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Safe from Harm? Massive Attack Nuclear Worst-Case Scenario for Civil Protection in Germany Regarding High-Risk Zones of Exposure, Vulnerability, and Safe Havens

  • New risk geographies are emerging with war and conflict resurfacing, including nuclear threats. This poses challenges to civil protection for conducting risk-informed preparedness planning. A spatial assessment of Germany and Europe is conducted using a geographic information system. Buffer circles of nuclear explosion effects and fallout buffers show potentially exposed areas around major cities. Different scenarios indicate shrinking areas safe from exposure. However, even in a densely populated country, rural areas and smaller cities can be identified that could provide sites for evacuation shelters. Changing wind directions poses a challenge for civil protection planning because fallout risk covers most German territory even when few cities are attacked. However, wind speeds and topography can help identify suitable shelter areas. More knowledge about the temporal development of a nuclear explosion and its specific forms of harm can also help to improve risk knowledge and planning. While nuclear warfare at first seems to render useless any option for safe areas and survival, the spatial risk assessment shows that exposure does not occur at all places at all times. Being safe from harm will be difficult in such a worst-case scenario, but avoiding large city perimeters and being informed can also help reduce risk.

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Author:Alexander Fekete
Parent Title (English):Challenges
Editor:Susan Prescott
Document Type:Article
Date of first Publication:2022/09/29
Date of Publication (online):2022/11/08
GND-Keyword:Atomkrieg; Evakuierung; Geoinformationssystem; Risikomanagement; Zivilschutz
Tag:GIS; civil defense; contingency planning; disaster risk management; disaster risk reduction; evacuation; fallout; nuclear war; risk geographies
Page Number:19
Institutes:Anlagen, Energie- und Maschinensysteme (F09) / Fakultät 09 / Institut für Rettungsingenieurwesen und Gefahrenabwehr
Dewey Decimal Classification:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften
Open Access:Open Access
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International