After receiving great answers on my previous question, I've thought hard, how to create a story, in which there is a large-enough group of people (at least 100 highly educated people and enough others, who provide for them) in a post-apocalyptic world, which have a way of life comparable to ours (at the very least - they know, how to read and write and believe in reason more than in any deity).

Imagine that

  1. the US drop all the nukes they have on Russia,
  2. the Swiss learn early enough about that to put as many of their citizens into bomb shelters (allegedly, Switzerland is the only country, which has bomb shelters for 100 % of the population),
  3. Russian guaranteed retaliation system nukes the US automatically (automatically because most people are dead from the first strike) and
  4. the Chinese also nuke the US after the attack because they had a secret pact with the Russians (that's part of the story).

Let's assume that Switzerland wasn't nuked neither by the Americans, nor by the Russians, nor by the Chinese (but its environment may still suffer from global effects of the nuclear war).

How many Swiss without damaged DNA are likely to survive 100 years after the nuclear war, provided that

  1. they adopt strict mating protocols,
  2. 100 % of their population was in the bomb shelters at the time when the first bomb exploded,
  3. they manage to establish connection to other people in the bunkers and
  4. the environment isn't completely screwed up (e. g. the climate in Switzerland doesn't get significantly colder due to a nuclear winter)


Extra credit: Does the fact that Switzerland is a country with lots of mountains make it easier for a post-nuclear society to survive, or harder than in a "flat", low-altitude land?

  • $\begingroup$ Was the rest of Europe nuked? Moscow nuked vs Milan, Munich and Lyon nuked would make a difference for Switzerland. $\endgroup$ – Gilles Aug 2 '15 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ If US strike disabled Russian midrange capabilities, then maybe NATO countries wont take direct hits by counterattack? (China would be a problem though, as they would probably target NATO in this scenario). $\endgroup$ – user2448131 Aug 2 '15 at 16:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I may be wrong, but I'd suggest that if all of American weapons of mass destruction (or 'nukes,' even though it's a misnomer) are used at once, there will not be human life on Earth. $\endgroup$ – Mikey Aug 2 '15 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles Let's assume that Europe was not nuked. $\endgroup$ – DP_ Aug 3 '15 at 4:21
  • $\begingroup$ Chane the setting so that everyone used Hydrogen bombs, they have less long-term radiation, making it more realistic $\endgroup$ – Hobbamok Sep 20 '18 at 10:45

I don't think the bomb shelters will matter much. There are two options:

  • Our ecosphere is wrecked. No matter how many Swiss survive the initial strikes, they're gone. They might have some preserved food in their bunkers, but they don't have greenhouses. After weeks, months, or years, they have to come out and look for food. They find nuclear winter and contaminated fields. They die somewhat later than people without bunkers.

  • Our ecosphere is not wrecked. Then the DNA damage you're worried about won't happen, either.


I propose that in an 'all-out' exchange, there would be zero survivors, anywhere in 100 years. There is a profound difference between a 'Fallout Shelter', a 'Bomb Shelter' and a 'Nuclear Bunker'.

The levels of radiation you are describing would eventually find their way into any underground structure, regardless of type. To prevent this, a shelter would require an almost spaceship-like self contained environment, no air, food or water from the outside, for a century.

I suggest as a reference, read "level 7" by Mordecai Roshwald . It provides a view of a survival effort much like you have described.


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