The Effects of a Nuclear Detonation in Los Angeles

By Jenni Hesterman – What if the bad guys are somehow able to defeat us and set off a nuclear weapon in downtown LA? Not a dirty bomb, but an actual 10 kiloton nuclear device that results in the stereotypical mushroom cloud over the city.

How should first responders plan for this attack? What are the key actions that should be taken in the first hour, the second hour and beyond? How can we educate our public on what to do in the event of this attack?

This briefing was conducted at the Radiological or Nuclear Incident & Clinical Application Seminar. It is presented by Brooke Buddemeier from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and Global Security. Buddemeier works with DHS on preparation of cities for a nuclear detonation. He is a Certified Health Physicist and radiation safety specialist.

I think you will agree this is an eye opening presentation and I encourage you to watch it from beginning to end and absorb some critical information we don’t often see in the public domain.

Some key points:


  • A 10 KT detonation gives of the light of 1,000 midday suns up to a mile away for about 15 seconds
  • A 10 KT detonation is the equivalent of 5000 Oklahoma City truck bombs
  • Creates a 600 foot crater
  • 3 miles out of from the epicenter, glass is still breaking in buildings -800,000 people in LA affected within the 3 mile circle

But, it’s not all bad news – if you can get to shelter you could survive the fallout and there is particle decay as time goes by.

Read Full Article – Counter Terror Forum


Jenni Hesterman

Jenni Hesterman - Counter Terror Forum

Jenni Hesterman is a retired Air Force colonel, a contributing editor for The Counter Terrorist magazine, a full professor of counter terrorism studies at American Military University and a senior Analyst for the MASY Group, a global intelligence and risk management firm.

In addition to this, she is the author of the blog: and contributor to National Terror Alert.

Her blog, Counter Terror Forum highlights items of interest regarding threats to national security, terrorism, transnational crime, organized crime, and gangs.

The site also serves to support the law enforcement and intelligence community with open source reporting and analysis.

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