The hazardous rain zone of a nuclear explosion can easily extend 10 to 20 miles (15 to 30 kilometers) from detonation, depending on the explosive performance and weather conditions. This is a serious issue, as nuclear fallout can expose people to radiation poisoning, which can damage body cells and be fatal. The consequences of nuclear accidents, such as the ones in Chernobyl and Fukushima, are also a cause for concern. The ACS regulations against the potential consequences of nuclear reactors focused on the power plant's capacity for the maximum credible accident (MCA).
Since large doses of radiation of approximately 20 roentgen or more are needed to produce developmental defects, these effects would likely be limited to areas of heavy local rainfall in nuclear warring nations and would not become a global problem. Groundwater supplies, such as aquifers, would initially remain uncontaminated in the event of a nuclear fallout. However, steps must be taken to ensure that the risk of nuclear rain in nuclear reactors is controlled. As the nuclear energy sector continues to grow, international rhetoric around nuclear war intensifies and the ever-present threat of radioactive materials falling into the hands of dangerous people persists, many scientists are working hard to find the best way to protect human organs from the harmful effects of high-energy radiation.
Nuclear explosions also produce clouds of dust and sand-like radioactive particles that disperse into the atmosphere, known as nuclear rain. All nuclear explosions produce fission products, unfissioned nuclear material and weapon debris vaporized by the heat of the fireball. A nuclear weapon detonated in the air, called an air blast, produces less rain than a comparable explosion near the ground. Even in the midst of the Cold War, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission sought to improve the safety of Soviet nuclear reactors.
Nuclear rain is the residual radioactive material propelled into the upper atmosphere after a nuclear explosion, so called because it falls from the sky after the explosion and the shock wave has passed. The isotopic signature of a bomb's rain is very different from that of a serious accident in a power reactor. It is essential that we understand how far nuclear fallout can spread and take steps to protect ourselves from its potentially devastating effects. By understanding how far it can spread and what steps we can take to protect ourselves from its effects, we can help ensure that our world remains safe from this dangerous phenomenon.