If the West did bomb Iran’s nuclear plant

The new study provides the only available scientific predictions to date about what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might actually mean.  Dallas, who was previously the director of the Center for Mass Destruction Defense at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is quick to point out that the study received no U.S. government funding or oversight.  “No one wanted this research to happen,” he adds.

Who Will Drop the Next Nuclear Bomb? We ignore the ever-growing global arsenal of nuclear weapons at our peril. The Nation,  Nick Turse   May 13, 2013   “……. Iranian cities — owing to geography, climate, building construction, and population densities — are particularly vulnerable to nuclear attack, according to a new study, “Nuclear War Between Israel and Iran: Lethality Beyond the Pale,” published in the journal Conflict & Health by researchers from the University of Georgia and Harvard University. It is the first publicly released scientific assessment of what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might actually mean for people in the region.

Its scenarios are staggering.  An Israeli attack on the Iranian capital of Tehran using five 500-kiloton weapons would, the study estimates, kill seven million people — 86% of the population — and leave close to 800,000 wounded.  A strike with five 250-kiloton weapons would kill an estimated 5.6 million and injure 1.6 million, according to predictions made using an advanced software package designed to calculate mass casualties from a nuclear detonation.

Estimates of the civilian toll in other Iranian cities are even more horrendous.  A nuclear assault on the city of Arak, the site of a heavy water plant central to Iran’s nuclear program, would potentially kill 93% of its 424,000 residents.  Three 100-kiloton nuclear weapons hitting the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas would slaughter an estimated 94% of its 468,000 citizens, leaving just 1% of the population uninjured.  A multi-weapon strike on Kermanshah, a Kurdish city with a population of 752,000, would result in an almost unfathomable 99.9% casualty rate.

Cham Dallas, the director of the Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense at the University of Georgia and lead author of the study, says that the projections are the most catastrophic he’s seen in more than 30 years analyzing weapons of mass destruction and their potential effects.  “The fatality rates are the highest of any nuke simulation I’ve ever done,” he told me by phone from the nuclear disaster zone in Fukushima, Japan, where he was doing research.  “It’s the perfect storm for high fatality rates.”

Israel has never confirmed or denied possessing nuclear weapons, but is widelyknown to have up to several hundred nuclear warheads in its arsenal.  Iran has no nuclear weapons and its leaders claim that its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes only.  Published reports suggest that American intelligence agencies and Israel’s intelligence service are in agreement: Iran suspended its nuclear weapons development program in 2003. ……

According to Dallas and his colleagues, the marked disparity between estimated fatalities in Israel and Iran can be explained by a number of factors.  As a start, Israel is presumed to have extremely powerful nuclear weapons and sophisticated delivery capabilities including long-range Jericho missiles, land-based cruise missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and advanced aircraft with precision targeting technology…….

The number of fatalities at Hiroshima has been estimated at 140,000.  A nuclear attack on Nagasaki three days later is thought to have killed 70,000.  Today, according to Dallas, 15-kiloton nuclear weapons of the type used on Japan are referred to by experts as “firecracker nukes” due to their relative weakness.

In addition to killing more than 5.5 million people, a strike on Tehran involving five 250-kiloton weapons — each of them 16 times more powerful than thebomb dropped on Hiroshima — would result in an estimated 803,000 third-degree burn victims, with close to 300,000 others suffering second degree burns, and 750,000 to 880,000 people severely exposed to radiation. “Those people with thermal burns over most of their bodies we can’t help,” says Dallas.  “Most of these people are not going to survive… there is no saving them.  They’ll be in intense agony.”  As you move out further from the site of the blast, he says, “it actually gets worse.  As the damage decreases, the pain increases, because you’re not numb.”

In a best case scenario, there would be 1,000 critically injured victims for every surviving doctor but “it will probably be worse,” according to Dallas.  Whatever remains of Tehran’s healthcare system will be inundated with an estimated 1.5 million trauma sufferers.  In a feat of understatement, the researchers report that survivors “presenting with combined injuries including either thermal burns or radiation poisoning are unlikely to have favorable outcomes.” …..

The new study provides the only available scientific predictions to date about what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might actually mean.  Dallas, who was previously the director of the Center for Mass Destruction Defense at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is quick to point out that the study received no U.S. government funding or oversight.  “No one wanted this research to happen,” he adds. http://www.thenation.com/article/174295/who-will-drop-next-nuclear-bomb#

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