The March 2011 explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in Japan left many Americans wondering how the U.S. response would fare in the event of a nuclear catastrophe. The answer, according to a recent report, is not well.
“Japan was not prepared for a meltdown,” said Ira Helfand, MD, North American vice president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, which released the March 6 report. “The U.S. remains dangerously unprepared.”
Were such an incident to take place at one of the 104 nuclear reactors in the United States, it would require an emergency response unprecedented in U.S. history. Depending on the location of the stricken reactor, responders might be called on to evacuate tens of millions of people, something that has never been done and something many emergency response officials doubt would be possible.
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