Nuclear Disarmament

Nuclear weapon test Romeo on Bikini Atoll, 1954. Photo courtesy of the US Dept. of Energy

The existence of nuclear weapons poses the single greatest threat to humanity today. The stockpiles held by the United States, Russia, France, the U.K., China, India, Pakistan and Israel have the capacity to destroy the Earth hundreds of times over. As well, approximately 40 member-state parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have legally acquired nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and also therefore have the capability to develop nuclear weapons.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons and the threat of terrorists seeking to acquire them heightens the existing dangers.

The U.S., Russia, the U.K., France and China possessed nuclear weapons when the Treaty went into force, and committed to eliminate their arsenals.

Though the numbers have been reduced, much more must be done to achieve total prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. The pace is slow and some of these states are upgrading their stockpiles and asserting that nuclear weapons are essential to their security strategies.

There is no ban on nuclear weapons, though they are indiscriminate weapons and their use would constitute a violation of International Humanitarian Law. It is not currently illegal to manufacture them, stockpile them or target a city deemed of military interest. According to the Advisory Opinion on the Legality of Nuclear Weapons, if it is believed that the survival of the state is at risk, it is not illegal to threaten to use and to use nuclear weapons. However, any use would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences and would contravene International Humanitarian Law.

Despite the end of the Cold War and better relations between Russia and the United States, the two countries still have thousands of nuclear weapons, on continuous high-alert status, targeted on each other. Thus, the risk of accidents, accidental launch, terrorist acquisition and attacks remains.

Cities are at risk. The design and purpose for nuclear weapons is to target the most densely populated areas, to kill the maximum number of civilians and to destroy their habitats. Military installations do not require the massive destructive power of a nuclear weapon. 


Nuclear Disarmament Content

By LGen the Hon. Roméo Dallaire, Senator
The Senate of Canada
May 17, 2012

By Paul Meyer
Published by Embassy Newspaper (subscritpion required)

Speech by Jennifer Allen Simons, C.M., Ph.D., LL.D.
Pugwash Workshop: Science and Social Responsibility: Rising Problems, Wise Initiatives
UNESCO Headquarters
Paris, France
March 14 - 15, 2012

"Tone down Iran rhetoric" by E. Regehr, published by The - February 2012

Remarks by Jennifer Allen Simons, C.M., Ph.D., LL.D.
Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut
February 18-19, 2012

Prepared for the 48th Munich Security Conference
February 2012

The Global Zero NATO-Russia Commission comprised of 15 eminent American, European and Russian security leaders and experts - and co-chaired by Amb. Richard Burt, Col. Gen. (Ret.) Victor Esin, Amb. Wolfgang Ischinger and Sir Malcolm Rifkind - issued a groundbreaking report at the Munich Security Conference on February 5, 2012, calling for the United States and Russia to remove all of their tactical nuclear weapons from combat bases on the European continent.


Global Zero Commission Calls for US, Russia to Remove All Tactical Nuclear Weapons from European Combat Bases

By Ernie Regehr, O.C.
Published by The
February 4, 2012

Ernie Regehr is Research Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, Fellow of The Simons Foundation of Vancouver, and co-founder of Project Ploughshares.