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WMD TerrorismScience and Policy Choices$
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Stephen M. Maurer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012980

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012980.001.0001

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Recovering from Nuclear and Radiological Attacks

Recovering from Nuclear and Radiological Attacks

Chapter:
(p.329) 12 Recovering from Nuclear and Radiological Attacks
Source:
WMD Terrorism
Author(s):

Christine Hartmann Siantar

Tammy P. Taylor

C. Norman Coleman

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012980.003.0012

This chapter reviews the science and technology behind nuclear preparedness and response. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 12.1 briefly reviews modern civil defense and the physical characteristics of nuclear weapons and radiation dispersal devices (“dirty bombs” or RDDs). Section 12.2 explores the biological effects of radiation. Section 12.3 examines current and projected technologies for managing and treating radiation victims. Section 12.4 describes what is known about radioactive contamination in the environment and current plans to address it. Section 12.5 examines current environmental decontamination technologies. Section 12.6 identifies some R&D priorities for the future. The chapter concludes that investments in civil defense and decontamination are very small relative to what is already known and could be done. Further technological improvements will require a deeper understanding of contamination pathways and chemistry.

Keywords:   nuclear preparedness, civil defense, nuclear weapons, radiation dispersal devices, terrorist attacks, decontamination

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