On March 28,1979, a near nuclear catastrophe occurred at Three Mile Island (TMI) near Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. I was at that time Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health. It was an accident that just “could not happen.” After all, nuclear power plants were built so safely that they could not possibly affect public health.
As a physician, lam compelled to say that I am unalterably opposed to nuclear warfare. I am sure that most physicians would agree that there can be no adequate preparedness for the devastating medical consequences of nuclear war. Prevention of nuclear war is the only reasonable medical response to the hazards posed by nuclear weapons.
By contrast, many of you may not share my position on nuclear power. Nuclear power can be made relatively safe if we do not ignore the public health lessons of the past. I belive that physicians need to increase and update their understandings of the medical consequences of radiation accidents and be trained to triage and to treat blast, radiation, and burn injuries.