What’s the best place to avoid getting killed in a nuclear war?

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Dear Cecil: What with continuing worries about renegade nukes, killer bees, and the failure of the social security system, I’m thinking it’s time to relocate. If you were considering an alternative nation that would be least physically affected by nuclear war, where would it be? It would have to be a decent place to live, self-sufficient in energy and foodstuffs but not sizable enough to attract predators, free from its own internal abuses politically, and civilized enough to suggest gainful employment and a constructive culture. South America, Africa, and Asia would seem to be out, but what about Ireland, Costa Rica, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, some Pacific island, or northern Great Britain? The Falklands might’ve sounded peaceful enough a few years ago, but what’s a safe bet for the next 40 years— including dependable medical care and coin-operated photocopy machines? Fred N., Washington, D.C.


Illustration by Slug Signorino

Cecil replies:

Fred, you sound like the kind of guy who’d complain there weren’t any seat cushions on the lifeboat. We’re talking about dodging a nuclear holocaust here, not taking a vacation. There’s no place on earth that meets your specifications. Some years ago an editor at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists used wind data and a list of probable targets to calculate that Tierra del Fuego would be the last place on earth to be affected by radioactive fallout. Tierra del Fuego is a godforsaken rockpile off the southern tip of South America. Regarding photocopiers I make no claims.

Cecil Adams

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.