delayed radiation. Then consider casualties due to minor injuries going untreated until they kill.

    Build a spread sheet and for each of your target cities: calculate population, electrical production, petroleum production and storage, railheads, major highways, port capacity, hospital beds, etc. Think of the things you would need to have to distribute food, medical care, shelter for millions of refugees, and most of that would be coming from this very small set of potential targets. Throw in a panic-stricken population hungry for the first time in their lives and opportunists seeking to carve out power centers for themselves, and I think normalcy will be a long way off, decades perhaps.
     
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  5. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Like I said, not full normalcy, I think that's what you're going for and it's not quite what I mean.

    The areas immediately surrounding the attacked targets, obviously, will not recover for a very long time. San Diego and all those other places will be smoldering ruins for years to come, definitely. But I'm not talking about those places, I'm only asking about the areas that weren't directly affected.

    When I say "normalcy" (which is probably a bad word for it) all I mean is having functional phone lines, radio and TV, and internet. In other words, the bare minimum for comfortable life and getting information.
    IMO, considering most of the government has survived, I don't see that taking a really long time. I would guess only a few months, tops, assuming that stuff is a priority.

    Keep in mind that there will be many areas in the country where none of these things were lost - like I said, most of the phone lines and internet centers are still perfectly operational. In the rural areas/smaller metro areas, the attacks may just be a mere inconvenience.

    To reiterate: I'm looking for the best-case scenario, not the worst case, or not even most realistic for that matter. Let's start with the best case and I can work from there.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  6. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Basically, just look at this in the most optimistic way possible. In the first map, don't look at all the red dots, look at all the areas where there are no dots.
    In the second map, don't look at the grey areas, look at how much more white there is.
    Draw conclusions based on how much is left, not how much was destroyed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  7. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Okay, I was wrong about DC. Looking at my own map that I linked to above, I see this:
    http://i.imgur.com/snkbiVt.png
    The outer grey rings are 5psi, which would destroy most residential-type buildings outright and severely damage most heavier-built structures. So, yeah... Washington DC, while not actually targeted, was in fact almost completely flattened. My bad. I guess DC is down.
     
  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think we've had a similar thread before, right?

    And I think the general consensus was that most of us think this is a much, MUCH bigger deal than you think it will be.

    So I'd say stop worrying too much about what you think would happen, and start worrying about how to convince your readers that what you think will happen is plausible. Your threads here have established, I think, that most people think 122 nuclear bombs dropped on the US would be catastrophic and would change life more-or-less forever. So it's not going to be enough for you to know we're wrong; you're going to have to figure out ways to convince your readers they're wrong.
     
  9. mashers
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    mashers Senior Member

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    Would it help to look at previous nuclear disasters and scale up from there? Look at nuclear attacks which have actually occurred (Hiroshima/Nagasaki), ones which were planned but foiled and the analysis of their possible effects (Kyoto), and nuclear accidents (Chernobyl, Fukushima, and many others).

    I realise these situations won't apply directly, but if you're going to try to convince your reader of a particular outcome then I feel you should base it in fact.
     
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  10. Sack-a-Doo!
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    According to the map you provided, the world would experience a nuclear winter and it could last up to 30 or more years. It might even trigger a new ice age, so recovery time could be in the thousands (even tens of thousands) of years.

    I can only assume that Russia got it as bad or worse than the US which compounds the problem.

    If you really want an accurate answer to this question, go to your local university and talk to a few science professors, especially those in nuclear physics, meteorology and other climate sciences.
     
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  11. KPMay
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    KPMay Member

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    If you want it to be believable or realistic, you should use examples from history. I found this really informative website that goes into details of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: http://www.aasc.ucla.edu/cab/200708230009.html
    This was only 2 attacks on the country.. 122 would be total annihilation, no matter exactly where the bombs hit or the fallout goes. It would be an apocalypse on a massive scale, not to mention the fallout to other places around the world. This is assuming, like another poster said, that we wouldn't have a nuclear winter or an ice age.
    I just can't get past the 122 figure for there to be any possible sense of normalcy or for that to be remotely believable.
     
  12. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    And that is only a tiny fraction of a Cold War laydown, folks.
     
  13. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    It never would, a conflict of that scale would be a greater accelerant of social change than WWII, maybe closer to the level of the collapse of Rome. You would probably see a complete collapse of most systems. Citizens would be angry and scared and vote impulsively, leading to a long string of terrible leaders hellbent on either revenge or armament. Lots of factions would splinter off, if the US government still existed, lots of groups would reject it.
     
  14. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Okay, forget I ever used the word "normalcy". That was a terrible word and it was a mistake using it here. What I really mean is nowhere remotely close to normalcy.

    Rather, what I mean is the BEGINNING STAGES of recovery. Restoring electricity and phone service, for starters. I think that would be an immediate concern, not something that would be put off for over a year.

    Obviously, the daily life things like paper boys on bicycles and children going to school and families sitting together at the breakfast table making small talk will probably never happen ever again. I only mean, when would recovery BEGIN? How long after this would it take to even start, even if it is small steps?

    I apologize, it was my fault for my terrible word choice, but if you could reconsider and start looking at this how I'm meaning it, it would be greatly appreciated. Again, I'm sorry for the confusion I caused, I used the wrong word and that gave a completely different set of implications than what I actually meant. I had a mod change the thread title to hopefully make it a little more clear.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
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  15. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    I'm sorry but that's just science fiction. Take a look at the book "Nuclear War Survival Skills", it thoroughly debunks the theory of nuclear winter. If anything, it was a propaganda ruse invented by the Soviets to discourage nuclear war based on the idea of raising doubts of its survivability. Excerpt: (sorry for wall of text, but it's info that needs to be more widespread, because its astonishing and sad how many people still believe that crap)

     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  16. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Again, when I say "normalcy", I don't mean daily life, I just mean electricity, running water, and telephone service, basically. How long to get that stuff up?

    Not normalcy, just basic recovery. Very basic recovery.

    (I guess I live a simpler life than most - if I have electricity, phone, and TV/radio, I'm set! That's what I would define as "relative normalcy", it's kind of a shock to me how much more everyone else seems to attach to that phrase...)
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  17. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Oh the US government definitely exists. Almost all state and local governments survived completely intact and unscathed. While Washington DC may be mostly leveled, the federal government (President included) successfully evacuated to Mount Weather and so everyone important is still alive. Just a matter of finding a new capital, which will likely be New York City (since it was spared).

    As for the public reaction, there may be some unrest, but for the most part it's going to be similar to post-9/11 NYC: everyone coming together, doing their part to help, crying on each other's shoulders, that kind of thing. This is a story of not only survival, but resilience.
     
  18. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    *sigh* Now I'm in quite a pickle, aren't I? You guys have a total different definition of "relative normalcy" than I do.

    Here's how it appears to me that you guys understand "relative normalcy" to mean:
    - Family sits down to breakfast in the morning, parents got to work, kids go to school, paper boy on a bicycle tosses a newspaper over their picket fence into their healthy green & freshly mowed lawn. Mom stops by the grocery store and picks up eggs on her way home. They cook a big normal supper with all the gas and electric power they want. They sit down at the dinner table, kids talk about school, dad complains about work, they watch regularly scheduled programming on TV for several hours, then they all take showers with all the hot water they could want and go to bed, comforted by all the gas or electric heating they could want.

    What I actually mean as a return to "relative normalcy":
    - Phase 1: The initial fallout (the first 2-3 days are when the deadliest fallout falls; after that, the radioactivity rapidly decays) has stopped falling. It is safe to leave the shelters. The police, National Guard, and whatever is left of local governments (the vast majority of local govs, obviously, are still intact, owing to the fact that America is huge with many towns) are organizing people to decontaminate their communities. They don NBC suits lent from the Guard to use hoses lent from the fire dept/Guard to spray the fallout (mostly in the form of dust and ash) down the storm drains. Gradually, depending on the intensity of contamination, people may be able to return to their homes. Electricity, where available, is returning to service. Since several major power stations have been destroyed, some areas experience blackouts. Electricity is eventually routed to these areas from surviving plants, but this has side-effects of causing strict electricity regulation to avoid over-straining the damaged power grid. This is enforced by scheduled periods of electricity being "on" and "off"; in other words, controlled blackouts or brownouts.
    - Phase 2: The federal government no longer needs to commandeer broadcasts for the Emergency Action Network. Radio stations are being returned to their civilian owners, and regular radio programming soon resumes to boost morale. Cable television stations are returned to civilian owners shortly thereafter; news stations like CNN and Fox are the first to return, along with educational stations like PBS, Discovery, NatGeo, or History (to educate children while they are out of school). People can now get reliable and accurate information for the first time since the attacks, regarding targets, casualty figures, updates on rescue and recovery operations, etc. While the majority of cell towers are still intact (again owing to the country's size) some were taken offline by attack-related blackouts and some were turned off or commandeered by authorities for official use; many of these towers are being turned back on and placed back in service to allow people to contact relatives and friends for the first time since the attacks.
    -Phase 3: New power stations are under construction to take the strain off the improvised grid. The more stations are built, the more the grid can begin to recover, and people will be allowed to use more electricity as the regulations are slowly lifted. In certain areas of the country, mainly the state capitals and metropolitan areas, internet service centers are coming back online. Cable internet becomes the most widespread and most reliable, with WiFi eventually following, albeit mostly in the urban areas. However, just as electricity was in the beginning, internet bandwidth is restricted and often scheduled.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  19. KPMay
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    KPMay Member

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    What was the point of this thread again? You just answered your own question, and refused to listen to anyone who said otherwise. Just write what you want to write.
     
  20. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    No I didn't. I outlined what I envision would be the beginning of recovery and an attempt to restore comfortable life (mostly Phases 2 & 3 above) but I don't know how long all that would take. I have no idea how fast or slow that might happen. I'm not an expert on infrastructure or disaster recovery.

    From phase 1 to phase 3, how long do you think we're looking at here? That's the question.

     
  21. KPMay
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    KPMay Member

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    As I posted earlier, if you're going with the 122 nukes, I probably wouldn't read past that because it's so unrealistic.
    But in response to your question, why don't do some research on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? There's ton of resources on the internet and I'm sure some include their rebuilding and timescale. Not to mention you'd get some cool background information to use, like the after effects on the survivors and such.
     
  22. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Hiroshima" by John Hershey. Near real-time interviews with survivors.
     
  23. Mikmaxs
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    Mikmaxs Active Member

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    Out of curiosity, why aren't you nuking Kansas City? At one point it was ranking #4 in America on a list of possible targets, so it seems weird that it'd have dropped to #123 on the list.
     
  24. Mikmaxs
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    Mikmaxs Active Member

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    Also, it's worth mentioning that in any large city which didn't get hit, the people living there are screwed anyways. The average big city wouldn't have enough food to last everyone there more than a month or so, and that's assuming everyone rations very carefully and eats the food in danger of spoiling first and nobody panics and starts hording and...


    Point is, people in cities are going to start starving, and it's going to happen quick. Go look in your cupboards, see how many days of food you have left. Add maybe, I dunno, a day of food to that if you manage to get to the grocery store before it's completely ransacked. After that you start starving, and you're going to die of thirst if the city water grid goes down.
     
  25. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I find the severity of this attack to beyond reasonable recovery by the US government. The whole world would collapse (In my opinion.) You might find some remote areas that were able to continue providing power, but consider how many of those power plants run on coal or other fuel that would need to still be delivered. An attack on that level would also probably halt the export of oil out of the Mid-East.
     

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