Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Letter to my Congressmen

 Dear _____:

This letter is to request that Congress fund Civil Defense for the United States.

During the last few weeks, Vladimir Putin and a variety of Russian officials have implied that if they do not get their way in Ukraine, they will huff, and puff, and blow the world down with nuclear war.  I think it is unlikely that the Russian military would carry out such a Russia-ending order.  But mistakes during the Cold War several times brought us to the edge of accidental nuclear war.

There are other players who might well bring us to the edge of nuclear war and by accident or stupidity launch nuclear missiles at us.  The People's Republic of China seems likely to bring us to the edge of nuclear war over the independent status of Taiwan.  Of course, the Hermit Kingdom might well attempt to blackmail South Korea, Japan, or the United States by the threat of using nuclear weapons.

For these reasons, I think it prudent for the United States to make efforts to protect as much of the population of America as possible.  During the Cold War, we built vast numbers of fallout shelters in public buildings and stocked them with essential supplies.  The goal was to enable survivors of initial attacks, and those downwind of likely targets, to wait out the the fourteen days required for radioactive fallout to decay to levels allowing reconstruction of a severely damaged nation.  

Most of those shelters still exist, although I am sure the essential supplies have either been stolen or have spoiled.  Resupplying these shelters and putting back up the fallout shelter signs:

should not be hideously expensive.  In addition, many existing buildings are natural fallout shelters simply because of their height or width.  (Distance from fallout greatly reduces exposure.)  See this illustration from the EPA's website at https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2018-12/documents/buildings-shielding-rp4.pdf:

Many apartment buildings, hospitals, churches, "big box" stores and even supermarkets provide some shielding from fallout.  (Supermarkets would not even need stored food.)

This is a low-cost way to protect Americans from not only unlimited nuclear war, such as might happen with China or Russia, but especially from a more limited war with North Korea or Iran.  Also, in the unlikely event of a major nuclear power plant accident, this would protect Americans downwind.

Is cost an issue?  Clearly, we have money to burn, from watching our government's sometime wasteful COVID-19 spending.  We have tens of billions to spend on the highly justified defense of Ukraine.  A billion dollars a year would take very little time to resurrect a system to save American lives if the the unthinkable happens.

Very Truly Yours,

Clayton E. Cramer

Any suggestions?

UPDATE:  I sent to my three Congressional reps.


  1. Or you can do what I did when I built our house: I carefully calculated halving thicknesses, etc and created a basement shelter with a protection factor in excess of 1000.

    How much in excess? Well, due to a miscalculation by the grading contractor after the construction, in excess of 1-million. We are exposed to more radiation from the radon in the concrete than we would be with a 10,000 rad source against the outer wall on the surface.


    1. The next time I build a house, it will likely be partly buried so some parts are both insulated and radiation shielded.