The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been leading a four-day, theoretical nuclear preparedness drill known as Operation Gotham Shield that started on Monday. The scenario is a simulation involving 10,000 tons of improvised nuclear device going off on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel. The Operation was designed to prepare workers in New York City with an evacuation plan should a nuclear attack take place. According to a radiation emergency preparedness document from the Department of Energy, the drills are to occur between April 18 and May 5 this year.

Theoretical simulations

Lauren Lefebvre, a FEMA spokesperson, told the media that the focus of the event was on inter-agency and multi-state coordination during a nuclear incident. This was something that was planned well in advance, serving as a test of our ability to communicate across federal, state, and local levels. In other words, the disaster preparedness drills had nothing to do with nuclear missile tests conducted in North Korea. The exercises follow an earlier exercise called Operation Northern Lights 2016. Similar drills are also happening in Washington D.C. and Albany.

Nuclear detonations

A simulation is hosted online by the Nuclear Darkness website for visitors to map out the immense areas destroyed by the nuclear firestorms created by the explosion of a nuclear weapon. The simulator claims to produce 10 percent to 20 percent accuracy for explosions ranging from 15 kilotons to 2,000 kilotons. The map includes areas of certain mass fires, probable mass fires and fireball height, which are the result of an algorithm created based on the information from “The Effects of Nuclear Weapons” by Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan.

Terrorist attack drills

In addition the Nuclear Bomb preparedness drills, and coordinated terror attack drills are being held in Washington D.C. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Government issued a statement saying that the drill was designed to prepare for “the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack” in the National Capital Region. The exercises are staged at six sites in the Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia areas, involving the police, fire department, and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel and “volunteer actors." Scott Boggs, Managing Director of Homeland Security and Public Safety at COG, said that there was no reason for residents to be alarmed, because the exercises will occur in a controlled environment.

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