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Preparing to Save Lives and Recover
After a Nuclear Catastrophe: Implications for US Policy
"Two decades after the end of the Cold War, we face a cruel irony of history - the risk of a nuclear confrontation between nations has gone down, but the risk of nuclear attack has gone up."
President Barack Obama, Remarks at the Nuclear Security Summit, April 13, 2010
On April 29, 2010, the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC convened an invitational conference in Washington, DC, to examine critical issues associated with response to and recovery from a nuclear detonation and to consider the policy implications of those issues. The meeting was attended by more than 150 participants, who included federal, state, and local government officials, congressional staff, policy analysts, academics, members of the media, and experienced practitioners from the public health, medical, and emergency management communities. The conference was sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Among the day's presenters were Joan Rohlfing, President, NTI; Brooke Buddemeier, Global Security Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL); John Fortier, Executive Director, AEI/Brookings Continuity of Government Commission; and White House officials David Marcozzi and Tammy Taylor, both of whom spoke off-the-record. The meeting also featured 3 distinguished panels that explored some of the most difficult challenges that would face policymakers in the event of a nuclear detonation. Panelists discussed proposals for strengthening preparedness efforts. See the Conference Agenda for a complete list of speakers, panels, and presentations.
Suggested background reading:
- Mowatt-Larssen R. Nightmares of nuclear terrorism. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 2010;66(2):37-45.
- Coleman CN, Hrdina C, Bader JL, Norwood A, Hayhurst R, Forsha J, Yeskey K, Knebel A. Medical response to a radiologic/nuclear event integrated plan from the office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Department of Health and Human Services. Annals of Emergency Medicine. February 2009;53(2):213-22.
- Courtney B, Toner E, Waldhorn R. Preparing the healthcare system for catastrophic emergencies. Biosecur Bioterror. 2009 Mar;7(1):33-4.
- Franco C, Toner E, Waldhorn R, Inglesby TV, O'Toole T. The national disaster medical system: Past, present, and suggestions for the future (Article Brief). Biosecur Bioterror. 2007;5(4):319-325.
- Florig HK, Fischhoff B. Individuals' decisions affecting radiation exposure after a nuclear explosion. Health Phys. 92(5):475-483, 2007.
- Becker SM. Emergency communication and information issues in terrorist events involving radioactive materials. Biosecur Bioterror. 2004;2(3):195-207.
- Sorensen J. Risk communication and terrorism. Biosecur Bioterror. 2004;2(3):229-31. Accessed April 15, 2010.
- Weinstock DM, Case C, Bader JL, Chao NJ, et al. Radiologic and nuclear events: Contingency planning for hematologists/oncologists. Blood. 2008;111(12).
- Hrdina CM, Coleman CN, Bogucki S, Bader JL, Hayhurst RE, Forsha JD, Marcozzi D, Yeskey K, Knebel AR. The "RTR" medical response system for nuclear and radiological mass-casualty incidents: A functional TRiage-TReatment-TRansport medical response model. Prehospital Disast Med. 2009;24(3):167-178.
- Graham R, Talent J, Larsen R. We all have a role: Working with your community to prepare for natural and man-made disasters. Washington, DC: Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism; 2010.