Warning: This article has not yet been accepted for publication by a peer reviewed journal. It is presented here mainly for the benefit of fellow researchers. Casual readers should not act on its findings, and journalists should be wary of reporting them.
clinmed/2002010001v1 (January 11, 2002)
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Projected Casualties from a Terrorist Nuclear Explosion in a Large Urban Area
Ira Helfand, Lachlan Forrow, and Jaya Tiwari
The events of September 11 have focused attention of the possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack. Using software generated by the U.S Federal Emergency Management Agency, the authors have calculated the expected casualties from a 12.5 kiloton nuclear explosion in New York Harbor. 52,000 would be killed immediately from blast and thermal effect, more than 200,000 would die from radiation exposure and several hundred thousand more would suffer radiation sickness. Medical response after the fact would be of limited effect; primary prevention must be emphasized.