I got the idea for this after watching the series Life After People, which is an awesome series and you should check it out if you can find it. Did you know there are 104 Nuclear Reactors in the US? Most of those plants sit on the East Coast. Three are located on Lake Ontario. Two practically on top of each other in Scriba NY.
Now I got thinking, dangerous I know, but how come more zombie books don't have the nuclear plants melting down. I mean who's manning them? The zombies. Ok maybe you'd have a few dedicated people who would man them for awhile, but sooner or later someone is going to make a mistake. Perhaps this is too much, a nuclear disaster on top of an epidemic or biological catastrophe. Or maybe they realize as I have this is to problematic, we now have vasts portions of the US unuseable due to radiation, fire, and all sorts of other problems.
Yeah, I did a lot of research on nuclear plant meltdowns, nuclear blasts, radiation and all that good stuff when working on this part of the book. Which is why it's taken so long to write. I wound up having to take a bit of creative licence with the science of it.
For those of you who were probably yelling at your screens when reading the last post...
I found that a plant meltdown might not cause a mushroom cloud and even if it did given Piper's groups distance they probably wouldn't have seen it.
Pulled from Wiki
"Mushroom clouds result from the sudden formation of a large volume of lower-density gases at any altitude, causing a Rayleigh–Taylor instability. The buoyant mass of gas rises rapidly, resulting in turbulent vortices curling downward around its edges, forming a temporary vortex ring that draws up a central column, possibly with smoke, debris, or/and condensed water vapor to form the "mushroom stem". The mass of gas plus entrained moist air eventually reaches an altitude where it is no longer of lower density than the surrounding air; at this point, it disperses, any debris drawn upward from the ground scattering and drifting back down."
Nuclear Mushroom Clouds-
"With surface and air bursts, the amount of debris lofted into the air decreases rapidly with increasing burst altitude. At burst altitudes of approximately 7 meters/kiloton, a crater is not formed, and correspondingly lower amounts of dust and debris are produced. The fallout-free height, above which the radioactive particles consist only of the fine fireball condensation, is approximately 55 meters/kiloton. However, even at these burst altitudes, fallout may be formed by a number of mechanisms."
I used the mushroom cloud because it's how most people see a nuclear explosion. It's recognizable and people would say oh crap when seeing one. Not only that but they needed some warning at this point there's no more, TV, radio broadcasts, emergency broadcast system, or internet. I've given Piper and Mica broader knowledge than the average Joe on Nuclear Emergencies, given their Dad's preparedness. Yet not as much as an actual survivalist/ prepper because let's face it what kid actually listens to 100% of what their parents say. From here out we'll just have to see how well that knowledge works to keep them alive.