Operation Golden Phoenix is LA county's annual Homeland Security-sponsored preparedness exercise, designed to improve coordination among the many disaster response organizations and to give everyone a raging case of the "Oh my God, could that really happen?"s. For this year's drill, the organizers fake-exploded a 10 kiloton improvised nuclear device "during the morning rush, at a metro station a stone's throw from Universal Studios," reports USA Today. Such a blast would immediately kill tens of thousands, blind drivers miles away, and destroy buildings in a half-mile radius. Survivors will have to protect themselves from radiation--the best places to go are tall buildings and basements, neither of which Los Angeles is well-known for. What we do have is underground parking garages, where "you'd have no significant exposure at all," according to a health physicist who's done research on nuclear blasts for the Department of Homeland Security. But don't let all this get you panicked or anything. One of the designers of the exercise tells the paper "This is a survivable event...L.A. isn't going to fall into the ocean and be gone forever. It will be a really bad day, but we need everyone to show up to work and save lives."
· L.A. dry run shows urban nuke attack 'a survivable event' [USA Today]