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Nuclear Test

A Nuclear Test in the South Pacific.

In order to be able to talk about the issues surrounding Nuclear Weapons and their growth in numbers, you should first familiarise yourself with the history of the issue (such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – 1968 and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty - 1996) and any current or recent developments (Iran’s Nuclear power plants, Israel’s supposed capabilities, Pyongyang’s recent tests, America’s stance etc.) and the viewpoint of any international bodies that deal with the world’s nuclear arsenal (IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency and others).

Nuclear ProliferationEdit

It does not take much thought to come to the conclusion that a world without weapons of any kind, yet alone weapons of mass destruction, would be a safer and friendlier world. However, the inevitable progression of technology combined with the natural aggression of humanity has led to a world in which weapons and armies are prolific. In this world, the holders and administrators of laws and justice must hold the most powerful weapons in order to keep hold of the power that gives them their legitimacy.

If nuclear weapons were ever used on a wide scale, the destruction would be catastrophic and could cause the end to civilisation as we know it, so why do five of the most powerful and trusted states in the world spend millions of dollars worth of resources and man hours constructing and maintaining a fleet of nuclear warheads with these capabilities?

Only two nuclear weapons have ever been used aggressively. The first was dropped on Hiroshima on 6th August and the second was dropped on Nagasaki on 9th August 1945. It was understood that America had capability for a further seven devices of equal destructive power, and the President at the time, Truman, vowed that “...we shall continue to us it [the nuclear capability] until we completely destroy Japan’s power to make war.” The two devices caused the immediate or longer term casualties of an estimated 280,000 Japanese civilians, as well as the more accurate figure of 235,569 citizens who suffered illness as a result of the radiation. The American government made the decision to detonate these warheads and initiate nuclear war by weighing these figures (or their estimates at the time) against the 27,600 (estimated mean casualty count based upon the figures of 60,000,000 casualties between the start of WWII on 3rd September 1939 and V.J. Day on 15th August 1945) military and civilian casualties that occurred during the Second World War each and every day. The Imperial Japanese Government realised that if they did not bow to the Allies wishes for peace their entire population and homeland would be decimated, along with a significant proportion of the planet. They agreed to all terms of surrender on 15th August 1945. With all of this in mind, Nuclear Weapons have technically enjoyed a 100% success rate.

Glosarry of TermsEdit

ProliferationEdit

The rapid and often excessive spread or increase. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty aims to stop any nation from building more Nuclear Weapons to stop the spread of the devices and the capabilities. The NPT does not call for states to disarm their nuclear weapons.

Nuclear PowerEdit

A state that is in position of nuclear weapons. The only states admitting to the possession of such weapons are the P5 (the five permanent members of the security council who are United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and the People's Republic of China) and the “De-Facto” Nuclear Powers (sometimes called the D3; India, Pakistan and Israel). Israel is often considered as being in possession of nuclear capabilities, but has always categorically denied this fact. Iraq was cited as a potential nuclear threat before the Second Gulf War, but no WMDs have been discovered to date.

Nuclear EnergyEdit

Not to be confused with a Nuclear Power, Nuclear Energy is the energy created by Nuclear Fission in Nuclear Power Plants. It is a renewable source of energy and is environmentally safe (as long as the nuclear waste is treated properly, which it often is not). Nuclear Energy is the one entirely useful by-product of the research into Nuclear Weapons.

Nuclear ConcernEdit

A state that possesses nuclear weapons illegally (in opposition to the laws set out in the NPT). Three states are currently listed as Nuclear Concerns; DPRK (or North Korea), Iran and Syria.

Nuclear DeterrenceEdit

This is the theory that no state will ever use a nuclear weapon against another state because the aggressor knows that if they were to use nuclear weapons to cause widespread destruction, the same destruction could be turned upon them almost immediately. It is for this reason that the current nuclear powers will not disarm “unless everyone else does so first”. Disarming now would leave a state at the mercy of another nuclear power as the state would have no way to guarantee its own retaliation if it were to be attacked.

FalloutEdit

The aftermath of nuclear war. If two nuclear powers were to go to war the devastation to the world would be incalculable. The destruction wrought by one single nuclear bomb is severe, but the radiation has many other long term effects.

The nth Country ExperimentEdit

This experiment took university graduates that had degrees in science but no experience with nuclear technology. These scientists were able to build a nuclear device within three years using freely available texts on nuclear energy. The experiment shows that any person or any nation has the potential for nuclear armament, and that this can be done on a relatively small scale in absolute secrecy.

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