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Letter from Tom Inglesby, MD,
Director of the Center for Biosecurity

The Center for Biosecurity has just launched
the Rad Resilient City Initiative, September 27, 2011

rrcMy colleagues at the Center for Biosecurity , the Rad Resilient City Project team, and I appreciate your interest in this initiative, the goal of which is to help American cities get “rad resilient” by taking the actions now that will help prepare cities and communities to save lives that would otherwise be lost to radiation fallout in the event of 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 

We fully support the many critical efforts currently underway to secure fissile material, stop proliferation, and prevent nuclear terrorism. But we also recognize the need for sounds 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 U.S. 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 that comprises government decision makers, scientific experts, emergency responders, and leaders from business, volunteer, and community sectors. 

Over the coming months, the Center for Biosecurity and other members of the NREAG will be presenting the Rad Resilient City Preparedness Checklist to cities and audiences around the country. Our website will provide information on these events as they happen.

We welcome your ideas for how we can most effectively broadcast the availability and importance of the Checklist, including suggestions for presentation venues. To request a briefing or recommend a conference or other meeting where we should present the checklist, please email us at radresilience@upmc-biosecurity.org with your request or suggestion.     

Thank you again for your interest in helping American cities get “rad resilient.”

Thomas Inglesby, MD
Director, Center for Biosecurity

  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.