It has come to my attention that most of the zombie safehouses scouted out by people are not safe for one single reason: nuclear power. Most of the zombie strongholds that people post on sites like Reddit and other zombiephile hubs are in the US and Europe, both of which will be covered with radioactive fallout should society fall.
It is reasonable to assume that the people working in nuclear power facilities will eventually abandon their posts. Whether they leave to be with their family or the facility is overrun by the undead, it will eventually be unmanned. Most of the world’s nuclear reactors are located in the Northern Hemisphere, which means it’s in a ton of trouble.
If nuclear power facilities aren’t manned for a period of just a few days, the cooling systems in place will begin to fail. Once they fail, it’s just a matter of time before the reactors melt down. Since reactors today are far more efficient than those in the past, they have much higher capacity and hold much more fissile material. If that fissile material isn’t cooled properly, it explodes. That’s another bad thing about the efficiency of these reactors: the meltdowns will be magnitudes larger than anything we’ve seen thus far on earth.
The total devastation caused by these failing reactors depends on how fast each melts down. It’s safe to assume that some will go before others due to the variable lengths of time the workers might remain at each facility. The worst case scenario is, of course, for all of the reactors to meltdown at the same time. Should that happen, it would be a matter of weeks before the northern hemisphere would be too radioactive to support most life.
Even if the reactors melted down months apart from one another, that would just mean it would take longer for this inevitability to occur. Thankfully, that’s the more likely scenario. For this reason, I suggest that any survivors of the apocalypse or fall of society should immediately begin moving to the southern hemisphere. Those in Europe should make for Africa. Those in Asia might try to sail south through the Philippines and Malaysia to Australia. North Americans would try to make their way down through Mexico, over the Panama Canal, and into South America or sail through the Gulf of Mexico.
No place in the Northern Hemisphere will be safe. Unfortunately, the mass migration south will mean lots of conflict with native citizens of those locations. Anyone trying to survive will need to arm themselves… to the teeth. Some peoples may be more willing to accept survivors, while some would see the interlopers as just another drain on supplies. I’m inclined to agree with the latter.
So, we know there will be conflicts in getting to a new safe location if you are migrating south. Where do you go? There is lots of uninhabited rainforest in South America, though the natives there may pose a threat. Loggers and drug runners already have fortifications in the area so it will be dangerous territory. Perhaps if one had something to barter, these individuals may be more inclined to cooperate.
Chances are, though, that they don’t want you anywhere near them. There are places south of the Amazon that may be suitable. Chile and Argentina both offer lots of real estate for potential refugees but those areas are often not hospitable to plant and animal life. Finding food may be an issue. Settle next to the ocean and you may have fish, but who knows if it would be safe from the sea. After all, the zombie hordes might just be able to walk through the ocean.
Africa and Australia are both rich with deserts. Personally, I’m inclined to favor a desert environment for the apocalypse… well, certain deserts, anyway. The Sahara is, of course, a last resort. It’s giant and completely dry. If one could stay on the eastern edge of the Sahara, they would stand a greater chance of finding food, but there are plenty of wild animals on the Black Continent that would make you food, as well.
Australia, on the other hand, has relatively few threats in the desert areas of the continent. There are poisonous snakes and spiders that should be nuked from orbit, but at least you don’t have lions, leopards, and hippos. Keep in mind, that zombies will be on every land mass. The desert landscape will provide better visibility and might even serve to dry out the zombie corpses and aid in their decomposition.
There are defensible locations in Australia. The most obvious one being Ayers Rock. It’s a giant rock in the Australian Outback. If you could get on top of it, it’d be pretty easy to keep both zombies and raiders off your back. It wouldn’t be easy to get food, though. You’d have to leave yourself a way down and keep it guarded when you go scouting for food and water.
No matter which choice you make, the Northern Hemisphere will be a dead zone for thousands of years. The fallout would likely make it to the Southern Hemisphere eventually, but at least you’d have a chance of living longer. The further south you go, the longer you’ll avoid the radiation. Unfortunately, should this happen, the earth will eventually become completely radioactive and lifeless. Perhaps new life will emerge from the radiation but it will likely be quite foreign. It doesn’t matter, though… none of us will be there to see it.
EDIT: So, I posted this to Reddit with the hopes that it would spur conversation about it and boy, was I right. However, some of the members there are accusing me of fear mongering and putting too much spin on it. That’s fine, I don’t mind those accusations. I think I’ve accomplished what I intended. One user posted this map of all the nuclear facilities in the US. This might be a useful guide of where to avoid gathering water and places to just downright avoid if you’re as paranoid about it as I am. Many people have so much faith in the nuclear power facilities that they seem to think that they’ll just sit there until the end of time and not harm anything. I am not as optimistic. A message to Reddit: calm the fuck down, Jesus Christ.