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By Institute of Medicine, Board on Health Sciences Policy, Committee on Medical Preparedness for a Terrorist Nuclear Event, Susan R. McCutchen, Michael McGeary, Georges C. Benjamin

A nuclear assault on a wide U.S. urban by means of terrorists--even with a low-yield improvised nuclear equipment (IND) of 10 kilotons or less--would reason a great number of deaths and serious accidents. the massive variety of injured from the detonation and radioactive fallout that might stick to will be overwhelming for neighborhood emergency reaction and future health care structures to rescue and deal with, even assuming that those platforms and their group of workers weren't themselves incapacitated by means of the development. the USA has been suffering for your time to handle and plan for the specter of nuclear terrorism and different guns of mass destruction that terrorists may receive and use. the dep. of fatherland safeguard lately gotten smaller with the Institute of drugs to carry a workshop, summarized during this quantity, to evaluate scientific preparedness for a nuclear detonation of as much as 10 kilotons. This e-book presents a candid and sobering examine our present country of preparedness for an IND, and identifies a number of key parts within which we would start to concentration our nationwide efforts in a manner that would increase the general point of preparedness.

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Additional info for Assessing Medical Preparedness to Respond to a Terrorist Nuclear Event: Workshop Report

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In most cases, the correct course of action to prevent or minimize injury from fallout would be to stay inside—or go inside immediately—because the fallout would be on the ground too soon to escape by fleeing. Sheltering inside a building could provide substantial protection from radiation. For example, sheltering in the basement of a house would avoid between 90 and 98 percent (depending on the number of stories and construction) of the exposure that someone outside would receive. Sheltering in the core or basement of a large office building could reduce exposure by 99 percent or more compared with being outside (Figure 2).

Another question concerned how well the communications infrastructure would survive the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated by the detonation as well as the blast and thermal damage. For example, it would be useful to have a “reverse 911” capacity to inform specific areas of when it is safe to evacuate. Buddemeier explained that destruction of electronic equipment by the EMP from a 10-kt IND ground burst is probably not going to extend beyond the area already hit hard by the blast overpressure wave.

The number of people who would be killed and injured from the combined effects of blast, thermal radiation, and prompt radiation is also not well understood. Tertiary effects such as missile injuries, building collapses, flash blindness, and broken windows would increase casualties, but by how much is not known. If an IND was detonated at or near ground level, as seems most likely, a substantial amount of fallout would be created and deposited over a large area. Fallout that would be radioactive enough to expose anyone outdoors to lethal doses would be deposited for about 9 miles downwind.

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