Prompt radiation accounts for 3% of the energy released in a nuclear blast. Simulating the prompt radiation will help identify the potential changes to the ambient temperature and pressure of air around the blast. The changes in ambient conditions may alter blast wave effects. The relationship between the energy deposition of prompt radiation in air and blast wave effects will be further analyzed to improve existing simulations. Existing nuclear blast wave simulations and estimates often rely on assumptions to limit the problem to manageable levels. One assumption used in current blast wave effect simulations is to ignore the prompt radiation from a nuclear blast. If simulating prompt radiation changes blast wave estimates, it may indicate an important correlation.
MCNP6 code was used to simulate the transport of prompt radiation in air. The simulation was conducted for four distinct designs of nuclear devices. The results of the simulation showed that prompt radiation from a nuclear device could potentially heat the air hundreds of degrees (C) as far as 100 meters from the blast. The increase in temperature also increased the ambient pressure of the air. The effects of the changes in ambient conditions were then utilized in analytical solutions to different blast wave effects. The results of these calculations were then compared to STP conditions to see how much blast wave effects changed as a direct result of simulating prompt radiation. It was found that simulating prompt radiation does change blast wave effects. Additionally, the impact of prompt radiation is higher at lower nuclear device yields. This indicates that current blast wave effect analytical solutions should be updated to account for the prompt radiation from a nuclear blast. The updated solutions would hopefully drive the creation of better tools to increase the ability of civilian leaders to plan and respond to any nuclear weapon disasters.