what you need to know in the nuclear age

This map is adapted from a 1980 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) publication designed to provide FEMA and State and local civil preparedness officials with a basis for planning civil preparedness programs aimed at surviving any possible nuclear attack.

The designated high risk areas do not constitute a prediction that any particular target will be hit, but they are the places considered by FEMA in 1980 as most likely to be attacked. That was during the Cold War when the Soviet Union and China were this country's most likely adversaries, but they remain likely targets because Russia still has hundreds of nuclear-tipped missiles aimed at the U.S. (we don't know about the Chinese weapons), and many are likely terrorist targets or places where nuclear accidents could occur. They are:

  • U.S. military installations
  • Military-supporting industrial, transportation, and logistics facilities
  • Other basic industries and facilities important to the U.S. economy (such as nuclear power plants)
  • Population concentrations of 50,000 or greater

It should be kept in mind that areas of the country outside these likely targets are vulnerable to weather-dispersed radioactive fallout. No location is entirely safe, but some are obviously safer than others. Of course chance is a large factor in any nuclear scenario.




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