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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2002 August;93(4):227-74


language: Italian

The biological effects of a nuclear explosion. Introduction of a new system on a colorimetric scale (Black, Grey, Red, Orange, Yellow and White Zone) to estimate the effects of fall-out on civilian populations

Nacci G.


Following September 11 the eventuality of terrorist attacks using bags containing nuclear devices is considered possible in western cities like New York, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Moscow etc. However, with a modern Civil Defence programme the effects of a catastrophe of this nature can be partially limited, at least as far as Fall-out is concerned. The present paper explains the medical reasons for building anti-fall-out shelters for the larger part of western populations: from the USA to Russia. The paper also sets out a new method for classifying levels of radioactive Fall-out based on a scale of colours (black, grey, red, orange, yellow and white) whatever kind of radioactivity is involved (total gamma levels, Cesium 137 levels, Strontium 90 levels). The arrival times for fall-out in each area of the scale are fixed, whatever the energy of the explosion and the speed of the wind might be. The radioactive decay in each area of the scale, from the time of arrival of the fall-out is described with precision. Also described are the acute radiation syndrome, tumours, miscarriages and genetic diseases. A nomogram is attached for civil defence purposes showing the leeward extension of these areas, easily measurable in just a few minutes, if four parameters are known: ground zero (locality) of the explosion, the energy of the explosion, the direction of the wind and the speed of the wind.

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