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A brief discussion of biological weapons and the effectiveness of nuclear weapons on a civilian population. The discussion is divided into sections dealing with the various effects of nuclear explosions: blast waves, thermal radiation, fallout, ground shock, and craters. Each section comments on factors limiting or extending damage.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.