Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Prediction Modeling to Determine the Adequacy of Medical Response to Urban Nuclear Attack

  • Cham E. Dallas and William C. Bell

Abstract

Background: Government reports have persistently indicated the intent of terrorists and hostile nations to acquire and “weaponize” nuclear materials for deliberate attack on a major US metropolitan city.

Methods: A modeling analysis of the effects of 20- and 550-kiloton nuclear detonations on the 2 major metropolitan centers of Los Angeles and Houston is presented with a focus on thermal casualties. Brode’s work as modified by Binninger was used to calculate thermal fluence, using thermal fractions. The EM-1 and WE programs were used to calculate blast effects. Fallout radiation was calculated using the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Hazard Prediction and Assessment Capability V404SP4 with “urban effects” turned on. The ESRI ArcView program calculated affected populations from 2000 US Census block-level data for areas affected by thermal effects.

Results: The population affected by a 550-kiloton nuclear weapon detonated in Los Angeles and Houston is staggering: surviving thermal casualties are estimated at 185,000 and 59,000, respectively. Even the 20-kiloton detonations in Los Angeles and Houston are significant: the numbers of surviving thermal casualties requiring care exceed 28,000 and 10,000, respectively.

Conclusions: The surviving health care community postdetonation would be faced with an unprecedented burden of care for thermal casualties. A great expansion of personnel involved in emergency burn care response is critical. Bold, new approaches such as regionalization and predetermined medical air transport need to be considered. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2007;1:80–89)

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr Cham Dallas, Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense, 003 Barrow Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602(e-mail: cdallas@mail.rx.uga.edu).

References

Hide All
1.Effect of Nuclear War on Health and Health Services, 2nd ed. Geneva:World Health Organization; 1987.
2. Bell WC, Dallas CE. Vulnerability of populations and the urban health care systems to nuclear weapon attack—examples from four American cities. Int J Health Geogr [serial online]. February 2007. http://www.ijhealthgeographics.com/content/pdf/1476-072X-6-5.pdf. Accessed August 27, 2007.
3.Clark, R, Ehrlich, A, Gunn, SWA.London Under Attack. Report of the Greater London Area War Risk Study (GLAWARS) Commission. Oxford, UK:Blackwell Scientific; 1986.
4.Brooks, JW, Evans, ET, Ham, WT, Reid, JD.The influence of external body radiation on mortality from thermal burns. Ann Surg. 1952;136:533545.
5.Glasstone, S, Dolan, PJThermal radiation and its effects. The Effects of Nuclear Weapons. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: US Department of Defense and the Energy Research and Development Administration; 1977.
6.Becker, WK, Buescher, TM, Cioffi, WG, McManus, WF, Pruitt, BA. Combined radiation and thermal injury after nuclear attack. In: Brown D, Weiss JF, MacVittie, TJ. Treatment of Radiation Injuries. New York: Plenum;1990: 145151.
7.The Effects of Nuclear War. Washington, DC: Office of Technology Assessment; 1979.
8.Barnaby, S, Rotblat, J.Nuclear war: the aftermath. The effects of nuclear war. Ambio. 1982;11:23:84-94.
9.Eden, L.Whole World on Fire. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press; 2004.
10.Binninger, G, Hodge, JK, Wright, S, et alDevelopment of a Fire Prediction Model for Use Within HPAC. San Diego: L3 Titan Corp; 2003.
11.Brode, HL.Fire Targeting Methodology Improvements and Automation. Alexandria, VA: Defense Special Weapons Agency;1996: 94100.
12.Postol, TAPossible fatalities from superfires following nuclear attacks in or near urban areas. Soloman F, Marston RQ. The Medical Implications of Nuclear War. Washington, DC: National Academy Press;1986:1573.
13.Daugherty, W, Levi, B, Von Hippel, F. Casualties due to blast, heat and radioactive fallout from various hypothetical nuclear attacks on the United States. Soloman F, Marston RQ. The Medical Implications of Nuclear War. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1986: 207233.
14. Diehl SR, Keith JR, Conley P. Probabilistic Thermal Transmission Curves. Vol 1: European and Mideast Results, Vol 2: KSC Curve-fitted Scattered Radiation Database. Washington, DC: Defense Nuclear Agency; 1987: DNA-TR 87–DNA-TR 62–V1 and –V2. Fig 8.6 Vol 1.
15.Brode, HL, Small, RDA. Review of the physics of large fires. Soloman F, Marston RQ. The Medical Implications of Nuclear War. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1986: 7396.
16.Craver, RH, Martin, SB, Bacon, DP, et alNuclear Weapon Induced Urban Fires and Smoke Injection. Bellevue, NE: Defense Supply Service SAIC; 1987.
17. Northop JA. Handbook of Nuclear Weapons Effects: Calculational Tools Abstracted from EM-1. Washington, DC: Defense Special Weapons Agency; 1996, Table 6.1.
18. Effects Manual-1 (EM-1). DNA-EM1991.Washington, DC: Defense Nuclear Agency; 1991.
19.WE Program [computer program]. Pittsburgh: Defense Nuclear Agency; 1997.
20. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. HPAC Web site. http://www.dtra.mil/newsservices/fact_sheets/display.cfm?fs=hpac. Accessed August 27, 2007.
21. ESRI [computer program]. ArcView 9.2. GIS and Mapping Software, 2007.
22. US Census Bureau: PHC-T-40 [database online]. Estimated Daytime Population and Employment-Residence Ratios; 2000. http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/daytime/daytimepop.html. Accessed June 26, 2007.
24.Openshaw, S, Steadman, P, Greene, O, et alBritain After Nuclear Attack. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Scientific; 1983.
25. National Planning Scenarios: Executive Summaries. July 2004. http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/report/2004/hsc-planning-scenarios-jul04.htm. Accessed September 21, 2007.
26. ES&H Manual Document 22.6. Exposure to Radiation in an Emergency. Livermore, CA: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; 2003.
27.Alpen, EL, Sheline, GE.The combined effects of thermal burns and whole body X irradiation on survival time and mortality. Ann Surg. 1954;140:113118.
28.Baxter, H, Drummond, JA, Stevens-Nesham, LG, et alReduction of mortality in swine from combined total body radiation and thermal burns by streptomycin. Ann Surg. 1953;137:450455.
29.Abrams, HL, von Kaenel, WE.Medical survivors of nuclear war: infection and the spread of communicable disease. N Engl J Med. 1981;305:12261232.
30.McIrvine, AJ, O’Mahony, JB, Saporoschetz, I.Depressed immune response in burn patients. Ann Surg. 1982;196:297304.
31.Munster, AM.Immunologic response to trauma and burns: overview. Am J Med. 1984;176:142145.
32. Volunteers in Police Service. Federal Emergency Management Agency Web site. http://www.citizencorps.gov/programs/vips.shtm. Accessed August 27, 2007.
33. Medical Reserve Corps. Medical Reserve Corps Web site. http://www.medicalreservecorps.gov. Accessed August 27, 2007.
34. ArcGIS 9 ESRI Data and Maps. Media kit [database]. Redlands, CA: ESRI; 2004.
35.Handbook for Emergencies. Geneva: UNHCR; 1982.
36.Kent Harding, D.Camp Planning. Geneva: UNHCR; 1987.
37. Norwegian Refugee Council Camp Management. NRC Web site. http://www.nrc.no/?did=9072071. Accessed August 27, 2007.
38.Leslie, CL, Cushman, M, McDonald, GS, Joshi, W, Maynard, AM.Management of multiple burn casualties in a high volume ED without a verified burn unit. Am J Emerg Med. 2001;19:469473.
39.Waselenko, JK.Medical management of the acute radiation syndrome: recommendations of the Strategic National Stockpile Radiation Working Group. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140:10371051.
40.Kumar, P, Jagetia, GC.A review of triage and management of burns victims following a nuclear disaster. Burns. 1994;20:307402.
41.Rivara, FP, Nathens, AB, Jurkovich, GJ, et alDo trauma centers have the capacity to respond to disasters?. Injury, infection and critical care. J Trauma. 2006;61:949953.
42.Gonzalez, AJ.Radiation protection in the aftermath of a terrorist attack involving exposure to ionizing radiation. Health Phys Soc. 2005;89:418446.

Keywords

Prediction Modeling to Determine the Adequacy of Medical Response to Urban Nuclear Attack

  • Cham E. Dallas and William C. Bell

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed