US states are “poorly prepared” for radiation emergency, AMA reports

Study: U.S. States ‘Poorly Prepared’ For Radiation Emergency
Eric Lach | March 15, 2011, 1:22PM

As Japan struggles to bring its spiraling nuclear catastrophe under control, a new study in a journal published by the American Medical Association (AMA) finds that, from a public health standpoint, U.S. states are “poorly prepared” to respond to a major radiation emergency.

“[T]he nation remains poorly prepared to respond adequately to a major radiation emergency incident,” the study, titled “State-Level Emergency Preparedness and Response Capabilities,” says. “Capabilities are insufficient or inadequate throughout the functions assessing planning in state health departments, resources in the state health department and other state agencies, and relationships with federal and other partners. For some measures, as many as 85% of responding states reported insufficient capability to respond to a radiation incident.”

38 state health departments participated in the survey, including 26 of the 31 states that have nuclear power plants. States with nuclear power plants were asked to consider their responses independent of plant-specific plans and resources.

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