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USA civil defence work: preparing for 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………

The civil defence work done by Ventura County is exceedingly rare, said Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear weapons historian and assistant professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

There has been little public discourse since the Cold War about the consequences of nuclear threats, he said. As a result, an entire generation has grown up with little awareness of the danger posed by nuclear weapons.

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……..

Wright, the nuclear weapons expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said North Korea’s most recent missile test demonstrated a two-stage rocket that could reach Anchorage and Guam. But he expects that within one to two years North Korea will have enough reach to hit Seattle, 7900 km away, and then Los Angeles, 9300 km from its launch sites……

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…..http://www.smh.com.au/world/north-korea-prompts-us-cities-to-prepare-for-a-nuclear-attack-20170727-gxkdu2.html

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July 31, 2017 - Posted by | general

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