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Launch of Rad Resilient City Initiative

Center is Preparing Cities to Save Lives Following Nuclear Terrorism

On September 27, 2011, the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC (now the UPMC Center for Health Security) convened a meeting at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to launch the Rad Resilient City Initiative with the release of the Rad Resilient City Preparedness Checklist, a planning tool that can help save 100,000 lives or more following a nuclear detonation. 

The prospect of nuclear terrorism is unfortunately very real. There is enough fissile material in the world to make more than 120,000 nuclear weapons.1 Terrorist groups have stated that they seek and have attempted to acquire nuclear weapons.2 Should these or other groups acquire fissile material, the information they’ll need to guide them in making a weapon is publicly available.3 As President Obama said in 2010, “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.”4

The Center fully supports the many critical efforts currently underway to secure fissile material, stop proliferation, and prevent nuclear terrorism. But we also recognize the need for sound plans to respond and save lives should prevention fail. In the event of a nuclear detonation, reducing exposure to fallout is the one action that could save the most lives—as many as 100,000 lives in a major US city. 

The Rad Resilient City Preparedness Checklist is a planning tool that converts the latest federal guidance and technical reports into clear, actionable steps for communities to take to protect their residents. It reflects the studied judgment of the Nuclear Resilience Expert Advisory Group (NREAG), a panel led by the Center for Biosecurity (now the UPMC Center for Health Security) that comprises government decision makers, scientific experts, emergency responders, and leaders from business, volunteer, and community sectors. 

Senators Endorse the Initiative

Senators Bob Graham and Jim Talent, leaders of the Bipartisan WMD Terrorism Research Center and of the former Congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism endorse the initiative: In World at Risk, we expressly recommended the development of "a publicly available checklist of actions each level of government should take to prevent or ameliorate the consequences of WMD terrorism. Such a checklist could be used by citizens to hold their governments accountable for action or inaction."  The Rad Resilient City project has answered this call to action.

Read press release • Visit Rad Resilient City on the web • Go to RRC workbook

References

  1. Fissile Materials Working Group–Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Preventing nuclear terrorism. March 30, 2010.http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/fissile-materials-working-group/preventing-nuclear-terrorism. Accessed September 23, 2011.

  2. Bunn M, Morozov Y, Mowatt-Larrsen R, et al. The U.S.-Russia Joint Threat Assessment of Nuclear Terrorism. Cambridge, MA: Report for Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies; June 6, 2011.http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/Joint-Threat-Assessment%20ENG%2027%20May%202011.pdf. Accessed September 23, 2011.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Remarks by the President at the Opening Plenary Session of the Nuclear Security Summit, April 13, 2010. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-opening-plenary-session-nuclear-security-summit. Accessed September 23, 2011.