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Knowing the way in which an incident has to be dealt with helps a lot in the recovery from that incident. Some incidences, especially those involving nuclear, chemical, and/ or biological accidents, can be fatal if mishandled by the parties that are given the mandate to handle them. It is not the very incident that is problematic, but rather an approach that is adopted by the disaster recovery and management team. It is naturally expected that during an incident, someone has to be responsible for answering all the questions that arise. In this essay, the author will discuss the incident that happened on USS Mazeltov, a U. S. navy nuclear-powered submarine, on the Navy Pier, 32nd street in San Diego Harbor. The explosion was followed by a leak of radioactive plutonium – 239. At that time, the personnel aboard the submarine were enjoying their Thanksgiving Day dinner. It is worth mentioning at this point that the actual cause of the nuclear incident was not clear, so none of the ideas would be given prominence or ignored. The analysis of the situation will cover specific approaches that are meant to address the entirety of the operation. In this incident, it is prudent to have a strategy that suggests employing methods offered by Affeltranger (2007).

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Tactical Management

First of all, in this case, it would be prudent to set up different teams that will address different issues. An independent team of experts in nuclear engineering and other related fields is the first priority issue (Affeltranger, 2007). The mandate of the team is to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the level of the leak, the level of exposure, and the level of spread to the environment, both inland and on the water mass since fish are also at risk of exposure to the harmful radiation.

The team will also assess the cause and define whether it was human negligence, technical malfunction or aging, or an act of terrorism, which in this case cannot be overlooked. The tactical team will also include health professionals to ensure that the services of psychologists and psychiatrists are provided. Inclusive also are the services of a government spokesperson for information releases to the press and addressing the concerns raised during press conferences (Saxena, Shah & Mishra, 2009, p. 28 +).

Field Staff, Technical Staff, and Safety

One thing that is clear is that all field officers are at risk of exposure to the harmful radiations of plutonium – 239. In this case, all field officers are required to wear special suits that are specially made to protect people from nuclear radiations (Shaluf, 2007). It is known that nuclear radiations have the potential of causing a wide range of diseases and defects upon exposure and thus no risks can be taken. The mandate of field staff is to determine the extent of distribution of the radiations. Then the field officers feed their findings to the technical team, located indoor, to make an analysis of the patterns of distribution of the radiation and predict, with the help of appropriate tools,  the likely direction of the field, the radius of evacuation, and quarantine of people, animals, and property. For example, it is the mandate of this team to determine whether the Harbor ought to be closed and for how long, and means of cleaning the area affected before repopulation.

In their monitoring, sample taking, and analysis, it is good to utilize real-time online technical support like RODOS (real-time online decision support system) which is essential in such situational analysis (Bertsch, Treitz, Geldermann, & Rentz, 2007). RODOS approach acknowledges that though it is possible that such radiations may be small, it is also clear that the aftermath of the incident can have far-reaching consequences that must be considered (Bertsch et al., 2007). This system ensures comprehensive coverage of radiation incidences and decision support with evidence from past occurrences (Bertsch et al., 2007).

The RODOS approach is mainly known for its trio characteristics which include analysis subsystem (ASY) that is good at analyzing data being gathered from the fields, as well as making simulations and prediction/ forecast on the likely pattern to follow, based on meteorological data of the contaminated area (Bertsch et al., 2007). The second characteristic is the countermeasure subsystem (CSY) which is a module based on analyzed data. It is able to simulate potential countermeasures (Bertsch et al., 2007). This system is capable of calculating whether the approach is feasible. It also defines the potential consequences of the approach (Bertsch et al., 2007). The last characteristic of RODOS is the evaluation subsystem (ESY) that offers support to decision-makers on various decisions’ efficacy and countermeasures available. It also focuses on the recovery strategies in realtime (Mustajoki & Hämäläinen, 2000; Geldermann et al., 2005; Bertsch et al., 2007).

Psychosocial Support

The occurrence of disasters and catastrophes can be quite devastating. According to the classification of disasters in Shaluf (2007), this incident falls under the category of manmade disasters. This is because it might have been an accident as per the findings of the tactical team. Sometimes it might be a failure of the vessel itself, which also falls under the same category.

Knowing the incident is not enough. What is needed is offering support to the persons affected and their families, as well as to those living in the neighborhood (Affeltranger, 2007). This requires a combination of medical doctors, especially radiologists and psychiatrists, to properly manage different societal conditions that might arise (including the occurrence of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which is a possibility too).

Social support might also include support of families that are displaced from the contaminated environment. They leave their livelihood and businesses for an indefinite time and need to integrate with others in a new environment, as well as cater to the basic needs of the family (Affeltranger, 2007).

Information and the Media

The way in which sensitive information concerning potential disasters is handled plays an important role in civilians’ receiving that information (Saxena, Shah, & Mishra, 2009). Saxena, Shah and Mishra (2009) continue to note that in the current age, it is inevitable that the media plays a central role during disaster management.

Sometimes, due to challenging and sometimes biased information emanating from the journalists, some responders and spokespersons are fast to ignore or hide crucial information from the journalists (Saxena, Shah, & Mishra, 2009). Many communication channels are used to pass crucial information to those affected. For example, utilization of visible and audible media, use of mobile communication equipment; leaflets together with radios and television among others are essential (Saxena, Shah, & Mishra, 2009)

In dealing with the media, like radio and television, it is essential that journalists are given what needs to be given. This is explained by the fact that failure to do this will result in their finding other means of getting that information (Saxena, Shah, & Mishra, 2009). The problem is not in obtaining information, but rather in how that information will be passed to them (Saxena, Shah, & Mishra, 2009). In this case, a team consisting of a government spokesperson or one that is appointed to act in place of the government spokesperson shall lead the team consisting of psychiatrists, forensic analysis experts, radiologists, military spokespersons, navy representatives,  legal advisers and analysts.

This team’s mandate is mainly to address the journalists and give all necessary information concerning the whole operation and its progress (Saxena, Shah, & Mishra, 2009). It is good to note that the initial phases of the media coverage are crucial since they are meant to pass the information and clarify possible misconceptions in the rumors that are spreading on the incident.

Upon completion of the task, it is expected that a report will be compiled on the findings and measures, challenges, and decisions made in the process. This means that during the whole process, there needs to be note-taking on every aspect both in the field and at the decision desk.


In conclusion, it is clear that although it is claimed that a minor ‘incident’ took place aboard USS Mazeltov, a nuclear-powered submarine on  Navy Pier in San Diego, the consequences are likely to be far-reaching. These eleven mysterious deaths are a cause for alarm since it is not clear just how far the radiations have gone. In this context, to form a commission to look into the incidence is a prudent idea. This commission will entail, among other people, nuclear engineers, forensic analysts, navy officials, radiologists, psychiatrists, and a spokesperson, to mention but a few. In this paper, it has been demonstrated how four crucial categories were employed to ensure comprehensive coverage of the incident. This included the tactical team, field staff and safety, psychosocial support, and the media. Every discipline is as important as the other and the application of the RODOS approach aids in ensuring better and comprehensive real-time support during the whole process. Lastly, it is important that the media are provided with the right information since it will ensure the elimination of doubts and rumors that might destroy the public morale on the incident.

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