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FEMA-160 - Recovery From Nuclear Attack

FEMA-160 - Recovery From Nuclear Attack

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Published by rlnac
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY FEMA 160 I October 1988
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY FEMA 160 I October 1988

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Published by: rlnac on Aug 04, 2010
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10/25/2012

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FEDERAL
EMERGENCY
MANAGEMENT
AGENCY
FEMA
160
I
October
1988
.
RecoveryFromNuclear Attack,
\
 
RECOVERY
FROM NUCLEAR ATl'ACK
PREFACE
This report on Recovery From Nuclear Attack should be of interest to allconcerned with civil defense and nuclear attack.As pointed out in the report, the "impossibility" of recovery is often advancedas a reason for doing nothing to develop an effective civil defense program forthe United States. However, those who have devoted years to the study ofcivil defense
in
general, and postattack problems
in
particular, do not agreethat recovery would be impossible.There is no doubt whatsoever that if alarge-scale nuclear exchange shouldever occur, the result would be a massive disaster for the societies involved.The death, suffering, misery, and long-term consequences of various typeswould have few if any parallels in human
experience-and
certainly none inthe history of the United States. But this is not the same as saying that recovery would be "impossible: As the report says, "in years of research, noinsuperable barrier to recovery has been found."The genesis of this publication was the perceived need
to
respond to notinfrequent inquiries on nuclear attack recovery issues. The starting point wasa 1979"ResearchReport
on
Recovery From Nuclear Attack," published bythe Defense Civil Preparedness
Agency-a
predecessor to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Based on research and new concerns, thedocument is a significantly revised and updated effort to deal with the difficultissues of the effects of the use of nuclear weapons against the United States.
 
RECOVERY FROM
NUCLEAR ATTACK
II
RECOVERY FROM NUCLEAR ATTACK
II
INTRODUCTION
Should emergency planners,emergencypreparedness managers,
and
citizens
be
concernedwith the prospects
of
recovery from the awesome destruction
ca
u
se
d
by
a possiblenuclear attack
onthe
UnitedStates?
\'
;uld there
be
anyonel
eft
to facethepostwar world?
" is
clear that the superpowers are agreed that
"a
ruclearwar
is not winnable andshouldnot be fought
,-
But
the conclusion that nuclearwar
is
not
winnable
is
often transfonnedi
nl
otheproposition that nuclear
war
is nol survivable.Th
is
inaccurate perception may givecomfort tosomethatsucha war will
not
occur.But
it
also
can
discourage many others from taking those
modest
~commonsensicar
stepsthat would improve
greatlytheirownchances
of
survival,should anuclearwarin
fact
occur.
Surv;vaIOdcfs-
Many
people,
perhaps
a
majority
of
U.S.citizens,
are
lik
ely
to
surv
iv
e even an
~all-out~
attack
by
the SovietUnion,which presently hasthe greate
st
capability to threaten us.
By
~s
urvive~
is
meantto
be
alive
at
least thirty days afterward.Just how many
wou
ldsurvivewould depend greatty
on
thekind
of
attackand itssize,
to
say
nothing
01
civil defense.
By
'1<ind
of
attack
~
is meantwhat overwhelmingnationalpurpose theSovietsmight have lor launching the attack
and
th
ereforewhatsortsoftargets-military,induslrial, transportation,orgovernment facilities-might be theobjects
of
the attack.
By
·size of attack
M
is
meant
how
many warheadsmight arrive
at
targets
and
theexplo
sive
yieldof the resulting detonations.Needless to
say,
how many wouldsurvivecan vary
greaUy
even with a
low
level
of
civildefense preparedness because
01
problems
in
predicting veryreliably thekind
and
sizeof attackthat might occur.Both
the
U.S. andSovielgo
ve
rnments havespentagreatdeal of time
and
effortgaining
an
understandi
ng
of
nuclearweapon effects
and
calOJlatingthedamage andfatalities that mightresultfrom various kinds
and
sizesof attack.This is needed, ofcourse,for each to plan properly itsdefenses
and
forcestructure.
In
thecivildefense field, those planningfor survival orarguingagainst
suCh
plans
ha
ve
tended toemphasizean
all..out
or
~
mass
ive
"
nuclear attack,even though such
an
attackis
not
themost likely.
An
up-tO-date estimate
of
survivalodds
is
provided
by
the
MN
uclear Attack Planning
8ase-1990
,"
catted
NAP8-
90
[I),
published
by
theFederal EmergencyManagement Agencyin1987 without considering asuperpowerSTARTtreaty,which,
if
consummated,could markedly reduce the warheads available
oneach
side. NAP8-90 does, however, reflectthedrasticchanges thatoccurred between1975 and 1985inthe Soviet
st
rategicarsenal. Thesechanges
came
about
by
the substitution
of
MIRVs(Multiple Independently- .targetableReenlryVehicles)forsinglelarge-yield warheads
on
most Soviet ballistic missiles.There
are
nowmanymore warheads of much smaller explosivepower, with
an
overall reduction of total explosiveyieldavailable
and
reduced levels
of
potential
rad
ioactivefallout. Coupled with significant improvementsinweapon accuracy,
the
Sovietscouldthreaten
more
re
liabledamage to critical target facilities while reducingdamageto nearby populationcenters.Assumingsome warning but otherwise merely a
~
duck
and
cover" civil defense,the chances ofinjury ordeath in
an
NAP8-
90
attack are about:1
in
3 of being killed outright by blast or thermaleffects:,
in25
of
being killed by fallout radiation;
1
1
In
6 of being injured or ill
but
not fatally;Almost 1
in
2 of being uninjured.
It
can
be
seenthatthemajority
are
expected
to
survive,
even
with rudimentary civil defense.
It
can
be
anticipated that START agreements to halve the threat wouldfurther improve prospects forsurvival.
And
,of course,other civil defense measures could
add
substantially to survival
as
well.Infact, spontaneous evacuation of urban areas
on
a fairlylargescalecould
add
tens of millions of survivors, especially
in
an
attack
w~h
relatively fewsurface·burstweapons
and
thus areduced fallout threat. Experiencejustbefore andduring World War
II
and
in
the Korean
and
Vietnameseconflicts,
as
well
as
recent opinionsurveys suggestthat

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