Professionally converted for accurate e-book format reproduction, this important and highly regarded Medical NBC Battlebook excerpt covering radiological hazards and the nuclear battlefield – nuclear power plants, weapon accidents, nuclear detonations, treatment of radiation injuries, fallout, radioisotopes, and much more. Increased risk from radiological hazards may exist in areas where ionizing radiation levels are elevated above normal background levels. In some cases the radioactive material must be internalized in order to present a hazard to the individual. On the battlefield, the primary radiological threats are from radiological dispersal weapons, industrial and medical sources, and commodities containing radioactive material. The threat may be very localized such as a diagnostic nuclear medicine source in a single room in a hospital or wide spread environmental contamination such as the fallout from the accident at Chernobyl. The primary consequence of exposure to low levels of radiation is an increase in the risk of developing cancer in the longer-term post exposure. To minimize the threats from radiological hazards, one needs to identify the sources of the hazards, understand the health risk from the hazards, use precautions to avoid exposures, and document the situation.
The problems facing medical planners and commanders in preparing for operations on a nuclear battlefield can be divided into two distinct categories. The first category, staff-level planning and operational activities, includes those actions that must be accomplished prior to the initiation of a nuclear war to minimize the prompt effects of enemy nuclear attacks. The second category, unit planning and operational activities, includes those actions which must be accomplished at the unit level to minimize the immediate and delayed effects of enemy nuclear attacks in order to ensure continued effective medical operations in a nuclear environment.
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