Papers: PDF OnlyGant K. S.; Chester, C. V.Health Physics: September 1981 - p 455-463 Buy Abstract An effective civil defense program can reduce prompt fatalities in a nuclear war to a few percent of the population. Under these circumstances, the number of possible delayed cancer deaths among the survivors due to radiation exposure is of concern. These deaths were estimated for a 5000-MT attack on a population of the contiguous U.S. which had been 80% evacuated from risk areas and provided with shelters of varying protection factors. Under the assumptions of the study, the principle radiation exposure was from external exposure received in recovery operations outside the shelter during the first year. Radiogenic cancer deaths were examined by year of occurrence and age group exposed. Under our assumptions, which include a continuing exposure control program, radiogenic cancer will cause an average loss of life expectancy of less than 1.2 yr. Further evacuation from the most highly contaminated areas, better shelters, and limited daily radiation exposure can reduce the expected cancer effects. If daily exposures of 6 R/day are necessary in recovery operations, the average loss of life expectancy from radiogenic cancer can be lowered to 0.2 yr for the population as a whole by minimizing the exposure of the people under 40 yr old. Use of stored food for the first year can diminish the impact of ingestion of contaminated food. Radiogenic cancer is unlikely to present any threat to the survival of society in any case, but prudent exposure management can reduce the number of cancer deaths in the years after the attack. © Lippincott-Raven Publishers.