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Educating the American public on surviving a nuclear attack

North Korea prompts US cities to prepare for a nuclear attack, SMH, Ralph Vartabedian and W.J. Hennigan, 29 July 17, Fleets of big black trucks, harbor boats and aircraft, equipped with radiation sensors and operated by specially trained law enforcement teams, are ready to swing into action in Los Angeles for a catastrophe that nobody even wants to think about: a North Korean nuclear attack.

American cities have long prepared for a terrorist attack, even one involving nuclear weapons or a “dirty bomb,” but North Korea’s long-range missile and weapons programs have now heightened concerns along the West Coast over increasing vulnerability to a strike……..

This month, Wellerstein and other researchers launched Reinventing Civil defence, a nonprofit project that over the next two years will examine how best to reeducate the American public on the nuclear threat – one that never went away. It is being funded by a $US500,000 ($626,000) grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

“If we live in a world where a nuclear detonation is possible, and we do, then people should be informed on what that means,” he said. “It’s something that’s been nonexistent in our society since the late 1980s.”

The reluctance to prepare reflects what LoPresti calls a “generational PTSD” from the decades of living under the threat of instant thermonuclear war. “It is not something people are comfortable talking about,” he said……

The main responsibility would lie with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which declined to provide an official to discuss the issue and did not answer written questions.

Some arms control experts say it would be a mistake to launch a full-scale civil defence effort in response to North Korea. Wright, the expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said such a response would send the wrong message that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has put a dent in US confidence.

Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons analyst with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, said Kim presents the same threat that existed throughout most of the last century. “He’s ruthless, but he’s not crazy,” Lewis said. “There’s reason to be cautious. But it’s not a reason to start digging bomb shelters.”

But Levin, the Ventura County health director, argues that doing nothing is equally wrong. The key point of the Ventura plan is to ask residents not flee, but to “get inside and stay inside” immediately after a detonation.

The county’s plan was developed with technical assistance from Brooke Buddemeier, a nuclear weapons effects expert at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He has made the case that sheltering indoors for just 24 hours after a detonation provides significantly reduced exposure.

“Talking about nuclear detonation is not one of those topics you can bring up at a cocktail party,” Buddemeier said. “But a little knowledge can save a lot of lives.”


July 29, 2017 - Posted by | safety, USA, weapons and war

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