grayscale photo of explosion on the beach
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It seems likely that there’s an elevated chance of nuclear weapons being used in 2022. While the exact percentage chance are subject to reasonable disagreements, it seems that prudent risk management would consider the possibility. Some reasonable preparations cost relatively little – and being unprepared had a risk of being very expensive indeed.

Not only do we have the relatively high profile risk of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the Iranian regime has a very high chance of developing nuclear weapons in coming years, and there is on-going instability in Pakistan.

What’s the chance of nuclear weapons being used?

I don’t know the probability, and different people can come to different conclusions. I found this Twitter thread to give a reasonable overview of the possibilities. An important point is that there are various possible events which include the use of nuclear weapons but do not include a global armageddon.

Is it possible to survive?

Yes – because “the use of nuclear weapons” is NOT the same thing as “the end of humanity”. America’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory outlined a variety of scenarios which include the possibility of survival – especially in an area which is not targeted directly. It seems that the probability of survival might be higher in a place like the Isle of Man than an area which is integral to the Russian/American/British/French/Chinese/Indian/Iranian/Israeli/Pakistani nuclear programs.

Informative resources

Here are some resources which I found informative:

Nuclear War Survival Skills, 1979

A document (mostly) produced in 1979 to provide useful advice in the case of a nuclear war at that time – with the key point that most forms of nuclear war do not actually end up in some form of armageddon involving the extinction of the human race.

Having read this, my understanding is that the best thing that you can do, as a resident of the Isle of Man, is buy enough food and water (especially water!) and make other arrangements such that you do not need to leave your home and go outside for a couple of weeks. Think of this as preparing for an ultra-tough lockdown, which includes making preparations for no running water, no electricity, and no gas.

In the American context, much of their recommended preparations relate to preparing a shelter, and the associated needs to prepare for very hot or very cold weather. It is unlikely (to put it mildly!) that reasonably healthy people will die from heat, or cold, in the Isle of Man given our climate. Of course, the elderly, frail and vulnerable may need to take additional precautions.

An updated version of this book is available for purchase from Amazon.

US Government Advice for a Nuclear Explosion

Go inside and stay there for a couple of weeks and use your emergency kit

US Government Advice for Emergency Kits

Have a lot of water, enough food, and garbage bags for personal sanitation.

UK Protect and Survive

The Protect and Survive Web Site is an archive of UK civil defence material dating from the 1950s to the 1980s. This British booklet is shorter and more accessible than the “Nuclear War Survival Skills” book, with a checklist of actions.

UK: Nuclear Emergency Planning and Response Guidance

This document provides guidance to emergency services.

Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.