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Facing fallout: How Duke prepared for nuclear disaster in the 1960s

 The Chronicle – Duke University By Carter Forinash | 01/21/2019 At the height of the Berlin Crisis of 1961, a University committee developed plans to house nearly 50,000 Duke and Durham community members in shelters across campus. …….

Nuclear disaster planning was based on the worst-case scenario—the use of a nuclear weapon on Greensboro, N.C. The committee’s report stated that prevailing winds would send more fallout toward the Durham community than a similar nuclear strike on Raleigh, N.C., despite its proximity.

In order to prepare for such an event, the Fallout Committee also organized community-wide presentations on the dangers of nuclear fallout, plans for fallout protection and housekeeping in shelters……..

A shelter for Durham?

Chief among the committee’s responsibilities was a plan to house University community members in on-campus fallout shelters in the event of a nuclear disaster.

By 1966, the committee has identified more than 100,000 approved spaces for fallout shelters in Duke buildings and had supplied more than 80,000 of them with fallout survival supplies, including nonperishable food, fresh water, medical supplies and bedding.

Along with standard medical supplies, each shelter would include a clergy member, a licensed physician and two nurses, according to a letter from Robert Cushman, dean of the Divinity School in 1962.

The thousands of shelters included room for 800 people in the basement of the Chapel and more than 1,000 across two floors of Page Auditorium. These spaces were mostly on West Campus or in the Duke Medical Center.

Students on East Campus were expected to walk to West Campus to seek shelter, according to shelter assignments released by the committee. …….

January 22, 2019 - Posted by | USA, weapons and war

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