Human consequences of multiple nuclear detonations in New Delhi (India): Interdisciplinary requirements in triage management

Samir P. Desai, William C. Bell, Curtis Harris, Frederick M. Burkle, Cham E. Dallas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The human casualties from simulated nuclear detonation scenarios in New Delhi, India are analyzed, with a focus on the distribution of casualties in urban environments and the theoretical application of a nuclear-specific triage system with significant innovation in interdisciplinary disaster management applicable generally to urban nuclear detonation medical response. Model estimates of nuclear war casualties employed ESRI’s ArcGIS 9.3, blast and prompt radiation were calculated using the Defense Nuclear Agency’s WE program, and fallout radiation was calculated using the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA’s) Hazard Prediction and Assessment Capability (HPAC) V404SP4, as well as custom GIS and database software applications. ESRI ArcGISTM programs were used to calculate affected populations from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s LandScan™ 2007 Global Population Dataset for areas affected by thermal, blast and radiation data. Trauma, thermal burn, and radiation casualties were thus estimated on a geographic basis for New Delhi, India for single and multiple (six) 25 kt detonations and a single 1 mt (1000 kt) detonation. Major issues related to the emergency management of a nuclear incident are discussed with specific recommendations for improvement. The consequences for health management of thermal burn and radiation patients is the worst, as burn patients require enormous resources to treat, and there will be little to no familiarity with the treatment of radiation victims. Of particular importance is the interdisciplinary cooperation necessary for such a large-scale emergency response event, which would be exemplified by efforts such as the application of a Nuclear Global Health Workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1740
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Foreign medical teams
  • Global health workforce
  • India
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Nuclear disasters
  • Public health emergen-cies
  • Triage
  • World health organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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